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It's dark and cold rain sounds like tiny chains against the glass. Christine reads to me under the dim electric sun that shines like candlelight and turns the world soft. She speaks as if everything else the universe required had been done, and there remained only two of us to await the coming of stillness.

"...for every idea that does not become your ideal, slays a force in your soul. Every idea that becomes your ideal, creates within you life-forces."

She closes a book whose title I can't see. It's red and worn threadbare orange at the edges. Its yellow pages sound like fire when she turns them, and she squeezes it into a space between her thigh and the arm of cushioned chair, folds her hands in her lap and smiles as if she's given me a gift I can trade for food.

"That's Rudolph Steiner," she tells me. "It's from a book called 'Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment'. He lived in the early part of the 20th century and taught in secret schools that extra sensory powers and the world of living spirits were well within the grasp of modern beings. Many years ago the world of the material was connected to the spiritual world, but over time we've drifted apart. We can't see a living creature's aura anymore. Only mystics can see spirits of the dead, or the angels that inhabit the voids around us."

I love when she's passionate. Her eyes sparkle and the light in her hair looks like fur from the cottonwoods in spring. Her face projects a powerful warmth that touches me inside.

I think to her as hard as I can. "Come lie with me on the rug next to the fire. The weather is bad and I'll protect you."

But she's happy where she is, so I stay silent and let her gentle voice caress my thoughts. It makes me forget how hungry I am, and how much I hurt from the battle this morning.

"Our society suffers from a great evil," she says into me. Her eyes never leave mine. I want to look away but I can't. "The evil is borne in the separation of the physical world from the spiritual world. We can no longer feel our souls. We think that all we are is the body we inhabit. So we reduce everything alive to a lesser stature. We turn our enemies into robotic devils. We turn animals into soul-less playthings. How else could we eat meat?"

Of this I agree. I want to tell her about my ancestors who roamed the plains. They hunted and killed bison and thanked the great spirits for every soul they dispatched in the name of their lives. They thanked the spirit of the bison they took. All of us are on this earth for such a short time. Is it not proper we may bring the end to a being in the name of new life itself? But I'm still. It's been a hard day for Christine and me. Because I love her I have to let her speak so she can lift the grief from her soul. Nothing is right in my world when she is not happy.

If only she would lie with me on the rug by the warm fire. In this sturdy shelter that I will guard, I offer her the mastery of the dominion. I would remind her of my home in the trees that smell like sweet dust, of nights when the silence is broken only by the wind and the sound of animals foraging to keep themselves a part of this wonderful existence. There by the stream of crystal waters, where the moon reflects in shards of broken light, there we would own a part of the earth the great spirits meant for us alone. The birds and fish would offer themselves to her beauty.

I've asked her many times, but she won't go.

Now she is crying. She stands and I stand with her and follow her to the door. Outside the lightning flashes murderous and bright, reminding us of the great mother's power.

"We objectify life for our purpose," she says. "We turn living things into inanimate objects to make it easier for us to justify our illogical hatred of ourselves. The more we do it, the more we hate, and so the cycle continues. It has to end somewhere."

I couldn't agree more. My leg is still sore from the fight this morning. There is blood on my chest where he scratched me, and a large gash where his teeth squeezed into my shoulder.

She looks at me again, wanting reassurance. I give it to her. The boy's aura was tainted. This one of man's family was sick beyond cure. I could see the browns and purples where should have been blue. His spirit thanked me as it vacated that malfunctioning body.

"Peace be unto you, servant of the earth," he said as he left.

And I fell silent in reverence and replied as the ritual of my family dictates: "Peace be unto you, anointed one. May the grace of your life honor other worlds, other times."

That's what happened, I swear it.

But Christine's not sure. There was a fight, yes, he fought for his life as all beings must but that is the way of this earth. In the end, we leave our bodies and move on to the stars. He fought gallantly. He fought bravely, but as the spirits dictate I was the stronger, and so upon me was bestowed the honor of sending him onward to his next world.

I tell her she must believe me. That's the way it happened.

How my leg hurts. My running will be impaired if I am called upon.

The rain comes down in solid clouds. We're both soaked as we walk toward the tree line.

I wonder where we're going so late. We could have eaten, but we didn't. We could have stayed in the shelter, but she brought me into this violence.

The noise of the storm hides the hunter from the hunted. This I know. I can not hear my steps upon the earth, nor can I hear the sound of the animals behind the hiss of the falling sky. They hide from the wrath of the atmosphere, but mostly from me.

They know my eyes that pierce the night like the cold fire from the mist--the teeth that shine white and sharp against the darkness. My growl reminds them of the death they must face, some at my jaws.

I was alone when she befriended me, stroked my fur, touched my head. I felt the strong spirits inside her and knew she was blessed among that race of men that moves like a terrible burning across the forests. She heard my voice when men could only hear the howl.

And so now I know she is the huntress. There is no choice for me.

She says, "They don't understand you. They never will."

Had I but a moment I'd turn and leap toward her. I'd defend myself as all who are living must do. My mind runs full with the feeling I imagine of my teeth piercing her neck.

But she is merciful and has brought one of men's machines to do her bidding.

And so there is only a brief flash of light like thunder.

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