This is Angel’s story from The Shack, I’ve been asked for her story several times, and I hope this is satisfactory. This is very much a companion piece to “Shameless,” and I strongly recommend reading that first. The time period starts just before “Shameless” and ends a year or so after “Behind Blue Eyes.” I don’t typically write graphic sex in this story line and that remains true here. Special thanks to sbrooks103x and Ckcpper for editing and beta reading, and to No1specific for beta reading and Special Weapons advice. Any remaining errors are entirely mine -- probably added after their assistance. And, as always, thanks to everyone for the amazing encouragement and support.
A Parable of Wolves
“С волками жить - по вольчи выть”
Live with wolves, and you’ll learn how to howl
- Russian Proverb
“We want a story! Story! Story! Story!”
Three little blonde girls chanted at me from their beds.
I leaned back in the rocking chair, twisted my mouth and made my accent a caricature, “Do you vant ‘Ve must find Moose und Sqvirrel’?”
“Noooooo!!!!!” That brought shrieks of laughter from Kisa and Lily. Amber, our smallest, laughed too, but mostly because her big sisters were laughing. She’d never even seen Rocky and Bullwinkle, much less understood my terrible “Natasha” imitation.
Kisa is named after me in a way; “Kisa” - “Kitten” - was my first husband’s pet name for me, and I named Kisa that so I would always have a part of him. Lily is named after Thomas’s first wife, a woman I shall always feel fond of, though we never had a chance to meet. Amber’s name was suggested by Spooky, in a sad, hushed voice. I’m sure there is a reason for the name, though she’s never shared it with us. Thomas and I find the name beautiful.
“The wolf story! The wolf story!”
That’s their favorite story. It’s a long story and a sometimes sad story, but they love it.
Maybe because I love it. I looked up at the dresser. The pictures of Piotr and Lillian looked down on me approvingly.
“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful dog, with long, shining, golden fur, a wonderful fluffy tail, long beautiful ears and fine, perfect teeth. She was pretty and carefree, and even though she was a little vain because of her beauty, she loved the sound of laughter and joy, and that made her try very hard to make everyone around her happy. One day she met a wonderful, upright and honest police dog. She fell in love with his honesty and laughter. They ran off together to live their lives in happiness with each other and the dream of having puppies.”
Once upon a time, a frivolous, but very pretty university student met and married a junior detective in the Saint Petersburg Police department.
It started with a slip on the dirty grey winter ice, while I was going into a coffee shop. I’d always loved winter, loved the cold, and I loved to walk through the winter streets, sipping hot, sweet coffee. As I started in, I felt the ice slide under me and I started to fall. Someone caught me, pulling me upright; I slipped again, and caught myself on a pair of broad shoulders, pulling myself to him so we were nose to nose. He had laughing grey eyes and light brown hair and a smile that seemed so completely honest.
“Easy. We can’t have pretty girls falling all over the street. It’d give the city a bad name.”
Even though I was used to flattery, I could feel my cheeks flush. “I can’t get my footing.” Something about his smile made me laugh and I slipped more, holding on to him tighter to keep from falling.
His smile broadened as he caught my waist in firm hands. “I’m supposed to say something clever, but I think I’ll just stand here and let you hold on to me as long as you like.”
And I did. I decided at that instant to hold on to Piotr forever. It sounds silly, but I knew right then that we would laugh and live, raise our children, and grow old together.
He never had a chance of getting away from me. I’d been pursued and I knew all the tricks. The coffee shop girl told me his name and told me which police station he worked at.
I showed up at his department with lunch the next day, pulled out a calendar and told him we had to choose our wedding date.
He laughed. “I don’t even know your name, how do you know we’re even compatible?”
“Because you told me I could hold on as long as I like. And I’ve decided on ‘the rest of our lives’.”
“I don’t get a say in this?”
“You get one chance. We go out and if you want to stop after two months, we stop and you get away. If not, we’re together forever.”
“Why would I agree to this?”
“Because you said I’m pretty.”
“And pretty girls get whatever they want?”
“This pretty girl only wants one thing.”
“I’ve been told to stay away from pretty girls, they can be a lot of trouble.”
“I’ll wear a mask for the rest of my life. You can be the only one who ever sees me.”
He stared at me. “You’re serious.”
“I’ve never chased after a guy in my life before today. Ever.”
He agreed. I don’t know how I knew it would happen, but it did. And it was everything I dreamed life could be – every fairy tale, every “happily ever after.”
Two months passed, then three, then four. In six months we were married. We wanted lots of children and planned on starting to work on our family as soon as I graduated.
The only mar was an argument at our wedding – not between Piotr and me, but between Piotr and his cousin Dmitri, a powerful man, covered in prison tattoos.
Piotr, a man who never even lost his temper, even with drug addicts and thieves, knocked his cousin unconscious in the vestibule of the church. When I asked about it, all he would ever say was that his cousin wasn’t welcome in our home. Ever.
“Seeing them and their happiness, the awful, horrible underground Troll King who hated happiness sent terrible, terrible ogres to punish them for being honest and happy. They tried to force the police dog to become an ogre like them, but he was too honorable and true for that. So the ogres attacked the two dogs. There were simply too many ogres and while they fought bravely, eventually the ogres killed the police dog and dragged the beautiful dog away.”
Piotr and I had been married for ten months; I’d graduated the University with a degree in languages and was working part time as an interpreter at the local telecomm office. Seven months pregnant and happier than even the prettiest girl could expect to be.
Piotr’s only worry was his family. His mother and father had died in a car accident, but he had an Uncle, a respected, wealthy man named Gregor Ivanovich. He always spoke down to me in a strange, condescending, way. I wrote it off to his generation and their attitude towards women.
I learned very differently later.
I learned that to him, women, like drugs and weapons, were nothing more than commodities to be bought and sold.
Gregor ran an enormous criminal empire. Guns to Africa and the Middle East, drugs to Western Europe and girls to pretty much everywhere. Piotr had wanted nothing to do with it, and his uncle had promised to leave him alone, leave him out of everything. And the one additional promise Piotr had demanded of his uncle, as a wedding gift was to never, ever, harm me.
But promises from such men are worse than useless because you can make the mistake of believing them...
I was in the kitchen when it happened. I heard arguing at the front door. I came out of the kitchen, my seventh month of pregnancy making me awkward, although Piotr said that I was more beautiful to him than ever.
“Even if I wanted to, it’s too damn late for that.” Piotr’s voice. “The evidence is already moved.”
Gregor’s voice, calm and even. “You’ll just have to have them bring it back won’t you?”
“It doesn’t work that way, and you know it. You’ll have to use one of your pet judges to deal with it.”
Just as I rounded the corner, powerful hands grabbed me. “Piotr!”
He spun toward me. there were six men in the living room with us.
A low hateful chuckle from Dmitri. “Maybe he should see his wife with a real man. Maybe that will teach him to be more thoughtful for family matters.”
Piotr glared at him, then snarled at his uncle. “You swore you’d never let her be harmed.”
Gregor smiled. “I did.” I could feel Dmitri reluctantly begin to loosen his grip. Until Gregor curled his lip. “But using women as they are meant to be used is hardly harmful.”
I fought, scratching and kicking, as Dmitri clamped down on me and began tearing at my dress.
Piotr’s hand pistoned out, shoving the man nearest him away as he drew his gun. His first shot went into the man he’d shoved and he twisted towards me, his gun coming up. I could see it all clearly. He couldn’t kill them all, but he could try to save me. I tried to hold very still so he could.
But he failed, another gun went off just as he shot again, and his head jerked oddly to the side, then he began to sag. Piotr’s final shot, instead of killing me, tore through Dmitri’s left lung.
He couldn’t save me from them. But at least I wouldn’t be violated by Dmitri.
I began to scream. And in some ways it would be years before I stopped.
.... There is more of this story ...