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Three fantastic and surprising stories.FOULWOLFE. Little Terry has found a new friend and this can only worry her older brother. Real or imaginary? Is she really a wolf, as you say, or just a dog? Or something different? Something that will bring destruction to their family.FUNERAL. Three children gathered to do their dog's funeral. They try to imitate adults, do just like them. But the final outcome will be unexpected.ITSY BITSY SPIDER. In a desolate country, destroyed by bombing, the invading army finds only children. It is one of these young prisoners that gives the captain his most precious asset: a spider. A special, extraordinary animal that could change its entire existence.
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Illusion Short Stories # 1
Original title: Lupastro
Translated by Alfio Loreti
Original title: Funerale
Translated by Cinzia Albanese
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Original title: Ragnetto
Translated by Alessia
© 2018 Illusion
© 2018 Stefano Pastor
Graphics: Angela M.
I still remember how everything started, how our lives suddenly changed and we found you in a nightmare.
It was late, for me at least. I was in my room trying to do my homework, because during the day I’d rather forget them and eventually I was forced to give up on television.
I was not very cheerful, then, and inattentive. Although I had been there for more than an hour, I had almost nothing done, I was lost in other thoughts.
Terry came in like a fury through the door so forcefully, that it slammed against the wall. “I saw it!”, she yelled. “I saw it!”
There were some rules between us, even though she was my sister. One of these, perhaps the most important one, was just about my room. It was off limits to her. At that time, then, it was a thousand times more forbidden.
She did not even realize what she did. “I saw it, I tell you! There’s a wolf in the woods!”
She looked like Little Red Riding Hood. With that sweaty jacket and a hood, she was just like her. “Stop it!” I shouted. “Always lying!”
“It’s true, I tell you. It’s there indeed!”
I didn’t believe her. It became dark hours ago and my parents would never let her go out alone. She had ankle boots, though, and they were muddy; during the day, it was raining.
“There is a wolf! There is a wolf!”
“Leave me alone, idiot. What the hell do you want?”
She insisted. “I swear! The wolf is in the woods! The wolf!”
To be honest there was no woods, it was us, just the kids, to call it that way. It was just a thicket in the cultivated fields, probably planted by peasants themselves (God knows for what reason). But it was in a state of abandonment, and in the midst of the trees had grown lots of shrubs, and now had become a tangle of branches and yellow leaves. It was not easy to get in plus they forbidden it.
“Go and tell dad that the wolf is there. He will believe you and he’ll go and kill him.”
“No!”, Terry shouted. “Why kill? Foulwolfe is good, he’s a friend of mine.”
“Foulwolfe?” I repeated, then I could not hold back and laughed out loud.
Terry got angry. A lot. “You’re bad, bad! I tell Foulwolfe to eat you! You’re bad, I hate you!”
You have no idea how difficult it is to have a younger sister and have to tolerate her too!
“There are no wolves, Terry, and this is not a forest. Do you see a forest somewhere? We’re in town, almost. And it’s a lowland. There are no forests and there are no wolves.” Then I tried to be reasonable. “You’ve seen a dog, surely.”
“It’s there, I tell you. There!”
She dragged me against my will as soon as we left school, without even going home.
The thicket was dark, the sky was cloudy and threatened more rain. Terry struggled to get rid of the backpack, which remained hooked to her blouse. “What do you want to do?” I asked.
“I’ll introduce you to him, so you won’t say again that I’m a liar!”
I felt a bit of anxiety at the idea of getting in there. The trees were so dense that the sun could not even penetrate. It was a strip of green, about twenty meters wide and at least a hundred long, dividing two cultivated fields. There was not even a fence to protect it, because no one with a healthy mind would have ventured in there.
“I can’t step through”, I said, though it was clearly an excuse.
“Just be careful. I’m going in easily.”
“You are smaller.”
And it was true. Terry was only eight, and I was four years older. She was much smaller than me.
I helped her, though, because she was tearing off her dress, and I released her from the backpack she was carrying on her back. I put it on the ground next to mine.
“Then I go alone”, she told me, reasonably. “I tell him to come and meet you. But you don’t mess with me, don’t go away. Wait for me.”
“Terry…” I started, but I didn’t know what to say. Was it frightening to see her going in there? A little bit, but I didn’t want her to know. I had been there a lot of times, but early in the summer, before all those shrubs filled it. Sometimes it really looked like a forest.
“Foulwolfe!” Terry started to shout, disappearing into the vegetation. “Foulwolfe!”
I couldn’t see her anymore and I became afraid. Fear that it was true that she said the truth. Not that there was a wolf, of course, but a stray dog, perhaps angry.
“Terry, come back here, I believe you anyway. They are waiting for us to eat. They will get angry!”
I felt terribly uncomfortable, as if those trees were looking at me. I was even tempted to leave.
The road was a couple hundred meters away, and it was very busy. Not far from there was our house, a beautiful villa. There were not many homes nearby, we were already in the suburbs. In center town, we could not afford a home like that, dad always said it.
“He’s not there!”
I almost screamed. She approached me from behind, she froze me. As she picked up the backpack, she asked me candidly, “What do you think, will he go to school too?”
I swallowed an insult because I couldn’t wait to get out from there. I grabbed her hand and dragged her away as she complained.
I managed to never turn around.
“Foulwolfe doesn’t like cars, He hates them. He says they are dangerous.”
Two days were gone and we were having breakfast. We did, at least, Terry was just playing with cereals.
“Terry has a new friend”, I said to my father, trying to read the newspaper. “It’s a wolf.”
Mom giggled as she cooked the pancakes. That’s how I remember her, with her flowery apron, the perfect mother in a commercial. “There are no more wolves here, they have disappeared for over a century.”
“I told her! But she doesn’t want to believe me.”
Dad folded the newspaper and seemed to return to reality. “Who is your new friend, Teresa? Can we meet him?”
Terry was very serious, maybe she was considering whether we were making fun of her. “He doesn’t like you”, she mumbled.
Our parents exchanged a perplexed look.
Dad was immediately concerned. “He doesn’t like us? Why? Do we know him already? What’s he like?”
I snorted, because it seemed to me to be in a madhouse. “It’s a wolf, did you not hear me?” Then the common sense prevailed again. “There must be some dog that she hides. And in the evening, she brings him something to eat.”
I also considered the idea of talking to him about the woods, but then I changed my mind, because I could get myself in trouble for bringing her there.
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