He dreams of teeth. Time goes on and the memory decays–the thick reek of blood-gummed fur, the hushed, heated, hunting breath, the mud and the rocks and the flint-focused madness of wild eyes–all of it melts and falls apart, disintegrates into nothingness until he can no longer quite recall them.
It has been such a long time since he has seen her—or any of them, if he were being honest with himself—that he almost wonders if it were all a dream. Almost.
But on nights when the sky is clear and there is no moon, if the wind howls the right song, he can close his eyes and smell her.
She was their leader, in name and in all other ways. They were strong with her guiding them, with her at their head. Their territory was spread wide and food was never scarce. Even the winters never seemed as cold.
He closes his eyes and lets out a breath against the chill in the air now, a strange city’s lights spread out below him. Those days were long past, when others had come with fire and hatred and fear and burned them out of their forest. The humans feared what they did not—could not—understand and so were willing to destroy swaths of wood and field to try and quell that terror.
He’s watched so many of their short lives played out since he learned how to hide among them. Watched their society grow from farms to mills to factories to towers. Now all he knew has faded into legends, stories they make movies of, talk about as if it were less than even a shadow of a memory—as if it were never a memory at all.
And sometimes he almost finds himself believing them—his memory is fogged, so distant. Has he lived so long in this world? Was he around when the Old Gods still walked freely through the trees and grasses and waters? Or was he confusing it all with too many books read and stories heard?
But. Then the wind stirs above the city and he hears the old music on its drafts and he is still able to grasp at the threadbare memories of moments he lived an age ago. Sometimes he wonders if he is still the only one, wonders if he should pass quietly from this new concrete and metal world and leave nothing but a few phrases of melody behind for the wind to carry.
Or maybe he should write down all he can remember, publish it, see if there are still others who would read it and remember and find him.
He laughs softly to no one and takes a drink of his bourbon, enjoying the hot whiskey burn down his throat. Even if he did do that, and there were others to find him, what then?
All things decayed in the forest—all things except for the Old Gods, and for them. Perhaps now was their time to end.