Denis and Katya fell asleep wondering about the old man. “Who is he? What is his name?”
They woke suddenly, to six blood-red eyes. “Shhh,” Denis warned. Katya couldn’t breathe. The wolves were poised to spring.
Then something huge and shaggy reared up, silhouetted by firelight. A fearsome growl shook the forest. The wolves scattered, terrified.
The creature re-entered its human form; the eyes gentled, the fierce mouth softened. The old man, the shape-shifter, looked down at his paws and laughed as they changed from wildly different to reassuringly normal.
“My name is Bear.”
Katya smiled, drifting back to sleep.