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The snow buried the old workhouse. A faint light came from the windows in the old cafeteria. Teodor and Amanda hurried over the snow. Teodor kept his nose down. The snow covered most of the smells. He didn't smell anything new. But he wouldn't be able to smell the Hag anyway.
As they got closer to the old workhouse, he caught a whiff of vodka. Teodor lifted his head. Steopa stood in a grove just below the building.
Teodor approached Steopa. Steopa glanced at Teodor. “She is here.” he said in a low voice.
Amanda changed into the hybrid. “Where?” she growled.
Steopa nodded in a direction Teodor sat on his hunches and looked in the direction that Steopa pointed out. Across the snow, in the trees, shadows moved. A human would not have been able to see the subtle differences from the shadows from the trees, to the ones the Hag casted. To a werewolf, she was a slightly darker shade of gray. She had the same aura that Steopa had, but hers was lighter.
Amanda whined. Teodor shook his head. Steopa moved a little closer to the Hag. The Hag stopped. The shadows flowed around her like a long dress. She stared at Teodor, Steopa, and Amanda.
“What are you?” she asked. Her voice sounded as if the wind sucked it away.
Amanda stepped forward. “Stay away from those children.”
The Hag floated closer. “They have been thrown away. They are mine.”
“You are not Baba Yaga,” Steopa said.
The Hag stared at Steopa. She had no eyes, only black holes. “That is my sister.” She hissed, “How do you know her?”
“I do not know you."
“My name is my own." The Hag floated closer. Teodor realized that she tried to move between them and the workhouse. Teodor padded over to the side, blocking her advance.
“Smart dog,” the Hag said.
Teodor tilted his head. Does she not know what I am? He thought.
The Hag glided closer to Amanda. “Do you claim those children as yours?” she asked.
Amanda growled. “I will not let you harm them.”
The Hag laughed, a high screeching laugh, snow fell from the trees as she laughed. “You cannot protect them all.”
“What do you want with them?”
“All lost children are mine, or my sisters,” she said. “It has always been that way.”
Amanda growled and jumped. The Hag disappeared. Amanda hit the snow and rolled. Teodor saw the Hag reappear on the other side of Steopa. He jumped. Teodor felt the Hag's rags in his mouth. He could taste leather and acid. He closed his jaws as he landed. The Hag screamed. He pulled. The Hag screamed again.
Steopa ran over and tackled the Hag. She clawed at him, dragging deep furrows in his flesh. She brought her hand back, and shoved her claws though Steopa's neck. He hissed. With one of his hands he shoved her claws away from him.
Amanda raked the Hag. She fell on Teodor as her claws went through air. The Hag's fingernails tore into Teodor's hide, yet he could not see her. He yelped dropping the leather.
Steopa fell to his knees, holding his neck. Amanda howled and ran towards the workhouse. Teodor whined, jumping between Steopa and Amanda.
“Go!” Steopa choked.
Teodor bolted toward the workhouse.
Amanda yanked on the door handle.“I can't get in!” She screamed.
Teodor ran up to the door. He bounced off something that he could not see or smell. The children inside screamed. He knew that scream. A scream of pure terror. Teodor howled in frustration and ran to the large windows.
Through the window he saw the Hag. One skinned body laid at her feet as she picked up another child. Teodor threw his weight against the window. He bounced off it as if he had hit a wall. Steopa caught up with Teodor. Teodor changed to his hybrid form. He tried again.
“We can't get in!” He shouted to Steopa.
One of the children's bodies hit the window. It left a bloody trail as it slid down the glass. Steopa ran up to the windows. He bounced off the same invisible barrier. Steopa ran back to the forest.
The Hag picked up another child and sliced her skin open. Steopa yelled something, that Teodor could not make out. He spun around in time to duck. Over his head, flew a tree stump. Steopa skidded to a stop. The tree stump hit the window and broke the glass. Teodor covered his head and rolled out of the way. He hit the wall with his shoulder. The barrier was gone.
The Hag screamed. Teodor jumped, changing into his wolf form as he entered the workhouse. The Hag spun around and hissed at Teodor. Teodor rushed her; growling, snarling, and barking. The Hag dissipated. The children that were still alive crowded together at the old stage. The stump laid against the other side of the room.
There were five skinned bodies laying on the floor of the workhouse. Teodor whined. Tasche patted his thigh. “Come here, boy."
Teodor padded over to Tasche. He hugged Teodor. “It's okay boy, you tried to scare her away.”
Amanda pushed the door open with her muzzle. She howled when she saw the bodies. Teodor tried to come over to her side, but Tasche would not let him go. His body shook as he cried. Teodor glanced out the window. Steopa stepped back into the darkness outside.
Teodor wiggled away from Tasche. He padded over to Amanda. He glanced over his shoulder. Tasche had turned to the rest of the children and made them move on to the stage. Some of the youngest ones screamed and cried.
Amanda padded over to the window. She placed her paw on the broken windowsill and howled.
Teodor came up to her and whined, “Stay here.”
Amanda licked his face then went over to the children. Teodor climbed out of the building. He could see the shadow of Steopa at the tree line.