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The Starved Wolf

The man was a man of the old ways. He was found as a toddler, wandering through the woods by a village. The village took him in, clothed him, gave him a name, and accepted him as one of their own. He was muscular mountain man of twenty when he left; he wanted to travel so that’s what he did.
He was hiking up north, it was the end of his third day and he had crossed many endless green hills and sharp, rugged mountain peaks. He was making camp at the base of a mountain surrounded by tall evergreens. The sky was darkening to the midnight black he had seen so many times before from the window of his small bedroom back in his village. The man gathered wood to make a fire to cook his meal and keep him from freezing on the cold, harsh, spring nights of the tundra. He set a pot over the blazing fire to cook his supper from the remains of a caribou he had shot the day before; his pack was filled with the meat so he had no fear of starving anytime soon. The light from the stars and the small flare from his fire allowed him to see what he was doing. The aroma from the cooking meat made his mouth water but he knew it had not cooked long enough so he decided to set up a temporary shelter. He turned away from the fire to reach into his pack and grab his canvas tent.
When he turned back to the small fire he saw a dark shadow move towards his cooking supper. The wolf was black as jet and large for his species but was clearly malnourished. Hunched close to the ground, ready to spring the wolf stalked forward, ears laid back and mouth curved into a vicious snarl. Saliva dripped from his mouth and its’ eyes had a predatory glint in them. The man froze, quickly finding the center of the wolf’s desire, surprised to be confronted with such a large adversary. The man’s hand moved to the hilt of his knife, ready to kill the famished creature that was before him. The wolf stalked forward, the path of his travel was directly heading for the meat. The man moved forward too, ready for the right moment to dispatch of the snarling creature. The wolf pounced on the man as soon as he was within range, jaws snapping and fangs trying to find purchase. The man reacted quickly, but not quick enough; the fangs met skin at the man’s left shoulder and clenched tightly inflicting immense pain. The man’s right arm slashed open skin at the wolf’s side. The wolf howled in pain, loosening his grip on the man. The man stumbled back, almost losing his balance. The wolf stalked around the fire in a quick circle, getting ready to attack again.
The man readied himself as best as he could, bracing his feet in the cold ground, his boots finding traction, and leaning slightly forward, arm ready for an upward thrust that could easily stab the heart at the right angle. The wolf took in the prepared stance with a momentary look, and he lowered himself to the ground, tense with the adrenaline of the fight and the throbbing come from deep within his stomach. His strength was fleeting and he knew he wouldn’t survive unless he won in the next few minutes. The feel of the sudden fear of desperation seized him, and strength filled his bones once more. The man stood still, waiting for another assault. The wolf sprang, dodging the knife and latching on to the man’s right arm. The man cried out in pain trying to shake off the black creature that only looked like a shadow in the pale firelight. The wolf let go of the man’s arm, landed on the ground and sprang back up to the man’s throat. The man’s blood filled his mouth. The man made a gurgling sound as his life blood was drained from him. Mist filled his vision as the pain slowly melted into a calming blackness. He couldn’t think straight and didn’t remember the fight that had just occurred. The soothing darkness enveloped him and he didn’t put up a fight.
The wolf sat down to wait until the fire died down, but smelled the bloody odor of caribou meat coming from the pack laying on the ground a few paces away. He made his way to the pack cautiously, ready for another human to spring out at him. Once he had safely arrived at the source to the torturing aroma he didn’t hesitate. He ferociously tore into the pack, gorging himself on the long awaited meal. The black wolf gobbled up all the meat, eating every last bit. The wolf felt the ragged fatigue of over eating take him. He lay down, letting the dreariness overcome his will and closed his eyes, never to open them again.





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