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A Wolf's Run
It was just a cow...a single...sickly cow. This thought was the only thing, other than the burning pain in my leg, racing through my mind as I bounded through the forest, as fast as my four legs could carry me. I was trying to find food for my pack and even searched a little bit outside my pack’s territory, an action forbidden by my Alpha. I found a sickly cow grazing grass near the edge of the forest. It was such easy prey...I had to take it down. That is when I heard a crack of thunder and felt a lancing pain in my side. I howled in pain as I heard the angry yelling of one of the two legs that have recently been encroaching my pack’s territory. Now... now I am running from the two legs and away from its thunder gun.
“Damn two legs and their tools,” I grunted as I catch my breath, hard to do when you have a hole in your leg mind you. “I think I am safe, now just to find my pa…” CRACK! I drop at the sound of unnatural thunder and see the tree above me splinter as I begin to smell the two legs again. I immediately pounce from my crouched position and bound into the nearest batch of shrubs I can, desperately trying to hide from the two legs and more importantly...to survive.
As I wiggle my way deeper into the undergrowth I begin to hear the voices of the two legs
“How did you miss that one Thomas, it was right there, panting with a 9-millimeter hole in its leg, how could you possibly miss it!”
At this moment I stop in my tracks, careful to make sure my breaths are slow and quite. As I try to minimize my profile I hear the other two legs, the one called Thomas, speak.
“I don’t know Jeff, maybe cause it was far away, or I couldn’t focus and aim cause all I could hear was your annoying voice.”
“Yeah, yeah whatever” I heard Jeff say, “you were the one who still missed, and after I hired you to protect my cattle cause you assured me you would kill any of those vile wolves.”
Vile...you call us vile... I felt my upper lip peel back and expose my teeth I as I heard this Jeff compare us to a rodent. I begin to rise in anger but I put to much of my weight on my injured leg and I cried out exposing my hidden position in the undergrowth.
“There you are!” I heard Thomas say as I heard the dreaded clicking sound of the thunder maker, the same sound that has ended the lives of two others in my pack.
The image of those two wolves one of which I called my friend flashed through my mind as anger flooded my body. Not today, not me I thought to myself I am going to make it back...no matter what. I let lose a howl of challenge, one appropriate of my rank as one of the pack’s beta and I leaped out of the undergrowth brandishing my teeth and my claws. My display of force had the desired effect both of the two legs cried out in alarm as I, a black beta wolf with orange eyes and a mouthful of deadly teeth, erupted out of the undergrowth. The one called Thomas tried to use his thunder maker again, but I could tell it missed as I felt my fur part on my side as something went wide. As I landed, I slashed at the nearest two legs and felt his skin part and the blood run down my paw as my claw tore through his leg, dropping him to the ground in pain. Once I hit the ground I began to run through the forest, not even noticing the pain in my leg anymore as my only thoughts were about running as fast as I could toward the safety of my pack.
After a few minutes of running I slowed down my pace to a walk, then eventually I completely stopped as the pain in my leg returned with a vengeance. I looked down to were my fur was still wet with blood. This will be fun to explain to Helios and Keyra I thought to myself wondering how my Alpha and more terrifyingly my mate will react if I return. “Not if,” I said “when I return.” I look around at my surroundings trying to make sense of where in the forest I am. After a few minutes of my limping in a circle I give up and instead try to sniff the air and try to find any of the markers that would signify that I was in or at least near my pack’s, Lunar Shadow, territory. As I tried to breathe in all I could smell is the sharp copper scent of blood, both my own and the blood of one of the two legs. That explains why I couldn’t smell them come up on me earlier I thought to myself, my nose is blocked. After that revelation, I notice the shadows of the trees were stretched, signifying near nightfall. I walked around in a circle and I looked for somewhere to hide and rest for the night, my orange eyes coming to rest on a small cave hidden in the side of the hill. Well it could be worse I thought to myself as I limped into the cave At least I am not being hunted anymore…
That night I dreamed, I dreamed that I was back in a familiar cave, and I was greeted by a wolf that I could never forget. This wolf had a snow white pelt, with beautiful light crystal blue eyes and a name that rings like a perfectly hit howl through the night...Keyra, and I had the honor, much to the jealousy of the rest of the pack, of calling her my mate. As my mate nuzzled my awake with her nose she told me, “Time to wake”
“Just a little longer,” I pleaded groggily, “I just got back from hunting, and my leg hurts.”
“Now Osiris, wake up!!!” Kerya cried out at me hysteria rising, “Come back, come back now!”
Now I knew something was up, and I bolted awake and I started to look around rapidly trying to find the source of Kerya’s worry. Except when I did my scan, she wasn’t there, and I was back in my hidden cave. As I began to wonder about my dream and why Kerya warned me to wake up, I heard a new sound I didn’t notice before I drifted off to sleep, it was the sounds of yipping...of hunting dogs.
“Shit!” I cried out in realization, with that blood trail I left during my escape they will be on me in minutes. Cursing myself out for my foolishness as I began to plan for my survival
I ran through my options in my head, and the more I thought about how these dogs are probably fully fed and healthy compared to my injured body and tired state the more I didn’t like my odds. I came down to one of two plans, one...I sit here and wait to be hunted down, or...or I give out one last desperate call for help, and hope my pack finds me in time I thought to myself. My pride and my Beta rank wouldn’t let me die without a fight. Welp...here goes nothing or everything I thought as I backed up deeper into the cave. My thinking was that the cave would applify my howl and make it louder so my pack could hear it, but it would also reveal my position to the dogs, making me an easier target. As I took in a deep breath, the coppery scent of blood filling my nostrils, I heard the sound of a hunting dog outside. Too late, I thought with a sick sense of satisfaction, here I am! I let out a howl using all of my strength and putting it into my voice, except unlike earlier, this was not a howl of a challenge. This was a howl the members of Lunar Shadow used only in desperate measures, and its goal...to call on the aid of every member and to tell them that they are needed.
After I dropped the howl off, hoping it will be heard, I began to run out of the cave. The all too familiar pain of my leg once again dropped off as adrenaline surged through my body. As I blasted out of the cave I barely registered the whimpering, prone form of a hunting dog on the forest floor, its sensitive ears ringing from my howl. I picked a direction where I recognized some of the landmarks revealed to me in the early daylight hours; such as a tree that was split from a storm, and a small stream. As I ran I heard the sounds of something running behind me, chasing me down as my injured leg began to slow me down. Hold out for just a little bit longer, I told myself, just a little bit longer... I looked back toward my attacker and saw that it was a lean, narrow, well-built dog just slightly taller than me, but a whole lot faster apparently as it was quickly closing the gap between us. I looked back in front of my concentrating on my stride, careful to make sure no energy is wasted. Forward, Back, Forward, Back, I coached myself trying to make sure I maximize my speed. I kept this pace up, even stopping the gap from closing between me and the hunting dog. Almost there...just a little longer. My thoughts were interrupted as pain involved my body and I tripped skidding along the forest floor before coming to a rest in the middle of a clearing. I tried to give another howl, but it was caught short as I felt my attacker kick my side and place a paw on my chest. As I looked toward my attacker, not afraid to look death in the eye, I saw that he reared his head back and let loose a howl of his own, calling to the others that he was the one to found me. “Come on then,” I called to my attacker, my anger flaring up, “Just end it already, come on you coward.” The hunting dog must have heard me as he looked down at me and began to laugh.
“So eager to die wolf, I expected more from you.” The dog mocked, “Though I guess I will grant your wish”
As he opened his mouth and began to lower it around his neck a streak of white slammed into the dog knocking him off me and allowing me to catch my breath. Gasping for breath I turned to see who my savior was. My heart dropped realizing it was a wolf I recognized, her snow pelt instantly recognizable even in my pain. Kerya was bent over the dog holding it down as she tore into its throat, silencing it. After the hunting dog breathed its last, Kerya turned around and looked at me, her muzzle red from blood. As she bounded over to me, I heard her call out to others, although I was too close to losing conscience to hear what she said. As she bent her head over me, her ice blue eyes full of concern I whispered, “Thank you...for saving me”
Then I passed out, knowing that my pack found me and that everything will be okay.