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Paw after paw. A cloud of breath floating in the air, one after the other. Watchful amber scanning the white canvas. Quivering black sniffed the air, searching for a scent. A familiar smell.
Large brown pupils watched the snowy wasteland as the mouth went down to feed upon the sparse stalks of growing foliage. Long pinked ears swiveled to one side and then the other, the body waiting to bolt at the slightest unfriendly sound.
She inched closer. Her fur provided the perfect coverage, the perfect advantage over her prey. The smell of the rabbit’s scent was thick in her nostrils. She could smell its wariness, its fear.
A foot froze in mid-air when the rabbit’s head turned in her direction. Her breath hitched in her throat. She didn’t dare release it, not until the prey resumed its feeding.
The snow softly crunched underneath her feet.
Eyes soon spotted her friend. He was heading in the same direction as well. His attentive and questioning pupils looked at her, but the she-wolf only shook her head.
They prowled forward.
Turning her head to the left now, the she-wolf caught sight of her third friend. Three hunters were needed to take down this beast.
Paw after paw. Their breaths slowly floated into the air. Patiently they stalked their prey. Paw after paw.
Again the three froze as the rabbit stopped feeding. It hopped forward, that single action causing their three hearts to pump furiously.
But then it stopped to feed again. They released their breaths and inched closer.
The she-wolf glanced at her two companions and slightly nodded her head.
First to break loose was the leftmost wolf. He easily covered the open snow, tearing a channel into the white banks as he zipped towards the feeding caribou herd. His presence instantly set the hoofed animals in motion, the ground thunderously quaking under the large herd’s mad dash to safety.
Next to follow was the rightmost wolf. The black wolf, faster in speed than the first hunter, zipped after the weaker animals, the ones that had begun to lag. His eyes fixed upon the nearest, an old and sick female, one far too weak to resist impending death.
He lengthened his pace, taking in more ground to increase his speed. His claws lashed out, barely swiping one of the caribou’s legs. Again he struck, one of his claws latching onto the animal’s hind leg.
With a tremulous bellow, the caribou tripped, hind legs twisting underneath the bulk of its swinging belly. The final hunter finally latched herself into action, quickly covering the ground and pouncing onto the falling victim to deliver the final bite.
Her jaws closed around the caribou’s soft throat, tearing through the flesh and crushing the life-giving jugular. She held the dying prey in her jaws, shaking it once in a while to ensure its death.
All around them, nature had begun to quiet once more. The caribou had settled in a safe distance away from the three hunters, but it did not matter.
For the next couple of days, they would gorge their bellies upon fresh meat.