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Running with the Wolves
“Emily! The Dastrup’s are here!” Mrs. Nelson yelled from down stairs.
I slammed my book shut and leaped from my bed. My family had just moved in a month ago and my mom and invited the Dastrup’s over for dinner. Dad had told me they had a son my age. Being an 18 year old girl fresh out of high school who had no friends, this was exciting news.
I took the stairs two steps at a time. I rushed past my dad in the kitchen and came skidding to a stop in the front hallway. My jaw dropped, quite literally.
A tall young man was leaning against the wall. His dark (almost black) brown hair spiked at the front but was gelled flat in the back. His skin was a light tan but in places was sun burned.
The boy straightened when he saw me. He looked at my equally slender figure with hazel eyes. A smile crept across his face. It sparked and emotion I had never felt before. The little flame spread through me like a wild fire. I lowered my blue eyes in an attempt to hide the color that had come to my cheeks behind my dirty blonde hair. I admit, he was handsome. For some reason that frustrated me.
As I struggled to identify the emotion that was burning inside me, my mother introduced the boy as David.
David greeted me with a casual “Hello”. His voice was strong and confident, like a hot knife through butter. In my frustration of being unable to identify the emotion I did not reply.
My mom introduced Mr. and Mrs.Dastrup then shuffled everybody into the dining room which was connected to the kitchen. My dad finished placing the spaghetti on the table. Three places had been set on each side of the table. I quickly slipped into a seat on the end of the table. I then placed a napkin on my lap and looked up to find that David had taken the seat across from me. He smiled when he noticed me staring at him. I frowned. Was it just me or are his teeth more pointy then they should have been?
After a blessing on the food the adults began to socialize as they ate the meal. The fire in my stomach had burned down to a small flame but it continued to make me on edge. As I ate I could sense David’s eyes watching me. I fidgeted, uncomfortable, and speed up how fast I was eating. I glanced over at David who suddenly became fascinated in his last meatball.
I finished the food on my plate and asked if I could be excused. Mother gave me a questioningly look but consented. I gather my dishes and after placing them in the kitchen sink I rushed up stairs and grabbed my book off my bed. I then slipped quietly back down the stair case and took a seat on the window bench in the library which was adjacent to the front door.
I stared reading where I had left off at in Call of the Wild;
“This was the first time Buck had failed, in itself a sufficient reason to drive Hal into a rage. He exchanged the whip for the customary club. Buck refused to move under the rain of heavier blows which now fell upon him. Like his mates, he was barely able to get up, but, unlike them, he had made up his mind not to get up. He had a vague feeling of impending doom. This had been strong upon him when he pulled in to the bank, and it had not departed from him. What with the thin and rotten ice he had felt under his feet all day, it seemed that he sensed disaster close at hand, out there ahead on the ice where his master was trying to drive him. He refused to stir. So greatly had he suffered, and so far gone was he, that the blows did not hurt much.”
I shivered, closing the book. David stood silently in the doorway. I folded my arms and waited for him to speak.
“Your mother told me, to have you, show me where I can find some dish soap so I can wash my dishes.” David said.
I smiled allowing myself to relax. The flame in my stomach flared up again back to what it had been when I first had seen him. The warm feeling spread till it reached my toes. At this point I decided that I like this feeling and that I was not going to shy away from it again.
I sat my book down and started to lead David down the hall.
“Do you like wolves?”David asked as we reached the stairs leading to the basement.
I stopped on the first step and looked back at him confused. Where had that question come from?
David, as if reading my thoughts, answered, “You are reading Call of the Wild and I also noticed White Fang on the window seat where you were sitting, so that is why I ask ‘Do you like wolves?’ ”.
I frowned. Could someone really be that observant to notice the cover of a book eight feet away? I continued down the stairs.
“Wolves are my favorite animal.” I replied.
“Have you ever seen a real wolf before?”
Normally at this point I would have snapped at the person for asking to many questions, but I found myself enjoying the sound of David’s voice.
“No, when I went to the zoo all the wolves were inside.” I said pulling a bottle of dish soap off a self.
David accepted it and silently fallowed me back up the stairs. As I turned to go back to the library David spoke again.
“Would you like to see one?”
I turned to him, “Like to see one what?”
“A wolf.” David answered.
I raised an eyebrow. “Why do you ask?”
David smiled. “I just happen to work up at the Wolf Research Center. If my boss approves, I could bring you along and introduce you to wolves I work with.”
I tried to find some words, “Well….I….that...That would…be…wonderful.”
David smiled a smile of complete satisfaction, something that caused my heart to skip a beat.
“I will need your number, so I can call you to let you know if it is ‘ok’ for you to tag along.”
“Oh, of course!” I grabbed a piece of paper off the thin table that was against the hallway wall, and wrote down my cell phone number. I handed the paper to David which he glanced at then slipped into his pocket.
“I’ll contact you after I have talked to my boss.”
David then turned and headed back to the kitchen. I watched him go.
Later after the adults had finished eating we played a trivia game. When I asked a stupid question I got the privilege of hearing David laugh. It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
When nine rolled around, we bide the Dastrup’s good night and they shuffled out the door.
I said goodnight to my parents then retired to my bedroom. I changed into my pajamas the slipped under my covers. Sometime around 9:30 I drifted to sleep.
A loud ring split the air early Wednesday morning. I knocked over a plastic glass as my hand sprung to grab my cell phone.
“Emily,” my mom frowned, “you need to be more careful.”
“Sorry mom, I have been waiting for this call.”
I then dashed out of the room before she could ask any questions. I flipped open my phone saying “Hello?” as I walked into the library.
“Hi Emily, its David.” Hmm…I like how he says my name.
“Oh, hi David!”
“Well I talked to my boss and she said if your parents are fine with you coming, she would love for you to come along and meet the wolves. So…do you think your parents would approve?”
“Let me ask.”
I covered the end of the phone and walked back to the kitchen.
“Mom, David works up at the Wolf Research Center and he was wondering if I could go along with him and meet the wolves he works with?”
Mom flipped over a pancake she was cooking. “Is his boss ok with you going?”
“Yes.” I replied.
“Then it is fine by me if you go.”
I walked into the hallway and placed the phone back to my ear.
“Are you still there?” I asked even though I very well knew he was.
“Yes.” He answered.
“My mom said it was ok.”
“Great! Are you doing anything tomorrow?”
“Alright, well my shift starts at 10:00 so…. I could pick you up at say nine? Would that work for you?”
“Yes, that would be fine.” I quickly replied.
There was a pause, then: “Ok I will see you tomorrow at nine.”
“Ok, see you.”
A loud knock came promptly at nine. I slipped on my shoes.
“Mom! David is here!”
“Ok, I will see you this afternoon.” mom yelled from the direction of the kitchen.
I opened the front door. David was leaning against the porch railing. He wore a pair of denim jeans and a navy blue t-shirt that read: Wolf Research Center, in bright red letter, that wrapped around a grey paw print.
“You ready?” he asked.
I nodded and closed the door behind me. Looking around I failed to locate David’s car.
“I ride the bus to work.” He explained. “You don’t mind if we walk to the bus stop?”
“No, not at all.” I quickly answered. Truth was I was not a fan of exercising, but I did not want David to think I was weak.
On the way to the bus stop David had me ask questions about him, which he then answered. By the time we reached the bus stop I had learned a great deal about him.
David’s favorite color was yellow. His favorite food was a breakfast omelet with bacon. He had been on the high school soccer team. He did not believe in spontaneous combustion. He had no opinion when it came to politics. He had aced every science test he had ever taken. He could wiggle his ears. When he was six he had put pudding in his mother’s shoes. His worst subject was math. And he was left handed.
As the bus drove up, David was telling me about when he was four years old and his parents were gone at a movie, he had accidently locked himself in a closet. As we took our seat, I laughed when David described how his baby sitter had freaked out when she could not find the key to the door. The bus started to drive down the street.
David smiled at hearing me laugh for the first time. “Ok now I get to ask some questions. What is your favorite…color?”
“Are you good at archery?” David asked perplexed.
I smiled. “I have yet to meet someone better.”
David leaned back. “You don’t know many people do you?” he asked his voice thick with sarcasm.
For the next half hour David taught me everything I needed to know about the Research Center’s rules and regulations.
The bus pulled to a stop. The bus driver opened the door.
“David, this is your stop!”
As we stepped off the bus, “For some reason he just likes to yell my name.” David said shrugging.
I smiled and turned to face a long red brick building. The Wolf Research Center had been built a couple miles away from town right up against the forest. Several chain link fences could be seen running along the tree line and then disappearing into the forest. Distant wolf howls could be heard as David lead me through a door labeled “Employees only”.
We walked into a small room with a few chair and a single door on one wall. In a corner a lady sat at a counter desk. David greeted her as Maple. The short, plump, red head looked past him at me with a blank expression.
David was quick to explain. “Alain said it was ok to bring her along.”
Maple, who obviously was not very social, grunted and handed David something. He slipped a visitor pass over my head.
“You will need that.” David smiled.
He then proceeded to slide a card in a devise that was mounted on the wall by the grey door. It beeped and the door unlocked.
When David had shut the door leaving behind the weird sectary, I finally voiced my question.
“Who is Alain?” I asked.
David seemed surprised by the question.
“Alain is my boss.” He answered.
I was shocked. “You call your boss by her first name?”
David laughed catching me by surprise. “Alain is my sister.”
I was flabbergasted. “You have a sister?”
David smiled. “Guess after all those questions you still have a lot to learn about me.”
The large hallway was lined with doors each reading a name in red letters.
“What are these?” I asked waving a hand towards a door.
“Why do you need offices?”
“To keep track of all the data and information we have gathered while working with our wolves.” David answered as he unlocked his office door.
David flipped on the light switch illuminating a moderate sized room. Charts, graphs, pictures and books littered the room in organized piles. A large white board featured a map of the section of the forest that was fenced off and under observation.
Blue, green, red and yellow markings were located in a large section of the map.
“What is this?” I asked.
David looked up from a desk in the corner where he had been gathering some papers.
“That is a map of the research areas. The markings are information I have gathered in the area I chart.” He answered as he gathered stuff and placed them in a small pack.
Above the map hung seven photographs. Each photo was of a different wolf, their names written on black letters underneath. David came to stand by my side. He pointed at the pictures.
“This is the Druward pack. They are the wild wolves I track. Shurí here,” David pointed to a photo that featured a large white wolf with brown legs, “is the pack leader. He is a young three year old. Surshé here,” David pointed to a grey wolf, “is the dominant female. She currently is carrying this year’s pups.”
“Are these the wolves you’re going to show me?” I asked slightly frightened by the idea of meeting wild wolves.
David frowned. “Do you think I’m that careless? That I would put your life in danger?”
Those words. That face. He was genuinely hurt. I had not meant to hurt him.
“No.” I answered quickly.
David’s face lit back up but a shadow still remained.
“I’m introducing you to the domestic wolves I work with.”
I remained quiet as we walked down large hallway. David opened a door labeled “The Kennels”. Loud barking reaches my ears. We stepped into a large room the reminded me of an animal shelter. Kennels lined the walls and occupied the very center of the room. The room smelled surprisingly clean considering that almost every kennel was occupied by a large dog.
“What is with all the dogs?” I asked.
David pulled a leash/harness off a rack. The part instead of ending in a lope ended in a clip.
“For safety, every employee has a dog with them whenever they are around the wolves. It is so if a wolf happened to attack you have a dog to protect you.”
David walked over to a kennel in the center of the room and lifted the latch. A white husky with brown legs and muzzle ran up to the door wagging her tail. David tied the harness on her, and then walked her over to me.
“This is Jewels. She is my guard dog,” David introduced.
Jewels jumped up, her snout reaching my chest. I smiled and patted her head.
David clipped Jewels’ leash to his belt. He then lead me out a door on the opposite side of the room. I found myself standing in the warm summer air. A breeze tossed my hair and rattled the leaves of the maple trees. A fellow trainer waved from a nearby compound. At his side was a German Shepard and four real wolves. I gulped. I started to drag my feet as I followed David. He stopped at a gate labeled “Compound 8.”
I rolled my eyes. How ironic. My favorite number. David tapped a metal triangle that I had failed to notice.
A high pitch “ping!” rang out. A chorus of wolf howls responded, and then abruptly ended. Five wolves came trotting up to the fence. A shiver of fear ran up my spine. For the first time I realized I was terrified of wolves. Terrified of that powerful bite full of sharp teeth that could take down a bison.
David unclipped Jewels and started to open the gate but stopped noticing my sudden resemblance to a statue. Jewels slipped pass his feet and entered the compound. David closed the gate and placed his hands on my shoulders.
“Of the fifteen years my sister has run this place not once has a wolf attacked.” David tried to comfort me.
I shivered, footage from a nature program flashing in my mind. “There is a first for everything.” I heard myself sate.
My heart thumped loudly as I noticed David wrap his hand around mine. He lifted my chin so I met his eyes.
“Do you trust me?” he asked with complete sincerity.
Duh! My brain screamed. Yes, I trust you. I barely know you yet I probably trust you more then I have ever trusted anyone before.
“Yes.” I replied.
There was that smile again, the one of complete satisfaction. I feared my legs would turn to jelly.
“Then listen to me carefully.” He whispered, “I promise to never ever let a wolf hurt you. Not as long as I am alive.” David swore.
Wow! Such commitment, such self confidence. It was astounding! Most my fear vanished, but I continued to remain tense.
David and I stepped into the compound, my fingers still entwined in his. I had no wish to let go, fearing if I did so my confidence would drain. David did not seem to mind.
After several minuets I relaxed enough to let go of David’s hand and pet a fairly friendly she wolf. As I scratched her ear I inquired about her name. David laughed startling both me and a wolf he was examining.
“That’s an interesting story. Two years ago when she was just a pup, I was watching the den when she went exploring for the first time. She wondered off a ways and stumbled upon a baby raccoon. Being uneducated on this subject she tried to make friends with the fur ball. In return she got an angry mother coon hissing in her face and threatening to attack. The coon grabbed her kit and hustled off leaving the pup sitting on her rump startled and confused. She sat there for several minutes until her mother called her back to the den. Ever since then she has gone by Coon.” David ended.
The day went by smoothly as David did his regular routine with the wolves. David was impressed by how much I did know about wolves. But no matter the size of my intellect, David always was more educate.
“Ok, how do you know all this stuff!? Do you live half your life in Nature programs?” I joked.
David’s face became unreadable. Did I say something? I got worried.
“Did I say something?” I voiced my concern.
David shook his head. “No. It’s just… honestly I don’t recall ever having learned any of this. I… I just know it.”
What like instinct? Just know it? Confused, I remain silent.
When we returned to David’s office, after returning Jewels to the kennels, there came a knock at the door.
“Come in.” David announced.
A tall black haired girl strolled in. She wore no make-up and appeared to be in her late twenties.
David smiled, “Hi Alain!”
Alain smiled back reviling perfect teeth.
“Hi David,” she turned to me, “You must be Emily.”
“Nice to meet you.” I replied shaking her hand.
“Did you have fun today?”
Alain turned back to David, who sat at his desk.
“Did she work well with the wolves?” she asked.
“Really well.” David answered with a grin.
They really were siblings! Alain wore that same satisfied smile. She turned back to me.
“Emily do you have a job?”
I gave David a look that said “Do I answer?” He nodded.
“Great! How would you like to apply for a job working here?” Alain asked.
I was stunned. A job here? Working with David?
“I would love to.” I answered. Love to work with David. Oh and wolves…and David.
I was washing dishes and thinking back to application I had filled out and turned in when my phone vibrated. I dried my hands and flipped it open. A text message from David.
Alain just finished going through the applications.
I smiled. I loved how he refused to use texting language. I typed back.
Alain says I can tell you.
I type a response.
Tell me what?
I hit the send button. Seconds later I jump when the phone let out a wolf howl. David’s ringtone. I hit the green button.
“Tell you that you got the job.” David voice rang out.
I covered the phone and screamed with excitement. Dad gave me a concerned look from where he was sitting at the table.
“I got the job.” I explained loudly.
“Good.” Dad muttered as he went back to reading his newspaper.
When I put the phone back to my ear David was laughing. My face turned red with embarrassment.
“Did you hear that?” I asked hesitantly.
“Yes.” He chuckled.
“Your training starts Friday. I’ll pick you up at 8:00. Will you be ready?”
“Ok see you then.”
I did training for two weeks with retired veterinarian, Lorain Sheffield. After the training I reserved my own office and I was assigned to the wolves in Compound 12. Before I was allowed to meet the wolves I was to work with, I had to pick out a dog.
Alain drove me to the local Animal Shelter, Wednesday morning. When we arrived, Alain lead me to the room labeled “Dogs”. There was a lot of barking.
“Now keep in mind, you want to pick a dog that will work well with you and that you believe is capable of protecting you.” Alain reminded me.
I nodded and started drifting the isles looking at the variety of dogs. The sight was sanding, most of the dogs looked like they had spent most of their lives here.
I was taking an interest in a Japanese Akita when a different dog caught my attention. I walked over to a kennel in the corner of the room. A pure white dog loped over happy to see a new face. I stuck my hand through the chain link and scratched behind its pointy ear. The dog was very tall, its head the same height of my waist.
I waved over the girl who cared for the dogs.
“What kind of dog is this?” I asked.
“He is an American-Canadian White Shepherd.”
“I’ve never heard of that breed.”
“It’s an unrecognized breed.”
“Would you like to meet him?” the girl asked hopeful.
She opened the door and invited me to step inside the kennel. I did so. The dog barked with excitement, his tail wagging. I gave him my attention.
“He likes you. He never gets this excited.” The girl commented.
“Tell me about him.” I asked the girl.
“Well his name is Jack Frost but he goes by Frost. He graduated from the Police Dog Academy but was rejected by the police force because he is stubborn and will only work with one person. He is what you call a one man dog. Otherwise he is the most intelligent dog I have ever met.”
“Is he good with other dogs?” I asked hopeful.
“Yes, very much.”
This was the dog. He liked me, I liked him. He qualified for the job. I even loved his name.
Alain walked up. “Is this the dog?” she asked.
“Yes!” I replied. Alain smiled.
Frost appeared to understand what was going on. He barked loudly, his tail wagging fast enough to generate power. He seemed to be smiling.
We returned to the front desk where Alain filled out all the paper work. Afterwards Frost was brought out on a leash. He wore a blue collar that matched his eyes. Alain handed me the leash.
“Training begins now and ends when he is ready.” She informed me.
Alain was right. Training Frost took up most of my time for the next two weeks. With my parents (and my bus driver) consent, every day after work, Frost would ride the bus with me and I would continue his training at home.
I hardly saw David. This bothered me, but David understood the importance in the training so he was ok with the temporary invisibility he had gained. I had a deep hope that the training would end soon.
I was sitting in my office talking to Frost.
“Ok here is the deal Jack (I called him by his first name when he was in trouble). It is not ok for you to eat my lunch. I needed that sandwich.”
There was a knock at the door. “Come in.”
David entered. “Am I interrupting?”
“No. Not at all.”
“Look what a camera in my area caught.”
David placed a photo on my desk. A very large black wolf was running through the trees.
“This wolf is not one of the wolves we track. It does not belong in our fenced area. This is a mystery wolf.
Alain gave me permission to go out to where this picture was taken and investigate how the wolf got passed the fence. Do you want to come along?”
I thought about it. Go with David into a dark forest to investigate an extra wild wolf. Or stay and let David go into a dark forest to investigate an extra wild wolf alone. Yep that was a hard choice.
“Sounds like fun.”
“Great! Shall we pack?”
We gathered supplies and stored them into small packs. I was comforted to see David strap a tranquilizer gun to his belt.
Because of Frost’s inexperience with wolves he had to stay at the Research Center. So David, Jewls and I set off.
It took us over an hour to reach the motion activate sensor camera that had taken to photo of the black wolf. We searched the area looking for clues that would help us piece together information about the black wolf. After discovering none we started to head towards the closest fence perimeter. The forest became dense. Lots of brush and ferns covered the ground.
Suddenly Jewls halted. Her lips pulled back into a snarl. We froze, hearts pounding. David’s hand flew to the tranquilizer gun.
“What is it girl?” David whispered.
Jewls let out a low whine. Her eyes were focused ahead where there was a large cluster of very tall ferns.
“Take off your pack.” David instructed putting his down.
“Crouch down and stay here.”
“Where are you go...” I started to question.
“Stay!” David ordered.
I gulped. I was terrified, but I did as he said. David fallowed Jewls slowly into the ferns. The forest fell silent. The sound of my heart beat filled my ears. I remembered what happened next as if I was thinking back to a dream I had a long time ago. Everything changed.
A twig snapped.
Barking, snarling, and growling. A fight broke out.
I held my breath.
A terrible cry sounded from Jewls.
My heart raced.
What was happening? Where was David? Was he ok?
Then those eyes appeared staring at me.
The black wolf stepped out of the ferns, his fur moist with warm blood.
I gasped for air.
David figure slammed into the wolf’s side. They both went rolling into the ferns.
“David!!!” I ran after them. When I stepped through the ferns I was standing in a clearing. I gasped with shock and fear.
David had changed. He no longer looked human. Short grey and black fur covered all his skin. His hair had grown back into a long silver/blue mane that ran down his neck and disappeared underneath his shirt. A long grey tail had sprouted out of the back of his pants. His black hair covered ears were tall and pointy. The biggest change was David’s face. His eyes were slanted and his nose had become a very short snout. Large white teeth filled his mouth.
I took this all in in seconds. David and the black wolf were engaged in a desperate battle. They growled and snapped at each other. David managed to slash a cut across the wolf’s back. It cried out and stumbled. David leaped, intending to pin the wolf to the ground but just before he landed the wolf side stepped. It sank its teeth into David’s left shoulder.
David cried out in pain, a sound that was something between a wolf howl and the scream of a man. David collapsed.
The wolf continued his attack. It tore a huge chunk of skin, fur, and fabric off David’s shoulder. David screamed.
I had to do something! I looked around for anything that I might used to help David. My eyes settled on David’s tranquilizer gun. It was lying in the grass a few feet away. I had never used a gun before but it was my only hope. I grabbed it, aimed, and fired.
The wolf howled, a small dart sticking out of its right shoulder. It turned to me; eyes burning with anger, staggered then fell.
As soon as I was sure it was out I dropped the gun and rushed to David’s side. I could not see the wound through the blood soaked fur but I knew that it was bad.
“We must get you to a hospital.”
I attempted to help David stand; the pain caused him to clench his teeth. He gave up and slumped back to the ground.
“David you have to try!”
David nodded, and with a whimper made a second attempt. This time he remained standing. I helped him around the sleeping wolf and out of the clearing.
“Wait.” David pleaded.
I stopped. “What?”
“Jewls.” He whispered.
“Where is she?” I asked.
I picked up a large branch. “Lean on this.”
David let go of me and leaned on the stick. I quickly walked back to the ferns and located Jewls.
She laid on her side breathing heavily. There was a deep gash on her hind leg and a second deep gash above her left eye. Blood had blurred her vision but she still managed to recognize me. She whimpered.
“Can you stand?”
In response she got up and limped over.
“Good, fallow me and we will get you to a vet.”
When I returned back to David he was normal again. Not I patch of fur in sight. Even the tail was gone.
Questions flashed through my mind but I forced myself to focus on the matter at hand. With the fur gone I could see the true severity of the wound. It was bad. Ripped muscles bleed and David shoulder bone was visible. I cringed, nearly losing my breakfast.
“I have to stop the bleeding. I need to use your shirt as a bandage.”
David nodded weakly and allowed me to tear his shirt into strips. He yelped as I fastened a make-shift bandage on the wound.
I wrapped my arm around David’s waist and began the way too long journey back to the Research Center. Jewls slowly fallowed. At one point David passed out from blood loss and I had to carry all his weight the rest of the way. My muscles began to burn. I became light headed.
I vaguely remembered reaching the Research Center. Someone came out of the building yelling questions. I did not listen. Or was it that I could not listen?
Knowing that I had carried David far enough I collapsed, exhausted. Then I fainted.
It had taken me over an hour to convince both the doctor and my parents that I was fine. It took another hour for me to answer everybody’s questions about what had happened. I told them that the wolf had attacked Jewls. David had then attacked to wolf to save Jewls. The wolf had turned on him and in the scuffle I had shot the wolf with the tranquilizer gun. I left out most of the truth.
As I sat on a bench, between my parents, outside David room I scowled in frustration. They doctors would not let me in to see David. They said he needed to rest.
My parents stood. “Come on Emily we need to go get you some food.” Dad said.
I shook my head. “I want to see him as soon as he wakes up.”
My mother sighed. She knew how stubborn I was if I set my mind to doing something. I almost never gave up.
Mrs.Dastrup who had been standing nearby came to my mother’s aid. She placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Tell you what, how about you go with your parents, get something to eat, come back in an hour and I will make sure you get to talk to David, ok?”
I looked at mom. She nodded her approval of the plan. As I complaplated whether to step down and go with the plan Mrs. Dastrup leaned over to whisper in my ear.
“Emily go easy on them, they love you and are concerned about your welfare.”
Great, now how can I stay here without having a guilty conscience? I sighed in defeat and got up and fallowed my parents to the car.
After getting something to eat, we stopped by the vet to check on Jewls. She was looking better the cut on her leg had been stitched up. The vet said Jewls could go home. I asked the veterinarian why there was a white patch over her left eye.
“It is to help Jewls to slowly adjust to her new condition.” She replied.
“Condition?” I asked worried.
“I am afraid Jewls is blind in her left eye. The deep gash severed the optic nerve.”
I frowned. “Will she be able to continue working at the Research Center?”
“I’m afraid not.”
I frowned, what would be David’s reaction to this news? Jewls licked my hand. She seemed to be saying; don’t worry it will be ok.
I suddenly got an idea. I consulted with my parents. They approved. I gave Alain a call. She also approved. I called David’s parents, they also approved.
I knocked lightly on the hospital door. Time for answers.
“Come in.” David called.
I cracked the door open and leaned halfway into the room. David’s face lit up from where he sat on the hospital bed. His shoulder was wrapped tightly up in a white cloth.
I smiled back. “Hey, I brought someone to see you.”
I stepped into the room, Jewls was at my side.
Jewls jumped up on to the bed and showered David with kisses.
“I’m so glad to see you! I was so worried! What are you doing here?” David inquired looking to me for an explanation.
“So can no longer work at the Research Center. She is your dog now. You get to take her home with you.” I answered.
David pulled a face. “Why can’t she work at the Research Center anymore?”
I pointed to the patch on Jewls eye. “She is blind in her left eye.”
David frowned. He did not complain he just nodded his head in understanding. Jewls curled up on David’s legs and fell asleep. It was now or never.
I pulled up a chair next to the bed. David was surprised by the serious look on my face.
“What?” he asked.
“I need answers David.”
I saw a flash of panic in his eyes that he quickly hid.
“I am afraid I am no good at math.” He replied in a casual tone.
I frowned. I was in no mood for his humor.
“You know what I’m talking about. In my state of fear I did not fail to notice that fact that you were covered in fur.”
David sighed, his face becoming solemn. “I was hoping you would not remember. But I guess I will have to forget that. You disserve answers. And I am prepared to give them, on one condition.” He waited for me to ask what the condition was but I remained silent. He continued. “You mustn’t tell anyone about it.”
“I won’t tell a soul.” I replied.
Silence settled over the little room, finally David spoke.
“I’m a wolfen.”
“What is a wolfen?”
“It is the title I gave to my….power.” David said “power” as a question, only confusing me more.
“Power?” I asked.
David nodded. “I first discovered it when I started working at the Wolf Research Center. I can, how would you put it, transform into a wolf.”
I furrowed my eyebrows. “But you were not a wolf when you were fighting that black wolf.”
David pondered how to word his next sentence.
“I can transform only part way if I want to; I guess is how you would describe it. I’m kind of like half man half wolf. I am not completely sure how.”
I could tell he was having a hard time describing it, so I tried to keep most of my questions at bay.
“How come you did not change completely into a wolf?” I asked.
David blushed. “If I turn completely into a wolf, then back to human, I find myself umm….in my birthday suit.”
I reddened. Embarrassed, I asked another question.
“So you’re a werewolf?”
David scowled. “No. Werewolves only change under the full moon and they can’t control themselves. I can change whenever I want.”
It was quiet for awhile. One question burned in my brain.
“Why?” I asked confused. “Why did you risk me finding this out?”
An expression I could not identify washed over David’s face. He hesitated in responding.
“I…..promised that you would not be harmed. If that wolf to hurt you in any way I would be a liar. And what is the point of a promise if you don’t keep it?”
My heart burned brightly with gratitude and that mystery emotion. Is this what people refer to as “A man of his word”?
My thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. A blonde haired nurse poked her head in.
“It’s time for me to change his bandage.” She informed.
“Ok, I will be out in a moment.” I replied. She shut the door.
I handed David Jewls leash.
“When do you get out of this joint?” I asked.
“In a week.” David replied.
“I have to go but I will visit later ok?”
“Ok.” David smiled.
I stood to leave then stopped. I leaned over and kissed David on the forehead. His eyes filled with surprise.
“What earned me that?” he asked.
“That was for saving my life.” I answered. “And this is for keeping your promise.”
I leaned over and kissed David on the lips, then walked out the door.