Chapter Five

Yawning and stretching, Sparrow awakened the next morning.  Scanning the area for a familiar grey-and-white she-wolf, Sparrow couldn't find her.  It seemed that, as she said she would, Sapphire had returned to her pack.  Sighing, Sparrow wondered what Leader and Dawn had done about her returning from her short disappearance - they probably suspected that she had been with him.
Considering that he had not eaten in about two days, Sparrow was mildly hungry.  Raising his head up and sniffing the air, Sparrow caught the scent of a few things.  One - a black bear, which was dangerously close to Sparrow's current territory.  Two - a rabbit.  And three... a dall sheep.
Curious, Sparrow sniffed the air again.  It was possible that he would be able to take down one of these things - they weren't that hard to kill if a wolf or wolves hunted them when they weren't near a rocky area with tall mountains.  Common in northern British Columbia, where Sparrow had once lived, his pack had often taken them down.  From experience, Sparrow knew that dall sheep had good hearing, eyesight, and a good sense of smell, so he would have to carefully sneak up on it if he was going to catch one alone.
Deciding that he would attempt to hunt one, Sparrow sniffed the air yet again and broke into a run, going towards the scent.  As the scent became stronger and then almost unbearable, he halted and crouched behind a bush.  He could hear a soft rustling close by him, and he sniffed the air once more.  The scent was incredibly close by now, and Sparrow was eager to attack it.  Yet, he knew that he would have to attack it at the right moment.  So, he waited.
And waited.
And waited.  
Finally, Sparrow decided that he would attack it after it had moved even closer without smelling him or seeing him.  Taking a small step forward, his ears pricking up, Sparrow narrowed his eyes as the wind began to blow... away from him.
The dall sheep raised its snout into the air, making Sparrow sigh in frustration as it caught his scent.  Grunting and breaking into a run, the dall sheep was soon up towards a rocky area.
Rolling his eyes, Sparrow stood up and breathed in.  The dall sheep's scent was further away now but still fairly strong, so Sparrow decided to give this animal a surprise.
He took off running, and within a few yards he spotted the dall sheep.  It was on top of a rocky hill, which actually wasn't that high up, sitting.  It seemed unaware that it was being watched.  Crouching down to the ground and slowly making his way across the terrain, Sparrow's eyes were focused on his prey as he concentrated.  Closer... closer...  There!  He was finally within three yards of the hill.  Now, he had to find someway to get the dall sheep off of the hill so he could kill it.  There was no way that he would be able to climb that, even though it wasn't even that steep.  He decided that he would make some sort of noise to scare it off.
Positioning himself halfway on the hill and looking like he was about to climb it, Sparrow growled.  The dall sheep immediately turned its head and looked around, and then got up and ran down the hill... right into Sparrow's path.
But the dall sheep had realized his mistake too late.  Struggling to hit Sparrow with his horns, the sheep snorted and charged at Sparrow with its head towards the ground, leaving the tips of the horns pointing towards his attacker.  Quickly jumping aside, Sparrow snarled and got a hold of the dall sheep's shoulder.  Blood flowing from its wound, the dall sheep grunted several times and kicked at Sparrow, who easily avoided its kick.  Grabbing a hold of his other shoulder, Sparrow's eyes narrowed in concentration as the sheep continued to bleed profusely.  Weak and loosing large amounts of blood, the sheep struggled to get away but was again bit by Sparrow, who was now holding on to his front leg.  Kicking at him again, the sheep snorted and thrashed his head around, nearly hitting the black wolf with his horns.  Now afraid that he would be hit, Sparrow jumped up at the sheep and held on to the back of its neck, biting as hard as he could.  Forcing the animal down to the ground, he bit harder, putting his paws over top the dall sheep's bleeding shoulders.  Finally, it was over.
Pleased that he had killed the dall sheep, Sparrow swallowed and began to eat, tearing meet from his fallen prey.  Taking a look at the animal, he studied its face.  It was a young, strong-looking male dall sheep, with large horns.  His eyes were wide open in terror, Sparrow's jaws being the last thing that he ever saw.  His back leg was twisted yet apparently able to walk on, as if it was an old injury that had healed.  Surprised that he had actually killed it, Sparrow continued to eat.  
He dragged the remaining part of the dall sheep back to his new territory, planning to eat it later.  As long as another predator didn't find it, it would be safe here.  He pulled the prey into his den, and went outside of it to sit down.
"Well, that was unusually succesful."
     Jumping and turning as soon as he heard the mysterious voice, Sparrow noticed a golden eagle sitting at the top of a tree branch.  His eyes focused on Sparrow's prey, the eagle stretched his wings and then folded them back down.
"....I'm as surprised as you are," Sparrow said coldly.  He knew that golden eagles were capable of taking down baby dall sheep, but they would steal from other animals as well.  "I see that you... don't have any food at the moment."
"Tragically, yes," the eagle hummed, flying down next to Sparrow, who narrowed in suspicion.  "Although I am usually fortunate enough to catch my own prey..." His eyes flickered.  "Sometimes I have no choice."
Sparrow's eyes narrowed even more, nearly closed.  "And...?" he asked, pretty sure that he knew the answer.
"I simply flew over here to ask if you... if I might have a taste of the sheep myself," the golden eagle said.  "As you know, babies are born in May.  And..."  His eyes seemed to turn darker.  "It is November, nearly winter."
"I'm aware of that, and I must feed myself as well," Sparrow said flatly.
"A loner," the eagle said slyly.  "You see, loners are clearly not as strong as an entire pack of wolves.  Loners wouldn't be able to take down a moose.  Loners wouldn't be able to fend off a grizzly bear.  Loners wouldn't be able to escape from a hunter."
"I've only been a loner for a day now, and I've already managed to find myself an unoccupied territory, find some food, and I've already met someone who wants to steal it all."
"That statement is true," the eagle replied.   And with that, he flew directly into Sparrow's den.
Racing after him, Sparrow growled at the eagle, who he now had cornered.  "Oh, relax," the golden eagle said surprisingly calmly, considering a wolf could kill him in seconds.  "You wouldn't want me to starve, would you?"
"I could live with that," Sparrow said flatly.  "Just get out of here, and go find your own food."
"But it's so much easier to scavenge," the eagle replied.  "And after all, when your food is scarce, you have no choice."
It was too late.  The golden eagle had already flown off with as much of Sparrow's prey as it could carry before the wolf could protest.  Muttering angrily to himself, Sparrow stared up at the eagle, who had perched itself in a tree with the dall sheep dangling slightly over the edge.  Oh well.  Prey was never easy to catch in the world, and even if an animal did succeed in catching it, there would always be another who was stronger, wiser, or quicker that would be sure to take it.   

The End

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