Chapter 5 ~ Nightmare
Darkness, how can just a word mean so much more than it seems? Not only that, but some words have the power to take something, or someone, and warp it until it is something, or someone, else entirely.
There was wind. And sun, and the stench of blood. The wind blew that hot stench through my fur, and stirred my ear tufts. I flicked them distractedly ad crept along the riverbed. The clearing before me held the distinct of a fight or struggle having just been finished. Blood pooled the ground an fur drifted lazily above the ground.
I panted softly and looked from side to side. There were two wolves earlier fighting here. I didn’t come in time to save the larger one, and I think the smaller wolf though I was attacking her too, after all, she did run away. But now the clearing was empty again, and I was just as hungry as I was before.
Sighing, I turned away from the river. The larger wolf, a grey and white she-wolf, had fallen in there and there was nothing I could do for her now, though it felt like lead in my heart o see another wolf die. Nonetheless drown. But as I turned, I saw the other she-wolf on the edge of the trees. Her eyes locked with mine and suddenly my hackles rose.
She wasn’t alone, and neither was I. Behind her was a whole party of wolves, the first and obviously the dominant was a reddish brown female with amber eyes. She snarled and suddenly a huge grey mal slammed me to the ground.
I yelped and began to roll to my side so I could get up before he injured me further, but then a black male, smaller and younger, aided his packmate and together they pinned me down. The grey male held his paw on my chest, his teeth close to my snout, and the black male crisscrossed above me, giving me virtually no room to maneuver.
“Tresspasser!” I couldn’t see who spoke, but instinct told me it was the red female. Her voice was coarse and hardly feminine at all, and the only emotion detectable was rage. “How dare you cross our lands! Do you even know who that wolf was that you killed?”
It took me a moment to find my voice, and when I did It was in a rough bark. “I killed no one.” I said in a growl. The grey wolf next to me snarled a warning and I wriggled in response, finding their grip on me firm.
“She is lying Agony!” This time I knew it was the small she-wolf from earlier. “I saw her and her friends drown Ocean!”
“Those weren’t my friends!” I snarled and jerked, surprising the black wolf and enabling myself to flip off my back and out of the submissive pose. Though he pinned me down again, this time I could see all the wolves clearly and I showed my teeth defensively at the red wolf. Agony. What a stupid name, what wolf would want to be named after pain?
“Liar! You are ForestPack! I can smell the stench in the air!”
“ForestPack? I’m a rouge you thickheaded bi–“ I cut myself off in a growl. The grey male sniffed me sharply and he snorted in disgust when I growled at him.
“She isn’t lying this time.”
“Lying? Why would I lie! I was trying to save that ungrateful bitch and she automatically assumed I was the enemy!” I expected the she-wolf to drop her tail in submission, but I was surprised as she replied with a venomous snarl.
“You can never trust anyone but yourself!” She said and spat on the ground.
“You seemed to rust that other wolf… Ocean!” That made her ears flatten in… regret? Agony looked over at the she wolf and growled.
“Hush Heather. You’ve said enough.” Then she turned to me, with her eyes like piercing teeth. At first I tried to match her gaze, but sooner or later I gave up. They were full of hate. So hateful, maniacal, and accusing that I squired to get the feel off my pelt. “You were stupid to try and help her. DarkPack takes care of its own, and those who die, die because they are weak Like you. Now answer me, wolf, why are you in our forest? Answer me now!”
I flattened my ears involuntarily and answered her. “Your forest? Bah! DarkPack, never heard of them!” Agony jerked her head in a signal and the black and grey wolves let me up. I showed them my teeth as I swiftly hopped up. Then suddenly Agony jumped at me.
I snarled and twisted over my shoulder to meet her. My teeth grazed her along the snout, but slid as they met her callused and scarred skin beneath her fur. My god! It seemed as if she had actually trained her body to resist attacks like that. I instead caught her shoulder, and tasted dried blood. She flinched involuntarily at first, and I guessed that she had been wounded there already, and quite recently.
Agony recovered though, and it only took heartbeats for her to get her jaws onto my neck. I froze and waited for the killing bite that I knew would come. I had never done much fighting before, never needed to actually, so it was inevitable that this would happen. But she did it with so much skill, so quick… I…I.. I saw why she was named Agony.
The killing bite never came though. Instead she cut me along the neck with her teeth. Not where it was vital, but deep enough and dangerous enough that blood instantly began to swell through my white fur. There would be a permanent scar there, her mark.
“Now you will remember us, wolf. Tell me what your name is. Hurry up!” She snapped. I saw the blood on her fangs just gleaming in the light as she spoke.
“They call me Ghost.” I rasped, and tried to lick the cut quickly so it would stop bleeding.
“Ghost, now I have to ask you. You have entered our forest, we have found you, and you have committed a crime by trespassing. You have three choices. Join us, leave this place forever. Or die.”
I hesitated. I didn’t want to have anything to do with them, but something, not necessarily her voice, but something in the air, told me that the only way I could leave is death. “I will Join you.” I said at last and Agony nodded, then jerked her head up.
“Heather! Fix up that cut well enough that we can get back to camp and so it won’t get infected. As soon as she finishes, we head straight to camp, go it?”