Chapter 6 ~ Caged in my Own Hell
Damn! Where is Rune!? I dragged my feet in the dust as the hunting party led me down the slope and suddenly we were in the camp. I, along with the wolf whom I shared the catch, set the red deer doe on a rocky surface at the base of the overlook. The head of the patrol, a burly grey and russet she-wolf with amber eyes and a commanding presence, turned to me and growled.
“Step away from the catch and sit there. Now.” I did so. She watched me for a moment, and a moment was only what I needed to let my thoughts wander. I hope he comes to save me. Was the first thought I freely had.
Earlier today I left our little hideout to go find food. My brother, Rune, was much stronger and better suited to this dark forest. When we were young my mother abandoned us and left us alone to face the world. Ever since we have struggled to feed ourselves and protect our home from other wolves and scavengers.
It had been nearly two weeks since our last kill, and though he was strong, he was growing weak. He left early this morning to go find the trails of the deer, but somehow I didn’t feel like listening to him and staying at the burrow.
I‘m sick, you see. The time without food and the drought have only dampened it. My fur felt heavy on my frame, and though we hadn’t travelled far, the little scuffle earlier and my successful tracking of the deer made me tired and I gratefully sat down to avoid the she-wolf’s eyes.
I had heard one of the other wolves call the she-wolf Darknettle, and it took me no time at all to figure out she was the alpha wolf of this pack. She and her patrol found me stalking the deer. First they helped me catch the deer, and I was grateful for it. When we fell it, I rushed to feed, intoxicated by bloodlust and hunger, but they refused to let me feed. Darknettle told me that it was her pack’s food, and I was a trespasser, accused of treason and stealing food.
Then they gave me a choice to Join, run away, or die. Naturally I jumped at the choice to join, the smell of other wolves and the surprise of hearing them communicate seemed too good at the time, but now I wasn’t so sure.
Darknettle walked off from me into a throng of other wolves, plants, smells and sights I watched her with bright eyes and jumped when a wolf spoke next to me.
“They’re always mean at first, but either they warm up to you, or you get use to it.” I slid my gaze over at a she-wolf. She was all white with flecks of grey here and there, and dark black ears. Her blue eyes were unrevealing, but her tone was softer than anyone else’s I had heard. I studied her before replying, knowing only how valuable your words were and the impact they had. She appeared young, like me.
“Oh… thank you…” I said softly and avoided her gaze.
“My name is Dream, by the way. You’re young aren’t you?” I nodded.
“I am. I’m… a teen? Isn’t that what Darknettle called me?” she nodded so I went on. “My name is Mist.” She flicked her ears and waited for me to say something else. Bu I didn’t. I slid my paws forward until my bell reached the ground and I put my head on my paws. I was done talking for now, she didn’t deserve to be graced by my words, no matter how kind she seemed. If what I had heard was correct, then this place was the home of savages. Savages who enjoyed killing and even drank blood.
That’s preposterous! …Isn’t it? Oh, where are you Rune? He would smell me when he got back to the burrow, and follow me to where I caught the doe. Then he would smell blood, but I won’t be hurt! And he would follow us to the camp and they would let him join also and it would be so…
A wolf was watching me. I flicked my ears back in agitation and watched the black male out the side of my eye. Dream had left a while ago, and walked in that direction, and now this wolf was staring at me. I didn’t like it. I showed him my teeth when I knew he was watching me. He snorted and I turned away, although he still stared at me.
Actually, I half wished he would come over here so I could tell him how rude he was being, and I had half a mind to go over there myself, but I restrained myself for two reasons. The first being that this could be a test Darknettle is giving me to test how well I listen to directions, and the other being I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing he got under my fur.
I about dozed off when there was commotion from where we had come in at. I looked up and the here was! Rune stood on the overpass, snarling and growling as he was escorted in by no other than dream. She held her head proud and her tail high, and though I saw marks and cuts on my brother, Dream looked perfectly fine. Had she saved him from some animal attack?
I sat up high and yipped excitedly when I saw Rune. He heard me and looked over, then scowled when he saw me. I stood to my feet and started over, then stopped with a growl from Darknettle, who apparently was behind me.
“Don’t!” Then she loped over to Dream and my brother. She kept her voice low, but I could detect her praising the white she-wolf and scolding my brother. I strained to hear what they were saying, but got nothing out of it. Though, when they finished, they sent Rune over to sit by me.