The thing that woke me up didn't make any noise, it wasn't even a physical thing. I sensed danger and jolted awake.
I was still lying in the tree and Zoe was still asleep on the ground. I looked at her for a moment. The tears had dried on her face. I looked out through the trees from my vantage point. I saw movement and it wasn't that far away. It was the pack of wolves I'd wandered into the territory off.
A quiet call went around the large pack. Some of the younger males seemed to be getting excited. I realised it was them I'd sensed. They were the danger. They were hungry and they wanted blood. I tensed, ready to jump down at any minute.
I hoped they would go past Zoe and leave her alone but I knew that wasn't going to happen. They came a bit closer. They still hadn't seem me. I willed Zoe to wake up but she didn't.
The wolves came closer and closer and with every step they took, my heart beat faster. I tensed even more. I could see their fangs from where I was. They moved closer and closer until they were only two or three metres away from Zoe. They barked and growled at her.
At first I wondered why, but then I realised it was because she smelt of me. It was my scent they'd caught and they found it on her. She woke suddenly and squeaked, moving even closer to the tree as if it would protect her from those teeth and claws.
One of them jumped forward a little bit. That was as much as I could take. I launched myself from the tree and landed softly in front of Zoe. I squealed in the high-pitched way that mountain lions do. I heard Zoe whimper behind me.
The wolves scattered slightly but quickly regrouped. They growled at me and barked. I snarled, making jitter nervously. One of them felt brave and leapt at me, fangs aimed for my throat.
I struck out at it with my long, sharp claws. They dug into his chest, blood splashing everywhere. There must have been about twelve wolves left. I stepped over the dead one at my feet. They didn't seem the slightest bit bothered about the death of their friend.
Four of the wolves jumped at me. I batted one of them aside but another one managed to get some claws into my side. I roared in pain and lashed out. I caught one of them in the face, catching her eyes. One of the older males headbutted my chest hard, knocking me backwards. I was on my back, leaving my throat exposed and prone to attack.
Before I could get up, the alpha male jumped on my chest. He wasn't extrememly heavy so I just rolled over to get rid of him. One of the other wolves grabbed my hind leg in between her jaws. I hissed and kicked out. I felt the claws sink into the muscle. There were ten wolves still standing. I grabbed the alpha male by his throat and shook him around a bit. I let go and he didn't get back up. The other nine wolves backed away a bit, discouraged by the defeat of their leader.
I growled at them and they whimpered skittishly, suddenly displaying submissive behavior. They turned and ran away as fast as they could.
I sighed internally and lay down, licking at the wounds on my shoulder and sides. Zoe stared at me, terrified, and I realised she didn't actually know it was me.