The forest was dark and cold this night, trees looming menacingly as the black clouds covered the gentle glow of the silver moon. To my right, I can hear Tala as she snuffles at the foot of an oak and all the way to my left, I can hear the rest of our pack as they sound to the night and the covered moon.
Instinct drives me at this time so I drop to my haunches and tilt my head skywards. Tala copies me, with only five years experience she is still nervous and a lower member in the pack. I am Beta male so she is treated with some level of respect what with being my youngling. Not in the physical state of the word to all senses otherwise.
Alpha has heard us. He is coming to met us and I can hear the light footfalls of my brothers and sisters as they stream out behind him. Tala is laying on the wet leaves by my side, her snout just touching my flank.
The pack appears wraithlike through the trunks. The magnificent white head of Alpha has found us and he stalks elegantly to touch noses with me. This cues the rest of the pack to engage with happy nibbles and playfighting. Alpha and Alphamate decline to join in this show of pupishness and instead lay side by side to watch.
I pause in a game to look for Tala. She is playing with some of the pups and I feel pride swell in my chest as she carefully teases them to hunt her.
Suddenly our heads lift up. Man is nearby and getting closer. In a heartbeat, I smell, young male, not frightened but curious. Alpha is on his feet and snaps out sharply. Alphamate and some other females gather the pups. Tala moves to go with them but Alpha stops her, sending her to right flank.
I whine deep in my throat, silently begging him to send her away. She is too young yet to see this happen. But Alpha does not listen to me.