I woke up with a cry of pain and looked down to see a wolf clamped onto my leg. I tried to shake him off but in my panic I didn’t think of getting my axe. He was holding on firmly until another wolf appeared at the mouth of the cave. The new wolf let out a loud howl that instantly caught the attention of the wolf holding onto my leg. The wolf let go of my leg and without a moment’s hesitation charged the new wolf and fell with a yelp when the other wolf jumped over him and clawed at his back. Now he was furious, he charged the new wolf again and jumped through the air with his mouth open. The new wolf didn’t move until it was too late for the wolf to change direction and he slammed into the wall without a sound except the crunching of his shattered skull.
The new wolf walked towards me and having come to my senses again I pulled my axe from my belt. The wolf didn’t slow down. He got to my leg and opened his mouth. I lifted up my axe ready to split his head open if he bit me. He stepped closer to me and started licking the wound. Surprised, I lowered my axe and put it lying beside me. The pain in my leg was unbearable so I looked around for something to concentrate on. I saw the dead wolf’s body lying limp on the floor below a patch of blood on the wall. I tried to concentrate on the wolf but only then noticed that the wolf had golden eyes. I passed out with the image of those eyes in my head.
While I was asleep all I dreamed of were those eyes, those evil eyes. Everywhere I looked the eyes were staring blankly back at me. At one time the eyes seemed about a league away but when I blinked and opened my eyes again they were right in my face.
The shock of that was what finally woke me with a jolt. The wolf was lying beside me. He looked at me and cocked his head to the side. I could feel sweat running down the sides of my face and the small of my back. I reached into my pack and took out some water. I drank the water with no care of whether I would be able to get more fresh water. I took out a rabbit I had found earlier trapped in a fence. I reached to my left and grabbed a few sticks and dry leaves from the corner of the cave. I took out my flint and started up a fire. I skinned the rabbit and placed it over the fire on a spit. When the rabbit was cooked I cut it into two pieces. I gave one part to the wolf, who accepted it graciously and devoured it as quickly as I did.
I sat up and pulled myself over to lean against the wall. I examined my wound in the firelight. It was too early to tell but it looked infected. I looked at the wolf, he had no fat on him, he was pure muscle but he looked as if he hadn’t eaten in days. His ears were perked listening for any sound but his breathing was slow and steady. He looked up at me as I was examining him and he shifted his gaze to my pack hungrily. I opened the pack and took out the second rabbit and tossed it to him. He bit it in two and ate his piece sparingly. He nudged the second piece towards me but I pushed it back to him. He seemed to need it more. I looked at the moon outside the cave. It was a full moon. I fell asleep looking at it.
When I woke again the wolf was nowhere to be seen but there were fresh tracks in the snow at the mouth of the cave. There were no clouds in the sky which meant I could see the moon clearly when I dragged myself to the mouth of the cave. When I was at the mouth of the cave I picked up some snow and placed it on the wound. The wound was throbbing and clearly infected. I took off my cloak and put snow sitting on it and dragged it behind me back into the cave. I put the snow in a metal container and put it hanging over the fire to melt for water to clean the wound properly. I fell asleep again but woke up when the wolf nudged my head with his snout. He had killed a dear in his hunt which would have been difficult for one wolf to do on his own. He tore off a leg for me which I skinned and then cooked over the fire while I tired to clean my wound. I screamed out in pain when the water first hit the wound but I persisted in cleaning it. The second time I screamed out in pain the wolf growled alarmingly. I looked at the mouth of the cave expecting someone or something to appear soon. When nothing materialised at the mouth of the cave I went back to cleaning my wound. I screamed again when the water hit the wound and the wolf growled again. This time I realised he was growling at me. I looked at him and noticed his hackles were raised on his back. I ignored him and continued cleaning my wound but kept a wary eye on him just in case he lunged at me. I was in immense pain and tried to suppress my scream but despite this I still screamed in pain again. This time the wolf jumped up and backed away at the same time that I realised I hadn’t screamed but instead howled like a wolf. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and shed away in terror as I saw the colour of my eyes were no longer icy-blue but golden-yellow instead. My hair was the same and so was the rest of my face except my teeth which were pointed like a wolf’s teeth as well. I tried to imagine myself waking up, that this was all just a terrible nightmare, but it didn’t work.
I could feel a slight buzzing in the back of my head, like another conscience thinking inside my head. I reached out to it with my mind and found it was the conscience of the wolf lying beside me. I tried to say something through the mind connection but it didn’t work, and then suddenly thoughts started flying through the connection. The first few explained that wolves talked to humans that were capable of receiving their thoughts and scents through a mind connection like the one that was open between us now. The wolf said he had never met a human with the ability to talk to wolves before but had heard that it had been quite common in the past, that man and wolf had lived in harmony and ruled the world until these intruders had arrived. He said he had learned about a man named Tornac who lived with a pack lead by a female named Moon Shadow. She led a pack of ten wolves and Tornac. The wolf said his name was Kaon. He asked me what my name was and I replied awkwardly, ‘Azioc’.
Over the next few days I thought about the changes that happened to me. Before this happened I had been tall and lean, but in the few days after the infection I had grow taller and became more muscled. I thought about my eyes and how it affected my eyesight because I was now able to see things in much greater detail. I considered which wolf it had been that changed me and came to the conclusion that it must have been the dead wolf because his eyes had been golden as well. When I asked Kaon about it he said that some wolves carried an infected gene that didn’t affect wolves but obviously affected humans. He said that only some wolves carried it and that any other animal that contracted it usually died within days, and no animal would feast off the dead body, for fear of catching the disease. He told me that no wolf can explain it and that no one knows where it came from because it has always been there. He also told me that he had never heard of a way to cure it.