“Wow, it moved so fast I was sure I missed it.” I shook my head slightly and we both glanced up into the trees, but the creature was indeed gone.
“Guys, I think we should leave now,” Sue said, glancing around us and holding her gun to her chest. “Don’t you think we should go now?”
“Sue, we can’t leave now. We’ll miss out on the prize! Do you want to buy the other guy’s lunch?” he turned to her and she shook her head. “Okay then, let’s go find that buck.” He stepped aside for us to go ahead of him as we began following the deer tracks to the southwest down a narrow trail. “You know, it was probably a bird,” he said after a few minutes.
I was in front, with Sue following close behind me, and I glanced back to see him scanning the trees around and behind us, his gun ready. “Are you sure? It had the biggest wings I’ve ever seen then. I’ve never seen anything that big out here – Are you really doing what I think you’re doing?”
He had grabbed his phone and was texting. “Jack and Jason are the closest team to us and I want to make sure they have a heads up about the bird. And there’s probably a lot out here we’ve never seen before.”
“How does your phone get service out here?”
He laughed. “I’ve got one bar that keeps flickering in and out. Plus, we’re heading back towards town, and there’s a tower at the edge of town.” After a minute, he added, “You’re a good shot, you know. I had no idea you were such a good hunter.”
He smiled and I looked away, blushing at the compliment. “Thanks.”
We were quiet after that, just following the tracks, when suddenly we heard rustling from a nearby bush. We hurriedly and quietly got behind a tree and raised our guns, Sue hiding behind me. A few minutes later, a wolf emerged, his coat thick and black as night. Crap. I thought and then tensed, waiting for the rest of his pack to burst through the bushes, but they didn’t. He was alone.
I glanced at Louis and he nodded, taking aim, but I hurriedly shook my head and waved my arm while the wolf’s back was turned. Louis gave me a confused look. I moved my finger across my throat like I was cutting it. He mouthed, “Why not?” I pointed to my gun then at the wolf and then shook my head. He rolled his eyes and sighed quietly, but nodded. We weren’t allowed to shoot wolves because they were endangered, from all the mass-killings they used to do. I personally loved wolves. They were gorgeous, but of course, law or no law, if it was attacking me I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot it. For the moment however, all it was doing was standing there, sniffing around. It found the deer tracks, but instead of following them, the sound of a snapping twig brought its attention toward us. I glanced at Louis, who winced. I sighed. I really don’t want to shoot this thing.
It spotted Louis and started growling, the sound deep and guttural. It was one of the larger wolves I had ever seen and his bared teeth were long and white. I threw a rock at it, hitting its shoulder and it whirled to face me, its growls louder. It looked and sounded ferocious, like it wanted to rip me to shreds as it stalked steadily closer. “Ugh.” I sighed and raised my gun, as did Louis.
As soon as we did, however, the wolf stepped back, like it knew what we were going to do and his growls lessened slightly. I let off a warning shot at his feet and he jumped back, his growls now louder than ever. “Kota,” Louis said, glancing at me as I stepped away from the trees.
“Kota don’t,” Sue pleaded.
“I know what I’m doing,” I said, my gun still raised. I stared straight into the wolf’s eyes. His jaws snapped a few times like he was imagining biting me. “I will kill you.” His growls lessened again slightly, and he kept eye contact for a minute longer before backing away and running through the bush he’d come from.
“Wow,” Louis stared at me for a minute. “That was awesome.”
“That was dangerous,” Sue corrected.
“Thanks,” I smiled. “C’mon, let’s go find that buck.”
In the end, we found him walking along the trail, looking calmer than before even though his ears were still up in alert. We followed him for a while, stopping every once in a while when he stopped, and then finally he became calm enough to stop and graze. Louis squatted down beside a bush to better conceal himself while I fanned out to the right, around to the side of the unsuspecting animal. I had a clear shot at his chest and readied my gun, Sue standing a little off to the side but still in sight. My finger was on the trigger, I had him in my cross-hairs, and I pulled the trigger. My gun gave a kick and the bullet rocketed toward its mark, and at the same time I heard the buck’s last sound, I heard something else too.
And this was much closer.
Turning my head to the side, I came face to face with the same black wolf from earlier. I had suspected it might do this, but when I saw the buck, all my attention was on killing it. He bared his teeth at me and growled. He was standing so close I could smell his rancid breath and I would’ve heaved if I hadn’t been so scared. His yellow eyes were locked on mine, daring me to so much as twitch. “Whoohoo! You got it! You – Kota?” I couldn’t speak. I glanced to the side, but the wolf snapped his jaws and leaned closer, forcing me to lean back and look back at him.
Sue, who had covered her ears and closed her eyes as the deer was shot, now realized what was going on and said, “It’s the wolf! He’s back!” She had raised her gun, but was hesitant to shoot because it was practically on top of me. I heard Louis’ heave footfalls as he hurried through the bush toward me. He let off a warning shot in the air, but the wolf stayed.
Looking into his eyes, I knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to kill me, and he was going to do it too, before Louis got to us or Sue found a place to shoot him without possibly hitting me too. Then suddenly, something happened so fast I barely even saw it. One minute, the wolf was inches from tearing my throat out, and the next, something bright came shooting out of the bush beside us and rammed into him, sending both of them tumbling. It was another wolf, this one pure white and twice the size of the black one, its fur almost glowing.
Louis yelled in surprise and dodged out of the way just short of getting bowled over. “What the – Kota, are you okay?” He ran over to me as I scrambled to my feet.