“Yeah,” I said and, still holding my gun, hurry after the wolves. We found them in a wider part of the trail, near the dead buck. The black wolf scrambled to its feet, but stayed low to the ground. It glanced at us as we arrived and then back at the massive white wolf. Its growls were loud and angry, but they were nothing compared to the sounds coming from the white wolf. The black one jumped at the white one, but it was too big and too strong. It slashed at the black one’s chest and then they fell on each other. I didn’t know what to do for a minute. After a few good moves from the black one, it was clear he was outmatched. The white one was going to kill him, but I didn’t want that. I reloaded my gun, raised it in the air and let off one shot. Instantly, the wolves stopped and the black one glanced at us before hurrying off, bloody and beat.
The white one just stood there for a minute, watching the other wolf go, before turning to us. “What the fu –This thing isn’t scared of guns?!” Louis raised his gun.
“No, wait, stop,” I said, putting a hand on his weapon and lowering it. The white wolf was looking at me with eyes the same yellow as the black one, but this one was different. His eyes held no malice and he wasn’t growling at all. He just stood there, tall and proud, his tail moving calmly as his gaze locked on mine, his eyes seemingly knowing. “Wow,” Sue whispered. This is crazy. I thought. This is nuts. Is it really – could it really be… The Great White Wolf? I felt something odd in my gut, and then he suddenly let out a long howl that went right through my chest, leaving me breathless. He stood there a moment longer before vanishing through the trees.
We stood there for a few minutes in silence. “What the hell…” Louis just stood there, looking from us to where the wolf had vanished.
“I have no idea,” I said after a minute, but Sue and I shared a look. I turned to him and shook my head, but he looked unsure if he believed me.
I looked to Sue, who was now staring at where the white wolf had vanished. She looked stunned and as if she wasn’t breathing. “Sue, are you okay?”
I touched her arm and she finally took a breath. Her eyes met mine and she said, “Yeah, I’m fine. That was amazing.”
“Yeah,” I nodded, “I am officially sorry I made you come, but I promise you this doesn’t happen that often.”
She gave a breathless laugh. “It’s okay. It was exciting, but now I think I’m ready to go now.”
Just then, we heard the signal to head back to the bronco. “Just in time,” said Louis. We found a good-sized log and tied the buck’s legs to it, heaved it on our shoulders, and then made our way back.
“Man, this thing is heavy,” I huffed and Sue agreed with a grunt of effort.
“It was a good kill.” Then after a minute, he added with a laugh, “We probably got the free dinner.”
We didn’t talk for the rest of the trip back, mostly because it took all I had not to drop the freakin’ thing. “Phew,” I said in relief when we finally reached the clearing. “Hey guys, you catch anything?”
“We got a doe.” Chase waved his hand toward the animal, looking disappointed.
“Yeah, and we got a young buck,” Jack said.
“Hey, what was all that shooting going on? That was you, right?” Jason asked as we laid the buck down.
“We had a couple run-ins with some wolves,” Louis said, nodding at their astonished faces.
“Among other things,” I added, wiping my forehead.
“What did you do, leave their bodies in the woods?” asked Chase.
“No, we didn’t kill them.” Louis shook his head, then glanced at me. “They were after Kota, though.”
“What?” Dale looked alarmed and quickly looked me over.
“I’m okay, big brother, calm down,” I said, gesturing with my hand for him to calm down. “Really, there was only one in the beginning, and if Louis wouldn’t have stepped on that stick, we wouldn’t have had any problems.”
Louis opened his mouth to say something, but Jack cut him off. “Okay, let me stop you right there. I really want to hear this story, but I’d rather be eating while I hear it. Let’s go drop these off and then get something to eat, huh?”
“Yeah, good idea,” I agreed along with everyone else. “I’m starving.”
Well, there are definitely some perks to being a girl, and being a girl around five other guys. Sue and I got to stand back and watch them try to fit all three animals in the back without hurting the two bucks’ horns. Luckily, Louis had already lined the back with plastic so it would be easier to clean once they got the animals out. When we got back to Dale’s house, Louis dropped Dale and me off, along with his deer. “I’ll go ahead and cut ours up for you.” He smiled as Jack jumped in the passenger seat. Then he shrugged and, still smiling, added, “I guess I’ll keep the head too, since I’m doing most of the work, and you probably wouldn’t know where to put it in your pretty girly room.”
“Okay, as long as it says I shot it on the plaque. And I get the pelt too.” I smiled back.
“I’ll think about it,” he said, and then drove off before I could say anything back.
“So, you two do anything else out there I should know about?” Dale leaned into me.
I scrunched my face up at him and shoved him. “Shut up!” I laughed as he stumbled backwards and tripped over the doe.
“Shut up,” he said, getting to his feet. They picked up the deer and headed to the back while Sue and I went inside to change. Afterwards, I went outside to watch them cut up the deer while Sue changed and refused to watch, then helped put Dale’s half in the freezer while Chase took his half to his house.
It was one-thirty by the time Louis got back with my half of the meat and said he would give me the pelt when it was done drying out. I put my name on the meat packages and set them in Dale’s freezer before we all jumped in the vehicles again and headed off to Brookstock.
Since Louis and I had won, we chose a steakhouse off Main Street. I was hungry for some good meat after chasing down that deer. Jack ordered a rib-eye steak, Jason had a chicken fried steak, Chase as always had a bacon cheeseburger, Louis and Dale had a full rack of ribs each, while I had half a rack and Sue had a chicken wrap. While we ate, Louis and I told the story of our encounters. The strange bird, if that’s what it was, didn’t show itself to anyone else and no one could figure out what it really could’ve been, and if it was a bird why it would attack that buck.
“Why didn’t you just shoot that wolf when you had the chance?” Jack managed through a mouthful of steak and A1 sauce.
“Because they’re an endangered species and it’s against the law?” I looked at him like he should know this. “And besides, it wasn’t attacking us then. After I fired a warning shot, it ran off.”
“Yeah, but then it followed you,” Jason countered.
“Yeah, you should’ve just killed it,” Dale added softly beside me.
“You know, it sounds like that same wolf that attacked Sam a while back, remember that?” Louis, Dale, and I all nodded, but Chase had to fill Jack and Jason in on it.
“Yeah,” I nodded. Sam was still out of school because his healing was so slow, especially in such a private area. After that, everyone agreed I should have shot it.
“It was acting weird,” I admitted. “The second time it attacked, it didn’t really attack. I mean, yeah, it was inches away from my face, but it didn’t just run up and attack me like with Sam. It just stood there, staring at me.” They all looked at me, not knowing what to say. It was clear they’d never heard of a wolf doing that either. “Anyway, it probably learned its lesson now, after that white wolf attacked it.”