QUITE frankly, Joanna was growing tired of teenagers. They were loud, boisterous and always up to something. She huffed as she slipped the latex gloves over her hands and leaned down to pick up the trash. There had been a time where she thought like them. Where she found throwing garbage in the ground amusing because there would be someone else to clean it after them and if there wasn’t, it wasn’t like mother nature was going to kick her ass for it.
All that changed when she became a ranger. She became instantly more self aware of the things that harmed the nature she fell so deeply in love with. As soon as she became responsible for it, she begun noticing how nature was such a fragile thing. How it would break under the hands of horrid humans who wanted nothing but to destroy destroy destroy.
Sometimes she found herself thinking as she sat by the river on the east side of the woods. How can we crave beauty and innocence only to destroy it? We love nature but we hate insects so we kill them so nature could live, unknowingly that nature needs those tiny creatures to survive and thrive. How could we destroy entire forests just so we can build malls we don’t even need?
She huffed as she began stuffing the items inside the black plastic bag. It flapped around with the breeze and she nearly dropped it twice. Once she was done, she quickly looked around to make sure everything was taken care of before she moved towards the large vehicle waiting for her.
Being a ranger had it’s perks and one of those being the fact that she was offered a special car to help her cover terrain faster. Essentially it was hers but she’d have to give it up one day if she quit her job or retired.
She tied the bag tightly and threw it inside, on the ground before she walked around the car and pulled the door open. Just as she climbed inside, something to her right moved. Now, very few things scared her and for a few brief seconds, she was sure it had been an animal. Too scared of her to make his presence known.
That happened quite a lot and mostly with small animals. They’d simply hide or run away from her should they ever come in contact. The larger ones were the ones she’d have to worry about. Bears and wolves for that matter were far more concerning. She’d never encountered either of these but she had been given the entire formation on how to deal with them. Joanna was to not run, stay absolutely calm and look as big as she could make herself.
She heard the noise again, that slow crunching of paws over dead branches and leaves. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as she moved quickly to shut the door on her side, leaving only the passenger side door opened.
When she looked at it, she could finally see where the noise was coming from. There, in the tree line, stood a majestic wolf. Black as nightfall and he crept closer, slowly. He sniffed the air as if in search for something in particular and when his eyes met hers, his fur stood up. He leaned on his front paws as if he was ready to leap and curled his muzzle, showing off rows of perfectly sharp fangs. It bared and snapped it’s teeth at her before beginning to run towards her.
In a spur of a moment reaction and because she had been trained to react quickly to situations like these, Joanna leaned over the middle console and slammed the door shut just as the wolf crashed against it. She locked it hurriedly and tried to get her car to start even though her hands shook horribly.
The wolf continued to slam against the side of her car, barking and growling and scratching. She wasn’t a specialist in large animals but she was pretty sure this one was far too big to be natural. Wolves would usually leave when their territory was no longer in danger so why was this one so persistent?
When she finally managed to get the key in the ignition, she turned it and pressed down on the clutch and accelerator, shifting into first gear as the vehicle moved forward fast, leaving the wolf behind. He tried to run after her but ended up quitting after the first try.
Maybe she was going crazy. Yeah, that was probably it. There was no way a wolf could have human eyes. Was that really the only part of the whole ordeal that troubled her?
She sighed, shaking her head for a brief moment as she continued to drive towards her home. It was well past dinner time and as much as she didn’t want to admit it, she was hungry.
So she drove home with thoughts of food and wolves clawing at each other inside her mind.