Chapter 2 ♕
The darkness was consuming.
But still, on the horizon I could see the sky getting a bit lighter again. I had my arms firmly wrapped around my body and was shivering under the freezing wind. I struggled through the damp tall grass to the edge of the forest.
I tried to be as quiet as possible. I felt every fiber in my body screaming that this wasn’t a smart plan, and yet I decided to listen to the one voice that told me I couldn’t go back.
I mean, I could still turn around.
When the thought came to my mind and I looked longingly over my shoulder at my place. It really wasn’t much. Before I renovated the place, it was a shed where the old man stowed his tools and other things until he was no longer physically able to do any heavy work. His oldest son even helped me with the renovation.
I paused at the thought of my warm bed, but eventually the thought of an injured animal trumps all thoughts. I had arrived at the edge of the forest and was looking nervously at the terrifying shadows cast by the darkness on the trees and ground. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down my heartbeat.
I tried to hear a sound. It remained silent for seconds. I walked further and further into the forest. After what seemed like an eternity, I heard a strange sound coming from among the trees. I stiffened and hid myself behind a trunk.
It was then that I found myself in a conflict. On the one hand, I was a vet. It would be morally unacceptable for me to let an animal suffer, even if it was a wolf. But then again, we were still talking about a wolf, better known as a dangerous predator, that probably hadn’t eaten in days.
After a while, I was tired of my own musings. After taking a few deep breaths, I had gathered enough courage. I looked carefully past the tree and stared into the distance.
My eyes widened. My first instinct was to run away, but the more I watched, the more I started to noticed. It was clearly a female and she was one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen.
The wolf was of medium size and had a beautiful light brown coat. My admiration was cut short when I heard her whimper softly. When I looked more closely, I saw that she had difficulty walking. The fun must have hit her in the leg. Her ears were pushed back and her head hung. She made a defeated impression. But when I took a step in her direction, accidentally stepping on a twig, her head shot right in my direction, threateningly showing her teeth.
I emerged from my hiding place and raised my hands in front of me as a sign that I didn’t mean her any harm. Her eyes found mine and she growled at me. My survival instincts kicked in and I had to stop myself from turning around and running away. That would only lead to my death.
I tried to take a deep breath and not make any unexpected movements, meanwhile the wolf just stared at me intensely with her yellow eyes. I trembled for a moment when those eyes reminded me of the nightmare I had had.
She put her head in the air and sniffed. Apparently she made an attempt to catch my scent. I didn’t know how I smelled, but apparently she had figured out that I wasn’t a threat, because she let her head hang again. I doubtfully took a step in her direction and slowly, I came closer and closer.
“I know you’re in pain. I can help you” I said softly.
I was only a few meters away. Apparently the wolf could no longer hold her own weight and collapsed. I gasped and bridged the last few meters before kneeling down next to her body. Her head turned to me and I saw her looking at me from the corner of her eye. I saw both alertness and expectancy.
“Is it okay if I touch you?” I asked for her permission. The moment I put my hand on her fur, she cringed and howled in pain. “This will only take a moment,” I assured her while I examined the wound. I grumbled for a moment at the lack of light, which prevented me from seeing the wound diligently.
“GET AWAY FROM HER!” a loud voice called out of nowhere.
In shock I looked over my shoulder, pulling my hand from the wolf. She fell to the floor on her belly and began to whimper deafening. Although every sound she made cut through my conscience as a knife, my attention was completely on the man who was towering over me.
At first I thought he was one of the hunters, but I didn’t see a weapon anywhere and judging from the concern in his eyes which were looking at the wolf behind me, that option was dropped.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
I got up and turned my back on the wolf. The man seemed to be in an battle with himself. On one hand, he was clearly concerned with the wounded beast behind me, but on the other hand, he didn’t want to take his alert gaze off me. I took the time he took to consider his choices to get a closer look at him.
The first thing I noticed was that he wasn’t wearing a shirt. And that the left side of his upper body was taken up by a large tattoo. His skin was tanned, as if he walked around more often with only the lower part of his body covered.
The second thing I noticed was that he was made of pure muscle and that he was panting so heavily that the blood vessels in his neck were about to burst. The sand-blond colored hair that was glued to his forehead was all mixed up. As if he had just run for miles through the forest. His large hands were clenched into fists and his moss-green eyes had a murderous look.
It was quite often that animals were injured by hunters, some would even say it was part of nature, not that that was a valid excuse to do something like this to them. But the man who was standing in front of me seemed about to bring his wrath down on the world.
Eventually, he came up with a decision and ran past me. I saw concern all over his face, took a deep breath and took a step closer.
“I can help her” I said softly.
His face immediately shot my way and he growled at me. Out of fear, I stumbled back. The man grinned dirty at me and immediately focust back to the wolf.
“Everything will be all right. Don’t you worry” the man said, comforting to the wolf.
“You shouldn’t lie to her, even if she can’t understand you. If you had even a little understanding of medicine you could have seen that, if the wound is not treated quickly it will not end well at all” I said.
The man gave me another murderous look, but this time I ignored it and decided to put the animal’s welfare first, forcing my fear to take second place. I approached again and knelt on the other side of the huddled creature. I watched the wound carefully.
“I don’t have enough light here,” I said, “we have to take her back to my house”.