Chapter 3 ♕
The man stood up again. It was almost as if he found it necessary to tower over me or else his threat would lose it’s power.
“And how can I be sure you’re not one of those bastards who did this to her in the first place?” he growled at me.
“You can be sure of that. Because I thought exactly the same of you. We want the same thing, so stop being so damn difficult,” I snapped.
I saw he was about to say something again, so raised my hand. “If we don’t act quickly, there won’t be anything to discuss about,” I reminded him.
This time he kept his mouth shut. I saw him looking uncertainly at the female wolf. I wondered how he had become so close to her. It seemed like common knowledge to me that wolves didn’t make the best pets.
When I saw his shoulders slump, I saw my chance. I knelt next to her again and ran my hand over her fur. Exactly what I was already afraid of. Under my touch I felt the bullet still in her leg. If I didn’t remove it immediately, the blood loss would ensure that she wouldn’t have long.
“You have to fix this. You hear me, she has to survive this,” the man snapped at me.
When I looked at him, I saw that he was overwhelmed with anxiety and anger. He was seriously concerned about her.
“Trust me, I’m don’t intent to let her die,” I said and started to look around me. “What are you looking for?” asked the man impatiently. “I’m looking for something to carry her to my house. There I have everything I need to help her,” I said.
“Leave that to me,” said the man, and stood up.
Without saying anything, he took the wolf in his arms and lifted her up. My mouth dropped. The average weight of a wolf was normally impossible for a human to carry, even one of his size. But at least now we had a solution. The man stood before me with a moaning wolf in his arms and looked at me expectantly.
Without saying anything, I showed him the way. The walk took several minutes, and the only sound was the wolfs soft whimpers and the comforting words the man whispered to her. We finally got to the edge of the forest and the pressure on my chest eased when I saw my shed in the distance.
“Lay her here in the grass. I’ll get my things right away,” I said, and ran inside.
I packed my spare materials that I always had at home incase I had to make a house visit. Before I knew it I was kneeling next to the wolf again. She had lost a lot of blood. My whole body stiffened when I heard another gunshot go off in the distance. I gritted my teeth to control my emotions and turned to the man who looked around us alertly.
“Are there any more?” I asked and he looked at me over his shoulder. I gestured to the wolf. “Are there more wolves in the area?” I asked.
“No, it’s just us,” said the man, looking back at the woods.
I frowned, asking him an unspoken question, but he ignored me and instead turned his alert gaze back to the edge of the forest. I just had to settle for the fact that in the meantime he apparently trusted me enough to let me near the wolf, without getting threats thrown at my head.
I focused on my patient again. “This is going to hurt” I said encouragingly and got to work. My hands worked accurately and precisely, and within minutes I had removed the bullet and stitched the wound.
I wiped the sweat from my forehead and looked at the result. I dropped back into the grass and took a deep breath. “For now it’s important to remain very still, do you understand that? Otherwise the wound will open again and we will be back to square one,” I told her gently.
I could tell from her face that she understood me. “You can rest now,” I said, stroking her head. The wolf closed her eyes and I finally saw her whole body relaxed.
“How is she?” asked the man.
He had stared continuously at the edge of the forest for the entire operation, as if he was watching or waiting for something. “It should be fine for now” I said. The look in his eyes softened as he ran his hands over her fur.
“Thank you,” the man eventually muttered, “and sorry for being so hostile before”.
I laughed. His face showed that he didn’t apologize often. “Don’t worry. I can see what she means to you,” I said.
We sat in silence for a moment, and fatigue struck me. It was early in the morning. I saw the sun rise in the distance. I should be back to work in a few hours, but still I couldn’t leave the wolf behind. There was something about her.
The man looked at me with an inquiring expression on his face. Until he suddenly looked over his shoulder and grunted loudly. I had never heard a human make that sound before.
“What’s going on?” I asked, startled.
“We have visitors,” he said, getting up.
I followed and came to stand next to him. People stood at the edge of the forest, half hidden in the shadows. I counted four of them and then they took a step forward in the morning light, and that light reflected from the guns they had on their backs. Next to me the man started to tremble and was clearly on the verge of losing control. I put my hand on his arm. “Let me do the talking,” I said quickly.
He looked into my eyes and nodded. We waited. The men approached and it wasn’t long before I found a familiar face among them.
“William” I said.
William, the twenty-six year old son of the couple from who I rented the shed, stood before me. I thought back to the hours we working together while renovating my house.
For a while I had even thought that something could happen between us, but it never did. Now my face just couldn’t hide the betrayal I felt.
I saw exactly the moment when he recognized me, because his eyes widened and I saw the uncertainty strike. In shame he took a step back, so that he was partly hidden behind his comrades.
“Coward,” I thought, my jaw clenched.
Unlike him, I stepped forward. “You are trespassing. I’ll give you this one chance to leave. You have no business here” I said.
“On the contrary, young lady,” said one of the men, “what we are looking for is currently behind you”. The person who spoke was an elderly man in his late fifties. He was wearing a cap, neutral colors and boots. The other men looked at him with respect, so he had to be the leader. “Gentlemen” the leader said. Each of them, except William, took his gun off his back.
Bad idea, I thought, very bad idea.
The man next to me was twice their size and he looked like he was ready to tear each and every one of them apart.
“I thought I had made myself clear,” I said, bringing the attention back to me, “leave”.
I saw one of the hunters aiming his gun at the wolf behind me. Out of reflex I immediately stood in front of the injured animal. “What kind of person are you,” I said disgusted. My whole body tremble. The man in front grinned smugly.
“Get out of the way, little girl. And let me do my job. That beast there is nothing more than a danger to everything around her. The world is better without her,” said the man with a look of disgust in his eyes.
I had no words. But even if I had, they would have been lost under the hunter’s disgusting screaming. I hadn’t even blinked, but in some inexplicable way the man, who had been standing next to me a moment ago, had managed to take down the hunter and throw him to the ground. His rifle, like his arm, was bent at a strange angle in the grass beside him. With the blond man bent over him threateningly.
I put my hands over my mouth. The man was groaning on the floor. Blood poured from his nose. “You don’t touch her,” he said in such a treating way that the man on the floor crouched anxiously. With one of them down, the other hunters suddenly looked a lot less confident.
William and the other hunter both stepped back and dropped their guns into the grass. Now their leader stood all on his own. I saw him thinking. He wanted to take advantage of the derivative state the blond man was currently in, and for the time being he aimed his weapon at the wolf. Like many other times that night, I did the exact opposite of the hunters. I didn’t think, I just reacted.
Or at least, my body responded. My mind hadn’t been fast enough to keep up and had no choice but to accept what I’d done. When the searing pain started burning through my body, I screamed and fell to the floor. I brought my trembling hands before my eyes and saw nothing but red.
I could hardly see anything and everything became blurry. All my senses could perceive was the sound of footsteps running away. The hunters had clearly realized what they had done and now ran off. I was getting weaker, but the betrayal of someone I had seen as a friend still made me sick. I closed my eyes and felt my consciousness slowly slip away.
It actually felt like I was just falling asleep. I heard distant voices and the sound of bones breaking. I winced at the imagine how that blond man had managed to get hold of one of the hunters and was now tearing all limbs from him.
Then suddenly a new voice sounded. It was soft, gentle, and clearly feminine. “Is she all right?” the voice said
The man responded, but he was too far away from me to hear anything and beside that, I no longer had the energy to think about it. The voices continued to speak. “We have to help her” said the female.
I heard the man growl, but apparently he was unable to refuse her anything. “You know he won’t be happy when we take her home,” said the man.
But then my world turned black.