I slept. That much I know. While I was THERE I never slept. I had my naps when I was exhausted or I would simply relax with my eyes closed. But I would always be alert and ready to attack if need be.
The sun shines through the hole I would call a window, signaling it’s daytime. I snuggle closer into the wolf to steal some more of his warmth. I know it’s the black wolf, I remember everything perfectly.
Somehow, with him, I allowed myself a moment of vulnerability, something I have never done since I was a child. But with the black wolf I almost feel safe. Almost, as I don’t know anything about those wolves and whoever is taking care of them. I also have to keep an eye on THEM. If letting me leave was some sort of HIS games, then I have to keep moving. Staying in one place is the worst strategy ever. The good thing about this place is that it’s in the middle of the woods. Its density cuts the visibility to about 30 to 40 feet.
I notice the black wolf waking up. He snuggles his head into the crook of my neck and sighs in what seems like content. He breathes in my scent for a few seconds and lifts his head to look at me. He licks my face and hides his nose in the crook of my neck again, adjusting his position so that I am cocooned by his body, with him lying on his side, me between his legs and his nose in my neck as his huge head covers almost my entire torso. His warmth is comforting and his fur soft, making me want to use him as a pillow and blanket at the same time. My fingers are itching to run through the soft hairs, and I absentmindedly follow their silent command.
After a few seconds of my hands going through his fur, I hear him purr in bliss, so I don’t let my hands stop. My left hand goes up his neck to scratch behind his ear, but stops when I feel a scar on him, going from his ear to his jaw. It’s a little rugged, but doesn’t feel fresh. I gently caress his scar. I don’t know why, but the thought of the black wolf being hurt makes my blood boil.
I would skin alive whoever even thinks about hurting this stunning creature. As if sensing the change in my mood, the wolf again licks my face, neck and shoulders to calm me down. I pet his head to let him know I’m okay and stay wrapped around by him. It’s so warm and comfortable here.
My little comfortable moment is interrupted by scratching on the door. I try to stand up and go check it, but the wolf pushes me with his head into the bed, silently asking me to stay. I listen to him, but sit up on the bed. He pulls the door open and on the other side I see a brown wolf with a white patch on his tail in the hallway. They stand there for few seconds, simply looking at each other, then the black wolf comes back to me, tugs my hand to follow him and leads me through the door that I did not open yesterday. It’s a bathroom. There were a few of those THERE, but they were not as pretty or clean. The fighters were only allowed to use the shower once in a while and under supervision.
In the corner of the room stands tall shower with glass walls, next to it I see a huge bath, cabinets with a sink, a decorated mirror and a toilet.
I watch the black wolf go back into the bedroom and struggle with the door of the closet, so I go to him to help him. I easily open the closet and the black wolf puts his head inside and pulls something out. They’re clothes. He gives me the pants from his mouth and dives into the closet again, leaving with a shirt in his mouth this time. Exactly how smart is he? Are those for me? He tugs on my hand again and once we are in the bathroom again, he pulls some fluffy-looking cloth from the shelf and lays it on the counter. Then he leaves the bathroom and closes the door behind him with his mouth. This time I don’t follow him out. Instead I take my clothes off and go towards the bath.
I was never allowed a bath THERE, so it will be my first. I see different bottles on the little shelf next to the bath and look them over one by one. There’s shampoo, 'conditioner', 'shower gel', 'bathing salt', 'bathing oils', and simple soap. I pick up the salt, as I like its smell most. I fill the bath, put the salt in and get in. The water is hot, which is new to me. THERE we only had cold showers with occasional shampoo and soap, but we were only allowed it after winning a fight. As I was the best there, I was also allowed hair conditioner, to look ‘presentable’ as HE said. Before a huge fight with the most important guests coming and the biggest money being bet, HE sent someone to give me a thorough shower, 'waxing', which I hated with passion, and a haircut. What he didn’t think about, though, was to send a woman to do this, so I always had to be tranquilized for them to be able to take care of me. Take care, what a joke.
I stay in the bath till the water turns cold. I get out of it, pulling the plug the get the water out and head towards the shower to get the salt off my body and wash my hair. The shampoo smells... exotic. It’s refreshing to use some nice smelling product after all these years of having to wash my hair with a male shampoo. I always smelled like a guy afterwards. Being the only female fighter, and the best one at the same time, apparently didn’t earn me the privilege to be treated differently.
My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of soft scratching on the door. It must be the black wolf. I rinse the nice smelling conditioner from my hair, turn off the shower, wrap myself in the towel the wolf gave me, and open the door for him. I don’t feel shame, I’m far beyond that. I’ve been seen in less by more, so an animal, no matter how intelligent, doesn’t invoke any embarrassment in me.
The wolf looks clearly relieved to see me. Have I been here so long that he got worried? Possibly, I didn’t keep track of time. I reach up to pet his head, as I noticed he likes me touching him and head towards the bed, where the clothes are. Dropping the towel, I pick up the shirt and put it on, not minding the water dripping from my hair. They always dry on their own. Then I put on the jeans, but seeing as they simply fall off me because of the difference in size between me and their owner, I turn to the closet. I glance at the wolf to sort of ask his permission, since it’s not even my closet, only to see him staring at my body with... hunger? and anger. A LOT of anger. He looks livid. What did I do? I clear my throat to get his attention and when he looks into my eyes I see his glare considerably soften.
I tilt my head towards the closet, indicating that I want something else to wear, and he approaches me, taps the closet with his paw and back away so that I can open the door. I take a pair of shorts with a string from the inside and quickly put them on, pulling the string tighter, so the shorts stay on me.
I get to leave the room and in the open room by the entrance I see the grey wolf and one of the brown ones. It’s the one from earlier, with a white patch on his tail. Next to them, on a table, lies some raw meat. The hell? I look up to the black wolf in question, but he simply nudges me from behind towards the table. Once I’m close enough I notice it’s fresh, warm even, like it was hunted recently. Again, I look up to the black wolf. He stares at me expectantly then looks back to the meat then back at me. Oh, it’s for me.
“It’s raw” I stupidly tell him. Of course it’s raw, idiot. How can wolves possibly cook? The black wolf simply grunts in answer. I sigh and try again.
“I can’t eat it raw” Now the grey wolf is full on snarling. He doesn’t seem to like me very much. I simply ignore him. The presence of the black wolf calms me down enough not to snap at him, so he’s off the hook for now. But damn, I said more words to those wolves in less than a day than in the last few years to anyone.
“It’s okay, I’m not hungry. Thank you, though” I tell the black wolf. Oh god, I’m talking to animals. I even thanked him. Call the mental asylum.
The black wolf doesn’t seem to like my words though, as he tilts his head towards the meat, insisting on me taking it. I shake my head no, I'm really not that hungry. I’ve spent days or even weeks without much food between my fights, so I’m used to having very little of it once in a while. Only before a fight I would be given a proper meal, but even then not much.
I turn to the black wolf and stare at him. He watches me curiously, waiting for my move. I put my hand on his neck and run my fingers through his fur, relishing the softness of it while I'm patting his head with my other hand. He closes his eyes in content, and with my arms around his neck, I embrace him for the last time. I can’t stay here and let this amazing creature get hurt because of me. Tonight I leave.