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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Crying Wolf - 9. Chapter 9


Twilight encroaches as they make their way out of Leeds, casting a creeping halo of darkness across the treeless ring of land surrounding the city. Above his head, gathering clouds obscure the waxing sliver of the moon rising over Skye’s head.

To his wolf eyes, though, it is almost as though daylight still reigns. The world is bright and visible, even when his brain screams to him that it is indeed nightfall. Unbidden, his body brushes up against Noah, gaining a sense of comfort from the contact.

“You good, Skye?”

Panic nips at his thoughts in an unending barrage, but he won’t tell them that. Instead, he dips his golden furred head in forced assent. The charcoal gray male continues to watch him a moment longer than necessary, but eventually returns his gaze to the fore.

“It’s going to be fine. Stay close to us, and give yourself time to get used to being in this form.”

Noah’s words float back on a whisper, just loud enough for his lupine hearing to catch. It drives home the reminder that there are more encompassing things at stake here than his own sense of self comfort.

‘Get a hold of yourself, lad. Can’t endanger the pack.’

With a shake of his head and a soft snort, Skye instead focuses his attention on his surroundings as he ought to be. The ring cleared around the city was a dangerous zone. While it gave a clear view of any impending danger while in the city, they were sitting ducks as they traversed through it.

It didn’t matter how disconcerting it was, their lives depended upon him getting a grip on his hang ups. Diverting his senses away from his four legged form, Skye’s ears swivel atop his head. There was a modicum of comfort in attuning to the song of nighttime.

Tonight they seemed unsettled, calling out to one another when the creatures would usually be settling in to sleep. That was enough to set him on edge.

What else?

A jumble of scents carries on the breeze, and it’s hard to make sense of them. Skye realizes suddenly just how terribly he has lied to himself all these years. Though for one night a month he is forced to cede control to the beast within, his sense of self preservation always refused to acknowledge that creature as ‘him’. It feels as though the humanity in him just goes away… and waits for the deed to be done with so that he may return.

As a human his hearing, smelling, and other senses were heightened but compared to this? They were a mere shadow. The intensity of… everything was disorienting, and he fought with everything he had to come to terms.

Finally reaching the cover of the forest, Arisa slows her pace a little. Her muscles bunch along her spine, steel gray fur shaking in quiet agitation. So she’d noticed as well… it was only to be expected. Green eyes glancing back, her black nose motions us forward. Staying together in a close knit group, we creep silently ahead through the trees.

Right off it’s obvious that several someone's have been here that shouldn’t be. James and Noah both press their noses to the fallen detritus at our feet while Arisa remains on high alert ahead of us.

Following suit, Skye also lowers his head to take in deep inhalations of air. Discarding the commonplace scents of hare and fox, he is filled with alarm by the evidence of more members of the York pack making their presence known. They weren’t even the same ones of the day before, no it was obvious that these rivals were sent their way with an entirely different purpose at heart. Aggression and malicious intent drenched the marks left in their wake.

It must have been earlier in the day when they passed through the area, the trails having faded. That only meant there was no way to know where they actually were at this moment… but that wasn’t all.

Another, much fresher scent followed close behind the York mongrels, but this one was different…

This sent a shiver down his spine… making him shake like phantom fingers wrapping around his throat. They were not part of the York pack, whoever the strange wolf was. Furtively, Skye’s lavender gaze snaps to Arisa but her wolfish expression reveals nothing.

It was a scent unlike anything he’d ever encountered before… like pine and snow. The thought of a smell being able to cut was ludicrous, but that didn’t deter the sensation of a knife to his skin.

The lone wolf was also wandering about with the intent of violence, but towards whom? Too late now for regrets. Whatever the impetus for his joining this expedition, it was all for nothing if they got themselves killed in the process.

Keeping a slow but steady pace, they continued onwards to the northeast. Making an outward arc into the dense trees that encircle Leeds beyond the cleared area, Arisa keeps them in a constant state of motion.

Skye has the impression that she definitely knows more than she is letting on, but he trusts his Alpha with his life. Better that she is aware of what is out there and remain confident for their benefit, than forge onwards like a blind fool. She will not lead them astray.

They are family.

After a while he notices something strange… Where before the creatures had called out to each other in alarm, it was now eerily quiet. Looking back over his shoulder, he notes the way that Liz is also on high alert. Almost disappearing into the night, the black wolf is like a specter following behind them.

Something has her attention, though he cannot tell what. Her gaze keeps darting off to the right of them, her pointed ears pinning back to flatten against her skull. The golden blonde fur along his back stands up straight.

Someone nudges his shoulder and he looks over to see James, motioning silently for him to keep moving. Skye hurriedly jumps back into motion, unable to shake the dreadful feeling that their presence has been compromised.

What if they had to fight?

Did he have it in him to take something’s life?

‘Fool. Should have thought of that before you asked to come. Their lives are on your head, lad. Put your bollocks back on…’

He would protect his pack.

Letting that thought drown out the anxious clamor of impending doom, he could feel himself beginning to settle down a bit. That cursed beast that resided within him wouldn’t think twice about it.

Didn’t exactly inspire him in the way he’d hoped…

Miles out into the woods, Arisa gradually comes to a standstill. Her words are barely more than a growl when they issue forth.

“Form up.”

In an instant, they halo out behind their Alpha, waiting on tenterhooks for whatever was to come next. Out there in the quiet depths of night, a faint shuffling of paws through leaves reached their ears.

The York mongrels…

Their scents circled in the wind as it turned against the intruders, confirming his group's suspicions. Five… no six, and they were attempting to circle in on them.

“Get ready.”

Like ghosts in the distance, they appear one by one. Shadows blending in among the myriad trees with heads held low. The leader raises his head, brazenly sending forth a sonorous howl. He’s taunting us, telling us he knows that we know they are there…

Arisa growls, a deep rumbling menacing sound that Skye has never heard her make before. Throwing back her ashen head, the Alpha returns their call with a high piercing wail reminiscent of tales of banshees. After a second the others join her, adding their voices to the chorus.

Raising his head high, he sings a battlecry with his pack.

You do not belong here.

These are our lands.

Through the dark they creep forth, advancing slowly as they bark and growl with murderous intent. His gaze flashing back to Arisa, he is steadied by the way she holds herself. Frozen at the ready she looks much like a blade ready to descend, simply waiting for the appropriate opening.

Condensing their numbers into a head on attack, they concentrate on taking out the Alpha… leaving our presence as almost no more than a side note. Head lowering, Arisa strikes forward like a snake striking its prey. Grasping the lead wolf by the neck, her teeth sink into flesh and fur before tossing him aside like refuse.

The next in line is leaping through the air right behind her thwarted comrade, but is knocked aside by a shadow in the night. Liz is atop them, giving Arisa the precious seconds needed to recover her bearings.

Skye feels as though everything is moving very slowly… crawling along at a snail's pace, even as his body is instinctively springing in motion. He launches himself at the haunch of the third wolf, butting her hard to knock her off balance.

Out of the corner of his eye, he can see the first wolf to be tossed aside has regained his footing.


Arisa spins her body around, teeth snapping and ready for him. Pausing in his attack, the York wolf rears back before her maw can find purchase in his flesh. Looking around, he can tell that his pack is only just holding their own against the interlopers.

The numbers are on their side…

Another howl rends the night, coming from the direction that the York pack had advanced from. It makes Skye shake on his feet and his eyes go wide.

Pine and snow.

It comes careening through the trees, pale as an apparition. It is a great white wolf who is as tall at the shoulder as he stands in human form.

Copyright © 2020 Tsukihana; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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This chapter was skillfully written, tense and foreboding, gotta love the 'pine and snow'!!

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