I saw this:
And it gave me this idea:
Hearing his name, he stopped and turned around. He saw his father hurrying over to him. Eleven-year-old Adam heard something in his voice, which made him rather nervous and he began to think of everything he had done that day. Had he made a mistake somewhere, somehow?
Adam’s father arrived and his eyes scanned the area just behind Adam, worry creased on his face. “Where are you going, son?” he asked. Adam got the impression that his father would not allow him to go, no matter that he had been allowed to go previously. And he really wanted to go.
His feet shuffled around as he thought of whether or not to tell his father. A hand rested on his shoulder and, looking up, his father’s face had softened. There was even a smile there.
“I just want to be sure that you are safe, Adam,” his father told him.
“I was going to go in there,” Adam replied, deciding to it was better to be truthful, and he pointed at the forest behind him.
Adam noticed that his father’s face hardened with worry and he looked up at the forest and he kept scanning the area as if he was afraid that something was going to jump out suddenly.
“Not right now,” he said as he led his son back towards the house.
“Oh.” Adam felt confused. What is Dad so worried about? Why can’t I go in the forest this time? What’s going on? “What’s the matter, Dad?” Adam enquired.
“I need you to go and help your mother inside the house,” his father responded.
“You always let me go in there. Why not now?” His father was silent. “Dad?”
His father knelt down infront of him and looked him in the eye. “Okay-”
A howl interrupted his father. Long and…mournful? It’s notes seemed to roll through the air and surrounding lands. It was like a cold embrace. Icy fingers wrapped around Adam as it continued.
Raw. Sharp. Terrified. Pain.
He jumped as his father’s hand gripped his hand and quickly opened their front door. “They’re back,” Adam heard his father say as he took Adam inside and bolted the front door. Adam watched, his eyes wide, as his father reached up above the front door and took his rifle down, and began putting bullets in it.
“Dad.” It was a plea.
His father’s eyes locked with his and his father studied him for a moment. He paused and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Son, it’s just in case. Only if they try to get in the house.”
Adam’s eyes turned to the front door as another howl ripped through the air. He heard it. Heard it in it’s voice. “It needs help, Dad,” Adam said, trying to find the words to describe what he heard. What he could feel.
“No, son,” his father replied. “You don’t know that.”
He turned to look back at his father. “Go help your mum,” he ordered. Adam opened his mouth to argue, to try to make him understand, but then realised that if the wolf was hurt, it wouldn’t try to go near the house. That means it’ll remain safe, for now. He simply nodded. His father then went to his bedroom, where Adam knew he would have a perfect view of the surrounding area. To make sure nothing came near their house.
It howled again. Adam stood there. His skin crawled as the beautiful but haunting howl ripped through the air.
It was a dying plea.
A few hours later…
Adam bolted upright in bed. What was that? Drenched in sweat, he strained his ears, trying to hear it again.
There it was again!
Ben? Adam looked down beside his bed. No. The Labrador was still there. Adam then noticed that Ben’s eyes were open and his ears were upright and twitching around. He was growling. He rested his hand on top of the dog’s head. Quiet. Ben fell silent, but didn’t relax.
Then he heard it.
From right outside his bedroom window.
Fear gripped him. He couldn’t move.
He dove under the covers, shivering. Where’s Dad? Has he fallen asleep?
Hurt. Scared. Begging.
It’s the wolf! He threw back the covers and climbed out of bed. His toes recoiled at the naked coldness of the floor. He slipped his shoes in his slippers and threw on his dressing gown. Creeping over to window, he felt something warm and furry rub against his legs.
Letting him know that he was there to protect his owner.
Adam smiled and gently rubbed his head. “Good boy,” he whispered. Reaching forward, his fingers wrapped around the bottom of the window and pushed it up. Sticking his head out, he shivered. He wrapped his arms around himself. A cold breeze teased his hair.
It was dark. Clouds covered the moon. He could not see a thing.
“Hello? You there?”
Then…a small howl. With a hitch in it. Of pain.
“Alright. Just hang on. I’ll come out and get you,” Adam assured it and pulled his head back in. He went over to the back door (which his bed was right next to, thankfully) and quietly and slowly turned the handle. Inching the door open, a cold breeze blew in. Hugging himself, he stepped outside.
A whiny from inside his room.
“Stay, Ben,” he instructed and scratched his dog behind the ear. The dog sat down on his haunches – right by the door. Adam gave him a reassuring smile and shut the door. Where is it? As he shuffled his way, hugging the wall as he went along, he wondered what his father would say. Please don’t shoot it, he wished.
Arriving at the stack of wood by the house, Adam knelt down and began searching around it.
A bloody paw.
Swallowing, he took a closer look. And gasped. The wolf! All bloodied and mangled. It’s cool grey eyes, filled with pain, but also hope, met his. He tentatively reached out and touched it’s right ear, the only part not covered in blood or mangled.
Relaxed. And leaned into his hand.
Adam felt a smile cross his face. Looking closely at the wolf, he saw something between it’s paws. Frowning, he saw it was…
Looking back up at the mother, the mother looked back at him, then pointed her nose at the baby, then back at him.
It did it again, then closed her eyes.
Oh! “Do you want me to take care of your baby?”
It actually seemed to nod.
Adam tentatively reached out and gently took hold of one of the paws covering the baby. Bile rose up in his throat as he felt the sticky blood on his hand. Breathe in. Breathe out, he kept repeating to himself as he began to move the paw. The mother wolf let out a small whimper as the boy moved his paw. Placing it gently on the ground, he then reached out and tenderly scooped up the baby wolf, cradling it as if it were glass and it might break.
Caressing the baby with his thumb, he gasped softly with wonder and awe as he felt a steady thump-thump-thump of it’s heartbeat. It stirred and let out a little whimper. It’s eyes were shut and it was covered it wet black fur and tiny little claws were on it’s paws.
Adam held it to his chest and pushed himself onto his feet, ignoring the bloodstains that were now on his pyjama shirt. He looked down at the mother wolf, but it’s eyes were now closed and it’s chest was no longer moving. Tears pricked Adam’s eyes. “Thank you,” he said and turned and headed back inside.
“Quiet, Ben,” Adam ordered as he rummaged around in the medicine cabinet. The dog stood there in the doorway of the kitchen. A low growl rumbled through him. Adam hoped it was not loud enough to alert his parents.
What to do? What to do?
I could always get Mum. Another little noise from the pup. He was hungry. But also hurt, Adam thought as he looked at the tiny gash on it’s leg.
“What are you doing up, young man?”
Adam saw his mother standing there behind Ben, hands on her hips. She opened her mouth to say something further, but then she noticed what was in his arms. Her motherly instincts took over and she rushed forward. “What’s that? Is that blood on your shirt? Is that…is that a baby wolf!?!”
He nodded. “I found it outside with it’s dead mother.”
His mother gasped slightly, a reaction she usually had whenever someone or an animal was hurt. She gently picked up the baby wolf and, taking a look inside the medicine cabinet, took out some wrap-around bandages, a sewing needle, thread, and some bottles and other medical stuff that Adam didn’t know the names of. She knelt down on the floor and gently laid the baby down, talking to it to comfort and relax it.
“We don’t want it to try and bite us,” she whispered to Adam.
Ben came forward. Adam grabbed it and gently but firmly held Ben back. “Shhh, Ben. It’s okay,” Adam whispered in Ben’s ear, stroking the dog’s back. Ben relaxed and lay down, resting its head on Adam’s lap, but still keeping an eye on the wolf. Adam kept glancing towards the door, expecting to see his father standing there, angry at what they were doing, while his mother was cleaning the wound.
“What’s Dad going to say?” he whispered. He wanted to keep this wolf. Forever.
His mother glanced over at him and smiled slightly. “I’ll talk to him.”
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