I wake up with a start hearing a growling sound. I try to calm myself and let the memories slip away into the dreamland. I can’t believe I fell asleep. The growling sound gets louder and I get into attack mode, crouching on my branch. Looking down from it I see a group of 4 wolves circling the tree I’m sitting on, snarling and growling at me.
They are huge. Isn’t that unnatural? Were wolves always that big? One of them is black with beautiful amber eyes. He’s looking straight into my eyes. The others are mostly brown with white patches over them, apart from the 5th one I haven't noticed earlier, standing still few yards away from others. He’s a white and grey wolf with dark patches over his ears and paws. Just like the black one, he’s watching me, but he’s looking at me with clear hostility in his eyes. Wait, what? Can wolves feel emotions? Hostility?
I look back to the black wolf. He’s sitting on his rump now, simply looking at me with his head tilted, as if waiting for something. But what could he be waiting for? I sure as hell am not getting off my tree for him to attack me. I could maybe take down one wolf; at least I think I could, but not five of them. Those are wild animals, unpredictable. I sit back on my branch and, keeping watchful eyes on the wolves, wait for them to leave.
However, as usual, I don’t get my way. The black wolf stands up on his hind legs and starts scratching the tree bark, barking and snarling at me. Damn, he’s stubborn. Other wolves soon join him and do the same, scratching the tree and barking at me.
It almost looks like they are encouraging me to get down. I don’t know anything about wolves or animals in general, but even for me, their behavior seems unnatural.
I decide to put that to test. I carefully go down a branch, to stay still out of the wolves’ reach but to get closer to them.
The barking and scratching instantly stops. I look down to see the wolves watching me. I go down another branch and they take a step away from the tree. What? That’s weird. I go down another few branches so that I’m almost within their reach, but have an option to avoid them if they try anything. The wolves are a few yards away from the tree, sitting on their rumps, watching me curiously. What the hell? How can wolf’s eyes show so much? I take a look at the black wolf, as I suspect he’s the “leader” because he’s the biggest. He’s simply watching me, like others, but his posture is a bit more tense and careful, like he’s afraid of scaring me, which freaks me out even more.
I’m on the lowest branch now, from which I can easily reach the ground but stay on the branch at the same time. I put one of my feet on the ground and quietly wince from the pain in my leg. The black wolf starts growling and snarling and I get back on the higher branch out of his reach immediately. Other wolves don’t even move, as if they were given some silent order.
Glancing at the black wolf I see him watching my battered feet. I look at my feet and see them dark with dirt and dried blood. The cuts I got while running barefoot are hurting and bleeding again because of moving on the tree. The black wolf is again scratching at the tree, as if he’s trying to get to me.
My gut feeling tells me that the wolf is not my enemy. I’ve always had good instincts, but learned to ignore it and use my brain instead. I don’t know why, but I decide to trust my gut and get down again. The black wolf, somehow getting what I’m going to do, backs away, so I can get down.
As soon as my feet touch the ground again, the wolves stand up and circle around me, leaving me with the black wolf in front of me. The longer I’m here the more confused I get. Have wolves been domesticated during my time with HIM? Impossible, right?
The black wolf, I don’t know what else to call him, cautiously approaches me, looking straight into my eyes. I stay still by the tree, not even registering the worsening pain in my body, as the amber eyes hold me captive for some unknown reason.
He keeps coming closer and closer. I can’t take my eyes off him, and react only when I feel his warm breath on my face. Even on four legs, he’s still taller than me, so the closer he gets to me the more he has to bow his head to look me in the eye. I try to step back, but I’m cornered between him and the tree. With my back against the bark I look up to the wolf only for him to press his forehead to mine.
Wait, what? What’s THAT supposed to mean?
He wants to eat me or something? He’s checking my temperature?
WHAT! IS! HE! DOING!
He slowly maneuvers his head to snuggle his nose into my hair, breathing deeply. I simply keep my eyes shut and let him do whatever. I’d rather not aggravate him.
Then I feel something.
IS HE SMELLING ME?
Oh, God, he is! I can feel him smelling my hair.
WHY IS HE SMELLING ME?!
I have to get away from him. Them. I did not get away from HIM only to get eaten by an overgrown wolves.
The wolf’s wet nose is now in the crook of my neck and stays there. I can feel his breath on my skin. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS? Now I’m convinced that he wants to eat me. Do wolves normally do that to their food?
He takes his head away from my neck and looks me straight in the eyes.
Damn those amber eyes. So beautiful.
The wolf breathes in the air around us and, as if a lightning struck him, his whole posture changes. He looks absolutely livid for some reason.
Did he not like my smell?
Well, I know I stink; I haven’t showered for days.
I look up to the wolf to see him watching my feet and growling lowly. My feet are battered, covered in blood and mud, but I feel no pain, so it’s not that bad, I think.
Wait a minute! Is he angry at the state of my feet? What?
From the corner of my eye I notice other wolves coming closer to us. I may be reading too far into this, but those wolves seem almost intelligent.
I’ve lost my mind.
Maybe I have a long time ago, but since I was always THERE, I didn’t notice.
It’s ridiculous, intelligent wolves. I’m crazy.
The other wolves get behind the black one and when he looks back at them they almost seem to have some kind of telepathic conversation. When it finally looks like they made their decision, the black wolf looks back at me and nudges me with his head in the stomach.
He crouches on the ground and puts his head under my hand so that I pet him. I look into those amber eyes and try to read what he could possibly want from me now. It’s no use though, I totally don’t understand.
The black wolf seems so get that I don’t know what he wants, so he gently takes my wrist in his mouth, not hard enough to break skin and hurt me, but strong enough for me to not get it out, and tugs on it. He wants me to FOLLOW him?
I decide to listen to him and silently follow him, slightly wincing from the pain in my feet that I only now feel. Okay, so it IS that bad when I move, huh?
We go through the woods for a while. One of the brown wolves goes first with the grey and white one, then me and the black one, followed by the other brown ones. I’ve learned some time ago that this kind of set-up is usually used when protecting someone. I’ve heard that some of the important guests that came to the house would use three or more cars, theirs being the middle one.
They’re protecting the black wolf. The leader.
I never knew animals could be this organized.
But I never learned a lot about animals to begin with, so it makes sense I don’t know shit about them. Another useful phrase I learned.
The wolves up front stop and look back at us. We are in a clearing in the middle of the woods, but there are many small houses around it, hidden in the trees with their doors directed towards the clearing.
What the hell?
So these wolves ARE domesticated? And whoever is keeping them lives here?
The black wolf steps up front to the other two, for hell knows what and I look around to analyze my surroundings. The houses are small compared to the mansion I came from, built only with wood, with most of them looking exactly the same. The small holes in the walls are probably meant to be windows with no glass in them. Instead of locked doors, most of them are wide open and with nothing to lock them, not even handles. That’s strange, but who am I to judge. Maybe those people simply trust each other to the point of not seeing the need to lock themselves from each other.
The sound of barking pulls me from my little reverie. I look towards the black wolf and see him looking at me expectantly. I go towards him, covering the short grass underneath with blood seeping from the freshly opened wounds on my feet.
The wolf simply leads me towards one of the houses. I notice it’s a little bigger than the rest and looks slightly different too, with higher roof and what seems to be a porch at the front. Maybe that’s where the owner of the wolves lives. It would make sense that he has a bigger house than the others.
We go inside and I’m astonished with the beauty of the place. The walls of course are wooden; to the left I see what my mind tells me is a kitchen with dark wooden counters and cabinets. On my right is an open room, again with dark wooden furniture. I wish I knew more, so I would know what everything is called. No one taught me that after I was taken, and the little I did know, I forgot during my time THERE. There was no use for me to know what a certain type of wood or furniture is called when trying to survive through hell. If I recall correctly, the big thing in the open room is called a couch. It looks absolutely comfortable. I could probably sleep on it for the rest of my life, if allowed.
The black wolf leads me through the house to a room with a big, rectangular thing standing by the wall, and a tall, again rectangular thing - I think it’s a closet? - by the wall to my left, and a door to my right.
The wolf goes back to leave the room and I, obviously, follow him. He stops and turns around to look at me and I can the question in his eyes. ‘What are you doing?’ He turns his whole body around and nudges me with his head inside the room again. I surrender under the silent command and head back into the room, simply standing in the middle of it, not knowing what to do.
He stays with me in the room, looking at me as if expecting me to do something. I, again, don’t know what is it that he wants me to do, so I stay there staring at him, not moving a muscle.
After a while I finally have enough and seeing as the owner if the wolf doesn’t seem to be coming here, I do the one thing I can right now.
“What do you want me to do?” Yeah, because it’s totally not weird to talk to a wolf.
The wolf tilts his head and looks me straight in the eyes in what looks like awe, and I don’t get why. My voice is all scratchy and raspy from the lack of use over the years and I’m surprised the wolf doesn’t flinch hearing it. It’s almost painful to listen to.
He comes closer to me and nudges my stomach again, making me stumble a little. I step back, making him step forward, until my legs touch the huge rectangle, oh, it’s a bed, now that I think of it.
I sit on the edge of it waiting for the next move of the wolf.