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Hungry Like The Wolf

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“How extraordinary. I believed your kind to be all but extinct.”

The large grey wolf paused, his ears pricking forward as a low, melodious voice spoke to him from the gloom under the trees. He kept his posture neutral as a tall figure detached itself from the shadows, stepping into the light cast by the full moon and yet somehow remaining shrouded in darkness. Sniffing cautiously, the wolf did not move any closer, his ears swivelling at every soft crack of branches underfoot. Despite the soothing tone of the words, they meant nothing to him, and his hackles began to rise as all of his instincts clamoured at him to retreat. After all, his eyes and ears told him this was Man, but his nose said Other, and his olfactory senses were much more trustworthy while he was in this particular form.

The wolf sniffed again as the creature took another wary step closer, holding out a bone-white hand and crooning quietly. With a low growl to disabuse this person-shaped thing of the notion that he was so easily tamed, the wolf showed his teeth and flashed his backside as he bolted into the thicket of undergrowth. He sneezed as he left the intruder behind, clearing his nostrils of the odd scent that lingered, something acrid and damp, like mould flourishing under long-fallen leaves, like rot and decay.

He huffed excitedly as there was a mad scrabbling in front of him, a quickening heartbeat sounding in his ears before the frantic patter of tiny paws. Giving chase to the unfortunate rabbit that had bolted from its hiding place, he was at least grateful that his less than graceful retreat had flushed out dinner. Although there was still a bit of curiosity lingering behind in that moonlit clearing, the wolf’s thoughts were transitory, and he swiftly lost interest in favour of licking the sweet blood from his muzzle and renewing his scent all along his territorial borders.

Not that there was anyone else to warn away, or even to entice into his pack... Knowing that it was a hopeless cause, but compelled to seek and search anyway, the wolf called out to his lost brethren, his howl echoing back at him, empty and forlorn. He ignored the vague aura of longing that was radiating from a deeper patch of shadows, a strange cool otherness lingering at the edge of his senses.