Of Wolf and Man

"One last, grand, forest still stands tall, just waiting to be explored. Stretching farther than any landmass known to man, and nurturing an uncountable amount of creatures. These denizens of the forest, the ones hidden from humanity, rage their own war within, praying that they don’t disappear into the myths. But of course one group only wishes the past to stay in its place, to be forever forgotten- to be forever, extinct…"

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2. Chapter 1.

 

Chapter 1,

 

 

     As in any town, the residents of High Oaks were bustling as everyone got ready for school and work. Winter break just ended, and that meant many kids were dismayed; but not all. One girl was excited to go to school- though she may be the only one- and was eager as any straight A student would be. Most teenagers spent their time hanging out and living life, but not her. Her goal was simple, get the best grades she could, and ride a scholarship right out of this small town.

     She looked in her mirror, combing her short, light-brown hair that flipped from the sides, which waved perfectly. She zipped her navy blue fleece jacket, and wrapped her scarlet scarf over her neck. “Naomi, hurry, or you’ll be late!” A motherly voice could be heard from down the hall. 

     “I am, I am!” Naomi hollered back down. She slipped her satchel over her head and headed out. Naomi was girl who always did the right thing, or at least the normal thing. She never wanted to adventure past any normality. She just hoped that one day her good grades would get her out of this small city; that’s all that mattered. 

     She didn't care much for dating, as most boys her age are immature, and she kept a small group of friends. Many boys asked her out, and many girls wanted to be friends, but she always distanced herself; never to stray of the path of a better future. As time went on though, she wondered if she really wanted to keep this lonely lifestyle.

     This break really showed how pitiful her life could be if Naomi was to keep this up. Solitude was a common theme in her life, and she wanted to break away from that. Naomi stepped outside, and engulfed the morning air, “Life isn't much if I’m alone, I suppose.” She took those few first steps, looking at life in a new direction. “I’ll make a vow to myself that I’ll accept any new challenge.” Naomi was already seventeen, so the time to be a kid was running out.

     She actually lived in this mountain town her whole life, rarely leaving for trips. High Oaks was all she knew, but her love for the town and the forest died alongside her father. She used to love it here more than anything, but one thing life taught her was nothing lasts forever; even feelings. When she was ten, her dad passed away to cancer, destroying the joy she once shared in this town. He taught Naomi everything there was to love about nature, and how to appreciate the quieter side of life.

     Naomi used to love snow more than the average person too, but looking at it now leaves a painful feeling. The times of making snowmen and angels are over, and so is morning Christmas days. Ever since the passing of her father, she just wanted to leave this town. 

 

 

 

     The morning bell rang for class, and Naomi was already patiently waiting at her desk. All would be fine, but one particular event was driving her curiosity meter off the charts. She tapped on her half asleep friend, Val, and spoke to her with a light whisper, “Hey Val?”

     “Eh-ugh…” Val’s head was barely balancing on her hand, and was close to toppling over “Val!” Naomi’s voice heightened a tad, and shook her a bit violently.

     “What?!” Val’s voice caught the attention of the teacher and the rest of the classmates. The teacher gave a stern look her, and turned back to his whiteboard. “What do you want? I was having a good dream.” Val dropped to an angry whisper.

     “I was just wondering, are there wolves around this area?” Naomi’s expression was burdened by curiosity.

     Val gave a very surprised look, “Huh, why are you asking me? You’re the genius around here.”

     “I just wanted your input.”

     “Well, I’m sure there has to be, but why are you asking?”

     “ I've been here my whole life, but not once have I seen a wolf; but today, I saw a pure white wolf, with bloodshot eyes on my way to school!” Naomi’s voice grew a little with excitement.

     “That sounds kind of creepy, if you ask me.” Val’s expression was completely opposite to Naomi’s.  

     “It wasn’t though; it had a very calm presence.” Naomi had a bit of a twinkle in her eye, just thinking about it.

     “That’s cool, I guess…” Val’s voice started to drift off, as did her eyes.

     Naomi ignored the fact her friend was sleeping, and continued to talk to herself, “The weird thing is, that was a tundra wolf, and those only live in the arctic regions. Maybe it was a timber wolf who was albino! But can they even turn albino? I’m sure some can…” She started to ramble, and with each sentence her voice grew louder. 

     A boy that sat in front of Naomi leaned back in his chair, far enough to where Naomi could hear what he had to say, “Hey, do you like talking to yourself?” 

     Naomi blushed and scanned the room. Everyone was looking at her with laughable expressions, and the teacher stood in front of her with his arms crossed. Naomi’s eyes widen, and her whole face was red. The teacher made a quick snip at her, “Miss Reid, I think this is the wrong class to be talking about animals, seeing how this is math.” Naomi sunk her head in, and nodded. All the Kids laughed at her expense, but that didn’t bother Naomi too much, as the thought of this wolf still tormented her.

     When lunch came, Naomi headed to the library and did some research on albino wolves. Apparently, they don’t exist, and most people mistake them for arctic wolves. She was dumbfounded at the fact there was a wolf like that here, “But why?” spun through her head endlessly.  This was definitely a rare occasion, and an anomaly that had to be investigated more.  

     The last bell of the day rang, and with that, the students fled. Naomi went back down the road she came, and kept a look out for the wolf. She realized she had no clue what she would do if she found the wolf, but that didn’t stop Naomi. She was running on pure curiosity. 

     She headed to the road where she first locked eyes with the white wolf, and began searching for clues. The road was mostly barren, with one side of the road being the start of the forest, while on the other side being the start of the city. It was like the split between two different worlds.

     The forest was filled with snow, and looking at it all, gave Naomi far off memories. After standing in silence for a moment, she walked over to two leafless trees. In between the two trees was the spot where the snow colored wolf sat, staring at her with peaceful, blood-stained eyes. She looked around for any evidence left from the wolf; it wasn’t snowing at the moment, so any paw prints should still remain. 

     After some searching, she found where the wolf sat, but something baffled her. There wasn’t any paw prints leading to the main spot, but instead, there was human shoe prints. Naomi shook her head and rubbed her eyes, but no matter how many times she did that, there was still human foot prints. At one point, there was a wolf paw and a human foot print right next to each other. “This is some joke, right?” She wanted to wright it off as so, but the evidence remained. The prints led off, and formed back into human tracks again. Blinded by curiosity, she continued to follow them. 

     The path she followed seemed familiar, but why? After a few minutes of following the prints, she stopped and inspected the scenery. Naomi let out a soft gasp to her acknowledgement; the tracks from the wolf followed along the same road Naomi walks to school. “W-was the wolf following me?” she accidentally said out loud. 

     Naomi kept following the path until it strayed off left, deeper into the forest. She looked, and the road that leads up the hill to her school, turned right. “So he followed me as far as he could?  Why? Wolves don’t have that kind of thinking pattern, but then again, I might be dealing with something else.” She wanted to turn back, but she promised herself to do the first crazy thing to be asked; and right now she, herself, is asking what this thing is. So Naomi turned left, deeper into the forest.

     The last time she went this far, was when she went camping with her dad; those fond memories rummaged through Naomi’s head. Her dad always said, “Curiosity may have killed the cat, ‘but’ if the cat never died for knowledge, there would be a lot more dead cats.” Naomi smiled at that silly saying, and gained some comfort.

     She ended up at a spot where there was a small boulder that formed into a hill, and in front of it was a very small pond. There was a tree stump facing the hill, which made a beautiful looking scene. She decided to take a breather, and sat at the end of the pond, looking up at the hill. She stretched for a bit, taking in the cool air. After she felt relaxed, Naomi opened her satchel for a water bottle. She took a few sips to clear her thirst.

      The wind started to pick up, and a single snow flake landed on her nose. It looked precious to her, and made Naomi ponder a bit about how that will be the first and last of its specific kind. Soon after, there was more to follow, as if someone had shaken a snow globe. “Oh no…” She spoke out loud in despair. Being this far out would be bad if it started to snow. With that incentive, Naomi packed her stuff up, and stood straight up. Swaying her head right, she caught a glimpse of something. 

     Naomi looked up at the Boulder, and standing there was the Snow-Colored, Red-Eyed, wolf; right there, and completely stoic. The wind was moving faster, causing Naomi to shiver, but they both stared into each other eyes with great intensity, unmoving. She felt as if she should be afraid, but for some reason, Naomi felt calm.

     The snow was becoming thicker, and the wind weaved the wolf’s coat. It was beginning to get harder to see for Naomi, but the blood filled eyes acted as beacon for refuge. The wolf looked into Naomi’s sapphire colored eyes with an aura of happiness. 

     Naomi couldn’t tell how long they looked upon one another, but it felt like time had stopped. The wolf made no movements, and kept his head held high. Eventually, a snow storm started to occur, and Naomi was shaking uncontrollably. The wolf nudged his head back, as if to say, “Follow.” Naomi’s feet started to move forward, without her notice. 

     She had a hard time seeing, but every once in a while the wolf turned its head back to her, and gleamed his eyes at her. Naomi joints were beginning to get harder to move, and her face was getting quite red. Suddenly, she collapsed to her knees, and soon after, her body toppled over. Looking like she may have just met her fate, the wolf ran over to Naomi’s rescue.

 

 

 

 

     Hours passed when Naomi’s eyes finally awoken, her vision was too blurry to make out what she was really looking at. What stood in front of her was a wolf pup, staring at her with innocent, red-eyes. Naomi rubbed her face, but when she looked back up there wasn't a pup; instead, there was stoic, full-grown wolf; with the same peaceful, blood-filled eyes. The snow-colored wolf was the same one gazing upon her near the pond. Suddenly, everything came back to Naomi, and she remembered she had lost consciousness from the storm. “Did he save me?” she had thought, “But it’s a wolf, right? Again, why?”

     Naomi looked at her surroundings, and gathered she was in some cave. Looking at the entrance, you could see the harsh snow-storm brewing outside. Even with the blizzard out there, Naomi, oddly, felt very warm. When she looked to see why, she was stunned to see a fire lit. “Did he light this?” Naomi pondered furiously, trying to think of any cheap explanation as to, “why?”

     “D-Did…” Naomi had trouble getting her words out, “…Did you save me?”

     The white wolf stood very still, and simply gave a light nod. There was no way; just no way she was getting a response from an animal. Naomi couldn’t believe her eyes. Either she was still passed out, and this is some sad limbo, or this is actually reality. At which case, she might was well poke more at this situation. 

     “Why did you save me?” Naomi felt a little weird trying to ask a wolf, but maybe there’s more to this wolf. 

     In response the wolf edged his head towards the opening, as if to point to the snow-storm. Naomi understood, and lifted her back up to the wall. She was still trying to figure out if this is a dream, or if there really is a wolf with human intelligence.

     “Thank you.” Naomi said with an awkward smile on her face. The wolf nodded again, and laid down on his belly. 

     With no real choice but to stay, Naomi sat there enjoying the presence of the wolf. She wanted to poke even more at his brain, so she decided to ask a few things, “So…do you have a name?”

     The wolf nodded.

     “Um, what is it?” She felt uneasy from that question; if the wolf started to talk that might be all she could take.

     The wolf responded, and got up on all fours. He gracefully walked over to the fire, and kicked out a half burned piece of wood from the fire. From there, he continued to kick it out all the way to the entrance of the cave. Once the wood hit the snow, steam flew up. After a few seconds of waiting, the wolf carried the log back in with his jaw. He dropped it, and placed his paw on the charcoal side of the log. Naomi was far above astonished, and couldn’t even rationalize what was happening. The wolf started to drag his paw around the ground, formalizing letters. Naomi’s eyes widen further and further as she saw a name being spelled. 

     In, nearly perfect, writing spelled Shiro. “Your name is Shiro?” Naomi asked with huge eyes. Shiro nodded, but with a smile this time. Naomi dragged herself over to Shiro, and grabbed Shiro’s head gently. 

     “What are you…?” Naomi spoke softly, while looking deeply into the Snow-Colored, Red-Eyed, Wolf. Shiro simply blinked back at her.

     “Why is it, when I look at you, I get some sort of nostalgic feeling?” Naomi said, while stroking the middle part of the wolf’s head. 

     The wolf looked down quietly. Naomi lifted Shiro’s head back up and looked at his eyes; Shiro quickly turned his eyes away from her. His eyes turned outside and noticed the storm had calmed down. He gently clamped down on Naomi’s satchel and edged her outside. She took his lead and followed. 

      That sense of nostalgia was burning in the back of her head, and there was so much  more Naomi wanted to ask. Shiro lead her back to the road where they first met this morning, following a path that seemed familiar. They both stood there, shoulder to shoulder; neither one wanting to make the first step. Nudging Naomi away, like a pathetic puppy, Shiro pushed her onto the road, and out of the forest. Naomi quickly turned around, “I don’t want to go, Shiro. I want to know more, like, why did you follow me?”

     Shiro looked down, showing even more emotions those eyes could make. Naomi tried to move closer to him, but Shiro quickly made a bark that made her jump. It halted Naomi, and she stopped her persistence. “Then, will I ever see you again?”

     Shiro tilted his head, and looked past Naomi. She followed his movements, moving her head towards the town, only to see nothing was there, “Shiro, I don’t see anything.” But as she turned back, the white wolf faded back into the snowy forest. “I-uh…” She decided not to speak, guessing that she would be the only one to hear.   

     Naomi felt a little hurt, and even abandon, but as she looked at the sky, she noticed it was getting late. She panicked and started to run home. While running, she thought, “Will I ever see him again? Was that even real? And…why do I feel sad right now?” So many thoughts were running through her head, but she found no answers. Before she knew it, she was at her doorstep.

     It was ten minutes before eight, so she had some time before her mom would be home. Naomi’s mom worked late, and rarely had time for herself. After her father passed away, her mom had to provide for both of them, so money got tight. Naomi felt like a burden, and always hated seeing her mom come home late. She tried to help out by cooking and cleaning, but nothing eased the pain for herself. She wanted to get a job, but her mom absolutely refused the idea. Her mom would always say, “All you need to do is focus on your life, and make a better future for yourself.”

     Naomi undressed to a small t-shirt and her pajama bottoms, and then collapsed onto her bed. She covered up in her blanket, and buried her head in her pillow; she let out a loud sigh, and drifted into thought. “What the hell just happened?” was the big thought banging on her frontal lobe. 

      “Rahhhhhhhhhh!” Naomi let out a large scream suddenly, and threw her pillow across the room. That nostalgic feeling was like cyanide being poured onto her brain. When she stood up to get her pillow, she glanced out her window, and saw Shiro sitting from the other side of her backyard fence. Those red eyes peered up at Naomi, and she lost all train of thought. Shiro calmly turned around, and walked back into the forest that was behind Naomi’s house. “Shiro…”

 

      The next day, Naomi couldn’t keep any concentration in class, and continued to day dream. At lunch, she didn’t eat much, and drifted away from her friends. Val tried to get in her head, but Naomi just spaced herself from everyone, like she normally did; but this time it was different, and no one would even believe her if she told them.

     Last night, Naomi had a dream, a very impactful one. Her mind was quickly enveloped by the thought of it, and was lost in her head. She saw the white pup again, but this time she felt like they were friends already. It was faint, but she remembered them playing hide-and-go-seek and other such games; but there was a boy there too. Not at the same time though, more like the wolf and the boy switched places; alternating their personas. 

      The dream was peaceful until end, that’s when things turned into a nightmare. There was gun fire, and people in dark clothing running amuck. There was also many other wolves, running, bleeding, dying. It was like a battlefield, but Naomi was just a little girl in this dream, and had no way to protect herself. She was scared, and lost in the woods; but there was a small wolf cub, coming to her rescue. He pulled her out of the forest and danger, just like Shiro.

     They ended up at the other side of her fence, and from there, the pup was gone; yet there was a small boy there with white hair, and red eyes. He hugged her, and said he would come back. When he turned his back, he was a wolf again, heading back into the forest. Naomi wanted to follow him, but couldn’t. She wanted to scream his name out, but she couldn’t. She wanted so many things, but she was too weak. She fell to her little knees, and screamed out as loud as she could, “Shiro!!!” Her tiny voice echoed around. Shiro turned around, and stared at her with those same red-filled eyes. 

     The bell ranged, and snapped Naomi out of her day dreaming. There was a small, single tear that ran down from her cheek. This anxiety was killing her, and so were all these other emotions she didn’t even understand why she had. It was destroying her inside, and they pain wouldn’t stop.

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