Avon grunted and picked himself up from the frigid ground. Jagged rocks dug painfully into his hands and knees, adding to the sharp pain from his side. He heard Jenna groaning as he felt for his fractured ribs.
Still in place. A great deal more bruising.
Jenna groaned and sat up, feeling the gash at her temple caused by falling against a rock. Her hand came away wet with blood. The only small mercy seemed to be that the wind had died down to a smidgeon less than gale force. She looked around for the scattered supplies she’d managed to gather before they fled the ship.
Avon did not hear the third member of their party. “Wolf.”
“He’s out cold, Avon.”
“Is he alright?”
“You mean other than the bleeding in his shoulder?” A black stick poked out between some branches. “Here’s your cane.” She retrieved it and tapped it into Avon’s waiting hand.
“Thank you.” He felt along the smooth length. A small bit of security in an alien environment.
“Why didn’t you ask how I was?” She drew a small knife from her belt and cut away part of Argus’s shirt, hoping the Wolf part of him wouldn’t wake up just then. The last thing she needed was to be bitten by a man who thought he was a wolf.
“I assumed you were fine since you were moving around.” He paused, realizing he may have made the wrong assumption. “Are you alright?”
“Sometimes I wonder if you’re insensitive or just clueless.”
“Being blind might be a factor,” he said dryly, “Are you injured?”
“Just a bump on the head. I’ll live.”
“How is he?”
Jenna wished she had something to wash off the blood. “From the looks of it...” She probed the area around the wound. “It’s a deep gash but not too deep. Can’t see anything in the wound. I’ll try to stop the bleeding.” Retrieving the deep tissue regenerator from the med kit, she squeezed the wound closed and rolled it gently over the gash. She glanced over occasionally to see what Avon was doing. His head was slightly tilted and he appeared to be listening.
“Why did you stay?” she asked as she finished up. “You could have gone down in the life pod.”
Avon, with his knees drawn up, was twirling the cane absently between his fingers, listening.
They were suddenly surrounded by wolves, their eyes eerily glowing in the half-moonlight, ears flat against their heads, slinking low in a circle around them, cutting off any escape. Silent spectres.
Jenna whispered, “Avon, don’t move!”
He sat up slowly, instantly alert. “What is it?”
Avon gripped the cane tightly like a weapon. “Federation.”
“No. Wolves. Big wolves. I don’t think they’re here for tea. More like dinner.”
“Then I won’t move.” He could hear the gun slide free from Jenna’s holster. “Wait.”
“This better be quick. They look hungry.”
“Wake the Wolf.”
“Have you completely lost your mind?”
“Not completely. Aren’t you curious?”
“I’m going to shoot one. The rest should run.” Menacing growls greeted her words, making her hair stand on end. She eyed one wolf in particular. A female, tall and proud, her head almost level with Jenna’s shoulder. She came closer than the others, her lips pulled back to reveal very sharp fangs.
The Wolf whined in complaint and yelped as it rolled onto the injured shoulder. Its eyes snapped open and its nose sniffed urgently. The creature was immediately alert, all pain forgotten. Its teeth bared, it crouched low and a guttural growl formed at the base of its throat.
Black-Tail, a wolf with a black strip that ran the length of its tail said, * They want to kill us. We should kill them first. *
Bright-Eyes snarled, * Not yet. We still need information. *
She sniffed in the direction of the two-legs. They all had injuries. Not much of a threat except the female with the weapon.
The grizzled old Good-Nose said, * One of them makes words with his mind. *
* Oh? * This was strange. None of them had run into a human who could speak with its mind. That was a wolf ability. Her ears pricked up as her ‘inner’ ears strained to listen.
One of the two-legs whined in pain and yelped. It immediately sprang up and faced her, his face twisted in a snarl, the puny human teeth bared, the message of its body spoke in wolf.
The pack bristled and faced this threat with their own considerably larger array of dentistry.
Bright-Eyes circled them, her sinewy movements graceful and confident. Wolf paced her, low growls warning her not to come any closer and his teeth bared in aggression. Argus's knife slid easily into his hand, a black blade that swallowed up the light. It was a deadly dance as each sized up the other.
Wolf tore the rest of the tattered shirt from its body with a yank, throwing it behind him. His sculpted chest glistened in the flashing storm, a patch of red, like a badge on his left side. The muscles rippled as he moved, smooth and athletic.
The female wolf had a handsome grey coat that glinted with drops of rain. The muzzle soft and furry. A gentle curl to the lips that now pulled back to reveal an impressive set of fangs. And beautiful amber eyes that looked at him with suspicion and warning.
Such beautiful eyes. Bright with the energy of the storm. He could feel the hard muscles and the soft furry body as he pressed...
Wolf shook his head in confusion. For once, he was glad of the coverings of the humans. His lips closed over his bared teeth.
The female wolf sniffed at him, her head moving slowly from side-to-side, as if he was a strange creature she was trying to identify. Her teeth bared again.
* You speak the body language of a wolf but you are not one. What are you? *
Wolf gasped and fell to his knees. The voice in his mind…it was…his mate.
The boy whimpered, more like an animal now than a human being; curled in the darkness, naked, cold and starving. His courage and his stubbornness was all that kept him from screaming and clawing the walls. He shook his head angrily, trying to fight the thoughts in his mind, the strange feelings that were not his own. The need, the desire, to kill, to hunt. His fists clenched as he struggled to remember his name. As long as he still had that, he could remain himself.
He knew it was no use, eventually he would drift into an exhausted sleep...then he would have the other memories.
But not yet, he banged his fist on the rough stone floor, as long as he could still fight, he would.