Friday, August 21, 2015

Hunt for the Red Wolf

My offering for Master Class Monday at EatSleepWrite I chose the prompt; Red Wolf Hunting.

Madaline raced across the meadow, her scarlet cape fluttering behind her. The thud of her heart made it difficult to keep track of the footfalls closing the distance between herself and her pursuers.

Her eyes fixed on the treeline only a few yards ahead. A desperate burst of speed propelled her through the brush. She kept up her pace while grabbing the edges of the cape to keep it from the tangled mass of branches and undergrowth as she scrambled deeper into the trees.

The pursuit slowed once she reached the forest. She knew it was only a mometary pause. Stepping behind a large trunk, she pulled the fabric from her shoulders. Had it been fall the bright color may have been an aid, however among the bright green growth of mid spring, she may as well stand and wave at her trackers.

Behind her, she could hear jays and squirrels angrily announcing the trespass of the group chasing her. Bundling cape as compactly as she could, she jogged farther into the dense forest. She no longer travelled a straight course, weaving first one direction, then another. She used the chatter of the wildlife to keep apprised of the position of the hunting party.

The light was dim under the canopy of leaves, she'd been moving through the forest since just after noon. She guessed it was close to evening. Winged residents were making their last forays before taking to nest, small creatures of the brush and treetops had already disappeared. Those that foraged at night would soon be stalking. 

Madeline ignore the growing exhaustion of her flight and kept her steady pace as twilight sucked the last light away. Tiny singers of night tuned their throats and stretched wings. It was with relief that she climbed a grassy hummock barely visible in the brush and dark. Sliding down the opposite side, she found the overgrown opening and crawled inside.

She laid her head on her bundled cape and immediately fell asleep.

She woke abruptly, momentarily disoriented by the darkness, she scrabbled in the dirt of her burrow. Finding the cape, she tamped down the panic and cautiously approached the exit. The singers of early night had finished their set, stillness enveloped the forest. She silently slid from her hiding place, ears alert for unnatural sounds. 

Climbing to the top of the hummock she strained to see through the darkness. Her breath caught as she spied the low glow of a campfire. They'd come much closer than she'd been expecting. Using the darkness, she carefully made her way toward the camp.

Close enough to smell the burning embers. she shook out the bundle, releasing the cape Madeline threw it across her shoulders and dropped to the ground. She then crept forward on all fours, stopping a few feet outside the circle around the banked fire. six bodies lay close to the fire, two more leaned against trees, their watch thwarted by snores and drooped heads.

Madeline smiled to herself. The weak glow from the camp's center reflected in her eyes. Lifting her muzzle high, she howled. The ensuing panic excited her.

Time for the red wolf's hunt to commence.


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