My feet slowly pad through the dense undergrowth as my tail waves from side to side. A gentle breeze ruffles my snow-white fur, tempting me to run off into the deepening twilight. I have to fight the urge, for allowing myself to become distracted now could mean missing some rustling leaves, snapping twigs, or large paw prints that could lead to my death and the deaths of my best friends.
Okay, maybe that was a little harsh to start off with. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Blythe Daniels, and I am 14 years old. As for the best friends part, on my right is Layla, her ears pricked up and her coal-black fur shimmering slightly in the dim light of the setting sun. To my left is Hunter, a wolf with a black back and a white stomach, her nose glued to the ground. If we are to spend the night here, we must first make sure there are no creatures that could harm us.
A sudden swishing sound in a nearby bush causes the three of us to swing towards it. My tail raises, and a deep growl rumbles from my throat. A quiet, familiar bark emanates from the bush, drawing a sigh of relief from me.
Out of the bush steps a gray wolf, followed by a slightly smaller red wolf. They stand side by side in front of us as my tail lowers back into its normal position.
"Hey, guys," I say to them. "Did you find anything… out of the ordinary?"
"No, nothing strange," the red wolf, Damon, replies. "Right, Isaac?"
"Huh? Oh, right… uh… yeah." Isaac clears his throat. "We didn't see anything."
"You weren't paying attention, were you?" Layla asks.
Isaac tries to look offended. "I was too! At first…" He lowers his head slightly, pretending to be ashamed.
I roll my eyes, and, knowing Layla, she probably does the same.
Hunter lifts her head from the rabbit hole she had been sniffing. "You're going to end up killing us, Iz."
"Am not!" he says indignantly.
"Are too," Hunter cleverly retorts.
"Am n −"
"Stop it, you two!" I interrupt. "We need to decide what to−"
"I'm hungry," Layla whines.
"Of course you are, Layla," Damon says.
"Shut up!" she screeches, scowling deeply.
"Anyway," I say loudly, glaring at Layla. "We'll go hunt now, since Layla is so starving."
"Yes!" Layla yells triumphantly.
My nose sniffs the air, catching the scent of prey. "Some deer passed through this area about an hour ago. They should be grazing nearby."
With that, the five of us head off quickly and quietly in the direction the herd had traveled. Before long, we are concealed in the bushes, waiting for one of the naïve creatures to wander away from the herd.
We do not have to wait for long; a small doe with an injured leg soon approaches the edge of the clearing. Perfect. A slight swish of Hunter's tail in the trees opposite me indicate she is ready. Suddenly, Layla and I burst out of the growth, running swiftly towards our prey. The wild-eyed animal spots us and sprints toward her family, but it is too late. Damon and Isaac appear, cutting her off from her herd.
The deer is surrounded. She has no choice but to run towards the far trees, where Hunter is waiting. When the doe is close, Hunter leaps out, snarling. Her claws rake the deer's side, injuring our prey severely. The rest of us are running closer, but Hunter needs no help. Quickly and mercifully, she goes in for the kill.
By the time the rest of us arrive, the deer is lying motionless on the ground, her heart no longer beating. Her herd has already fled. Each of us lets out a triumphant howl before sinking our teeth into our meal.
The five of us trudge through the forest, our stomachs satisfied. Damon takes the lead, showing us the way to a cave he and Isaac had found earlier on their scouting mission.
"Here we are," he says as we reach an alcove dug into a stone wall. Layla immediately enters the cave, lying down.
"Layla, stand up," I command. "We need to prepare the cave.
As I expect, she does not budge. "Can't you guys just do it?"
"Layla," I growl, but she just closes her eyes.
"I've got it," Isaac assures me, walking over to the lazy black wolf. Using his paw, he gives her a quick, hard jab in her side. Layla immediately jumps to her feet, ears flat against her head and lips drawn back in a snarl.
"You idiot!" she screeches. Trying to smother my laughter, I quickly step between them, knowing Layla is ready to tackle Isaac.