Okay, here's Chapter 46 at long last. Thanks for being patient with me. Life has been incredibly busy since I started homeschooling our three boys and teaching an online class; I start teaching two classes on Thursday, too; one a 10th-12th grade expository writing class, and one a 4th-6th grade medieval history class. I've had a lot to pull together to prepare properly for these classes, plus the first few weeks of homeschooling is always stressful until we find our "groove" as a family. So thanks for hanging in there and for being patient and understanding! :)
I'm dedicating this to someone who claims she has "nothing to read" right now. :) Here you go, honey. :)
Chapter Forty-Six: Wolves?
It took only moments of racing through the dense forests until I reached the border marking the Quileute lands set out by Carlisle and Ephraim Black over seventy years ago. The highway snaked through the mountain passes leading down to the sea, but of course, I could not follow the highway any further unless I were to break the treaty—something Carlisle would be extremely angry about. My father-figure seldom lost his temper, but I knew that upsetting seventy-some years of peaceful co-habitation with the Quileute tribe would push him to his limit...and perhaps beyond.
I slowed as I approached the border, noting the line of demarcation more for a strange scent permeating the air than for the actual physical characteristics of the land. The smell was musky and remotely familiar—a scent I had not encountered for many years.
I inhaled deeply, grimacing at the unpleasant aroma but desiring to recall its origin.
Then I remembered.
It was an odor reminiscent of Ephraim Black himself, although different at the same time.
There was only one conclusion I could come to.
There must be wolves nearby.
Unable to believe my conclusion, I shook my head. As far as my family knew, the strange strain of Quileute men who shifted into the shape of wolves, an animal long sacred to their tribe, had died out with the generation of Ephraim Black. When we first returned to this area two years ago, Carlisle had met with the grandson of Ephraim, Billy Black, to renew the treaty. And Billy Black had stated at that time, in answer to Carlisle's direct query, that there were no shape-shifters in the Quileute tribe. And as I searched his mind as he answered Carlisle's question, his thoughts revealed no deception.
Perhaps the wild wolves of this area possessed a similar odor to that of the shape-shifters of seventy years ago?
Probable, in fact.
On our frequent hunting expeditions in this general area, we had caught the scent of very few wolves, but perhaps there were some wolf dens on the tribal lands beyond the border and thereby off limits to us by the treaty.
In fact, that situation would explain a lot. I allowed this supposition to relax the tensed muscles of my shoulders of which I was unaware until the tenseness began to ebb.
I made my way away from the highway, along the boundary line to a grouping of tall spruces. I climbed the tallest tree in a flash, and from this vantage point on the side of a mountain, I could see the highway perfectly.
Just as I got comfortably situated—or as comfortably as one can be sitting halfway up a mature spruce—I detected the purr of an approaching vehicle below me. Peering down from my perch above the meanderings two-lane road, I quickly recognized the car via both keen sight and stellar hearing. Charlie's cruiser passed the boundary line and proceeded into La Push, out of my line of sight.
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