His mind was racing. There was an animal in front of him that was talking. Not just talking, but threatening to kill him. What was he supposed to do here? John had spent no time outdoors, so any interaction with a wild animal was new. Add in the fact that the animal was impossibly speaking, and it was too far outside his comfort zone for him to have any idea what to do in this situation.
With a growl, the wolf charged. John backed away until he ran into a tree. His eyes darted back and forth in hopes of spotting something he could use as a weapon. Unless a leaf hurt it, though, there was nothing around. He saw the wolf jump his way and an immediate wave of dizziness hit him. The world turned black and John felt himself falling.
The next thing he knew, a weight hit his chest and bounced off. It was a struggle to open his eyes, but he did it. John was on the ground. The weight that hit him was that of the wolf. As best as he could figure, he’d fainted and the wolf missed him as he fell, running into the tree instead. Still groggy, he moved away from the animal as quickly as he could.
It didn’t move to follow him. Once his head stopped spinning, he took a closer look. John was no veterinarian, but even he could see that the wolf’s neck was broken. There was no way it could be alive with the awkward angle the animal’s head was laying.
“Blacktail!” John froze. Where did that voice come from? “Did you find the human yet?”
He took a quick look at the wolf’s backside and saw that there were enough dark hairs for the dead animal to be named “Blacktail”. John almost sighed in frustration, but caught himself. Any sound might give away his position and he certainly didn’t want to do that. He cursed his luck that there were others around. It never entered his mind that his attacker might have friends out here. Then again, his mind hadn’t been working correctly ever since he first heard an animal speak.
It was imperative that he get as far away from Blacktail’s friends as quickly as he could. The only problem was that there were so many leaves on the ground that moving quietly would be impossible. If he moved, they’d hear him. If he didn’t move, they’d find him eventually. Either way, he was in trouble. At least if he moved, he’d have a chance to get away from them. So, that’s what he would do.
He slowly got to his feet. His movements didn’t sound very loud to him, but he wasn’t a wolf. If wolves could hear as good as some dogs did, they still might have heard him. One foot raised up and took a tentative step forward. A small crunch sounded, but to John it was as loud as a gunshot. Frightened, he threw caution to the wind and broke into a sprint. Weaving his way in between trees, he moved as fast as his legs would take him. He didn’t know how far he’d gotten when his right foot bounced off something mid-stride and threw him off balance. Looking back, a large tree root stuck out of the ground.
John turned back around and found himself face-to-face with another wolf. Every brain cell in his head told him to get up and run, but he was frozen with fear. Suddenly, the wolf turned away from him. A moment later, a question came from the area the wolf was now looking at.
“Sharptooth, do you see it?”
The wolf looked back at him for a second before turned back to the source of the question. “It’s heading towards the river,” the wolf yelled back, leaving John staring at the animal in confusion.