Wolf Mother

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day! Mom’s coming in all varieties and personalities. Whatever type you or your mom may be, celebrate in their unique flavor. Today I have a flash fiction about one tough momma.

Kalini scrapped her hand over the rough bark of a fallen trunk as she vaulted over. The winds carried a mournful howl, pushing her to run faster. The mountains ringed the valley and ahead flashes of lake Galarep’s waters dazzled in the sun. This shouldn’t be happening. Not here.

She broke through the last of the trees, the small stones comprising the beach rattled beneath her feet threating to throw her to the ground. Still Kalini ran, veering right and toward a column of smoke rising to the sky near the shore’s edge. The howls sounded nearer, a deeper growl trailing after the cry. A boulder blocked her view of the camp, too large for the shore as if a giant had torn it from a cliff face and tossed it short of the lake.

Her heart pounded, the beat echoing her desire to be on time and stress from unexpected peril. She gulped in air for screaming lungs and coughs as smoke chocked her, coating her tongue with the taste of ash and wood. She rounded the stone and slid over the loose rocks to a stop.

Two sledges were hauled by four men each. A Rough wooden cage was balanced on each sledge, within which were the pups. Kalini bared her teeth and growled softly. The men remained oblivious to her, but the pups turned toward her, tumbling over each other in their haste to press toward her.

“Ge’ down.” A hunter smacked the edge of the cage. The wood bent with the force and slashed across one of the pup’s nose and sending an echo rebounding across the valley. The pup whined backing toward the center of the cage, head lowered.

He was large with a paunch that rolled over his belt. Gray streaked his hair liberally and lines etched his face from a life in the elements. The others watched him, laughing when he grinned and ducking back to work when his attention turned to them. Their leader then.

The last tie gave way beneath her finger as the narrowed her eyes, focused on the hunter. Him. He would be the first. Claws scrapped over stone behind her and a nose pressed coldly against her palm, a soft whine following.

Turning, Kalini knelt. The gray wolf pressed closer to her, two others following in his wake. Her tilted her head against him, reveling in the silky fur. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “They will pay for that strike.” She rose, stroking his length as she turned back toward the party. “Stay back. Stay out of site. Until the time is right.”

The wolf yipped and the trio retreated, dodging into the tree line. Kalini traced their progress a moment until their pelts became nothing more than another shadow among many. She pulled an apple from her pouch. Taking a step toward the hunters, she hid the fruit behind her back.

Kalini kicked at the stones as she strode forward. Heads turned toward her, hands going to bows or swords. The leader raised his hand stepping toward her. His tongue slipped between his lips, pointlessly trying to wet parched flesh.

Lowering her head, she smiled beneath a flutter of eyelashes. Kalini knew what he would see. Galarep blue eyes, charcoal hair, and a slight frame. The wind tugged at her skits, billowing them as she walked forward. To him she’d be but a lady miles from town or city that should guarded such a treasure. She raised her empty hand and ran her fingers over her bare shoulder. Licking his lips again the man stepped forward tugging at his belt.

Those behind him moved forward as well. She flicked her gaze to his men as she flattened her hand over her chest and took a step backwards. He turned, bellowed with a wave of his arm, and they rest retreated to the sledges.

Kalini inclined her head, dropping into a courtesy as he approached. She twisted her arms holding the apple out to him with a flourish. “M’lord.” She looked up at him and offered a smile. “Forgive my meager offering.”

Teeth gnawing the raw flesh of his lip, peeling a flack of skin off with the movement. He reached as if a log plodding down the river and over obstacles. “You’ve offering enough.” His fingers crept over hers. The edges of her eyes twitched, but she managed to keep the smile on her face as he groped her hand.

The apple came loose into his left hand, but his right kept hold of her hand. He tugged, the pressure more than slight, and pulled her upward and toward him. His arm snaked around her waist. She rested her own across his back, her fingers touching his neck. Juice from the apple splattered over her cheek as he took a bite, leaning closer to her. Fowl and hot breath wafted over her cheek as he leaned toward her.


Her finger caught the feel of the hunk of her apple in his throat. Pressing against his neck she smiled at him as the color drained from his cheeks. He swallowed, his throat rippling as he tried to dislodge the food, but she held it firm in place, cutting him from his air supply.

“Is something amiss, m’lord?” she whispered into his ear. His eyes jerked to her and widened. She grinned, eyes becoming slits. He saw her then and his mouth opened into an O as he realized who she was. Too late. They were always too late.

Staggering the man fell to his knees. Heads turned toward them. Kalini pulled her hand from his neck. Turning, she stepped over his body and toward the men. Howling arose from the woods as her pack raced forward. Dodging between men slow in their shock. She moved through them, wolves tearing at any who approached. Her focus remained on the cages and pups, unconcerned about by humans.

Kalini opened the cages. Pups tumbled out, paws sliding over the uncertain ground. She slid the door open on the last cage and retrieved the whipped pup from where it huddled in the cage. Turning, she looked around. The men lay scatted over the beach, their blood seeping between the stones.

All but one. A boy sat huddled on the ground, a wolf clenching his shoulder between its jaws. “Enough,” Kalini ordered stroking the pup in her arms. The boy staggered as the wolf released him. His hand went to his shoulder, vaguely trying to hold torn flesh together.

Kalini flicked her eyes to the woods. “Go and remind your elders that Galarep belongs to the wolf mother alone.” He rose. Legs wobbling beneath him as he moved. A wolf snapped at him, and his pace quickened. He disappeared into the woods at a staggering run. Kalini grinned and rubbed her cheek against her pup. Blood replaced the scent of smoke and man on the wind.

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