As if a giant bowling ball was being tossed through the low hung clouds, thunder tumbled and roared across the sky. From a great distance, forks of blue and white lightning stabbed viciously at the ground. Shoved by the wind, large pines, once soaring with dignity, crashed into each other like puppets gone crazy. Then came the rain. Solid sheets of cold liquid sliced into the ground with a deafening roar. Huge boulders, plucked from the earth like berries off a bush, slithered down the hills.
The animals who called this 25 mile section of forest close to the Canadian border their home waited for the storm to end. The lucky ones snuggled in their dens and burrows and heard the storm rage. Other animals, including some mice and woodchucks who had built their homes on level ground, had been forced out by the floods and now scampered in all directions looking for shelter. On the saturated ground, deer lay side by side in their drenched beds. Although the raging elements struck fear into the animals of the woods, there was one consolation. From Cindy the deer, with her bandy-legged young, to Matilda the mouse, huddling underground with a batch of pink babies, all knew that no predator would hunt them during the storm. The birds of prey would be forced to brace themselves in the swaying trees. The bears would be holed up in their dens. And the pack of wolves who considered this area their territory would have to forego their nightly hunt.
While the wolves' usual prey counted their blessings, the pack of wolves lay dry and warm in the den that had been used for the birthing of the pups. There in their long narrow tunnel, the predators waited for the storm to end.
Since food was not all that plentiful in the area, the pack had necessarily remained small. Allard, the leader, was a 100 pound Timber wolf with deep-set emeralds for eyes. He delighted in showing his forty two-teeth and two-inch canines whenever possible. Kayla was the dominate female. She was the same gray color as Allard but weighed about twenty pounds less than he did. Her almond-shaped eyes sparkled and smoldered, depending on her mood. Allard and Kayla were considered the alpha pair. Their job was to lead the pack. But, more importantly, when food was scarce as it had been for as long as the pack could remember, only the alpha pair can mate and have pups.
Not quite two years old, Rowena, Kayla's younger sister, also lived with the pack. Rowena was black with doe-like eyes and had a beautiful voice. Her yelps and howls carried for many miles so she often was elected to pass messages to their wolf neighbors. "We had a good meal of deer," Rowena would howl from the top of the hill. "We are great hunters."
Sometimes she would tell the neighbors of danger or remind them that this twenty five mile parcel that the pack had marked with scent, was their hunting ground.
"Keep away from our territory," she would bark and yelp. Besides having a beautiful voice, Rowena hunted to supply food for the family and frequently helped Kayla by babysitting for the mischievous pups.
Last, but by no means least, of the adults, was an ancient black wolf named Gavin.
What had originally happened to his own family no one seemed to know, but he had lived with the pack for three years. Despite his being nine years old, and his fur being thickly streaked with coarse white hairs, he was quick to spot a meal and fast as lightening in bringing it down. As far as wolf-pack etiquette went, Gavin never forgot his place and was quick to show submission to Allard.
But the heart and future of the pack was the four-week-old pups. The girls were called Griselda and Sabrina and the male was named Thayer. All were a mousy-chocolate color and only faintly resembled Allard and Kayla or, for that matter, any grown wolf. But they were the pride of the pack and doted upon by Rowena.