She is standing in the meadow, arms outstretched at her sides, waist length, sun-kissed, red hair blowing wildly around her. The most beautiful woman they have ever seen. A goddess.
Even from this distance they can see her enormous green eyes, very angry green eyes. Two very large wolves stand on either side of her. At least five more can be seen coming through the knee high grass toward her.
They hear her speak calmly, but very clearly. "You will leave this land! There will be no killing done here! I will not allow it! If there will be death here it will be your own!" This goddess declares to them with a soft southern drawl.
This said, the wolves start moving, surrounding the woman, never taking their eyes off of the men, teeth bared and growling.
"Lady, we just came here to hunt! We saw a big moose come into the woods up the road aways and we followed its tracks here!" states one of the men. He turns to the others and in a quiet tone says, "Boys, come on. Let's get the hell outta here. We're on private property and we all know it. That moose ain't worth this kind of trouble."
They all nod, but one.
This one tells them, loudly, "I came here to kill that damn moose and I ain't lettin no woman with a bunch of damn dogs scare me off. What the hell do you think she can do? We have the guns. We'll just kill a few of those overgrown dogs and she'll move off!"
The other men shake their heads and turn to leave.
Before they move very far the one speaks again, this time to the woman. "Lady, I been trackin that damn moose all day, and I aim to kill it. I don't care what you say! If those damn dogs don't back off I'm gonna kill a few of them too!"
The others protest, trying to make him leave with them. He refuses.
"You will not kill anything on this land! You will leave now!" states the woman, raising both arms toward the heavens. The wolves start moving toward him.
He turns to see that his friends have all left the stand of woods. He is now standing alone. He pulls his rifle to his shoulder and shouts, "Call em off lady!"
As he says the last word, from behind him, the wolf attacks. It has crept upon him from behind. The wolf hits his arm, biting deep, and the rifle goes off. The wolf turns him loose and runs toward the woman.
The man sees that the rifle shot has hit the woman. He sees blood on her shirt as she falls to the ground. He turns and runs after his buddies, hearing the wolves howling behind him. He slows as he reaches the trucks, telling his buddies, "It ain't worth it. I told her we'd leave em be. Let's get outta here."
One of them says, "We heard the shotgun go off. What were you shooting at?"
"Just one of them damn dogs! It snuck up behind me and bit me! I tried to shoot the damn thing, but it got away." He shows them his arm.
The others never knew he had shot her.
As the woman falls to the ground she thinks back to the day, a week ago, that she had found this meadow, deep in the forest. She thinks she is dying and her life is flashing before her. She seems to be seeing herself as if in a movie; her memories coming to life.
She sees herself ... finding the small dirt track that led to this clearing in the forest trees. It's so late and I'm so tired, but as soon as I see them run into the trees, I know this is my place. The place of the wolves. The place I've been looking for, longing for, all of my life.
They lead me to this wonderful clearing in the trees. This small meadow of such beauty, and even though it's too dark to see its full beauty, I can feel it. Deep inside, in my secret heart; the place of my dreams.
There's a small brook. I know, because I can hear its voice calling out to me.
The small meadow is knee high in deep green grass. There are petals of Indian Paintbrush reds and Daisy whites flying through the air all around me. The ancient trees surround this meadow of beauty in silent watch, making me feel safe and loved for the first time in my life. I'm welcomed here.
I spend this first day with joy in my heart. Joy of freedom, hard won. Now, I'm sitting on the rocks by the brook watching the squirrels and birds flit from tree to tree. Fussing and arguing among themselves. They remind me so much of the small children from the orphanage, always fussing over one thing or another.
I close my eyes and I hear a soft growl. I glance up quickly to see them standing there, only feet away, watching me through the trees. They're the same ones that I'd seen from the road. The ones that led me here; the alpha pair.
They're watching me with beautiful eyes of gold. I smile and feel the most intense sense of joy I have ever felt. They know me and I know them. I belong to the wolves. I've known this in my heart since the first time I ever saw one. I remember that time very well.
The teachers had taken all of us, the orphans, to the zoo. A treat, and the only time I'd ever been taken to see the animals. Yes, the first time, and the last.
I remember seeing the wolves there. I cried because I could feel their pain. The pain of being in a place where they could no longer run, play, or have the life they were born to. Just like me.
I knew their fear and loneliness. They knew mine too, I could feel that. I knew their hearts, and they mine.
The teachers had tried to comfort me. They'd tried to tell me that the wolves were taken care of, but I knew what the wolves felt. I lived the same life. Never loved and never free.
The wolves saw me there, crying. They came to the very edge of their enclosure and whined while clawing at the bars. I was drawn to them, even then.
I was able to break away from the teacher's arms and flew to bars of the enclosure. I wrapped my arms through the bars to hold onto the neck of the closest wolf. He nuzzled me and I loved it.
Then, suddenly, I was seeing through the wolf's eyes. I knew his thoughts. I saw the children there, through him. I could see myself standing there. My eyes were running with tears, but empty, because my heart, my very soul, was within the wolf. I vividly remember going back into myself.
The teachers grabbed me and pulled me away, all the while screaming at me. I was hysterical. They were taking me away. It was as if they were taking me from my family.
The wolves went wild. They howled, throwing their bodies full force into the bars of the cage. Then they fell back, dazed and bruised.
It took all three of the teachers to get me back into the bus. I was never again allowed to go on trips with the other orphans. But, that was just as well ... I didn't want to. I wanted nothing to do with this cruel world that I was forced into.
Now I'm in the meadow, by the brook again. I look into the eyes of the largest wolf. He's huge, weighing at least 150 pounds, with gray fur and golden eyes. The female is smaller at about 130 pounds and solid black.
It was the female, I know, that had watched me from the woods the night before. She had waited until I saw her clearly before walking into the woods next to the dirt track with her mate. They waited for me to follow them.
For six days I've camped here, making a fire at night, sitting and watching the wolves. They come and go, but stay close to me, especially at night. I talk with them, as if to children. I tell them of my days and nights, alone and afraid. They cry their mournful song to the moon as I cry and heal my broken heart.
Now it's all changed. I'm dying here, but I am with my wolves. Will they miss me?