True Knight - Patricia Logan
Prosper Woods Chronicle. Letters to the editor:
“Last night we spotted us some roosters doin’ it in the bleachers at the little league baseball field. Maybe it’s just me but I think this whole town’s goin’ to hell.” Signed, “Fowl Ball.”
I loped through the forest with my packmate at my side. Stopping, I lifted my muzzle to the full moon and howled. When I glanced back down again, I realized Sam had run on without me. I kicked up my heels, scenting our prey ahead as I raced to catch up with my best friend.
“Sam! Wait!” I shouted.
He turned to look over his shoulder, hearing me call out though the words weren’t spoken aloud. He bared his fangs and lolled his tongue in a wolfish grin before turning on the steam and eating up the ground with his big paws. The scent of our prey was closer now and I could hear the pattering feet racing ahead of us, the beat of the hare’s heart racing. The scent of terror bled off the smaller animal.
I bounded through the undergrowth and smacked into the side of a tree. I was thrown to the forest ground where I rolled several times… head over tail, right into a ravine. When I came up for air, I glanced up to the embankment where Sam stood on all fours looking down at me. His yellow eyes glowed brightly as he sat back on his haunches and laughed wolfishly through heavy panting breaths.
“Fuck you! I didn’t see it!” I said to him.
He threw back his wide furry gray head and howled with peals of laughter. I got to my feet and bounded back up the side of the ravine, hitting his sitting form with all of my strength, taking us both to the ground. He was still cackling as we rolled in the soft grass. I got him beneath me and straddled him from behind, sinking my fangs into the nape of his neck as I held him in place. His big gray body vibrated with laughter even though the rest of him was still… waiting for me to release him.
“You’re such a klutz, Greg. Get the fuck off me.” There was still laughter in the voice I heard in my head.
I waited a few more seconds before relaxing my jaws and climbing off him. I wasn’t an alpha. I was a beta just like him but I was bigger and stronger and we’d played this way since we were pups, always trying to outdo the other whether it be strength or brains. He got to his feet and turned to me with that smile that was so hard for me to ignore. Sam was my best friend. He had been ever since we were little, growing up together in the same pack.
Sam had been my champion when I was called the runt of the litter by other wolves, but as I’d grown into a larger wolf than any others in our pack, Sam had remained by my side when others tucked their tails and ran away from me. Their taunts of how stupid I was had lessened over time and eventually, they’d stopped completely. My size as the largest in our pack, taller in stature in human and wolf form, served to make even the most vicious of them back away. I wasn’t sure if it was the presence of the gray wolf at my side that did it but whatever made them leave me alone, worked for me.
I spent the balance of my adolescence unbothered by the idiots who wanted to taunt me and call me stupid. I knew I wasn’t smart. I’d had trouble in school. I still couldn’t read very well. Sam always told me that it didn’t matter… that my heart was what was important.
I lifted my snout and took a long whiff. The rabbit was long gone, having taken the moment of my greatest embarrassment, as I’d smacked into the tree, to escape. I glanced back down at Sam. “He’s gone. I think we’re done hunting for the night.”
Sam nodded his big head and then changed to his human form. I did the same, looking down at his naked body from my taller human form. My change was fast… much faster than Sam’s which sounded painstaking as his muscles stretched and bones broke, realigning. As werewolves, we healed fast and when we changed, the pain receded almost instantly. Still… for a short moment during the change, the pain was excruciating agony. Thank