98 Wolff Den Design
© L. David Mech
Used with permission

Lil One

She peaked between the stones, listening. Again the noise came from the cliff. She stuck her little nose into hole sniffing harder. She flopped back on her pudgy little butt, head cocked staring at the rocks. Her tan and white muzzle covered in dirt, she leaps forward, driving it back into the crevice, sniffing harder.

The little pup let out a yelp rolling back from the cliff. In short order her brothers came running up, sniffing at her, rolling her over. She let out a bark and growl as she bit at them. She hated when they did that.

The two brothers were already at the stones digging and sniffing. She sat watching as they tore at the wall. The stones above them broke free rolling down, they had dug too much from the support below. She scooted back as her brothers ran to the sides, tails between their legs yelping, watching where they had been instead of where they were going, one running into her rolling her back again, the other turning to look just as he hit the boulder square on.

The little male sat up shaking his head clearing the stars from his eyes. The little she devil, temper exploding, had her other brother on the ground biting at him for knocking her over. He tried kicking her back and scooting away, but she had him down, he wasn't going anywhere. Her anger clearing, her brother well scolded, she padded over to the remains of the wall. Amongst the the rubble, there was a rather small rattlesnake, poking his head out from between two stones. Her two brothers were at her sides, pushing at her to see as well. The little shewolf, bit at one, then the other reminding them who was boss here.

The youngest brother getting closer sniffing at the snake, lifted his paw to bat at it. The snake stuck out, short. The pup jumped back, hiding under the belly of his sister, peaking out from between her front legs.

The snake watching the three pups, didn't care for this much attention at all, backing down between the stones, searching for a way out, unseen. Seeing a narrow gap under the rubble, he pressed through it, only to end up looking into the eyes of the little shewolf.

The shewolf looking at the little snake, sniffed at it. The snake hissed at her again, rolling her back on her butt once more, her head cocked, staring.

Once again the brothers fighting each other to see what was going on. Pushing each other aside to look at the shiny hissing thing. She watched the two fighting to look at the little snake. In the mean time it made its past the two carefully keeping against the fallen rocks as it slithered off.

The young female, watched the snake move silently past her brothers and down the path, heading to the forest beyond. She sat with her head cocked to the side, her eyes following the serpent.

The little shewolf, stood suddenly as her brothers quarrel ceased. They had forgotten about the snake. Both had necks wet from saliva, bite marks bleeding lightly on their faces and front legs. The elder of the brothers, his hackles up, growled at the younger, smaller brother who had backed off. The young female, bored with their antics, picked up a twig in her jaws, happily padding off in the direction the snake had taken.

She could hear her brothers in the distance behind her as their scuffle started over again.

The little wolf padded her way down to the edge of the woods. Looking up into the trees, she watched birds flitting from branch to branch feeding their young. Their peeps enthralled her, the twig falling from her mouth. Her tail wagging, she sat down hard, watching the antics of the birds, listening to the young. She heard something in the bushes down the path behind her. Picking up her twig, quickly she turned and was off.

The bushes shook in front of her, she stared hard, crouching slightly. Her tail curled up tight as she watched and listened, then it drooped as the noises stopped.

The little shewolf, stuck her head into the bush looking, when suddenly a small bird flew past her nose. She yelped falling back on her butt, her blue eyes wide open and wild. Her head spinning around looking for what had scared her. The bird swung around, diving at her. The little wolf, hunched down as she was scolded by the bird. A second came from the same bush attacking her too. The little wolf, jumped up running off. She stopped, spun around, ran back picked up her twig, then ran down the trail. She stopped several times looking back to see if her attackers had followed. Satisfied that they hadn't, she slowed, ambling through the woods, chewing on her twig.

The little shewolf came upon a small creek. She had never been this far before. She dropped her twig laying down, her front paws in the water as she lapped.

A large trout swam past her slowly, her ears pricking, head cocking from one side to the other. She jumped up, sticking her nose into the water. The trout slapped it's tail at her, water covering her, she pulled her head back staring as the fish hurried off.

The little female jumped up, spun around to follow the fish along the bank. She stopped looked back, padded back, picking up her twig, looking back again, then spinning around running down the bank looking for the trout.

The little wolf, stepped in a patch of mud, kicking out a small frog as it leaped off toward the water, she slowly followed it, leap by leap. As it splashed into the water, she bent down watching. Her front feet sinking into the mud, she watched the frog swimming out into the creek further and further.

The trout broke the water's surface, capturing the frog as it did. The little wolf pulled back as it did. Her legs sunk deeper into the mud, as she tried to pull out, she sunk deeper, the mud covering her shoulders, she panicked. Crying out as she pulled and jerked from side to side, the little wolf slowly worked out of the mud.

Laying on the bank, she was covered from head to toe in black mud. She lay there crying for a moment as she caught her breath. She looked out into the mud, her twig stuck one end up by the water's edge. She sighed heavily, laying her head on her muddy paws, she felt the ooze between her toes and under her chin.

Her eyes opened slowly, the shadows were longer now. She had fallen asleep. She blinked looking around. There was her twig still stuck in the mud, she sighed again. Standing, she stretched catlike, her tongue falling out and curling back up at the same time her tail does. She pads over, circling the patch of mud, stretching her neck out, then nipping out, trying to reach the twig. She could barely catch it with her lips. Sitting down, she looked at the mud then the twig, pouting. This was her twig.

The shadow cast by the twig was growing as she watched it. Carefully, she stepped out into the mud with one paw, snatching the twig up. She pranced over to lay in the sun.

She opened her eyes, it was getting dark out. Her twig hanging out of her jaws, she looked around at the shadows. She couldn't see far now, the woods were getting cold. She needed to head home.

98 Wolff Den Design

Twig in mouth she set out along the creek bank, leaning down occasionally to sniff the ground making sure she was going the right way.

Clouds were forming overhead. She flinched, hunching to the ground as thunder clapped over head, lightning blanketing the sky. Rain poured to the ground in a cloud burst, the little soaked pup ran under the bushes trying to get out of the downpour. She lay watching the rain bounce off the ground.

A lightning bolt rips the sky open, striking a tree across the creek from the little wolf, flames and branches crash to the ground, flames leap up in front of her. She slides back farther into the brush, watching the fire, slowly the flames die down, the little wolf scoots out to look at it.

Sheet lighting covers the valley and forest over & over, the thunder rocks the ground, the little shewolf looks around her trying to decide where to go. Another lightning bolt strikes close to her, she jumps up dashing for cover, running deeper into the woods, the rain pouring down on her soaking her soft coat. Ahead she sees a hollow logs and dives into it, her eyes wild she watches the storm overhead. Each time the lightning would strike, she would slide back in deeper into the log, then peak out after it faded. In between the flashes of lightning, the forest was black, the rain falling harder.

The little shewolf lay her head on her paws, crying softly to herself, it was late, she was wet and she was alone. She wished she was with the others in the den, she sniffed around the log,then scratched at the wood under her feet. She sat down chewing on a piece of wood she had worked loose. Again the lightning struck, outside she saw eyes glowing from the shadows, then they were gone. She squinted, trying to see in the dark, stretching her neck, peering.

A sheet of lightning struck, she hit her head as she jumped back, there was a form directly in front of the log. She scrambled to the far end pressing back as far as she could.

She could hear it sniffing around the log, then she heard it digging at the entrance. The little shewolf held as still as she could trying to avoid detection. The lightning struck again, all she could see was a dark shape pressing into the log. She let out a small whimper.

The shape pressed further in, it had heard her.

Sniffing in the entrance of the log it could smell the pup, scratching at the floor of the log, it opened it enough to push it's way in. His eyes adjusting to the dark, he saw the little ball of fluff at the back of the log. Pushing with his hind legs.

Closer and closer he came, she began to growl. As she snapped out, she realized too late, he was one of her pack.

He pulled back as she nipped his nose, wincing. She quickly recovered by licking his muzzle, flattening and tagging her tail. He sniffed at her, then licked her muzzle.

The large male backed out of the log, the rain drenching him. The little shewolf followed him out, running between his legs, nipping at his ankles as they padded back to the den.

Chapter 3 - Winter's Storm

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