|THE PACK BY GAGE|
Illustration by KKC Bauder
The darkness swept over us like a crow flying in the night. I looked at my friend Dylan next to me.
"Ready?" I inquired.
He stared at me with cold eyes.
"Nope," he replied. "Never."
"Why not?" Dylan blazed those focused, hard-as-stone eyes at me again.
"I'm scared." Dylan? Scared? That was not a good sign. He was never scared. If he was now, we were in a mess. I glanced at the fire glowing so far away, lighting the ground around it. How on earth had we lost contact with the rest of our pack?
"Tyler, I wanna go home," whined Dylan. I didn't tear my eyes from that fire below the hill that our Scout pack had made, but no longer accompanied.
"The thing is, Dylan, is that we can't until we reach that fire. If we stay here they'll never find us." Typical Dylan. Brave as heck, until you needed his courage. Why did our pack leave us? One second we were sleeping, the next we were alone. Maybe a camper wandered off, and they went to find him. And forgot us. . .Yeah right.
I nestled into the grass and shot a gaze at Dylan.
"Ready to run?" Dylan nodded. We got up and stretched our legs. The run was pretty far, but I was sure we wouldn't run into anything dangerous. My heart pumped. A chill crackled across my spine. Fear. I gave Dylan a salute as he adjusted his green trousers and played with his millions of millions of badges. Then we sprinted. We ran a far distance, until my ribs ached and couldn't breath. We had succeeded. I lied prone with Dylan near the fire, absorbing the warmth like a sponge to water.
"Stop hoggin' the warmth!" Dylan complained.
That was the last thing I ever heard him say. I was in a trance of slumber, thinking, watching the blackness of my eyelids, analyzing the situation. I was in a sleeping coma. Then the darkness faded, and I woke up to more welcoming blackness greeting me.
Dylan was gone. My breath became hysterical, spurting out in agonizing bursts. Not Dylan. Not him gone too. I stood bolt upright. A dozen or so figures loomed far away. Dylan was with them, hopefully.
"The pack!" I shrieked with triumph over and over again. The figures were distorted. As they came closer, I saw their fur, their teeth, the way they walked on four legs. This pack was not human. This pack was wolves. I realized this with horror. In one's jaws, was the limp body of Dylan. I fought back tears, and tried to ignore the vicious growling. I ran for my life. But I new it was over. They had my scent. For a few moments the growling stopped. A few seconds and the snarling ceased. A short time and the gnashing of teeth halted. Enough time for them to eat the rest of Dylan and come after me.