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Victoria eased through the trees, slipping along as silently as a shadow. A barely audible rustle in the leaves to the left snapped her head around. Her eyes strained in the predawn gloom but caught nothing. Her nose twitched as the breeze brought a familiar smell to her nostrils…wet dog. A timber wolf stepped out of the mist in front of her. It moved to within about 15 feet then stopped and sat back on its haunches. The wolf looked Victoria in the eye without fear. In fact, the only emotion she could detect from the creature was a slightly curious indifference. She imagined it simply caught a new smell and came to investigate. Curiosity now satisfied; it waited to see what she would do. Victoria stood frozen and the moment crystallized in her mind’s eye. She could hear a buzzing fly close to her ear, could feel a single bead of sweat sliding down her spine, and could pick out every hair on the animals muzzle. Hell, she probably could have counted them if she’d cared to. She inched backward slowly, and it seemed that the wolf would just let her move away. Her foot came down on a stick hidden in the leaves and it made a loud pop that echoed loudly through the taboo. Instantly, the wolf bounded up and let loose and ear splitting howl. There was movement all around her as several of the beast’s pack mates moved into view at their leaders call. They moved forward in unison…

Victoria's Survival Guide - Lesson #5,652
a smidgeon of mild profanity

Oh crap! thought Victoria The truck’s only thirty yards away but it might as well be thirty miles. If I turn and run I’ll prompt their predatory instincts and I’m not in the mood to be wolf kibble.

Her mind was racing as she went into survival mode. The morning ramble had suddenly turned into life or death preambles. Think! You stupid dame! Her eyes were locked with the lead wolf’s mesmerizing gaze. Stop looking at him! Remember what you learned in letter carrier school about brave and fear biters. This is no cream puff of a dog that yaps around your ankles and needs to be challenged. This is the ultimate brave biter and he’s calling the shots. What to do?

Victoria willed herself to lower her eyes while keeping tabs on the wolf’s movement in her peripheral vision. The others were milling about in anticipation of alpha wolf’s prompt.

Alpha wolf! All those fur and fang nature shows I’ve watched might save my skin! Victoria! For once in your life act submissive! She began to whine with plaintive zeal as she hunched over mimicing those ingratiating canine moves. If they were really hungry you’d already be brunch. Keeping up pitiful appearances, Victoria retreated inch by inch as the wolf stood poised to pounce but she felt he’d relaxed a shade or two. Then he advanced a couple of steps.

Ack! Do something else! Victoria frantically implored herself. What? What could be more abjectly passive? It came to her in a split second. I know! Pee! There’s that saying that you had the piss scared right out of you. Never was there a more opportune moment to prove it true. She quickly gave silent thanks for the four cups of jo she’d tossed back a few hours ago and signaled her bladder to void. Victoria felt the warm stream saturating her long johns and took a furtive look at the wolf. He stopped and his nostrils twitched as she kept moving backwards waking mewling noises. Never had Victoria felt more pathetic.

The wolf turned his attention to one of the pack and they nuzzled muzzle to muzzle. Their antics turned into a rollicking gambol as the rest of the pack watched. Must be the alpha female. she thought Oh! Who gives a shit? It’s time to get outta Dodge!

Still moving in reverse, Victoria ramped up her speed and scrambled to the safety of her truck. She almost slammed her hand in the door in her hurry to get it shut. Instinctively, she reached for her rifle. Wait just a minute cupcake! she admonished herself, you’re alive by the grace of that charitable animal so, for Christ’s sake, chill out!

Victoria lit herself a smoke and watched the wolves melt into the willows. This is one tale I’m going to keep to myself. Can’t have the local louts knowing I’m capable of being a pussy.

"Tigers bloom where there's oodles of room." Zodiac Zoo

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The following comments are for "Can you? Challenge"
by Pen

Peepeepolooza Party Pen
I laughed and laughed at this. Pee and a smoke and a clean getaway. Burning rubber all the way.

Yes she did.


( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: August 21, 2011 )

good writing!
I liked the tension and suspense. The words she's thinking to herself and the survival instinct added a lot to the story.

Yes you did!


( Posted by: sandra [Member] On: August 21, 2011 )

Charlie & Sandra
Thanks to David [HeroC] for prompting me to write this. Write what you know and, I know all about wolves [first hand experience too] and brave biters .. so .. all the knowledge came in handy and I pretty much had the story written within minutes .. just needed some down time to get it down.

Drats! Even though I checked and double checked this a 'waking' crept in which should be making. I'll fix it later.

Thanks for dropping by.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: August 21, 2011 )

From the start.
Your story had me from the start,middle and when the end came I wish it could have been longer.I enjoyed your story very much.

( Posted by: Michaelpatrick [Member] On: August 26, 2011 )

Michael Patrick
So glad you enjoyed this! It was an easy write because it's familiar and all I had to do was put myself in Victoria's skin. The challenge was to solve the dilemma in 500 words or less and I think this is around 480 so it couldn't have been longer. Sometimes it undermines the tension to expand on a theme as well. Thanks so much for popping by and having a read.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: August 26, 2011 )

Pen's Can You?
All I can say is wow!!!

Very well written and well researched, you really do know a lot about wolves. You made it entertaining, funny, and suspenseful. In fact, you made it look easy! You constantly surprise me with how well you capture a scene in so few words.

Did she? Yes she did! You're entry will be featured in Musings in next months Majestic!



( Posted by: HeRoCoMpLeX [Member] On: August 30, 2011 )

I wolfed this one down!!!
Good on ya Pen. I normally don't read the fiction section, but because it was YOUR story, gave it a look-see.

When does the book come out...and your New York/New Jersy signing? Count me in!!!!

Love ya,

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: August 30, 2011 )

Dave & Bea
Hey Dave! Take a bow cause I never would have written this without your inspiring scenario. The minute I read yours I knew where I'd go with mine. Your plot was very well written and got me in the groove of memories of long ago encounters with wolves and dogs. Experts say dogs' DNA is linked to wolves alone. No jackals, no hyenas in the mix. Observing hostile dogs, as I was forced to do as a letter carrier, got me into ticklish situations but the only one who bit me was a dog called Muffin. An ankle biter aka fear biter. Had to get a tetanus shot. Grrrrrr! You've given me another idea for a Majestic column. Might be ironic to write 1000 word on how to get the message across in few words. heh heh .... Thanks for the kudos Dave. Hope all's well with you now.

Bea, I've always browsed the other marquee and I've stumbled over some real gems. Flash is my favourite of the bunch because it's like writing haiku but, in this case, the applause should go to Dave. Thanks for your support Bea. Still on my 'summer' project which began in May. Hope the weather holds until I'm done. Then I'll be back to Lit in a big way.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: August 31, 2011 )

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