Sarah Eliades, Grade 7, Candlebark School
A she-wolf stands alone, gazing into the snowy night sky. Its fur is lustrous, black flecked with silver, and the eyes which gaze into the snowy night are a rich, warm gold. The wolf’s watchful presence makes her seem like she anticipates something. Something important.
The wolf lifts her head as if to howl, but seems to decide better. The snow flecks her fur with white flakes, turning her into a lupine snow-statue. She smells something, and her nose twitches, sniffing intently. Something grows over the howl of the wind, and, shaking herself from head to tail, she bounds off after the smell. Her paws thup on the soft snow, making deep prints which are obliterated quickly by the falling snow. She runs with long loping strides, concentrating only on the smell ahead of her, and the thud of her paws on the ground. The scent draws her on, a smell which brought her out here, on this arctic night. The icy wind stings her sensitive eyes, so, with them half-shut, she runs on, relying on her nose, and her knowledge of the land.
The scent is ahead of her, pulling her forward, directing her through the featureless snow. It is a rich, warm aroma, carrying over the windswept plateau. The snow is a symphony of black, punctuated by notes of white. It reflects the cold, clear stars, shining in the sky above the wolf. Suddenly, just for a second, the wind abates. The wolf pauses, listening. The smell falters, fades, and re-appears, swelling with a new vigour. As the aroma grows, a shape appears ahead. Instilled with a new passion, the wolf races ahead again, chasing after the scent, knowing that when she reaches the source… A flash of pain jolts through her leg. Fiery, burning pain. It laces through her veins, and twists round her bone. The wolf howls, gazing helplessly at the bait, the source of the smell which led her here. She struggles, pulling desperately at the snare, trying with all her might to escape.
A light appears, moving slowly towards her. Behind the light is a large shape. A voice calls: ‘Well? Whaddaya got tonight?’ The wolf cries out, scared by this new threat. ‘A wolf! Biggun. Female.’
The shape approaches, looming in the wolf’s view. She whimpers, and writhes, trying in vain to hide. The figure lifts a long, thin object, and says ‘Let’s kill it. It’ll just die anyway.’ The wolf whines, pleadingly. The shape lifts the stick, points it at the wolf, and… A piercing pain, sharper than stone, hotter than fire, colder than ice, pierces the wolf’s chest. She howls. A primal, lonesome, outraged, terrified and terrifying sound. She howls the call of a betrayed and dying beast. It echoes over the wastes.
‘Chuck ‘er in the back,’ says the man. ‘We better make it back by sunrise.’