He ran to the she-wolf. Nearby, Deohgee’s littermates lay together, unmoving. Their mother still breathed, but barely. Blood poured from the gash in her throat, dyeing her gold fur dark red. Her front legs were broken, slashed so the bones poked from the mess of muscle.
Rosse knew she had little time left.
The sole surviving cub sniffed at his mother, tail and ears tucked low. The she-wolf raised her head and licked Deohgee’s muzzle, as if saying good-bye. Then she looked at Rosse, golden eyes cloudy.
He wiped his eyes. “I’ll take care of him for you. I won’t let anything bad happen to your cub. I promise.”
Finally defeated, the proud mother laid her head on the ground, and was no more.
Deohgee whined. He stood on his hindquarters and pushed against his mother’s body, licking her face. Unable to watch any more, Rosse lifted the cub and cuddled it to his chest. He blinked, fighting tears. She had protected him, too.
A cold breeze blew through the clearing. A message of danger whispered on the wind.
“We can’t stay here, Deohgee. Those other wolves might come back.” He retrieved his empty pack and put the squirming puppy inside. Rising, Rosse headed back into the woods, hoping to find the path. As the boy and his new found friend went deeper into the forest, he thought he heard voices. But when a chilling howl echoed off the trees, he headed in the other direction.