The Pack in the Snow

A little scene inspired by an image prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

Peter-MatthewMatthew had never really cared for the winter.  Some people loved the cold weather.  He knew that Samuel was always just glad that his allergies would take a break for a while.  For him, the change in the weather simply meant three months of being cold and miserable.

So it was, his first winter as a werewolf that he was shocked.  Even as he followed the other members of the small pack through the trees, he was warm.  He was shocked.  He was confused.  However, he was also really pleased.  Everything smelled fresh and clean.  He actually liked the feel of the snow under his paws.

He caught the scent of some small furry creature and nosed at it.  A moment later, Peter was sniffing the snow for it as well.  Samuel’s bark drew the beta’s attention away from the prospect of prey, but Matthew was determined to at least figure out what they’d found.

A moment later, Samuel had loped up beside him and nuzzled his side.  “It’s just a rodent,” Samuel told him, his ears pinning.  “It wouldn’t be more than a bite, love.”

Matthew looked up from the snow and then his tongue lolled out in a wolfish laugh.  “Sharpclaw’s got snow on his nose,” he said.  He bounced towards the beta and tilted his head.  “Did you know?”

Peter snuffled and shook his head, knocking the snow free.  “Pay attention, Sweet,” he said, before heading off through the woods once again.

Samuel nuzzled against his side one last time, before they set off once again.  They had quite a distance to go before it got fully light and they retook their human forms.

A Price to Pay

This little scene was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (ransom) and an idea I had for a story…

**

Samuel frowned at the iron bars that separated him from Matthew.  Tobias was curled up on his cot, sleeping.  In the cell with Matthew, Bartholomew was pacing.  “This is… totally not right,” he was saying as he strode towards one wall.  Reaching it, he turned and strode back the other way.  “It’s just wrong!  We’ve not done anyone any harm.”

“Try not to let it get to you, Silentstep,” Samuel said, his voice soft.  “They’ll let us go… eventually.”

“When?” Matthew said, arching his brows.  He shook his head.  “They’ve gotten all our information – names, ages, how we became werewolves…”  He held up his hands in a gesture of confusion.  “What more could they want from us?”

“Money,” Peter said from across the corridor.

Samuel sent him a wry smile.  Peter was the cynical sort, but he was also probably right to some degree.  The promise of money would probably expedite their release.  He looked over at Matthew and shook his head.  “The point of this enforced registration was to make certain they had all the troublemakers in custody.  Once they’ve satisfied themselves that none of us has hurt anyone, they’ll let us go.”

“Money would probably speed things up, though,” Peter said, crossing his arms over his chest.  He met Samuel’s eyes and smirked.  “Am I wrong, Alpha?”

“Probably not,” Samuel said.  Then, he raised his hands in defeat.  “Our pack lives in a cave, though.  We haven’t money to pay a ransom of any kind, let alone enough to secure the release of the entire pack.”

Dreams and Visions

This little scene was inspired by a photo prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

Tobias straightened when they entered the cave.  He made a shushing motion and then set a hand on Samuel’s dark hair.  “He’s asleep,” he told them, his voice hardly more than a whisper.

Bartholomew shook his head.  “How can he sleep in the nighttime?” he said, glancing over at Esther, he heaved a sigh.  “Is he ill?”

“Only heartsick,” Tobias said, smoothing his fingers through the dark locks.  He frowned over at Joshua.  “He’s grieving, Alpha.  We aren’t the only pack he’s had.”

Joshua scowled, but he nodded.  Of course, Samuel would have formed a pack of sorts among the humans that had pretended to accept him for his who he was.  “Come and eat Ghosthowl,” he said, his voice soft.  “Let the pup sleep for now.  He must need it.”

Esther took Tobias’s place.  She hummed softly to the younger wolf and smoothed his hair as he slept.  He slept the rest of the night and woke near morning, as most of the pack was bedding down.

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Refuge…

This is the last scene of the introductory piece.  It was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (success).

**

Shivering, Samuel glanced back at Joshua.  As the other members of the pack settled down to rest, Joshua tugged Samuel away from Peter.  A shove sent him stumbling into Tobias.  “Mind the pup,” he snapped.  Then, he and Peter headed into another part of the cave.

Tobias heaved a sigh and sat down on his bedding, pulling Samuel down with him.  “Got a name beside ‘pup’?” he asked, arching his brows.

Samuel nodded.  “Samuel Northunter,” he said, his voice soft.  He shivered when Tobias caressed his cheek.  “Joshua called me… Brightfang.”

“Samuel Brightfang, then,” Tobias said, his voice soft.  “I’m Tobias Ghosthowl.”  He frowned.  “Did you eat?”

Samuel nodded.  He glanced around as the pack began gathering to go out.  “They’re going to hunt,” he murmured, glancing at Tobias.  “You aren’t going with them?”

“I have to stay in the den and watch you,” Tobias said, shaking his head.  “Joshua won’t let you escape so soon, Samuel.”  He pushed against Samuel’s shoulder, then.  It wasn’t painful but the firm pressure forced Samuel to lie down on the blankets.

When Tobias lifted his hand, Samuel stayed still.  He didn’t want to be part of Joshua’s pack.  At the same time, at least he wasn’t alone anymore.  Perhaps things would work out.  He looked up at Tobias and sighed.  “Why do you… stay?” he breathed.

Tobias’s lips twisted in a faint smile as he shook his head.  Meeting Samuel’s eyes, he said, “Where else am I going to go?  This pack… it’s the only family that I have.”

Nodding, Samuel closed his eyes.  The same, he realized, was true of him.  He heard Joshua heading out the rest of the pack to hunt.  He knew that Joshua was congratulating himself on their success in bringing back.  However, he decided that… maybe, for now, he’d let Joshua enjoy the feeling.  When the time was right, the alpha would learn that Samuel wasn’t as easy to hold as he was to take.

To the den…

Here is another section of the previous story… This one was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

“Did you honestly think that little trick would work, pup?” Joshua said, his voice soft.  He chuckled softly when a whimper escaped Samuel’s lips.  “Now, none of that, love,” he murmured, caressing Samuel’s cheek.

“Joshua, please,” he breathed.  He gave a startled cry as Joshua stood and tugged him to his feet.  Then, he was viewing everything upside-down.  Joshua had tossed him over one shoulder like a sack of flour.

A moment later, Joshua was running down the slope to join the rest of his pack.  Samuel squirmed, cursing his smaller size.  In lupine form, he used it to his advantage.  He was quick and agile.  He could duck out of reach of larger specimens, like Joshua.  As a person, his shorter legs meant that Joshua could easily outpace him.

“Look what I’ve found,” Joshua said, as he set Samuel on his feet and forced him to turn to face the others.  “It’s our lost pup.”

The others howled with laughter and Samuel ducked his head.  He closed his eyes, pressing himself back into Joshua’s larger form.  His inner wolf bristled at the indignity of seeking protection from the alpha.  However, Samuel knew they didn’t have any choice.  Joshua wouldn’t let the others hurt him, if he thought he had Samuel cowed.

Laughing, Joshua shoved him over to one of the others.  Samuel gasped as he stumbled into a tall, lean man with dark brown hair.  “Bring him, Peter,” Joshua said.  Then, Samuel was being dragged through the tall grasses towards the low hills beyond the lake.

prompt-98“You were… you’re den was there all along,” Samuel breathed, realizing his mistake.  He’d thought the isolated cottage was the perfect refuge.  He’d never imagined that Joshua’s pack might be so close by.

Peter smirked.  “It took us a few weeks to find you,” he said.  “Joshua was determined, though.  I’m sure you know what he can be like when he’s determined.”

Samuel swallowed thickly and nodded.  He was unresisting as Peter drew him into a cave.  There was a strange sort of beauty to it.  The waters seemed to glow softly with a warm blue light.  It didn’t seem like the sort of place that Joshua would have chosen for a den.

Frowning, he looked up at Peter.  “Who chose this place?” he asked, his voice faint.

Peter jerked his head towards a man with light brown hair.  “Tobias,” he said.  He drew Samuel deeper into the cave, through water that lapped at his knees.  Then, finally, they came to the den proper.  There were blankets laid out for them to sleep on.  Each member of the pack had their own little corner, except for him.

To Reach the Trees…

This is basically a continuation of the previous post, using a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (reach).

**

Samuel woke as the sun was setting.  The full moon was still two weeks away, but it was waxing now.  He could feel the wolf growing stronger with each passing night.  He shivered slightly and then slipped out of bed.

He stood for a moment, uncertainty filling him.  Part of him wanted to nothing more than to curl up and go back to sleep.  He’d considered ending his existence.  He was alone now.  What was the point in continuing?  Still, he knew that his parents wouldn’t want that.  For them, he had to keep trying.

Samuel ruffled a hand through his hair.  Then, he went through his normal evening routine.  He washed and dressed in clean robes.  He headed into the little kitchen of the tiny cottage that had become his refuge.  He cooked a hearty meal: sausages and beans with thick slices of brown bread from the larder.  Then, he sat down to eat.

Scent the wind, pup, his wolf warned.  It didn’t do to relax and eat until you were certain it was safe after all.

Sighing, Samuel pushed away from the table.  He eased the kitchen window opened and inhaled deeply, closing his eyes as he picked out each note of the scent that entered the room.  There was grass and leaves and trees, from the fields and the forest beyond.  He could catch the scent of some of the woodland creatures: deer, rabbits, squirrels and birds.

Then, he picked up a familiar, earthy scent that made his blood run cold.  He gasped and shut the window.  A shudder swept through him and he drew the curtains.  It wouldn’t do any good, of course.  Joshua would have caught his scent already.  The other wolf knew he was there, otherwise he’d have no reason to be at the isolated cottage.

Shaking his head, Samuel quickly ate his meal.  He’d need the nutrients to fortify himself or he wouldn’t stand a chance of escaping.  Then, he grabbed his cloak from the hook and swept it around his shoulders.  If he could just reach the trees before Joshua arrived at the cottage, he might make it.

He paused at the door to scent the wind again.  He listened and peered through the shadows.  He could see forms loping though the grasses by the lake.  Joshua and his pack had arrived.

Samuel grabbed his bag and then hurried out, tugging the door closed in his wake.  If Joshua thought he was still there, perhaps it would buy him some time.  He grabbed the edge of the roof and clambered up.  He went over the cottage and then leapt into the soft turf on the far side.  Then, he was running low to the ground, praying that the high grasses would hide him from view.

He was nearly to the trees when something large knocked him off his feet.  He gave a cry of pain as they tumbled over and over.  When they came to rest, he was pinned on the ground with his attacker on top of him.  He looked up at the larger man, looming over him and shivered.  If only he could have reached the trees.

A Quiet Moment

This story was inspired by a picture prompt from over at WriYe DreamWidth. This is a new character that I’m working with, so this scene is just and introduction.

**

prompt-96

When most people were just rising and getting ready to start their day, Samuel’s day was ending.  He stepped into the bright, warm bedroom and glanced around.

So much had happened in the last year.  He felt as though he’d been on a ship tossed through stormy seas.  He was utterly alone.  Abandoned by the one he loved, he’d lost the two people who had supported him for as long as he could remember.  They’d been betrayed by someone he’d once thought was his best friend.

Samuel shook his head and pushed the window open, just enough to let in a bit of free air and the sounds from outside.  Birds sang in the trees.  The wind rustled through the leaves.  Life went on.  He needed the reminder that all was not lost.

Shaking the dark thoughts away, Samuel stepped over to the cozy corner where he did his writing.  The desk was small, barely large enough for the lamp and the typewriter, but it was enough.

He scrolled a sheaf of paper into place and then let his fingers move over the keys.  He poured out his heart and his soul.  Then, finally exhausted, he stood and moved over to the bed.  He paused long enough to kick off his shoes.  Then, he curled up on the bed and drew the curtains against the blinding sun.  In moments, he’d drifted into exhausted slumber.

In a Place of Light and Reason

Written for the March Hint Fiction Challenge, another character in the Western I’m working on. This is when Samuel was a child, though. In the Western, he’s the sheriff.

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