It was the howl of the wolf that awoke the half sleeping man lying in the woods. He had been lost for 4 days now, surviving off only the little rations he carried and the water he could melt from snow. He immediately jumped to his feet and searched for his rifle after hearing the howl, it sounded so close, he could almost hear the wolves running through the snow covered forest that surrounded him. In the dim morning light he found his rifle and fired a shot into the air. All went silent as the shot echoed through the trees. The man stumbled around, still half asleep and half blind. The sun was just rising above the horizon as the man found stability in a nearby tree. He begun to get his bearings or what little of them he had, the wind and the snow of the previous night erased all his tracks from the previous day. He stumbled off in the direction of the sun, east to the nearest civilization. He began his long day journey through the rolling hills and snow covered valleys he was lucky enough to with half of his remaining bullets was able to shoot 4 rabbits for dinner and by disassembling another few bullets and obtaining the gunpowder within, able to start a fire. The sun was setting in the west, casting long shadows of the trees across the land as he started the task of cleaning out the rabbits. He threw the un-useable parts from the first rabbit in a pile behind him and begun work on the second. When he turned the drop the un-useable parts from the second rabbit with the first he was shocked to find the first bits missing. He dropped the second bits and reached for his rifle, loading his only remaining bullet he got to his feet and aimed at the surrounding bush waiting for any sign of movement. He listened carefully and heard rustling behind him, he turned as quickly as he could and fired his last shot, at the shot rang out there was silence through the dark bush. The sun had set long ago and now the only light was from the fire the man had started. He stared blankly into the space where he fired his last bullet and waited for something to happen. Off to his left a large set of golden eyes emerged and before him stood a magnificent dark black wolf. Amazed by enormous size of this wolf the man stared in shock, dropping his rifle and remaining perfectly still. The wolf walked up to the man, his ears almost at the height of the man’s shoulders sniffed at the man then walked past and up to the freshly skinned rabbit. The large black wolf sniffed at the rabbits for a few seconds before letting out a low bark and 4 other wolves emerged from the woods behind him. The wolves walked up to the large black one and stood behind him, fighting for place in line. After the order was arranged the wolves ate their share of the rabbits, the man stood there in shock and watched the magnificent animals eat his only food. He backed up slightly into a tree and the large black one snapped his head in the direction of the man and let out a low growl. The man immediately stopped moving and rested his back on the tree and sliding down into a sitting position. He knew if he ran it would be pointless in this terrain, they would catch him just as fast. The large black wolf approached the man who was now shaking out of fear and just sat and looked at him. A few seconds later a smaller brown wolf walked up with half of a rabbit in his mouth and dropped it at the man’s feet. The man stared in shock, not sure of what he should do. The smaller brown wolf turned and walked back to the group of wolves gathered around the last bits of the rabbit carcases. The large black wolf looked down at the bit of rabbit and nosed it towards the man, now pushing it onto his feet. The man picked up the bit of rabbit and looked at it; the large male bowed his head and walked back to the others. The man letting his hunger take over got on his knees and inched his way over to the fire he had made earlier, now it was just coals but in the moonlight from the full moon above he was able to stoke those coals back up into a nicely sized fire and begun to roast his rabbit on a stick over the fire, he always an eye on the wolves behind him lounging around after a meal. After a few minutes he had finally cooked his rabbit and was now sitting down to finally getting some decent food into his stomach. The smell of the freshly cooked rabbit filled the still air of the forest and drew the wolves over to investigate the delicious smell. The man now immersed in his own little meal didn’t notice the wolves approaching from behind when suddenly there was a muzzle hanging over his shoulder sniffing the cooked rabbit the man held. The man tore off a piece and held it before the muzzle, very gently the wolf hanging over him took the piece of cooked rabbit from him and backed away. The man tore off another piece and ate it quickly hoping he wouldn’t have to share his meal with anyone else. He was able to finish all of the meat, giving him quite a full stomach and drop the bone beside him. He inched closer to the fire when he heard footsteps in the snow behind him. He turned as the wolves surrounded him and lined the outside of the fire. Each wolf had his own spot as the man backed away slowly. He counted the wolves that surrounded the fire, he only counted four. He wondered where the other wolf had went seeing as there were five wolves before as he felt something push on his back. He turned around to face the black wolf eye to eye. He moved backwards away from the wolf looming over him, the wolf kept advancing and the man kept backing up until suddenly the wolf stopped and sat down. The man turned his head to notice he was quite close to the fire; he slowly turned the rest of his body always keeping an eye on the large black wolf close behind him. The man watched the wolves lounge around after dinner as the fire started to die. The man got up and went out of the circle of wolves lying around the fire and gathered more wood and got the fire going again. He took his place back beside the large black wolf and rested his head in his arms enjoying the warmth radiating off the fire. The light had just broken through the trees when the man was being pushed awake. He got up and staggered around until he found a tree to balance himself while he got his bearings. The wolves were already up and moving about when the man had been awoken. The wolves wanting to begin their long journey in search of food, the man turned and begun walking towards the rising sun. The wolves followed behind him as he paced slowly through the woods. The man came upon a rather large hill to his left and deciding it wasn’t worth wasting the energy he would go around by the bottom of the hill as long as it went parallel to his intended path. The large black wolf quickly overtook the man and stepped into his path, he faced towards the large hill in front of the man, and another wolf approached from behind and edged the man towards the hill. Then man sighed, knowing he can’t fight with them and began to climb the large hill. The wolves quickly passed the man and stood in wait on the top of the hill. As the man made it over the top of the hill he stared into the valley below, in the middle of the valley rising through the trees was a plume of white smoke, almost difficult to see against the white backdrop of the trees. The wolves sat behind the man as he stared off into the distance, into salvation. He turned to face the wolves and dropped to his knees he bowed his head and muttered a thank you knowing that the wolves had no idea what he was saying. The man got to his feet and begun the short journey down towards the smoke and as he reached what looked like a log camp he heard a howling in the distance as he knocked on the door. When another man answered he told his story, though it was hard to believe and was finally on his way home.
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