Annabelle stepped out of her small house in the forest, her bow ready and her quiver slung over her shoulder. If her parents were still alive, she was sure they would be proud of her progress in the woods. She set off to go on her noon hunt. She was rather surprised to not hear the wolves, for they were always close by. Then suddenly, she knew. She always suspected that this day would come, just not so soon. The wolves were no longer satisfied by her offerings. She would not bribe her way out of this one.
All I have to do is climb that tree over there, Annabelle thought. She clambered on the tall pine, barely making it to the top. As soon as she reached the branch high enough to stump the wolves, she went tumbling back down to the ground. She heard them now, a series of viscous barks calling from the shadows. She knew she had no time to waste. She ran a beeline for the house. Unfortunately, the wolves had expected this, and she ended up inside a tight circle of wolves. A long silence enveloped her, and luck changed course.
Luna thought to herself, the child will be easy prey. She had followed her pack as they tracked a girl. Most of the time children just screamed and let themselves get killed, but this one had different plans. She lifted her bow and pointed an arrow at Luna. The young wolf hoped she was bluffing. The wolves were not prepared for attacks, for no tribe dweller had lifted a hand against a wolf before. But Luna’s hopes shriveled as the girl launched an arrow straight at her. She darted aside and struck the girl on the head with her right paw. The girl was immediately knocked out. Suppertime.
“Luna, bring that child to me right away!” barked a pack elder. Luna followed his orders and dragged the hunter to the elder’s paws. Of course! In her fury Luna had forgotten her priority. The elder was Vrencachet, the wisest of all wolves. He had requested a child to be brought to him, a special child with the power to end the wolves’ famine. He had refused all children shown to him so far, so there was a decent chance the girl would be refused. But once he saw her Vrencachet cried out, “The chosen one has come!”
Annabelle awoke to find herself lying among a wolf pack. She no longer had her bow, and the aftereffects of the blow to her head would prevent her from winning hand-to-hand combat. Great, she thought. I’m sitting in a circle of desperate, starving wolves unarmed and defenseless. One wolf stepped up towards her, apparently very old. He was too old to kill her, so she knew that he meant her no harm. He beckoned her to a cliff with his muzzle. She followed, wondering what to expect.
The old wolf gazed over the ledge. She followed his gaze, spotting a group of hunting wolves. Do they want me to hunt in their way? She had no idea what to say, until she saw the wolves were dangerously close to a settlement being built. Suddenly, she noticed a builder quickly grabbed and poised his gun, ready to shoot. The lead wolf got hit, and crumpled to the ground. “I, I’m so sorry,” said Annabelle quietly. People that she once was proud of because they helped others, she could kill right on the spot. The old wolf locked eyes with Annabelle for a couple of seconds, and then led her away.
Luna greeted the hunting pack as they returned.
“Here’s Haluchi.” The female wolf, the alpha’s mate and mother of Luna, was nowhere to be seen. Haluchi’s brother Transalascy stepped forward, his gaze sympathetic.
“I tried to stop her, but she wouldn’t back down. She went up to the hunter, and he…he….” Her uncle’s voice trailed away. “I’m sorry. She’s gone.” Luna collapsed on the spot. Tears streamed down her face, and she refused to let anyone help her. She even growled at Milanie, the gentle mother of Salch, her father and alpha. When Vrencachet returned with the child, she was still crying her heart out.
Annabelle returned to the pack to see a young female crying. She had the same silverwhite pelt as the hunting group leader. She’s the daughter of that fallen wolf!
Annabelle looked at the wolf and walked up to her. She looked at the elderly wolf beside her, and he nudged her three times. To her surprise, she spoke in the raspy barks and growls of a wolf.
“I know what it is like to lose a parent.” She said to the grieving she-wolf. “I lost two.” The wolf stared at her in bewilderment. Then she walked up and touched her nose to Annabelle’s face. “Please help us.” She whispered. Annabelle’s gaze swept across the band of starving wolves. “I will.”
Two years later…
Luna looked down at her pack, and she swelled with pride. Her month-¬old pups played around, with not a care in the world. The pack was healthy and strong, with plenty of food. Then Annabelle came in, her eyes glowing warmly. “How’s the pack, Luna?” she asked. “Fine, thanks to you and your Tribe of the wolves. We can rest happily now.” Her human friend sighed. “I love leading the Tribe on big missions. Anyway, I can see that you are a mother. What are their names?” Luna looked up. “The two males are Vexen and Lochrest. The silver female is Haluchi.”
“Then who is the white one?” asked the Tribe leader. Luna stared at her best friend and whispered, “I named her for the very best human in the world. I named her Annabelle.”