Thursday, January 26, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 3 - Shadowy Wolves and Close Calls


 :: Casaday Night, the 92nd of Jhyel's Slumber ::

"Casastan preserve...” gasped Theo, as he stumbled backwards slightly under the weight of this creature's abhorrent stare.

With a side-wards glance, Theo began gauging the distance to the fire.  With some degree of dismay, the scurry realized that the fire was too far to reach, at least with any amount of safety.

"Your a big one, aren't you friend?  Much as I'm sure that you would love to bite me in half, I'll have to deny you that meal.” spoke the scurry with a nervous chuckle and a plethora of feigned confidence.

Theo continued to speak, trying to maintain the mammoth wolf's attention while looking for some perch of safety. 

"If you don't try and eat me, I won't have to kill you” he continued, in a placating tone.

Attempting to penetrate the thick miasma of grey seemed almost impossible, like trying to climb to the stars with a stepladder.  Suddenly, though, the option of looking for a safe haven was cut short as the crouched shadow lunged for the skittish Theodore.

"Eep!” yelped Theo, eyes large.  Staggering back for half a grain, he then bolted directly away from the enormous wolf.

"Run for your life, Saw!” Theo screamed over his shoulder, praying that his companion heard his cry.

Theo could hear the muffled, heavy pads of the wolf pounding on the soil behind him, could almost feel the hot, stinking breath on his neck as he plowed blindly through the dense mist.  As the viscous, moist air flowed around him, Theo began to gain confidence. 

"Maybe I can outrun him.” Theo thought to himself convincingly.

Then he heard the rhythmic thudding behind him suddenly stop.  For what seemed like a wick, Theo heard nothing.  Growing suspicious, Theo urged his aching, fatigued legs to go even faster.

And then the wolf was upon him.  His right shoulder driven hard into the stony, barren ground, Theo gasped in pain as he felt the wolf's two front paws smash into him.  The rank, fetid breath washed over him, and he could feel the coarse black fur pushing into his back. 

Theo began to panic, wildly flailing for some means of escape.  He grabbed one of his throwing daggers and thrust it into the wolf, hoping to catch a sensitive spot.  Theo felt the dagger bite, but he couldn't tell where or how deep.

Scrambling, his lean, powerful fingers digging into the grassy earth, Theo pulled himself from beneath the wolf's bulk.  Looking back, the scurry saw the wolf already resuming the pursuit, slightly limping.

But then, almost running headlong into a granite outcropping, Theo managed to mutter one word between ragged breaths.

"Salvation!” he said as he struggled to the top of the lone pinnacle.  Even then, as he was climbing, he felt the wolf's claws caress the back of his left leg.

The wolf snarled and barked, trying to gain purchase on the smooth rock surface with his back legs.  Without hesitation, Theo brought out Kindle and jabbed at the mongrel's face.  Exhaustion and pain setting off his aim, Theo felt the rapier's point graze along the skull, opening a deep, jagged wound near the wolf's temple.   

With a howl of frustration and pain, the wolf streaked off, the leaden clouds swallowing him as he disappeared into the dense mist.  Theo reached for one of his throwing knives, and realized it would be a futile effort, already unable to see the wolf in the all encompassing miasma.                 

As the realization that he was out of danger floated into Theo's mind, his limbs went numb and Theo knew nothing but darkness.  Even as he lost consciousness, Theo could still hear the lingering howl of rage clinging to the night air.


*          *          *

Solenari's mane, fiery and brilliant, beat upon Theo mercilessly, as he tried feebly to raise himself up on one arm.  His whole body ached, his head throbbed and his eyes felt like they were being burned from their sockets by the harsh glare of the sun.  With a cursory examination, Theo found that his shoulder was torn open, blood matting his fur down unpleasantly, and his right hand was so stiff that even simple movements were painful and difficult.  These, unfortunately, were just the obvious wounds.

Throwing his glance across the landscape, Theo tried to get his bearings, having lost them in the pell-mell flight last evening.  In the distance, he spied the torn and tattered remains of the tent; Saw, however, was nowhere to be seen...

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