(Continued from Ruby and Wolf Part 1, which can be read below)
Catching my breath, I kept pace beside the now trotting Wolf. I peeked down at him, the bizarreness of this still sinking in. Questions bubbled in my mind, but popped every time I tried to speak them. We were still on the path heading back to my grandparents’ house, the way lined with tall pine trees and scrubby undergrowth. Looking up I could see the trail of grey smoke once more like a beacon.
We came to a left bend, but Wolf veered off to the right and into a tangle of bushes. I stopped, staring after his tail and breathing deeply. Placing the basket down, I gathered my dress and cape about me. I wiped my hands and face which had become damp with sweat. The sound of snapping twigs and branches draw my attention and the Wolf reappeared before me. His tongue was lolling and his eyes looked bright and sharp.
‘Can’t you just tell me what’s happened?’ I gushed.
‘There is little time,’ he replied with a flick of his ears.
‘This basket is heavy and I’m wearing my best dress and cape,’ I responded.
He put his head to one side, studying me and the basket. He sniffed and said, ‘it doesn’t matter. Leave it, come now.’
‘I can’t! Grandma and Ma will kill me,’ I glanced at the sky, ‘she’ll be wondering where I am too. It’s getting late.’
‘But you must help. There’s no one else and too much depends upon this,’ he explained.
I bite my lip and cast my eyes everywhere else but on him. My hands twisted together and I tried quickly to decide what to do. My fear had been displaced, leaving me feeling only puzzled and unsure.
‘How can I trust you?’ I muttered, ‘you might be planning to hurt me the minute you get me far enough away.’
He growled softly, baring his teeth at me and I was shocked by his long, sharp fangs. His front paw scratched at the dirt, his ears became pinned back and his tail stopped moving. Then, he sat down and rose his head up so our eyes meet.
‘Sorry,’ he growled, ‘it is to be expected. We have been suspicious of each other for years. We all have hunted and kill mercilessly, sometimes blindly. Our kind sees each other in the same light; enemy.’
I nodded, feeling the weight and respect in his words.
‘We must learn to put aside our fears in this moment,’ he continued, ‘Trust and loyalty are laws I live by. The survival of my family and friends my goal. All our lives are currently being threatened. I wouldn’t have come to you if it wasn’t necessary. You are a child of this forest, like I am, but your power is greater.’
‘I understand. What is this threat?’ I asked.
‘You must come and see for yourself.’
I looked at the basket and slowly nodded my head, ‘then you must show me.’
Wolf bowed his head and stood up. I collected the basket as he turned around and headed off the path once more. Fixing a determined expression on my face, I followed after him. Not knowing what to expect, but knowing that I now trusted him.
(To Be Continued.)