Eve had always been told that she had too much of her father in her. That’s what her mother always told her. That’s probably what the Crowley boys thought as her fist went into their faces. They had cornered a young wolf in an alleyway of their village, they had fetched sticks and were prepared to beat the poor thing to death. She could not allow that.
Eve’s mother called her crazy for playing with wild animals, but apparently you’re not crazy when you want to beat one to death without reason. Well, Eve thought to herself, I’m crazy, crazy enough to kick Benjamin Crowley right in the gut.
Receiving the kick, Benjamin staggered back but Mitchell and Jonathan quickly grabbed Eve’s arms. She twisted her elbow enough to smack it into Jonathan’s face, hitting him square in the nose. He let go, now that arm was free to smack Mitchell in the jaw. It hit him but it didn’t seem to phase him. He grabbed ahold of that arm and when she tried to hit him again, he grabbed that arm as well and held it. Eve tried kicking but his legs wrapped around her own and held her, soon she started to feel herself losing her balance. Eve was out of options, her arms and legs were all occupied. Then again, so were his.
She spat in his face, distracting him as she put every ounce of what little weight she had against him and, miraculously, sent them both tumbling to the ground. As he released his hold on her, Eve shot to her feet and grabbed one of the fallen sticks, but the boys were already running away.
“Let that be a lesson,” she tried to say boldly, though sore and out of breath. She tried to think of something else to say but nothing came to mind so she gave up. Her lower lip was a little numb and her head hurt, otherwise she was fine. Better than the Crowley boys, anyways.
Still, they deserved it for what they were trying to do to that wolf pup.
“What happens to us as we get older, that we do such things?”
She looked for the pup among the barrels in the alleyway and found it, hiding in a corner.
“It’s ok,” she whispered as she sat down and crossed her legs. They sat there for a minute, Eve trying to remember everything she had ever learned about wolves while the pup seemed to be judging whether or not she was going to try and scare him as those boys had. That, or how great a meal she would make.
That was it. Eve reached into her satchel and pulled out a quarter loaf of bread. She ripped a few pieces from the inside and ate them as the pup watched, then she ripped out a bit with some crust and laid it on the ground before him. His head cocked, he watched her with clear curiosity, then he eyed the bread. Eve watched his nose twitch as he began to sniff at it, soon he got up and padded towards the mysterious looking bread. When he was right atop it, he sniffed with his nose directly on the bread, then opened his mouth and swallowed the entire piece in one bite. Eve couldn't help but smile when he looked up at her again, those big baby brown eyes now pleading for more of whatever delicious gift she had just left for him. She tore another piece and tossed it at his feet, he bent down and it disappeared in seconds. If he were a little older, that could have been a rabbit, or a baby deer, or even a small child.
The wolves around Lakerun tended not to pick on anybody, for the most part, just livestock (and that was on bad days). Eve could remember one time Farmer Grant blamed the wolves for the loss of two of his sheep, and Ms. Petunia always made a fuss about keeping her precious pigs safe.
“Prize winners!” She would cry, “My pigs are quality ham, not for some low class, ruffian wolves!” She would probably die if she saw Eve feeding a pup.
“You should go,” Eve said out loud as if this young pup could understand her. He cocked his head, she pointed to the trees that started the forest, “Go.”
Still nothing, of course. Eve broke a fair chunk from the loaf and threw it into the nearby trees. The pup ran after it, once he had disappeared she began to head for home. But she barely made it ten feet away before she could hear him maneuvering through the foliage, trying to get back to her. She turned and saw the pup running towards her again, a big smile on his face. Eve felt her heart drop, she wanted to take him home. She would raise him herself and make him her guard dog, and they could run through the forest and have adventures. But she knew her mother would never have it. Besides, he probably had a family that was missing him.
“Your family isn’t with me,” she said, “it’s out there.” But he just stood at her feet, smiling up at her with those copper piece eyes. Of course, he couldn’t understand her, but somehow she wished she could let him know that it was nothing personal, that it wasn’t that she didn’t want him because she did. Eve glanced at the remaining chunk of bread still in her hand, then at the pup.
“Mother would kill me if I brought you home,” she sighed, “but she doesn’t have to know that I wasted a good chunk of her homemade bread.” She threw it, and instead of walking, she ran straight back into the village. Eve had to keep herself from thinking of the pup, from thinking of him coming back and not finding her, from picturing those big eyes wondering where she had gone. No, she had to focus on getting home and hoping that he got the message.
But then she heard him, she could hear the panting and padding behind her of the pup, no doubt working hard to keep up. Tough little guy, Eve had to admit. He couldn’t afford to be seen on the streets, so she swerved back towards the forest, and he followed. Unfortunately, no sooner had she lead him back towards the woods than she saw, emerging from the trees, a group of hunters headed their way. They were coming from the north to her left, with sacks slung over their shoulders that were (no doubt) full of rabbits and partridges. They also carried crossbows and bolts, more than enough for one final kill. They were laughing and talking amongst themselves, not yet noticing Eve and the wolf pup. Eve knew they would surely see the pup standing eagerly beside her, and insist that she let them shoot it. With the men slowly getting closer and closer, she realized that there was no more time for games. She had no choice, and quickly scooped the little guy into her arms and took off into the woods through a southern path, so that her back was to the hunters.