Chapter 2

Jacob awoke, his head still pounding. He tried putting his hand to his head, but something was wrong. He didn't have a hand. He had a paw, like some sort of beast. Yes, a beast. That's right, a beast. He was a wolf. He remembered it all now. But what was he just thinking about? Something about being human? That was silly. Why would he be thinking about that? Humans didn't actually exist, they were just fairy tales told to little cubs.

Yes, humans were a figment of his imagination. He must have been pretty spaced out to even imagine being such an awkward creature. But he was a wolf. He had thick gray fur, a mean growl, and he was quick on his feet. He could hunt with the best, and he could smell something. Yes, he could smell something. Something close. He could smell the scent of another wolf. But this wolf wasn't from his pack.

He turned around, facing the wolf that he could smell behind him. Growling out a challenge, he approached the other gray wolf, which looked much like himself. He swiped his paw in an arc, pounding the face of his adversary.

"What are you doing?" The other creature recoiled.

That's right. He could talk. How did he forget that he could talk? And that voice sounded familiar. He leapt backwards in surprise, "Shala?"

The other wolf snorted at the ground. "Yes, Shala. Who did you think it was? We were going to go on one last night out, remember? The last secret meeting before we start our own pack?"

"Right." Jacob replied, trying to clear the fuzz in his mind. "Our last night sneaking away. So what do you want to do?"

Shala leapt upon Jacob, her strong paws pinning him to the ground. "Well I know what you want to do. You're feisty tonight."

"Let's play!" Jacob dashed off into the trees, his lupine companion hot on his tail. He used all his speed and wit to lose her in the game of chase. Ducking under a log here, dashing through the trees there, he ran until he was out of breath. Finally he just stood there, panting. "I give up. You win."

Shala came beside him, rubbing her head into his neck fur. "Done playing already?"

"Wait." Jacob sniffed. "I smell someone. Oh no, it's Joshua. It's my father!"

A large white wolf crept behind them, menacing them with its fangs. "So Jacob, I see you are still a novice when it comes to tracking. You made enough noise to wake the forest. And what's this? A female from another pack? You should know better than to break tradition, especially for such a shoddy beast. A pity you didn't invite me to your mating ritual. It looks like you could use my advice."

Jacob stared coldly at his father. "Don't start, father. You can't touch us now. I am no longer part of the pack. Shala and I are going to start our own family.""

Joshua held up his paw, licking his claws. "I can't touch you? So you're saying that I can't do this?" He struck like lightning, scratching Shala across the snout.

"Why you!" Jacob tried to retaliate against the insult, only to be thrown to the ground by the larger white wolf.

"I could kill you now." Joshua challenged. "You feel my sweaty breath on your neck? That is the feeling of vulnerability. You have lost. I claim the right to test her fitness. If she can defeat me in a challenge of strength and wits, then she will have proved herself worthy enough to be a mate of this clan."

"Enough games," Jacob sputtered. "We don't care about your clan. We are starting our own."

"Wait!" Shala stood up, wiping a trickle of blood from her muzzle. "I'll do it. He'll never leave us alone if I don't."

Joshua bowed gracefully. "Whenever you're ready, runt."

Shala launched herself at him, only to be knocked to the ground as he sidestepped. The larger wolf pinned her down with his powerful front legs. She struggled, kicking him off her. They regained their stance and propelled themselves headfirst into each other, going for each other's throats. They clawed each other as they circled around, each trying to gain the upper hand.

Shala backed off, preparing for another lunge as her foe grinned demonically. She rocketed towards him, hoping to gain the upper hand. The white wolf swiftly dodged out of the way.

"Ah!" Shala cried out in pain as she landed in a pothole, twisting her left hind leg.

Joshua shook his head. "Pity it didn't last long, but I expected as much. Look at your lover now." He grabbed Shala in his powerful jaws, flinging her whimpering to the ground.

"Enough!" Jacob cried, unable to stop the pain he saw in his lover's eyes. "This challenge is over. Now let us go."

Joshua sniffed the back of Shala's neck, his snout hovering just above her fur. "This challenge is not over. I haven't finished the job!" He opened his mouth wide, displaying sharp fangs.

"No!" Jacob tackled his father. "Run, Shala!" He helped the injured Shala to her feet.

"Ha Ha." The white wolf laughed. "You're going to make me chase you. I love a good chase."

Jacob could make out something in the darkness. "That light….hurry! I think something will happen if we make it to that light."

Joshua lowered himself to the ground, twitching his ears. "That's right. Hurry. I am right on your tail!"

Jacob ran with all his might, hoping to escape this nightmare. With his evil wolf father just behind him, Jacob pushed Shala into the faint orb of light. They suddenly couldn't feel anything as a blinding light engulfed them.