It is estimated that at one time in history there were at least 30 different species of wolves. By 1500 A.D. wolves had become extinct in England. Scotland followed soon after in the 1700's when it killed its last wolf. At the turn of the century, wolves were nearly extinct in the United States, except for Alaska. All 30 original species have died out except for 5 surviving species today.
Anja continued to press her body forward as hard and fast as she could, ignoring the persistent pain of her broken front leg and the warning signs of her bodily functions shutting down. Her body must be in shock. She could no longer remember how long she'd been traveling. One day? Two? She could still smell the blood matted in her thick white fur, not all of it hers. She could only be grateful that the gash across her hind saddle had stopped bleeding, so there was no longer a bright red trail atop the pure white snow highlighting her path south into Canada. Despite the ache of her jaw muscles, she never let up on the grip of the small child swaddled tightly in the papoose of her native Finnish culture.
Her beautiful child Mika was, or soon would be, the last one of their kind.
It's amazing what a person is willing to sacrifice to prevent the complete decimation of their species. Really, it's only natural to fight for life; an instinct fundamental to all living beings. It is the way of the world – life and death and the cycle of evolution. And it came quite naturally to her: battling until the very end.
As a child, Anja was often scolded for being so strong-willed. Grit, her mother had called it. Her father had said she was just too wild for a female, although his pride was clear each time she showed up her pack mates - his only daughter was amazingly fast for one so small. Despite her juvenile tendency to rebel, at eighteen she was promised to the pack alpha's only son to ensure their continued survival. Being one of the last surviving werewolf females of her northern European pack, Anja had been raised with the expectation that you sacrifice for your people and so she had agreed without a fight.
At the time, Anja had thought she was giving up her own happiness to marry some arrogant boy for the sake of her pack. But looking back now, even under the current dire circumstances, she was overwhelmed with the love and happiness that she and Amak had shared in such a short time.
Not even a year after marrying, Anja had left the only home she had ever known to follow Amak, her mate, her love, and the father of her unborn child, to Alaska. Their pack had survived in Finland for hundreds of years, but the growing human population had proven too dangerous for their kind, as well as for their brothers, the true wolves, who had already become extinct in those regions.
The elders were certain that relocation was the only way to avoid complete decimation. They had been told the wild was still wild in Alaska, without the danger of encroaching humans onto werewolf territory. So the alpha leaders and the few remaining members had voted to move. Unfortunately, their pack found out the hard way that it was a problem in every corner of the world. In addition, the elders hadn't anticipated the hostile natives, the barbaric packs of black wolves who were unwilling to share their land.
The territory disputes with native Inuit packs began shortly after their beautiful daughter, Mika, was born. Amak had proven himself a fierce leader and protector, holding onto their land for years before the wars broke out. The exploding human population was causing disputes for land all across North America. Rumors of wars between packs had reached them from as far south as Minnesota.
In the following months, as they slowly lost more and more family as well as land, they began to hear other rumors. The southern timber wolves were joining forces and planning to form some sort of peace agreement between the North American packs.
It was this rumor, this hope for peace, pushing Anja as far south as possible despite her rapidly declining physical state. She had escaped during a battle she feared had wiped out her entire pack and now she was using every ounce of her grit to save her species and her beautiful daughter.
The simultaneous exquisite relief and searing pain of her soon to be loss hit Anja with amazing force as she came upon a faded timber wolf trail – a flicker of hope for her child. Following it with renewed strength; she released her child for the first time in so many hours, tucking her away in the woods so she could investigate the area. She stumbled upon a small cabin that was surrounded by weeks old scents of young wolves.
The bright red paint of the small home stood out in stark contrast to the powder covered hills and trees it was nestled into. But it was well kept and smoke was coming out of the fireplace. Anja battled internally with leaving her child in the hands of strangers, but as her vision began to blacken, the decision was made for her. They were human, the people who lived here, but surely they would be compassionate to an infant in need of care. Hopefully, as Mika came into her dual nature, she would stumble across the local timber wolves and be accepted by them. It was all she could hope for.
After she laid her one and only child on the doorstep of her future, Anja escaped to the woods nearby. With nothing else tying her to this earth, she collapsed onto the cold forest floor. The only sound in the sleeping woods were her shallow, ragged breaths as the snow covered her in its soft blanket. She would join Amak now in the afterlife and they would watch their child grow together.