The sharp, metallic zing of blood filled her nostrils. She tasted the air. It was fresh. A kill! Maybe, just maybe, if she was lucky there would be scraps leftover. Hunger drove her to her feet. She shook her body, drops of moisture cascaded through the air. At a steady pace she moved off following the scent.
At the edge of the woods she halted. They were not aware of her presence yet. Giddy in the feeding frenzy they had not spotted her. She crouched low in the undergrowth. In monochromatic tones she saw where the dark life force of their prey had spilled across the snow. As they gorged themselves hunger tore through her body making her careless. A branch snapped under her feet. Alerted they turned and looked. She crouched lower submissive in her demeanour. A lone figure came closer, sniffing to ascertain this interloper’s identity. Not one of us. Heckles raised now, teeth bared her presence here not welcome. Slowly she backed away. To turn her back would be fatal.
She was lost. She desperately needed the warmth of contact with her own kind. She had not understood why her mother had chased her off. She had followed for days trying to put right whatever had caused the rift but to no avail. She had been alone now for weeks scavenging to survive. Driven by hunger she crept forward again. They had moved off. She slunk towards the carcass, her body low to the ground. She devoured their scents as she passed over the ground so recently abandoned. They were still close she could sense them. She snatched at a morsel left behind, bolting it down. Scouring the area she found a few more mouthfuls barely enough to quell the hunger. She saw them now in the distance watching her. She moved back away and lay down in the snow.
For days she followed them always at a distance, grateful for any scraps left behind after a kill once they moved off. They tolerated her presence now as long as she came no closer. Then in the snow, her salvation. Struggling in childbirth, collapsed in the snow, a gift. Ahead of her they had missed it, just the wrong side of the wind for them to have caught its scent. In her weakened state had it been on its feet she would have struggled to bring it down but unable to stand she could take it. It let struggled desperately to regain its footing as she swiftly approached. A scream echoed in the stillness as her teeth sank into the flesh of its neck. The hot liquid filled her mouth as her teeth tore as skin and sinew. It was over quickly. She looked up quickly to see if they had seen. They were galloping across the snow towards her. Torn between fear and feeding she backed away.
This time she did not back off completely. She hovered watching as they ripped her meal apart. Then the lone figure approached again. She lowered her body. The proximity of the feed and companionship too much to bear. Heckles raised again, once again those sharp canines glinted at her. She was too weak to stand much more. She would not back off this time. Closer and closer the figure moved. She sank lower waiting for those teeth to bare down on here. She could feel the breath on her face. She rolled onto her back giving her throat in offering submission. She tensed waiting. A moment which seemed to last forever then the feel of contact. Not the ripping, searing pain she had expected but embrace, acceptance. The figure turned its back and returned to the kill. Slowly she got to her feet, creeping closer; terrified at any minute she would be run off again. She moved towards the kill alert to every movement around her. Only as she ate her fill did she relax. Finally she was accepted. She was part of the pack.