Restless Paws

Jazmin Lund, Literary Magazine Editor

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I woke with a start. Sweat trickled down my face and onto my lap as I sat up. My throat was dry and it longed for thirst, and my lungs and head ached violently. Pain rippled through my body as I got off of my bed. I don’t know why, but I opened my door and slipped out into the dark depths of the hallway. The antique clock my great-great grandparents gave to my father ticked loudly; I walked into the living room. I couldn’t see anything, since it was 5:30 a.m., and it was still dark outside. I walked into the kitchen, filled a glass of water, and drank it. I did this for five minutes straight, just chugging down water. I set the glass down on the counter and went over to the sliding glass door, seeing my two dogs, Bella and Tucker, play-fighting on the back deck. My lips curved into a smile.

***

Cold air whipped against my face as I raced through the forest down a deer trail with my dogs. Tucker’s golden fur was short as usual, except he had dark brown stripes flashing down his body. Bella’s jet black fur shone with the little light that came from the sky. She had sock-paws (white hairs on her paws) and the deepest amber eyes I have ever seen. It was still early in the morning, so it was still pretty dark out, so I could see at least a few paces in front of me. Crickets chirped into the night as if they didn’t care that their turf was being stirred by three figures. I could still hear the creatures of the night stirring like me; if you lived in Alaska for your whole life, then you would understand that it isn’t scary unless you’re attacked.

As I pressed on, the trees sway with grass and bushes since a small breeze traveled through the air. Suddenly I froze. A creature howled into the night, which sounded super close. My dogs began growling. I reached down and pet Tucker’s forehead. His tail began wagging uncontrollably. As I stared into his dusty brown eyes, I felt my heart connect with his. He was the best dog I could have ever asked for, along with Bella, who I gave some attention to also. I better get moving before something bad happens I thought and started down the trail with Tucker and Bella taking lead with confidence. Another thing made me freeze. Menacing growling was getting closer and closer until everything happened. It was so quick; I barely had enough time to react. A black figure leaped out of the bushes and tackled Tucker to the ground, who let out an alarming yip. Bella began barking frantically, circling the figure as it attacked Tucker. She didn’t seem to know what to do; neither do I.

I screamed and pulled out my knife that was tied to my waist, charging at the figure. But before I could rescue Tucker, something quick and agile tackled me to the ground. I soon as I hit the hard earthy surface, I knew I would not get out of this. Breath seemed to have drifted out of my body, and all I could concentrate on was to keep from getting my face chewed off. The creature snapped, inches away from my face as I gripped something furry. Realization hit me. Wolves! The wolf kept snapping its jaws at my face, showing off a row of sharp blade-like teeth. I began growing dizzier. Dizzier and dizzier. As I struggled, another wolf attacked Bella, and as I saw Tucker and Bella fight for their lives, I fainted.

***

Drip…drip…drip. My eyes fluttered open as the water in trees dripped onto my forehead. The trees loomed over me, and instantly I felt comfort, and a little… relieved. It looked about noon in the day, when the sun is highest. I just happened to look up at my surroundings, and my hand covered my mouth to stifle the scream that was rising up in my throat. Tears began streaming down my face. My dogs’ bodies lay on the ground a few feet away. My heart ached as I began to drown in my own tears, and my open wounds stung as bad as the sight of Tucker and Bella lying there motionless and gone from my life.

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