The Lupe Pack
Note - This was my original entry for the "Short Story Jamboree" Random Contest
that Neo had a few weeks back. It was (I found out as I tried to send it) about
three times too large. So I wrote a new story that won… third place. *is happy
she got the trophy and avvie anyway* So, here's "The Lupe Pack", as told by me…
The white form on the crest of the tall hill was nearly
eerie in the moonlit night. To one not accustomed to the rolling plains under
the stars, they might think they were seeing a ghost. The wind echoed over the
plains, brushing up against the pale form. She sighed and let it pass through
her fur. Once the wind died down, she turned and began to climb down the hill.
At first one might think she was just a normal
Lupe in one of those free-roaming packs that lived on the plains. While it was
true that she was part of a free-roaming pack, she was far from normal.
"Shakia?" a voice asked quietly. "Is that you?"
The question itself was unneeded: Shakia was
the only white Lupe in their pack for many years. "Yes," she replied quietly,
looking in the direction the voice had come from.
Movement came, barely perceptible in the dark
night. She was only able to discern the shadow Lupe's features when he was a
yard from her.
"Hello, Shade," she said, sitting down and looking
at him with her amber eyes. He sat down as well, his sharp eyes holding her
own. Shade was her only true friend. She was so different from the others. She
A sharp howl cried out in the distance, signaling
danger. Shakia blinked. Danger? Both the white and the shadow Lupes jumped to
their feet. Another sharp howl echoed, this time from the opposite direction.
"Two dangers?" Shakia asked herself quietly,
watching Shade bound off in the direction of the first call. Of course he would
go that way: that was his brother's voice.
Shakia had no family, save the pack, and they
didn't really like her. Yes, they let her stay, and yes, they accepted her,
if coolly; but they didn't trust her, nor did they like her. More than anything
Shakia wanted to fit in, but no matter what she did, things always went wrong.
She didn't understand why they went wrong: they just did.
She blinked, realized that she still stood at
the base of the hill, alone; and that many other danger-cries were beginning
to echo. She did not feel frightened: nothing much frightened her. She was merely
confused, worried, and wondering what she should do. If she went one way, her
pack might just chase her off, rejecting her; if she went another, the same
might happen. It was a constant war within herself, trying to fit in, trying
to be something they could look to for help.
A new cry split the air: fear. Shakia's amber
eyes widened, her ears perked up and listening to all sounds. She began to walk
forward, her pace quickening with each step. Ahead she heard her pack gathering.
She trotted toward the whispering circle, quiet
and swift. The whispering drew silent as she came near, and then the muttering
started. They always muttered when she was near and they were trying to make
important decisions. She had grown quite used to it, even if it hurt something
"Shakia," hissed a red Lupe, Roald. He swept
his paw over the dry ground, sending dust into her face as a sign of greeting.
She yelped slightly, and then sneezed.
It was the sneeze and not the yelp that angered
her pack. For as she sneezed, her fur had lit up like a beacon in the night:
"Shakia!" cried several Lupes in anger and shock.
They growled at her, every one, save Shade. She hung her head and lowered her
"Out," commanded a deep, harsh voice, the voice
of the pack-leader, Marcus. Shakia looked up at him quickly -- did she hear
"Out, filth," he repeated. "You are no longer
"The hunters will capture her!" exclaimed Shade.
"She has to come with us."
"Shut your mouth or you'll join her," the leader
growled. "She'll attract the hunters." He looked to her. "If you ever wanted
to do anything good for this pack, here it is. Lead the hunters away. Let us
"But she'll be captured!" cried Shade.
"Shut it!" the leader snarled at the young shadow
Lupe, who backed away with his ears flat against his head. Marcus turned to
Shakia, snarling. She backed away warily, and then turned to flee.
She was all alone now. No family, no pack, no
She ran to her hill, the tallest hill in the
plains the pack called home. There she could see almost everything. Some distance
away, she could just barely see the shadowy forms of the pack, still discussing
their plans for escape from the hunters. Noises sounded behind her, and she
quickly dropped low. Now that she really looked, she could see many solo shadows
all heading toward her pack. They would never discover the intruders until it
was too late. They would be captured.
Briefly she considered simply staying where she
was. Obviously the Lupes were to fall prey to the hunters and be made tame;
going first to the pound and then, someday, to some human owner. Briefly she
considered simply allowing that to happen. After all, they didn't care for her.
Why should she care for them?
Then she thought of Shade. He had stayed on her
side the entire time, never backing down. The only reason he hadn't pursued
defending her just moments before was because he was frightened of the hunters
and of Marcus. At any other time, he would have stuck with it. Perhaps she should
do something just to save him.
Then she realized something even deeper, something
that she had always wished for and never seemed to get. More than anything she
wanted to fit in with the pack, to be a part of them… But no matter what she
did, no matter how hard she tried, things always went wrong. Ever since they
had let her enter their ranks, and even before then, she had always wanted one
single thing: to be a part of the pack. Every Lupe was born with that inner
chord, that one thing nagging at the back of their mind that made them want
to group and sing the pack song. It was that pride of being part of the pack,
that pride of singing the song only Lupes know… It was this that Shakia had
always wanted, and yet had never received.
Then her mind decided.
She would save her pack, even if they didn't
call her a part of it anymore. She would do it because it was the thing a pack-member
did for another, the thing they always did.
She slunk off the hill, running swiftly and low
to the ground. How long had she been thinking? In the distance she heard shocked
Throwing aside all caution, Shakia ran as if
she were the wind that rushed over the plain. She began to glow. She had magic,
and though she didn't know quite yet how to use it, she would have to try. Silvery
sparks that looked like stars glistened in the air around her, either the reason
she ran so fast, or an effect of running so fast. She didn't know. She didn't
care. Her white fur began to glow with silvery light.
She reached the place where the pack had been
conversing. Most of the pack was trapped in individual nets with humans looming
over them. A few had managed to escape capture for the time being. The struggling
below stopped when the bright light had appeared on the rise of the hill.
The pack stiffened in shock; the human's eyes
widened. "The Ghost Lupe!" one human cried out quietly. "He's come to punish
"How can you be certain?" another hissed, looking
to Shakia, who was just as surprised at being called the Ghost Lupe as the humans
were at discovering her.
She took her cue. Growling, she sent some of
her magic to make the nets glow. She pulled up anything she could think of.
Glowing objects, illusions, echoes… Soon the humans were nervous and frightened,
backing away. Growling low, she took a few quick steps forward, and that seemed
to be the final warning. The hunters turned and fled.
Amazed that they had done so, it was several
minutes before Shakia descended to the stunned pack. They all looked at her
in wonder. With her magic-filled claws, she quickly tore open the nets and freed
the captives. Her magic then faded, and the silver-star coat she had recently
worn changed back to its normal white.
"Why did you come for us?" asked Marcus after
a moment. "You could have left us. You could have let them take us."
She shrugged slightly, turning slowly around.
She knew her place. She was outcast, as Marcus had decreed her not an hour before.
The pack-leader bounded around, blocking her
exit. "Where do you think you are going?" he asked.
"Where else?" she replied. "You banished me."
"Well, I take that back," he said, and she saw
truth in his eyes. Suddenly she realized that he trusted her now, that he actually
might turn to her for help in the future. "You're part of us."
She smiled, realizing that she was finally fitting
in, that she had proved herself to be something. Finally, she could sing with
those she had wanted to sing with, with those that she was meant to sing with.
In pure happiness, she tilted her head up and raised her voice in a howl, which
was quickly joined by the others until it became the song. Finally, she was
a part of the Lupe pack.