by M. L. Cooke
A collection of short stories concerning some of my characters in other books, and others.
|To start off, I would like to say that this is somewhat of a rough draft...
Also the name is going to be rethought multiple times a year, because that is how I work...
I'm Vixie and this is my story.
I grew up in The Pack of Autumn, but was exiled after an... err... incident. I don't remember much of that time... but I know my mother was the sweetest wolf I ever knew. She was a great mother; my older and younger brothers and sisters all grew up to be wise Alphas, great warriors, and peace bringers alike! Me, I was a rebel. I know, it may not seem like that now, but I'm older than you'd think! At nine years of age, I've seen a lot, done a lot, and felt a lot to get to who I am now.
The Alpha at the time, Maple, was mad at me. He banished me from the pack. I wandered in the woods for some time, hunting and lodging in different territories. I was chased out of every one. Until one day, I collapsed. I was three at the time, and reckless. I ran long distances, jumped off steep banks, and swam through raging rivers. It wore me down like the bank of the rivers I swam in. I just couldn't do it anymore.
A handsome young wolf with grey fur and a nebula of patterns saved me. He was strolling through the woods looking for a type of berry to help the elders' joints. He happened across me instead. He hurried off to find the berries he was looking for in the first place, and gave them to me instead. He stayed with me there, in the small hollow I now visit almost every day, until I was able to stand. He helped me back to his pack where he let me stay in his cave until I was strong again.
When spring came, the Alpha of the pack, Baron, who has been Alpha for a very long time, came to me. He told me the rules and code of the pack like he expected me to stay. That was when I realized, this was where I truly belonged.
When I was five, I had my first, and last, litter. Three beautiful little pups were born to me and Nebula. I loved them all so much! Little Nella, with her white patch on her stomach and fur like her father. Oh! And Jade, who loved to chase butterflies in the glade. And finally, my sweet Kailin. The only one that survived.
We had a particularly hard Winter that year, and Nella was the first to go. There was a blizzard that night. She *choke* saw Nebula go out into it to talk to Baron. She followed him out, and froze instantly. We never found her body. The next was Jade. Sweet sweet Jade. He caught a sickness that had been going through the pack. He was the only wolf to die from it. The ground was frozen at that time, so we couldn't bury him until the spring. I had to look at his lifeless body for the rest of winter. We buried him in the glade that he loved so much. If you go there today, you will always see butterflies. They are drawn to the spot, like bees are to honey.
I was horrified when Kailin caught the same sickness Jade did that spring. On a cold night I heard him coughing. I asked him if he was alright, and he said he didn't know. I called for Oakland, the medic at the time, and he said it was probably just a cold. I wish I had forgiven him for what happened next before he died. Kailin was unconscious just an hour later. He collapsed while feeding on a rabbit Nebula caught for him. I rushed him to Oaklands den. Luckily, he survived without any trace of almost dying. I stayed by his side the entire time.
In the following years, Nebula and I became more and more distant. The dead pups had traumatized him to a point where he never had more. He, still, never talks about it. I'm too old now to have more, but I would if I could. When I look at Kailin I think of my mother who had seven litters in total, and thirty six pups. Only five of those thirty six died. Some are dead today of old age, others elders in packs unknown to most. All great wolves. Sometimes I wonder how life would be if I did have more than one child. Would life be busier? Would me and Nebula still be together? I don't know.
I hope I didn't talk too much, but that's my life in a nutshell. Life is hard, but don't give up. Unexpected surprises can arise out of even the darkest of corners.
~ ~ ~
This was used as a bio for one of my wolf OCs. Ultimately it's just a short story I wrote because I was bored. I think it turned out pretty well...
Boulder's Last Flight
"Your Playing my game now."
Eris said. His wings sending shock waves through the sky every time they came down. He shot into the low-lying fog, and out of sight. Boulder got ready to take off as well. He took one last look around. It would be the last time he'd see this place again. He sucked in a breath, and with one powerful stroke, flew into the grey mass above.
The fog was solid looking. When he first flew into it, he almost thought he had blinded himself. The farther he flew up, the whiter it got. Brighter, and brighter, and brighter still, until he finally broke through into the endless blue sky. Eris was already a couple hundred yards ahead of him. His orange scales shimmered in the morning sunlight. He wished his own jet black scales would reflect the light like Eris's did.
They flew on for some time, until the sun was beginning to sink below the purple mountains in the distance. Their snow capped peaks glowing orange from the sunset. That was where they were going. The only place young male dragons belonged. Dragonvale. A small valley situated behind the tallest peak. Birthplace of the race itself. He saw Eris begin to descend into a medium sized clearing in the middle of a sea of pines. He followed suit and landed next to him.
"We should be able to reach the peak by midnight tomorrow. If we fly through tonight, that is. I think we should take our chances in the morning. What do you say, little brother?" Eris said. He enjoyed flying, but he enjoyed a good night's sleep even more.
"I think we should keep going as long as we can. If we need to land we can always find a spot, right?"
"Maybe, there's a pretty wide river along the way. And with you being a stone dragon and all that, you'd sink like a rock."
"We can stop for a rest before we cross."
"Fair enough. We'll sleep well when we get to Dragonvale anyway." He said before taking off again. Boulder followed him into the sky. The air was already noticeably colder, and it would continue to get colder as day turned to night. The sky turned a violent shade of red before the last of the sun's rays sank out of sight. He had always enjoyed night flying. The quiet, and peacefulness had always astounded him. He watched the sky as the first stars flickered into existence. The north star, on their right, was the first.
Later on, the moon rose. Wispy clouds swirled around it, making the night almost perfect for flying, but it was not to last. A wind started to pick up from the south and began to blow him off coarse. Eris appeared to be alright, as he was an air dragon and a much more skilled flyer than Boulder was, not to mention bigger, but if the wind continued to build, he would soon be having problems as well. Eris, sensing Boulder's distress, began to scout for a clearing to land in. He soon found one and was already seated in it by the time Boulder landed.
"Should we stop here for the night?" Eris asked.
"No. We're so close! I can hardly wait any longer. I want to see others like me, Eris! Other stone dragons!" He replied.
"Okay, I guess so. But the wind is really picking up, and you’re not the best flyer. I could do this any day, as this is my domain. You belong on the ground. But, if you want to carry on, and you think you can do it, lead the way!"
Boulder took off first, this time. The mountain loomed over them. The river Eris had mentioned snaked below them. He had been right. It was huge! At least a mile and a half wide, and it flowed on as far as the eye could see, and I'm talking dragon eyes, which are much more powerful than even the best of human eyes. It was when they were about halfway across it, that a mighty gust of wind slammed into him. It threw him out of the sky. Once his balance was restored, we quickly flipped himself over and began furiously flapping his wings. He rose just enough to finish crossing the river, but the wind storm wasn't over. Once he was across on the opposite shore, an updraft caught on his wings sending him skyward. Right toward the mountainside. His life flashed before his eyes, ending with the beginning of their journey. He hit the cliff. His vision turned black. Eris's words echoed through the darkness.
"Your playing my game now."
~ ~ ~
This story was originally submitted into a writing contest. I think it might have won second place in one of the categories...
Shiloh, April 6th, 1862
A battle cry sounded from across the field. We were being attacked! My chest tightened. My breath started to come in gasps. We were all going to die! How could anyone survive against that much firepower! I knelt there behind the fence trying to breath. Will was crouching next to me waiting for a clear shot. He glanced over at me and clapped me on the shoulder. "Come on Conner! Get your gun ready! Fire, fire!" He yelled. I had loaded it earlier so I would be ready. Apparently, it wasn't enough. I fumbled with it for a few seconds before I had it pointed toward the Rebels. My hands shook as I aimed at the enemy. I pulled the trigger and shut my eyes. Bang! I opened one eye as the smoke cleared. "Darn! You missed! Come on, Conner, Hit something!" Will cried as he reloaded his gun. I put my musket down and turned my back on the commotion. I slumped down against the fence and began the reload process. Before I finished General Johnston called for a charge. By the time I stood up, Will was already leaping over the fence.
I crouched down again and finished loading my gun, then I ran forward to stand next to Will who was already reloading again. I aimed at a gunman who was aiming at a man in the front of our lines. This time I didn't close my eyes. He fell immediately. When I looked around I could see that they were retreating. We chased them into the forest. The trees were thick, but not wide. It was easy to get a good shot at most of them, but that also meant that they could get a good shot at us. While running I tripped on a root that was sticking up from the ground. As I went down I felt something whiz past my face. I regained my balance and looked around. Will was farther up ahead aiming his gun. I limped forward to join him. That was when he fell. He writhed around on the ground, then was still. I stared in horror. One of my best friends was dead.
Unfortunately, I froze. I soon found that some Rebel had been aiming for me. Luckily, the bullet only clipped my shoulder. I dropped instinctively and crawled behind a fallen tree. I glanced around the to where I had been standing. I had left my gun! I stiffened and ducked back behind the thick trunk. The sounds of battle slowly began to recede. I closed my eyes and pretended I was back on the homestead in Oregon. Samuel was out feeding the horses, I was sitting on a chair on the porch, Shepherd and Tilly were chasing each other around the field playfully...
I opened my eyes. It was dusk. There was fighting in the distance, but the fight I had been in had moved on. I had fallen asleep! My shoulder stung, but it would be fine. At least I hadn't broken a bone. It was then that I remembered Will. I stood up and dusted myself off, then I went over to the tree I had been standing by and picked up my gun. There was one muddy footprint near the end, but it was still alright. I looked up and glanced around until I found the place where Will had fallen. There was no one there. No sign that Will had ever been there at all. I slung my gun over my shoulder and tramped over to where I had seen him fall, then I searched around the area. Nothing. I sat on a log and was just about to give up when something grabbed my arm. Startled, I jumped up and began to take my gun off my shoulder, when a face popped up from behind the log. It was Will! "Wait! Don't shoot! Even though you'd probably miss..." He said.
"Will! I thought you were dead!" I cried as I lowered my gun.
"Ehh... I thought I was dead too. But I guess I'm not..." His head disappeared behind the log again. I walked around the fallen tree to where Will was. He was trying to work himself into a sitting position. I helped him up, and he leaned his head back against the log. "Would you think I was crazy if I said that was fun?" He asked.
"Well, yes. I suppose I would. You don't really think that though. Right?" I answered.
"Well... We'll just have to agree to disagree I guess."
I stared at him for a little while before finally saying, " Never mind". I turned to sit against the log as well. We sat like that for a while taking in what just happened. The sound of battle surrounding me didn't leave me that night. Even when I slept it raged on in my dreams. When dawn came, I suddenly jolted awake. Something was off. It took me a minute to realize that I couldn't hear the sound of muskets and cannon firing. Instead, I could hear birdsong and the wind rustling through the new leaves. Will was stirring next to me. I stood up and looked around. "I suppose we should work our way back to camp. It sounds as if the fighting is-" I was interrupted by the sound of a gun going off. "Over... Never mind then."
"It's too dangerous to go back to camp now. Someone's bound to find us sometime." Will said.
"But battles can last for days! We can't wait that long!" I argued.
"Believe me, this battle isn't going to last long." He said. He closed his eyes and appeared to be asleep, but I knew he was faking. I looked up at the sun shining through the trees. It was as if nothing had ever happened. The only proof that a battle had ever happened here was Will and me, along with the occasional sound of a cannon firing in the distance. By the position of the sun, it was just a little bit after midday when the firing ceased.
"Hear that?" I asked.
"Hear what? I don't hear anything." Will said as he groggily opened his eyes.
"Exactly! You were right, I think the battle's over! I'm going to scout around. You stay where you are."
"Where else can I go?" He said as I walked off. The clearing wasn't far ahead, so I headed for the light. When I broke through the wall of trees I stopped short in surprise. The gristly image of war now lay before me in all its glory. The bodies of over a thousand men littered the ground. A few of the survivors were combing through the bodies looking for those who were still alive. I recognized one immediately.
"James! You're alive!" I cried. James Norton had escaped from slavery in the south via the Underground Railroad. He was quick to join the Union in the war. He, along with Will, was one of my best friends. He stumbled up to me.
"Ha ha! Well, look who's here. Conner! I thought you was dead after you disappeared behind that tree! Say, where's Will?" He asked.
"He's back there in the woods. Is the battle over?"
"Yep! Sure is! We chased them Rebels all the way back to the church! Now, did you say Will was in the woods?"
"Yeah. Someone shot him. He's pretty much fine though."
"What do you know! The way he fights, one would think he was immortal! I guess he ain't! Well, come on! I'll help you get him back to camp." He walked off in the direction I had come in. I had survived my first battle. How, I asked myself, would I survive another?
~ ~ ~
This was originally just an idea for a sequel to my book Shepherd. I just kept writing, however, and it eventually shaped itself into a full blown short story. It may still become part of a sequel to Shepherd, but that is still a long ways off.
b}More coming soon!