tagSci-Fi & FantasyNew Territory

New Territory


Darkness fills the room as the car pulls out of the drive. Her mother had come over to see her settled into her new place that day and was only now leaving. Breathing a sigh of relief she walks back into the dimly lighted kitchen where all of her familiar things were perched on unfamiliar shelves. Outside the waxing moon shines onto the expanse of meadow that stretches for maybe half an acre before finding the tree line. "I've got to get a dog." She thinks to herself, realizing that the silence was a little disturbing.

With one last check of the locks on her doors, an old habit from living in the city, she heads to the long hot shower she promised herself earlier. Herbal soap and steam surrounded her for the next half hour. When she finally emerged wrapped in a think forest green towel she froze. Howls echoed out in the woods, sounding terribly close. "I will get a dog tomorrow." She says again, to no one in particular. Pulling the towel closer she pads across the hall and into her room, all the while listening to the song of the pack.

They had hunted well that night, and everyone was feeling restful, ready to head back to the dens. He watched as his father's pack loped ahead of him, adult couples acting like pups, and pups trying behave themselves. The winter had been gentle and the pack hadn't lost a single member. Now spring was here and the deer were just begging to be humbled, life was good. Or should have been.

His father had asked him if he was feeling well earlier that night, before the hunt. "I'm fine Da, just edgy with Alex getting so close to her due date." His father had bought it, knowing how close his children were. Now he hung back as the rest of his family moved on. They had been all he had known his entire life. Yet a loneliness he had never known had begun to grow within him. Not wanting to ruin the mood for the rest of them he decided to take a detour that led him closer to the edge of the territory. He had heard rumors of a new owner buying the house at the edge of the woods. He needed to know about the new human in his territory.

Laying in her bed she stares up at the stars though one of the many skylights. The multitude of windows had really been what sold her on the house. She never felt closed in, like her tiny former apartments. A plane soared far above her, the lights winking at her. She had almost drifted off when she felt... something. It almost felt like she was underwater, pressure all around her. Fully awake again she sits up and looks around the room trying to figure out what the hell had just happened. The pressure was still there, but a little lighter. Shaking her head trying to clear the sensation she gets up. No point in trying to sleep while this, whatever, was going on. The massive flannel shirt that was her sleep attire fell to her knees. Still unsure of what to do she walks over to her dresser against the wall and runs a soft brush through her long auburn hair. A glance in the mirror shows her a slightly spooked woman, the darkness making her pale skin seem white and her green eyes darker.

The sensation nagged at her, making her fidgety. On a whim she pulled on a pair of jeans and her sneakers and went out to stand on the deck off the kitchen. The moon was past it's zenith, but the dawn was still hours away. Lacking any kind of patio furniture she resorted to sitting on the steps leading down to the lawn. She listened to the crickets singing out their hearts, the wind in the trees and grasses of the meadow. Somewhere a bird chirped in it's sleep.

He couldn't believe the woman was actually outside in known wolf country in the middle of the night. He had felt her moving in the house from his cover in the brush of the meadow. Now here she was sitting in the moonlight and looking decidedly tempting. The wolf in him saw a strong female, he wanted to investigate. Only years of being reminded how delicate their situation with the locals was kept him in check. He watched her as she seemed to go from agitation similar to what he was feeling to a state of calm he thought he would've envied, until he realized he felt the same peace. Curious he inched closer, trusting to his skill as a wolf and the steady breeze to keep him hidden in the swaying grass.

He was almost to the edge of the meadow before he stopped. A rabbit broke near him and she startled, almost looking right at him. A jolt went through him as her eyes passed by his, and from the sudden intake of breath he could hear all the way out here, so did she. Slowly, carefully, he rose. He didn't want to frighten her. The breeze ran over his coat, making it move in the moonlight. Her eyes widened a little as she registered what he was, what she thought he was. If she had been a normal wolf her reaction to hold stock still and keep her breathing even may have saved her, or cost her dearly, depending on the state of the wolf. But he took it for an invitation. Still moving slowly he left the concealment of the grass and stepped out onto the small lawn. Hoping she at least knew about dogs he crouched down into a bow, similar to what the human's partners would do when they wanted to play. He flagged his tail back and forth, ears pricked foreword, trying to give her every sign he could that he was friendly.

For a few moments nothing happened, except that he began to feel silly. With a "Humph." He dropped himself into a sitting position and cocked his head to the side. Her breathing had slowed, and she seemed less tense now, so maybe the little display had been worth it. With a visible effort she steeled herself and started to walk over to him. She stopped a few feet away and did something that he classified as very brave, she sat down.

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