Chapter 9: Decimated
Back in the Central Pack, the দিন had been going well. Martha and Gary had been gone on their morning walk with Humphrey and Kenya for about an ঘন্টা when they suddenly came running back. Humphrey and Kenya weren’t with them. Jack and Mary saw the worry in their eyes as they rushed over.
“Jack! Mary!” Gary said. “We need to talk to you!”
“What, what is it?” Jack asked.
“Humphrey and Kenya,” Martha replied, frantically. “They’ve been taken দ্বারা humans.”
“Everyone!” Jack yelled. “To the clearing. Pack meeting, now!”
It wasn’t long before the entire pack had gathered in the clearing, waiting for Jack and Mary to address the trouble that had come to their pack. The wood grew silent as Martha and Gary joined Jack and Mary and began the meeting.
“Martha,” Jack said. “What happened out there? Where are Humphrey and Kenya?”
“They were taken, দ্বারা humans,” she replied.
“Tell us what happened.”
Martha and Gary began to tell the pack about Humphrey and Kenya’s wolfnapping, until they got to the part when they were both shot with tranquilizer darts and passed out. Except they didn’t know that they were shot with tranquilizer darts, so there was a bit of confusion amongst the pack.
“Wait,” Steven said. “How do আপনি just randomly “fall asleep”? It doesn’t make any sense. Ugh, I hate being confused.”
“Really?” Adam said. “I figured you’d be used it দ্বারা now.”
There were a few concealed snickers from some of the younger pups.
“Heard that,” Steven said, clearly annoyed at the laughter of the other pups.
“Quiet!” Jack shouted. “That’s enough.”
After the laughing stopped and the clearing became silent again, Martha and Gary finished telling their story. But just as everyone began to বিতর্ক this horrible turn of events and discuss the matter of getting Humphrey and Kenya back, they were presented with a new problem, one that would prove to be far worse than their current situation.
Once Martha and Gary finished telling the pack about what happened to Humphrey and Kenya, a strange sound was heard near the northern borders of the territory. It was a sound unlike any the pack had heard before, but Martha and Gary knew exactly what it was. It was the sound they heard just before Humphrey and Kenya were taken. It was the sound of trucks.
“What is that?” Adam asked.
Martha and Gary looked at each other in horror. Jack noticed their troubled expressions.
“Martha? What is it?”
“Dad,” she said. “You need to get everyone out of here. We’re in trouble.”
Jack turned to two nearby wolves.
“Mick, Rory, go check it out.”
“If we’re not back in ten minutes, don’t wait for us. Get everyone out of here,” Rory said.
The two of them left the clearing and headed toward the northern border where they heard the trucks. They traveled silently through the forest, and eventually they discovered the উৎস of the noise. It was, indeed about a dozen অথবা so trucks, some of which were still pulling up to the territory. The doors opened and at least fifty অথবা so men stepped out, all carrying guns. Against any other pack, they would be no match. But the Central Pack was small and confined to an area of one square mile. The নেকড়ে didn’t stand a chance against the fifty men that had arrived on account on newfound rumors that there was a নেকড়ে pack near their town.
“Come on,” Rory whispered. “We need to get back and tell everyone what’s going on.”
“Why can’t we attack?” Mick protested.
“Are আপনি kidding me?” Rory said. “Look at them. They’ll kill us in seconds.”
“Yeah, but it’ll be fun,” Mick replied. “Besides, I prefer a good fight to all this sneaking around.”
“If we attack now, we’ll expose both ourselves and the pack,” Rory said. “But if we প্রতিবেদন this to Jack, then we can go in attack them as a group. Then আপনি can go and kill them.”
“Fine,” Mick agreed.
The two turned around and began heading back toward the clearing. But they didn’t get very far when Rory accidentally stepped on a small branch, snapping it. The sound caught the attention of two of the men and they soon spotted the wolves.
“Look,” one of the men said. “There, in the bushes.”
“I’ve got ‘em,” the other man said, raising his gun to firing level and looking down the sight.
Mick and Rory turned and started running into the woods, but not before the man shot Rory in the thigh. Rory collapsed onto the ground and slid to a stop. Mick stopped too and turned around to help his friend.
“No, Mick,” Rory said. “Go! আপনি have to leave me.”
Mick looked up and saw the man approaching them with his gun. He reluctantly turned and ran into the forest. But as he did, he heard another gunshot ring throughout the woods.
Adam and the rest of the pack were laying down in the clearing when Mick came rushing back.
“Mick,” Jack said. “What happened? Where’s Rory?”
“He’s gone. We got spotted দ্বারা the humans and he didn’t make it,” Mick replied.
Everyone looked around solemnly.
“How many were there, Mick?”
“Hard to say," Mick replied. "Maybe fifty অথবা so."
“Okay,” Gary said. “So a lot.”
“Then we need a plan,” Jack said.
The pack spent around ten মিনিট coming up with their plan. Except they were having some difficulties with getting everyone to understand it.
“Okay,” Jack said. “We all know the plan, correct?”
“Yes,” Adam said, annoyed.
“No!” Steven shouted, again.
“We all know the plan আপনি told us twenty-five times!” Adam said. “And just so আপনি know, I still object.”
“Objection still noted,” Jack said. Now remember, I’m staying behind with our strongest alphas to stall the humans while the rest of the alphas protect the omegas and pups while they escape. We can’t let any of the humans get past us.”
“Why not?” Steven asked.
“Because they might…well, we don’t know what they might do,” Jack replied, cautiously.
“Come on, sure we do,” Adam said, smiling.
“What, আপনি don’t think Steven should know what could happen to him?”
“Yes. I do,” Steven said. “I think I should know what could happen to me.”
“Nothing is going to happen to you, Steven. As long as আপনি stick to the plan,” Jack reassured him.
“Yeah, the plan to go into battle against a bunch of humans armed with বন্দুক who outnumber us two to one.” Mick said. “Sounds awesome.”
“It’s a good plan,” Mary said. “I’m in.”
“So am I,” Gary said.
“As long as আপনি let us help cover the retreat,” Martha told Jack.
“What? No, Martha. আপনি and Gary need to go with the omegas,” Jack protested.
“We’re helping you. End of story.”
“Must আপনি always be so stubborn?”
“I get it from you.”
“Fine, আপনি and Gary can stay and help us stall the humans,” Jack said, giving in.
“Then we’re in,” Martha said.
“And our malcontent?” Jack said, looking at Mick.
“I like killing humans,” he said. “I’m in.”
“Good,” Jack said. “Then let’s go. Mary, আপনি go with the omegas and protect them. Once you’re away, we’ll draw the humans off and meet up at the large sandstone cliff face south of here. Adam, আপনি and your grandmother are in charge of leading the retreat.”
“Okay,” Adam said. “Come on, Emily, we need to get going.”
It wasn’t a moment too soon. The humans began প্রদর্শিত হচ্ছে up, all armed with rifles and ready to attack the pack. Jack turned to face Adam and Mary.
“Go! Now!” he shouted, snarling at the humans, who were preparing their rifles.
Mary hesitated for a moment, wondering if she was ever going to see Jack again, before turning and leading the omegas and pups away into the woods. Adam stayed for a moment, looking at his parents before following. The humans cocked their rifles and shotguns and got ready to fire. Jack turned to Mick.
“Are আপনি ready?”
“Let’s get this party started!”
The alphas rushed the humans, who fired their guns. An explosion of dirt erupted from the point of impact where the shotgun bullets hit the ground. One nearly missed Jack as he rushed the man who fired it. He leaped on the man and Mick body slammed the human who was targeting Jack.
“Can I ask a stupid question?” Mick asked.
“You sure can,” Gary butted in. “Better than anyone I know.”
“Thank you,” Mick ব্যক্ত before turning back to Jack. “Why do we have to retreat? It’s awesome here!”
Jack ব্যক্ত nothing in reply, only sighed as Mick grinned and rushed toward a group of three humans, enjoying himself far too much as he took them on.
The battle went on for quite a while, and the alphas held their own. But the time came to put the পরবর্তি part of the plan into action.
“Okay,” Jack said. “Now we lead them away and lose them in the forest. Then, we retreat back to the sandstone cliffs and meet up with Mary and the others.”
“Retreat?” Mick protested. “In my moment of glory? You’re insane.”
“I’m afraid that my no longer be possible,” Gary said.
“Why?” Jack asked.
“Because,” Martha replied. “They’ve already boxed us in. We can’t go forward, and we can’t go back, অথবা else we’ll end up leading them straight to others. We’re trapped.”
They looked around and saw, to their horror, that Martha was right. Many নেকড়ে had already fallen, and the rest seemed doomed.
“Mick!” Jack called. “You need to get out of here and go find the others. Tell them what happened here.”
“No way,” Mick said. “I was made for this.”
“Exactly. Your destructive and reckless nature gives আপনি the best chance of getting out of here.”
“You make a fair point.”
“And one final thing,” Jack said. “When আপনি find them, tell them Adam is pack leader per my command. Ron will help Mary finish his training.”
“It’s been an honor to fight with you, sir,” Mick ব্যক্ত in an unexpected moment of seriousness.
“The honor was mine, Mick,” Jack replied.
Mick turned and body slammed a couple of nearby humans. He then ran off toward the sandstone cliffs where the omegas and pups had retreated to. Unfortunately, Mick was the strongest নেকড়ে in the pack, so after he left, the rest began to fall much quicker.
It wasn’t long before no one was left except for Gary and Martha, although both had been wounded and couldn’t stand. Even Jack had been killed, eventually. All that Gary and Martha could do now was lay there পরবর্তি to each other and wait for the end. But surprisingly, the humans didn’t notice that they were still alive, and it wasn’t long before they left, driving off in their trucks and leaving the pack in ruins.
The dens had been destroyed and Martha and Gary were left lying on the ground in terrible pain. They were alive, but that was the last thing on their minds. This দিন had begun like any other and they had hoped to celebrate Humphrey’s birthday happily as a family. But then in the blink of an eye, that was all taken away from them. They had হারিয়ে গেছে all three of their pups, two taken দ্বারা humans and another হারিয়ে গেছে in the woods with what remained of their shattered pack. Their প্রথমপাতা was destroyed and most of their বন্ধু and family were dead. Yet they were the unlucky survivors, left to slowly die in pain. But at least they were together.
As they were silently laying there, a shadow suddenly cast itself over them. They gathered all the energy they had left to look up at what was casting the shadow. It was another human, but at this point they didn’t care. He was alone and looked to be in his early twenties. He had short, brown hair and the beginnings of a beard growing on his chin.
The man looked down at them with a hate-filled look, as if they had done something to him and he was getting his revenge. He then pulled out a pistol and pointed it at the two helpless wolves, but he didn’t fire.
Martha and Gary looked at each other and touched their noses together for one last nuzzle before the mysterious man pulled the trigger. Two gunshots rang through the forest, interrupting the peaceful silence that had filled the air ever since the battle had stopped.
Without looking back, the man holstered the pistol and then bent down toward the ground and intently studied the many footprints and pawprints around the decimated pack, mapping out the battle in his head. As he traveled farther toward the back of the pack, he noticed a large group of pawprints leading into the woods, but he didn’t follow. This wasn’t the trail he was looking for. He knew the নেকড়ে he was searching for hadn’t been here all day. So, he turned and began heading back toward the road to pick up the trail again.
Humphrey and Kenya would never discover the truth about their parents’ fate for almost three decades. The sun slowly set as Humphrey’s birthday came to an end, a দিন that changed his life forever.