Chapter Five

The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon when the pack finally stopped.  With a wave of his arm and sharp bark, the Hybrid allowed his family to disperse.  The wolves made their way around the immediate area, laying down with their tongues hanging out.  I stood there awkwardly, unsure of what I was expected to do.  Finally, after nobody made any effort to approach me, I sat down and leaned my back against a tree.

 

I still clutched my spear.  I didn't trust these wolves as far as I could throw them.  Why, you might ask, did I go with them, then?  Because I wanted something better.  The wolf-boy had promised that to me, and I wanted that too much to turn him down.  That doesn't mean that I trusted him, though.  If these wolves gave me much as a threatening glance, I wouldn't hesitate to run my spear right through them.

 

I was exhausted after last night's events.  It was funny, because I had done far more strenuous things before and still had enough energy to stay up all night.  It didn't really matter in the end, though, because even though I was tired, I was so excited that I doubted I would be able to sleep at all.  So when the wolf-boy came to sit next to me fifteen minutes later, I was still wide awake.

 

"How are you feeling?" he asked.

 

"Tired," I admitted.

 

He nodded, but didn't respond.  For a minute, we were silent, and then I spoke up again.

 

"What's your name?" I asked.

 

The boy chuckled, "Wolves don't have names," he answered.  "We identify ourselves through sight and smell.  We have no need for names, especially ones in languages we're not even able to speak."

 

Turning away from him, I nodded.  "But we're not wolve," I said.

 

"I'm more wolf than human," he corrected me.  "Someday soon, I'll be a wolf through and through.  But since you're not like me, you can call me Bastian."

 

I turned to look at him again, "Is Bastian your real name?" I asked.

 

"It's the name I want you to call me," Bastian replied.  "That makes it my real name, doesn't it?"

 

"I mean," I persisted, "is that the name you had when you were a human?"

 

"Huh," Bastian said thoughtfully, putting his fist under his chin.  "I really don't know.  I haven't thought about my name in so long that it really stopped mattering to me.  In the end, I suppose, it really doesn't matter."  He turned to look at me, "Why do you ask?"

 

"Because I can't remember my real name, either," I answered.  "I just wondered if that was normal."

 

"Animals don't need names," Bastian replied.  "I suppose it makes sense that it would be one of the first things we'd forget.  So, what should I call you?"

 

"Eve," I said.

 

"Eve," he echoed, tasting the word on his tongue.  "That is a beautiful name.  Why did you choose it?"

 

Despite myself, I gave a little smile and blushed, looking away from him, "I thought it was a pretty name."

 

"It is," Bastian agreed.  He put his hands behind his head and leaned against the tree.

 

"Why did you choose Bastian?" I asked.

 

"First thing that popped into my head," he replied.  "I came up with it the moment you asked."

 

Nothing more was said for a while.  For about ten minutes, we just sat there.  Finally, when the sun had cleared the horizon, Bastian stood up again.

 

"Well, if you're going to come with us," he said, "then you're going to need to work with the pack.  Can you hunt?"

 

"Yes," I answered, standing up, spear in hand.  "That was my job when I was with my tribe."

 

"Good, then I'm assigning you to go with my father and brother on a hunting party."

 

I froze, "But they'll kill me!" I protested.

 

Bastian turned and looked at me in confusion, "Not if I don't tell them to."

 

"But," I stammered, "everyone says that Ferals will attack anyone!"

 

Bastian took a step towards me, his eyes suddenly stern, "We attacked you yesterday because you had invaded our territory, just like your tribe would have if we'd invaded theirs.  If you hadn't been on our land, we would have left you alone."

 

Without another word, Bastian turned and walked away, barking an order at two other wolves, who came to join me.  I looked at them warily, but there was not a trace of hostility to be seen in them now.  Taking a deep breath, I hefted my spear and led them into the woods.

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