The Silver-Wolf Story (True Heroes Never Die)
This story was written for a very good friend who loves wolves.
Part 1 – Introduction
Near the edge of the Silver-Wolf Woods stood an old hunting cabin and barn. The property, secluded from society, was previously owned by an elderly lady with a passion for wolves and her dog. She had spent countless hours of her life taking pictures and journaling about the wolves who lived in the woods. Unfortunately, however, she had passed away of old age on one fall night. The cabin was inherited by her only son and his family.
“Move aside, dear. I’m bringing in the new table.” Mrs. Nearer warned to her husband. Mr. Nearer moved to the side of the doorway allowing his wife to move the table into the center of the room.
“The old table will have to go, naturally,” Mr. Nearer commented as he assisted his wife in straightening the table. When finished Mrs. Nearer placed a white, lacy cloth over the top of the table. Mr. Nearer removed the old table from the room. He carried it outside to the barn. He planned to chop it into firewood for the coming winter.
When Mr. Nearer slid open the barn door a small, brown dog started barking and trotted out of the barn. “Wondered whatever happened to mother’s dog,” he thought aloud as he rummaged around inside of the barn searching for an ax to use for chopping the table. As the little brown dog ran around the front yard a little girl suddenly squealed from inside the cabin.
Jane Nearer was the Nearers’ only child. Little Jane crawled out of the cabin to the dog, who was now lying beneath a pine tree. As Jane approached the dog it sat up. Jane giggled and crawled faster until she was sitting to the right of the little dog. She reached out her hand and stroked him gently on the back. The dog barked once more and allowed the little girl to pet him.
“JANE!” Mrs. Nearer called from the cabin. “Stay inside the house!” Jane ignored her mother and continued playing with the dog. Mrs. Nearer continued folding a pile of towels while waiting on the porch for her daughter to turn and return to the cabin. Finally, when it was clear Jane was ignoring her mother, Mrs. Nearer threw down the towel she was folding and ran to Jane. “Get away from my daughter, you diseased, smelly animal!” she hollered at the dog and grabbed it by its black and silver studded collar. She scooped up Jane with one arm and returned to the cabin, dragging the dog behind with the other. Mr. Nearer was too busy chopping the table to witness the incident. He didn’t even raise his head from his job.
When inside the cabin, Mrs. Nearer sat Jane down on her bed which was temporarily placed in the back right corner of the living room. “Rest up, darling! You’re had quite an eventful and tiring day. First the move, then getting attacked by a dog!” Finally, Mrs. Nearer released her grip on the dog’s collar. She retrieved the towel she had thrown on the porch and refolded it. Immediately after being released the little dog bounded out of the cabin, leaped off of the porch, and ran across the yard to the woods. The sky would set to darkness soon and he had seen all he had needed to see.
“Hello? Is Seta around?” Two gray wolves turned to see who the question was coming from.
“Frankie? What do you want here? Is something wrong?”
“I need to speak with your leader,” the dog spoke. “Where is she?”
“In her den,” the first wolf answered. “She is probably very busy with her pups, though.”
“Thank you, anyways,” Frankie replied as he left the two wolves. He knew the way to Seta’s den. He had gone to her many times, most recently when his owner had died. Frankie hurried through the woods to the den of Seta, the leader of the wolf pack. Seta’s den consisted of a cave nestled away behind a large pile of rocks. Carefully he glanced around. Seta was around or anywhere to be seen, so she must be inside her den. Frankie climbed over and in between the rocks to the cave’s entrance. The cave was not very dark, for sunlight did shine inside the cave in parts near the entrance. “Hello!” Frankie called out as he stepped inside the cave. “Seta?” His voice resounded in a hollow echo around him. As Frankie ventured further into the cave he started to hear faint howls and barks of wolf puppies. The sound was coming from behind a large rock near the left side of the cave. When he stepped behind the rock he was swarmed by three wolf puppies. They excitedly started jumping up at Frankie and licking his face.
“Get down!” came the voice of Seta, leader of the wolves in the woods. Seta, who just finished licking a patch of mud off of another of her pups, stood up to greet her visitor.
“Frankie?” Seta asked. “Is that you? What have you been up to? Is everything alright?”
“Have you heard? A new family has moved into the cabin. There are three people -a husband, a wife, and a small child called Jane.” Frankie explained.
“Indeed, I have seen glimpses of the family -but thank you for the information anyways. I would have went to speak to you there, but I have my pups to tend to.” Seta confirmed.
“Thank you, I understand. Is there anything else I could do for you?”
“Well…,” Seta started. She paused for a few seconds before continuing on. “I would greatly appreciate it if you could alert me of any other events in the future. I know that not all humans were as kind as the old lady and I want to be sure they are not a threat to my wolf pack.”
“Yes, Seta,” Frankie promised. “I could imagine you are very busy with your pups and I am available for assistance.”
“Thank you! The sun will set soon, and you should be getting back to your home. I would not like to keep you out in the night for long.”
“Farewell, Seta,” Frankie said as he turned and left Seta’s cave.
Sunset streaked the sky and the Nearer family had already stopped unpacking when Frankie returned back home. Frankie was not sure whether to sleep in the barn -as he had been since the old lady’s death- or the cabin -as he had whenever the old lady was alive. He chose the cabin, for he could guard his new family from any dangers while observing them at the same time. Mrs. Nearer wasn’t polite towards him but it was Frankie’s duty to guard his family from any dangerous animals or thieves. When Frankie stepped up onto the porch he pushed on the front door. The door opened just enough for him to slip inside. The door’s lock was nothing more than a chain and bolt. When locked it could keep out robbers and large animals but allowed enough room for Frankie to squeeze through when pushed on.
Part 2 – The Fall of Seta
The interior of the room was much different than the last time he had been inside. Most of the old lady’s paintings, quilts, books, and furniture was gone and in its place were newer pieces if furniture, decorations, and a piano. Frankie, a young dog accustomed to living in the woods away from most people, felt out of place in the redecorated cabin. There were even a few wooden crates sitting around. Perhaps the Nearers weren’t even finished with the room yet. He continued across the living room to a small spiral staircase which led to the cabin’s small upstairs floor. The upstairs of the cabin was not very large. It contained an attic, a bedroom, and a small room where the old lady kept her artwork, wolf journals, and a few potted plants. The door to the room was closed. Frankie hoped with all his heart that the Nearers did not rearrange, alter, or destroy the room’s contents. He could not bear to see his old owner’s precious collection damaged or thrown away. The next room was the bedroom, where he assumed Mr. and Mrs. Nearer were sleeping. He did not wish to disturb them so he turned around and traveled back down the stairs. Frankie thought of where he would sleep for the night. He could sleep by the windowsill or the comfortable looking couch. However, he had is eyes set on a different sleeping location -one sure to make the Nearers upset if they knew, but very comfortable. In the corner of the room was the little wooden bed where Jane was sleeping. Frankie jumped up onto the foot of the bed. Just as he imagined, the blankets and mattress would make a wonderful place to sleep. He did not worry one bit about Mr. or Mrs. Nearer. He would probably be up and off of the bed before anyone awoke. Soon after lying on the bed he fell asleep.
Like Frankie had predicted, he woke up far earlier than any of the Nearers. One potential perk of living with the Nearers was the chance of getting fed regular meals as he ate while the old lady was alive. If they refused to feed him, he would have to continue hunting for his own meals as he had been doing presently. While waiting for the possibility of receiving a piece of food for breakfast he strolled around the downstairs of the cabin noting the Nearers’ changes. The Nearers made many more changes to the cabin than Frankie had previously noticed the night before. They cleared out almost all of the old furniture and decorations, replacing it with fancier and newer pieces. Also, the Nearers brought a few unfamiliar items Frankie had never before seen or imagined in his life. There was, for instance, a strange machine belonging to Mrs. Nearer called a ‘sewing machine’. Another was a typewriter which made letters appear on paper whenever Frankie pawed at the device. The machines were unusual and strange but did not appear to be threatening. However, not all of the Nearers’ new wonders were entirely harmless. While sniffing around a basket of flowers placed on top of a wooden crate he saw a shiny piece of metal sticking up from the top of the crate out of the corner of his eye. Curious, he pushed the flowers and the crate lid to the side revealing the identity of the metal object. To Frankie’s horror, the piece of metal was a part of a hunting trap. The trap was most effective when its purpose was trapping wolves, adding to the already terrifying sight. He knew he had to warn Seta immediately. The Nearers disliked him in the first place, so it was no doubt they were planning to use the traps on the wolves in the forest. Mr. Nearer could easily trap the wolves and sell their skins in town. The Nearers could possibly have multiple traps! The dilemma deepened once again when the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs could be heard. Not wanting to be caught near the trap, Frankie bolted rocketed across the room to the door. Unfortunately, he was unable to push open the door and realized he was trapped inside the cabin. Terrified out of his mind, he jumped at the door. Mr. Nearer descended from the stairs and immediately spotted him.
“Stop that, you old dog!” he scolded and crossly went over to the door. Frankie stopped jumping and sat down beside the door. “Quiet! My daughter is still sleeping!” Mr. Nearer shouted, oblivious to the fact that his yelling was much louder than Frankie had been. “What do you want? Food or something?” Frankie would have liked a bowl of food very much, but telling Seta of the trap was more important. He batted at the door with his front left paw, signaling that he would like to be let outside. Mr. Nearer didn’t comprehend the message.
“What’s that dog doing in here?” Mrs. Nearer called from the stairs. ‘I hope it wasn’t inside all night. I don’t like animals inside the house.”
“I don’t know for sure if he was in here all night., but there’s a good chance he was. He’s probably hungry and thirsty. Is there any food for him?”
“Food? I will have to check. But after it’s fed get it out of the house.” Mrs. Nearer exited the living room to the small corner near the fireplace designated as a kitchen. Frankie waited patiently with Mr. Nearer while she rummaged around the kitchen searching for Frankie’s food. “I don’t see any,” she stated and closed the cupboard. “Oh, well. Let it out of the house. Jane will be waking up soon and I don’t want it attacking her.”
“I can’t let it out yet,” Mr. Nearer argued. “I have some work to do. Tie the thing out on the porch if you must.”
“Alright,” Mrs. Nearer agreed. Mr. Nearer took a piece of rope out of a crate and handed it to her. He also picked up three wooden crates. To Frankie’s horror this included the crate containing the metal trap.
Frankie knew he had to see Seta right away. Mrs. Nearer held open the door for her husband. Frankie spotted the perfect space to escape through. He bolted in between the feet of Mr. and Mrs. Nearer and leapt off of the porch. Mr. Nearer left the house after him and stormed down the porch steps. “Psycho dog!”
Frankie tore through the woods like a hurricane. He pushed himself faster until he felt he would collapse of exhaustion. Finally, he saw Seta’s den in front of him. This visit, Seta and her pups were playing outside of the cave, climbing and sliding on the pile of rocks. Seta looked up from watching her pups to see Frankie running. “Stay here,” she ordered the pups and ran to meet Frankie. “What happened? Is there any news for me?” she asked.
“They have traps!” Frankie warned, panting heavily in between each word.
“Sit down and catch your breath for a second,” Seta suggested and waited for Frankie to continue.
“The Nearers have metal traps!” he continued. “Your pack is in danger!” The news alarmed Seta deeply.
“Oh, no! Frank, stay here with my pups. I’m going to gather the pack to alert them of the threat.”
“Alright.” Frankie accepted his job while Seta ran off into the forest. The pups, seeing their mother leave unexpectedly, left the rocks and went to see their new babysitter in charge.
“Who are you?” one of the pups asked.
“Frank,” Frankie introduced. “I am a friend of your mother’s.”
“Where is our mother?”
“She went to gather the pack and will be back soon.”
Satisfied with Frankie’s answer, two of the pups ran back to the rocks. The rest followed behind, then Frankie. They continued playing on the rocks until Seta returned to the clearing with the rest of the pack behind her. “
“Everyone!” Seta announced. “We are now facing a dangerous and deadly threat! The humans who moved in recently brought with them metal traps, perfect for hunting and killing wolves.” The wolves gasped and a few began to panic. They took the situation very seriously. “Frank,” Seta continued, “Are there any traps in the woods right now?”
“I am not sure,” Frankie answered. “The humans had intentions to set them. They could be setting them at this moment.”
“Thank you. Could you please guard the woods and let us know if there are any set traps.”
“Alright,” Frankie agreed and left the clearing to spy around the woods. He glanced behind to see Seta addressing the pack.
Frankie did not have to search very hard to locate the traps. The trap in front of him was set in place and disguised with a pile of leaves and branches. Quietly and carefully he brushed the leaves off of it. Seta and her pack could do whatever they saw fit to the trap later.
Another trap sat close by under a large pine tree. Like the previous trap, Frankie could clearly identify Mr. Nearer’s fresh scent on it. He uncovered this trap as he had done to the first one. Frankie was about to return his report to Seta when he was distracted. “Frankie!” sang a voice belonging to a wolf pup. One of Seta’s pups danced out from under a rock and ran to Frankie. It was one of Seta’s youngest daughters who shared her mother’s unique silver fur.
“Stop!” Frankie warned and turned to see the pup. The little pup stopped.
“What did I do wrong?” she asked. “I just wanted say hi. It’s boring back at the clearing!”
“Don’t run around like that,” Frankie explained. “The humans have placed traps around the area. You could very easily become caught in one of them if you are careless of where you step.”
“Alright,” the little pup agreed.
“We better get back to Seta,” Frankie said. “She has to know where the traps are.”
“Shh! Not so loud! Mr. Nearer may still be nearby in the woods.”
“The name of the human.”
Frankie led the pup back along the path headed towards the clearing. Unfortunately, they were too late. Mr. Nearer was quick enough to jump behind Frankie and get a strong hold on his collar. The pup yelped and jumped underneath a bush to hide. Frankie managed to bite Mr. Nearer on the knee. While Mr. Nearer struggled to brush Frankie away from his wound Frankie gave him another bite the hand before pulling away from Mr. Nearer. “Run!” he shouted and darted through the woods with the pup trailing behind. They had managed another narrow escape, but they may not be as lucky the next time.
It was very true, the tides were starting to turn against Frankie’s favor. Frankie and the pup had finally returned to the clearing to be greeted by a shocking surprise. Seta and her pack were gone. “Everyone was here before I left!” the little pup insisted.
“ I believe you,” Frankie said. “They left.”
They were not left without any clues as to what happened to Seta. Mr. Nearer had been in the clearing, In the middle of the clearing sat another trap, disguised under a pile or dried leaves. Frankie never thought of Mr. Nearer as an intelligent person and the pile of leaves was an excellent reason why. The disguise was too obvious and could just as well have painted the trap orange.
“Where did everyone go?” Frankie thought aloud. He turned to the little pup, who was batting playfully at a few stray leaves from the pile. “Did anyone speak of hiding or running off in the event of danger or anything like that?” Frankie asked. “Perhaps they are hiding somewhere from Mr. Nearer.”
“I’m not sure. I wasn’t paying attention,” the little pup admitted.
Frankie frowned. “The wolves’ scents are spread out in many different directions. The pack was scattered to the winds and it was unclear yet if they managed to reunite. Tracking down each of the scents would take an enormous effort and a long time. “Did you check the cave for anyone?” he asked.
“Yes, it was empty.”
“That rules out that possibility. Now we have to start sniffing after the scent of the pack. This will take a long time so we should start now. Follow me, we’ll start over here.”
The pup looked up from the leaves. “But won’t that take too much time?”
“It will take a lot of time, but it is the only way to find your mother and siblings.” Frankie singled out the scent of Seta and the rest of her pups. He started to follow it with the little wolf pup tagging behind. Later along the trail Frankie detected Mr. Nearer’s scent entangled with Seta’s. Mr. Nearer did not follow Seta and the pups along the woods but it was clear that he ran into them once more. Seta and her pups’ scents did not continue on any further and they were nowhere to be seen. Frankie and Seta’s remaining pup noticed that the ground they were standing over was a square of freshly overturned dirt.
Both canines were silent during the difficult walk back to the cabin at the end of the day. They had managed to trail a few more scents before turning back to go home. Neither canine spoke of the disappointment they had experienced during their search. “Would you like to come inside?” Frankie offered before stepping up onto the porch. The pup nodded her head. Frankie realized that he forgot to ask her something. “What is your name?” he asked.
“Leia,” the pup answered. “And I would like to come inside. Thank you.” Leia followed Frankie up onto the porch. Frankie pushed the door open and they stepped inside.