This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Wolf

Amid the pungent moistness of the drying streets, cars and buildings, I caught the scents of Silver and three of the Others approaching as I left to walk to work.  I could tell they had had a successful hunt, but then, their hunt was under no self-imposed qualms or restrictions, nor did it occur only one night per week.

The Others had a more instinct-driven approach to the Gift.  Theirs was a bond forged from natural hierarchy: pack mentality.  The oldest and strongest ruled, while the weakest served.  The young were held in the place they deserved: cared for, nutured, taught the ways of survival in man’s world.  If any of us treated it as a Gift, I thought, it was the Others.

If it weren’t for Silver, I felt certain the Others would have chased me from their territory long ago.  But he and I had developed a relationship I hesitated to call friendship, closer to kinship, only because my hunting never posed a threat to their survival.

Sometimes I thought Silver pitied my stunted sense of the Gift, and adopted me to save me from the oblivion of loneliness.  To him, a wolf without a pack was akin to a fish out of water.

“So,” Silver began with an arched eyebrow, “ how’d you fare last night?”  He brushed at a stray lock of silver-blue hair, his namesake.  In man’s world, his name was Steven, but I could never bring myself to consider this beautiful beast a “Steven”.

I grinned, of course he had scented my success as I had scented theirs.  “I had passing good luck.  And that string of rapes on the upper-east side has just come to an abrupt end.”

He clapped me on the back and grinned.  “You know, your super-hero antics make for ome good reading in the papers.  But I still don’t understand your need to help them.”  He waved an all-encompassing hand at the world as we walked.

This was old territory between us.

“I’m not helping them as much as myself.  I couldn’t bear to look in the mirror if I had brought down an innocent woman or child, or worse.  What I do needs to be done, one way or another.”

“That’s a man talking, not a wolf.”  The Others chuckled, silenced by a grunt from Silver.  It was no wonder I had no friends among the Others, but Silver; I was obviously favored above Silver’s own pack.

“I was a man before I became a wolf.  So were we all.”

His nostrils flared, “I surely don’t remember that.”

He even curled his lips in mock indignation.

We had played this same game for nearly six years, almost word for word.  Laying claim to our positions in man’s world every time we met.  It sure beat sniffing his ass.

“So, Silver, to what do I owe this capable escort?”  I gestured at the Others behind us.

I was assaulted by the crisp, acrid scent of fury as Silver’s face darkened, “Something has come into my domain.”

His brows drew together and he stopped to face me, “I can smell it, feel it. This ‘something’ isn’t right.  I’m not sure what it is, but it doesn’t feel like one of us.  One thing is certain, it knows of us and has taken great pains to avoid detection.”

The scent of him and the tension in his square jaw bespoke volumes of concern for his Others.

“I haven’t noticed anything strange, but then, I don’t roam in Others’ territory very often.  You keep it free from the prey that match my tastes.”  He would know my words were as sincere as his.

He halted, looked at my bookstore then at me.  “We part company here, my friend.  If you do notice –“

“You’ll be the first to know, Silver, you must realize that.”  I had never seen this formidable wolf so concerned and it moved me to distraction.

Silver sensed it right away, “Listen, Jared, perhaps I am blowing this all out of proportion, but I just wanted you to be aware, and alert.  It simply doesn’t feel like the usual loner.  Not like you, not even like that rogue Zens.”  He glanced back at the Others.  “We had best be about our search.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Hope business goes well.”

“Be safe, Silver.”

He grinned, “No worries.”

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