Friday, October 14, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb

 today I begin posting excerpts from my current work in progress. Hopefully it will be as entertaining as my previous posts and allow an extra 1,000 words a day on my #WIP


[A word of warning to the faint of heart: This opening scene to my novel contains explicit descriptions of a pack of wolves hunting and capturing food]
The pack had worked like clockwork and the young mule deer, lungs burned and heart hammered in its chest, was bouncing and running as fast as it could from the howling killers. It made a move to the left hooves clacked on granite. Just then a wolf leaped into sight in front of the deer, barking and growling. The deer turned back and headed downhill and followed the icy rill in the fistulous tunnel of trees down the gully. The pack of wolves on its heels showed no sign of letting up. The density of the trees increased and the way narrowed. The deer bumped against the fluttery aspen on either side and splashed in the rivulet.
It came upon a blockage in its path. A huge wolf stood in the runnel his teeth bared and he emitted a deep menacing predatory growl. The deer spied an opening to the right and jumped into it. The wolf lunged and clipped the deer's flank with his snapping teeth and caused blood to pour down its ground pounding leg. While the other wolves continued their pursuit the large wolf pack leader with dark mottled fur trotted behind them. The chase was over as far as he was concerned. His position was purposeful. There was now no escape for the mule deer. It was headed down a sharp drop that lead into a box canyon with no outlet. When he reached the clearing with shear vertical walls on all sides the deer was circling in search of an escape on the sandy beach of the ancient dry lake mewling, desperate for aid.
Nine wolves surrounded the deer and moved forward pinching the deer into a vice of 700 pounds of killing machine, all muscle and razor sharp, bone breaking, teeth. The wolf pack barked harsh sharp barks and howls at the cornered animal. The father wolf leaped and sunk his jaws into the neck of the deer, killing the young ungulate with one swift whip of his neck.
While the lesser wolves howled the end of the hunt their breath turning to mist blowing in the crisp air calling in the remaining posted hunters, the immense male grabbed and ripped open the belly of their catch and took a huge bite of the liver. Meanwhile mother reached in and tugged the heart lose and began devouring it. The father, who normally takes the choicest organ, allowed his mate this boon. Five wolves, who had been posted at possible turn-outs, wandered in with mouths hanging open panting along with the others present.
The oldest son moved in to grab his share and endured the warning growls of his mother with learned patience. He knew she was possessive of the heart of the kill and gave her a wide berth so as to avoid the possible nip that a careless wolf might receive should he come too close to her while she ate the heart.
It was a great kill. Everyone got their fill and there was leftovers for the carrion eaters to munch on. The pack trotted back towards their resting spot fully sated and happy.
The large father kept a vigilant eye and nose. He knew the others when contented would be careless. Though it was everyone's job to stay vigilant while they were on the move, the pack was spread out over two miles heading in the same general direction, it was ultimately his responsibility make sure everyone was safe.
The sun had fallen behind the hills and the temperature had fallen a good ten degrees by the time they made it back to their home site. The pack was alert now and inspecting every inch of their clearing despite the sub-freezing temperature. They then, in turn, sought a low hanging branch under which to nap, curling up with their snouts between their back legs and their tail covering their exposed nose. In the late winter their home site was a clearing surrounded with evergreens with low hanging branches giving them respite from the wind and snow. A large boulder on the upper edge of the clearing was the only distinguishing feature.