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Wings Versus Wolves

by Kate Grafton 5 months ago in Short Story
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The Village of Verrosa

The sun had begun to set behind the trees. Streaks of pink and orange ran through the sky, illuminated the thick forests of Verrosa. Verrosa was a small village settled a mile away from the forests.

Drake stood on the front porch of their small cabin. Drake had just turned eighteen, but today that did not matter to him. As he looked at the sunset he thought of his older brother, Leo, who had been declared dead five years ago. Leo had just vanished out of the blue and was never found. Drake missed his brother more than anything in the world.

“You know you shouldn’t be out here at night.” a kind, gentle voice said.

His mother, Mary, had just come home from working the horses. She trained and competed the horses to make enough money to care for her son. It was time consuming, but worth it in the end.

“I know.” Drake said silently.

“This is when the wolves come out.” Mary warned him as they went inside.

Drake walked to the kitchen table as his mom bolted the doors and windows. Once the house was secure, Mary sat down with Drake, who was still staring out the window.

“Have you ever wondered what else is in the forest?” Drake asked.

“Drake, the forest is forbidden to innocent lives. The only ones sent there are the criminals. It is not safe there.”

“But what else is in there? Surely wolves are not the only ones that live there.”

Mary sighed as Drake turned to look at his mother.

“Your father once said that there is one other creature that lives in that forest.”

Drake’s eyes lit up with excitement when he heard this. He quickly sat down and waited for his mother to tell him about this other creature.

“What is it?” he asked with a smile.

“Your father said that he once saw an owl this size of a wolf. It looked just like the owls farmers keep.”

“It looked like the barn owls the farmers use to keep rodents away?”

“Yes, but much bigger. He also said it was as bright as the sun with eyes that could pierce one’s soul. Back when men would go in the forest to collect wood, your father got lost. He had wandered for hours in the dark until this bright light flew over him. The owl lifted your father and flew him to the edge of the forest.”

“The owl just helped him?”

“Yes, but your father never knew why. When he asked, the owl simply flew off.”

Mary went silent as she remembered more memories of her husband. She didn’t talk about him after he had died a year ago. The wolves had attacked the village, and Drake’s father had fought them off the best he could.

“Off to bed, Drake.” Mary said softly.

“Goodnight mom.”

Drake went to his room and laid in his bed. He retold himself the story of the giant owl until he fell asleep. He had only been asleep for a few hours when he heard the long howl of a wolf. Drake didn’t move for fear it was in the house. More cries echoed through the village as more wolves stalked unsuspecting victims.

A loud crash made Drake jump out of bed. He met his mother at the top of the stairs as she peered down to see what had entered their home. All they could see was the bright yellow eyes and white glistening fangs of a wolf. Mary gave Drake a look that told him to run, so he did.

Drake ran back to his room as he mom ran to hers. They had an underground basement outside the house, but time was against them. The wolf howled, signaling other wolves to join the hunt. Drake quickly opened his window and climbed out. A wolf had entered his room and Drake quickly shut the window right when the wolf had lunged towards him. The wolf whimpered for a moment, but soon head butted the window. Drake started running towards shelter, but was soon knocked off his feet and felt a sharp pain in right ankle.

“Let go!” he yelled.

A large gray wolf bit down harder and began to drag Drake into the forest. Drake tried to fight back, but other wolves came to grab a limb to help keep their prey. Soon Drake was not able to fight against the wolves and they took him to the forest. Drake was soon enveloped in darkness and tried to fight the wolves once more. He felt their teeth as they released their grip.

Drake watched as more wolves filed in with their prey. Drake noticed he was the only one alive. He laid motionless on the ground trying to figure out how to escape.

A silver wolf came and sniffed at each of the wolves' prey. When the silver wolf came to Drake he grabbed a stick and smacked the wolf in the face. A loud wail distracted the other wolves as Drake ran as fast as he possibly could. He was only able to run a couple feet until his bitten leg gave out. When he collapsed he heard the wolves running towards him. He closed his eyes, preparing for his final moments.

A bright light flooded the forest and another wailing wolf caught Drake's attention. He slowly opened his eyes and saw the bright golden barn owl his father once saw. Besides the owl a wolf laid on the ground and in that instant Drake knew he had been saved. Drake could feel the ground shake as the owl walked over to him. When Drake looked up he saw two fathomless eyes staring at him. The silence between the two lasted for a few minutes.

"You should not be here!" The owl grumbled.

"The wolves brought me here. It was not my choice!" Drake defended himself.

The owl simply stood and stared at Drake.

"You look familiar." the owl spoke.

Drake was silent as he looked at the owl.

"You saved my father before.” Drake said softly.

The owl paused a moment before speaking again.

“Go home!” he grumbled.

“Why did you help me?”

“That is my job. I am the guardian of the forest, but I am not needed anymore.” he said glumly.

“Not needed? My village is constantly attacked by these wolves! We all need help, your help!”

“I am not the guardian of some village!” the owl growled.

“But we could use your help! We need your help.” Drake pleaded.

The owl stared at him for a few minutes.

“What you seek is not help. You seek answers concerning your family.” the owl observed.

“What answers?” Drake tried to chuckle.

“Do not lie to me!”

“I want to know what happened to my brother. He just disappeared one day, and has never been found. They say he is dead, but never found a body.” Drake blurted out.

The owl closed his eyes for a moment, as if he was meditating. When he opened his eyes he looked straight into Drake’s eyes.

“You seek the Wolf King.” the owl spoke grimly.

“The Wolf King?”

“That is where you will find answers. Follow the wolves and see for yourself.”

“Can’t you fly me over there?”

“I am not welcomed there. He considers me an enemy.”

“I can barely walk though!” Drake protested.

The owl spread his golden wings and flew a few feet in the air and with a loud snap he descended with a tree branch in his knife like talons. He handed the branch to Drake and watched as Drake slowly stood up.

“Thank you.” Drake spoke softly.

“Follow the wolves.” the owl stated.

He spread his brilliant wings once more, preparing to lift off the ground.

“What is your name?” Drake asked.

“The Great Golden Owl!”

The Great Golden Owl began to flap his wings. The sudden burst of wind knocked Drake off his feet. He watched as the owl became a speck against the darkness.

“Follow the wolves.” Drake told himself.

Drake wandered through the forest for hours looking for any sign of the wolves. When he heard a howl, his heart skipped a beat. The one howl had called for other howls, and soon the whole forest echoed with the wolves’ voices. Drake slowly made his way towards the howls.

The sun was nearly above the horizon when Drake came to a mountain ridge. Starting at the base of the mountains, the entrance to a cave went nearly half way up the side of the mountain. It was by far the largest cave Drake had ever seen, and this is where the wolves lived. One by one the wolves dragged their prey into the cave. Once they were gone Drake snuck in to see this Wolf King.

Drake made sure to stay a ways behind the wolves so as to not get caught by them. The cave soon opened up to the size of a foyer, and the wolves sat silently as if they were waiting for someone. When a man with long, raggedy black hair emerged from the darkness, Drake was quick to find a place to hide. He watched as the man stood front and center, facing the wolves.

“Another successful night!” the man cheered as the wolves howled in unison.

The wolves soon settled down to let the man speak.

“We will teach those cruel people what happens when they are cruel to one of their own. And soon we will take away all their hope once the wretched owl shows his face!”

The wolves howled once more at the man’s words. The man was about to stop the wolves when something caught his eyes. A small movement that told him they were not alone.

“Get the intruder!” the man yelled.

When Drake heard this he tried to run with all his might, but the wolves caught him easily. They dragged him to the man and stepped back with their fangs bared. Drake looked up at the man and his heart began to ache.

“Leo?” he asked.

The man stepped back and looked at Drake more closely. His expression never changed as the minutes passed.

“You should not be here, Drake.” Leo spoke flatly.

“It is you!”

Drake got up to hug his brother, but the wolves began to encircle Leo. Drake looked at Leo with pleading eyes. Drake had wanted to see his brother again for five years, and he was so close.

“How did you find us?” Leo asked.

“The wolves had attacked me and mom. They caught me but I managed to escape.”

“Don’t lie to me!” Leo roared.

“I would never lie to you, brother!”

“I told the wolves to never attack my family!”

“What happened to you, Leo?”

Leo went silent as he looked away from Drake. The wolves were beginning to get tense as they waited for an order. Leo looked back at Drake and saw his pleading eyes.

“I was cast out of our village.”

“They said you were dead.”

“Of course they did!” Leo roared.

“I don’t understand.”

“I was accused of robbery when it was actually someone I once called a friend. He turned on me and convinced everyone else I was at fault. I had no choice but to run, so I ran into the forests. A wolf had cornered me but that Golden Owl killed the wolf. He said it was to protect me, but the wolves did not believe me. I had to fight to be their alpha, and now the humans and that owl will pay.”

“If you are their alpha then why did they attack your family?” Drake asked.

Leo faltered and looked at the wolves. Some of the wolves were starting to panic as they caught his gaze. Soon a big black wolf walked towards Leo with fangs bared.

“Go back to your place, Vargsu!” Leo ordered.

Vargsu continued his advance to Leo, showing his glistening fangs.

“Only a wolf can be our alpha.” Vargsu growled.

“I fought for the right to be your alpha.”

“You are a human! Humans have hunted us for centuries, and now we will have our revenge!”

Vargsu lunged at Leo and the two began to fight. Drake tried to intervene, but other wolves blocked him.

“Run Drake!” Leo shouted.

“Come with me! I have an idea!” Drake called out.

As Drake made his way outside his mind wandered off to his brother. Would Leo survive this wolf’s anger? He had to help his brother. He would not lose him again. Once Drake was outside in the forest he looked to see if Leo had followed. His heart leapt with joy when he saw Leo with Vargsu right behind him. Drake looked up at the sky and closed his eyes.

“Help us, Great Golden Owl!” he cried out.

He heard an evil chuckle, so turned around to see Vargsu. Drake looked for Leo, but he was nowhere in sight. He began to panic, and Vargsu could sense his fear.

“Your brother is not dead, yet. I lost his trail, but found yours instead. I wonder will brother put up a better fight if you weren’t around?” Vargsu snarled.

Vargsu smiled as he began stalking his new prey. Drake backed up slowly, but in the process of avoiding Vargsu, he tripped on a rock. Vargsu continued to chuckle as he came closer. Drake closed his eyes as he prepared for the worse. A loud screech and a yelp echoed through the forest. Drake did not feel the wolf’s presence anymore so he opened his eyes to a bright light.

“I knew you would come.” Drake smiled.

The Golden Owl stood over Vargsu. Vargsu was not dead, just wounded, but it meant that Drake was safe.

“You knew better than me,” the owl spoke.

Drake’s sense of safety was short-lived. His thoughts went back to his brother, and he began to panic once more. The Golden Owl sensed Drake’s fear.

“You have nothing to fear, my friend.” he spoke kindly.

“My brother isn’t hurt, is he?”

“Your brother is free of his anger. He wanted to save you when you were in danger. He is not far.”

“Thank you for your help.”

Drake reached out to pet the Golden Owl, but the owl backed up. Drake heard footsteps and looked to see Leo coming to find him. When Drake looked back at the Owl, he was gone. Drake looked at his brother once more, and Leo hugged Drake.

“I’m glad you're safe.” Leo said softly.

“Please come home Leo. I miss you.”

“They already think I am dead.” Leo explained.

Drake sighed as started to walk back to the village.

“However, I think it would be nice if you and mom visited once in a while.” Leo smiled.

“We will.” Drake smiled back.

Drake made his way back home, and he couldn’t wait to tell his mom how the Golden Owl helped him find his brother.

Short Story

About the author

Kate Grafton

I love writing poetry and fantasy stories. In high school I wrote my first novella and continue to write more.

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