Ah, good morning, ugly, cruel world.
It wasn’t often that I was the first one up, but today, that seemed the case. Alpha was asleep when I crawled out of my burrow next to him. He’s a light sleeper though, so he might be awake by now.
I aproach Fancy Pants with his breakfast, a rotten orange. The gentle rays of an early dawn shine down on me, making me sneeze. Apperently F.P. is a light sleeper as well, because he stirrs at the noise. I turn into a wolf- for fun- and look him in the eye. Yes, he’s definately awake now.
“Hey Fancy Pants,” I growl. “Ready for breakfast?” Haha. I sound like a Disney villan. The kid opens his mouth to say something, then closes it again. Shame, I was hopeing for at least a scared wimper.
“Well, here it is. Your breakfast, I mean,” I say, placing the orange so that it looks fresh from his angle. He hides his surprise but I know it’s there. I turn around, and see Alpha crawling from his den. Our den. Whatever, it’s just a tunnel leading into the dumpster.
“Oh, hey, Bo.” In my head I grinned. I like it when he calls me Bo.
“Hey Alpha.” I try to think of something clever to say, like I normally do, but I can’t think of anything.
I turn my attention back to Fancy Pants. He’s fully awake now, and afraid. Big Guy isn’t here to save him anymore.
“So, Fancy Pants. Whadda you got for us?” He shrinks away from me, the talking wolf. Typical.
I turn my self back into a human, if you could call me that. For negotiation purposes.
Fancy Pants shrinks back to the tree. He’s terrified. Alpha’s tail brushes my side, telling me that scaring him will only make things worse. As much as I hate it, he’s right. I sigh.
Alpha perks up. Something startled him. He has sharper senses than I do, and it’s a moment befor I hear what he does.
Swishing sounds. Getting louder. Like… maybe a chopper?
Fancy Pants hears it too, now. He grins.
For I split second I’n dumbstruck, standing there, not moving. Stupid. I want to do something, but I don’t know what. But I know enough to figure out that we’re dead meat if I don’t do something.
You can hear the commotion in the Dumpster, which shows that the entire pack is more than the idoits they can be. Alpha and I glance at each other. What do we do now. ‘What now’ is no longer a question.
“Yo Nix! Cisco! Yo, people!” Almost as soon as I call, Nix, Chez, Cisco and Shasha are by my side next to Alpha.
Alpha dosn’t wait to instruct them. Get to a place where the chopper can’t land and will have a hard time getting to us. Not the Dumpster; too easy to throw a grenade in and fill in the entryway. No one would even know. They dart into the half-rotted bulding on the other end of the allyway. By the time Alpha finishes, he’s half inside the den collecting our food supply, and I’m kneeling next to Fancy Pants, undoing his knots. Everyone knows I’m the only one who can undo my own knots.
By then you have to scream to hear yourself think. I don’t even let Fancy Pants think; I throw him over my shoulder like a sack of potatos and run like heck.
Wait a minute.
I scream a Nix to take him from here, but I think it may be too late. I find that I can’t go forward, and there’s a reason for it. The aircraft lands, and violetly. It throws me back a few feet but I have to keep going forward. For Alpha.
Alpha pokes his head out of the Dumpster at the same time Big Guy steps out. Alpha glances, panicked, at me, like it’s my fault, like I know it its. But I don’t say anything, and he lunges at Big Guy.
The Big Guy throws him back with one blow, even taken by surprise. I hear Fancy Pants gasp, and it sounds like ‘Butler’. Butler. Butler. I will remember that.
And then that other girl steps out, and heads for me. Great way to start the morning, huh? I turn back into a wolf at the last minute, and she trips over me. I kick her in the head, knocking her out, and go straight for Big- no. His name is Butler.
Alpha and Butler are fighting intensely. I leap in.
Was I too late? Was I too late. Was–
Butler pulls out a gun, I blink, and I hear gunfire. Alpha, Alpha, no. It couldnt’ be him. Butler had a bad shot. No.
Not sure how I manage. I leap at Butler, half blind from dust and tears, and sink my teeth in. It knocks the gun out of his hand.
Alpha yells my name, but I hardly hear it. He’s alive, and unscathed, apperently. Butler is mortal, he DID have a bum shot! For Alpha it’s life, for me it’s hope, and I don’t have time to wonder what the other is.
And then I remember the ultimate goal here. I glance back at the building where the rest of the pack is hiding with Facy Pants, and for the first time I wonder what his real name is. And then I realize how much that one glance could cost me.
Alpha springs back up and lunges at Butler once again. Okay, he didn’t exactly spring, but in my mind it’s good enough. He’s alive. I join him in his attack. I breifly wonder what will happen, now that we’ve bitten him. Poor Fancy Pants.
We’re slowly driving him back. I never thought we we would, but somehow…
After about five minutes Alpha starts to slow down. I look at him. We can do this, I think to him. We have to. He catches my gaze, and frowns. Maybe it’s defeat in his look, and maybe it’s shame. But when he did it agian, his message was clear. As clear as it could be, anyways.
Alpha begins to drop out completely, and the rest of the pack slow starts to join. Eventually I begin to wonder.
Well, I mean, no duh I wondered. But now I really thought about it. Suddenly Alpha’s thoughts became clear; a dim light in the dark. There was no way to win this battle.
Think about it.
If we won and got Fance Pants back, what good would he be to us? He couldn’t lead us to and food at all, otherwise Big Guy would catch us all. Even if we did manage to kill him somebody would find the helicopter and turn us in. There was just nothing but satisfaction in winning this. Not even.
I hear Shasha shout something incomprehensible, and I turn to look. Nix shouts at Chez- something about knots- as Fancy Pants runs free down the ally. Butler seems suddenly stronger, and grins. Crap.
He reaches for something inside his coat and Alpha reaches, terrified, for the gun Butler dropped. As Alpha raises his gun, Butler poins it at Alpha’s head. For a moment, the screne was there, branded into my brain to haunt me for ever. A young man, a teen, with silky, thick raver-colored hair, almost innocent for a moment, holding a handgun, and the bodyguard, tall, intimidating, pointing something big right back at the kid. And then the kid looks at me as time moves slow, and I remember that he’s Alpha, and I know that I can’t let this happen. I leap at Butler, and time decides to make up for when it moved in slow motion a moment before.
It speeds up so I don’t know what happened untill I see Nix with a hole in his head and Butler re-aiming. Not Nix. Not too far. No. Crap.
He pulls out another gun, and it spits fire at Cisco, untill Chez lept in the way and both burst into flames.
I blink, and when I open my eyes another gun is pointed in my face. Nad then it turns, and then–
Alpha has no defense now. He’s alone, and I’m not there when Big Guy pulls the trigger.
Oh, no. By then I’m far far away, and turning around only to see Big Guy guide Fanct Pants and the semi-concious teenage girl into the helicopter and I wonder very breifly if either ever had a name. The chopper takes off, but I don’t feel the wind as I walk over to Alpha, only to find he’s cold, along with the scattered remains of the rest of the pack. I walk slowly around the scene, and see something shiny. The last thing Alpha held. It should have been me. I should have been there when he made his last stand. Should have taken that bullet.
I look up, and Fancy Pants looks out the window, and I think of what happened in his name.
I know he was still watching, I know, when I lifted Alpha’s Gun. He was watching when I lifted, slowly, to my head, and pulled the trigger.