This is my revamped version of Freedom is Wild. I read through it awhile ago and decided it could use a little more spice. So here it is, the spicy version of Freedom is Wild.
Wolves used to be known as beasts. They were hated and despised by a new brand of modern man, the ones Native Americans called “the white man”. They showed complete disrespect and disregard for the wolf and for most of what was wild. Wolves had been given a bad, and in many ways incorrect, reputation. During the 19th and 20th centuries trapping, poisoning, torturing, and killing wolves was a common practice. Whether it was a male, female, pup, alpha male or alpha female, they were all wantonly killed. There are many theories behind what caused this hatred and widespread killing. It is believed that man killed the wolf because subconsciously they were killing the beast they saw within themselves. Another is that they wanted to conquer and humanize the wilderness. The wolf was also portrayed as being the devil or as the devil’s little helper. Even today, now that the wolf is better understood and many of the misconceptions of the animal have been eliminated, mankind still shows a strong hatred for the wolf. Mankind drove the wolf towards extinction once and it seems it may be happening again today.
Pain. It shoots through the mind like a beam of light through darkness. It’s the only thing there, it envelopes the mind and body; blinding in its plight. It’s the only thing he can feel, hear, see and taste. It takes control and captures his mind.
Blood. It’s deep red, sometimes almost black. It’s what gives life to the living yet what takes it away from the dying. Blood drips slowly and turns silver jaws a shiny red. The jaws are clamped tightly around its catch, its prize. They hold the clasp of death forever tight.
Trapped. Caught. The need to run, the want to get away, is fierce. He looks to the nearby trees, looks for an escape. The world just beyond reach calls to him, the world of freedom and wild that he loves so much. The world he calls home but is now so far away. Just beyond sight voices approach, a foreign sound. They grow louder and louder, coming ever closer, then breaking through the brush.
“Well, it looks like our lucky day,” a large man with a booming voice is the first to comment on their prey.
He approaches their catch and stares. He smells of sweat and smoke, bitter and un-sweet. The scent hits their prey and makes his sense of looming doom grow larger and ever more present.
The man stares, admires, and salivates over his triumph like a hungry wolf.
Huge golden eyes stare back, afraid and timid; depressed and confused; but alive. There is a spark behind the fear, a glimmer of strength that is still present. Two golden tokens stare back, once only filled with pride and joy; ferocity and honor. It sees this hell and dreams of home.
Beyond the brush and the pain is home, his haven. At home grassy land sways in the wind. There is always a cool trickle of water waiting to be drunk. The small stream never stops flowing. He remembers the chase and taste of a fresh kill, of which he fears he will never experience again. He thinks of the untainted air, what it is like to deeply inhale. Outside, the world is green and dancing with life. It’s a painted canvas always being redone by its creator. The sky is light blue at day and deep blue at night. There are twinkling stars and a shinning moon. It’s a place where birds joyously sing and leaves dance over head. There’s shadow and light; water and earth; air and fire; predator and prey; freedom and wildness. This is now only a dream, becoming a distant reality.
“Ready for your first kill?” the large man asks, his voice a guttural growl.
“You bet I am, Butch,” the slight man replied with giddy, childlike joy.
“Good, it’s time for this filthy animal, this beast, to be punished for his crimes against man,” his voice was filled to the brim with disgust.
“So, how are we gonna do it?”
“Donchya know a thing Stan? How many of my kill stories have you heard? You’ll never get yourself a girl like this. It’s time for you to toughen up before Helen has a fit that her little brother can’t get a life of his own.”
“Sorry Butch, but I never done this before. Once I get some coaching you and Helen won’t need to worry ‘bout me anymore,” Stan became serious, losing his childishness.
Butch chuckled at this sudden switch; the idea of Stan not needing any help was quite the picture in his mind.
“Sooo, what do we do Butch?” His joy quickly returned, almost as quickly as it had disappeared.
“We use this.” Butch hands Stan a bat, an old slugger, well used and speckled with blood.
“This is the only weapon you will ever need.”
Stan tightly grips it and swings at the air.
In the distance there is a howl, low and beautiful; mournful and alone.
Stan and Butch quickly scan their surroundings. Seeing nothing, they quickly turn back to their catch.
Lying on the ground, his ears prick, his eyes fill with longing. He stands, but it’s difficult and pains him. In sadness and longing he howls back, a deep reverberating sound.
Suddenly angered, Butch wrenches the bat away from Stan. He seems to grow larger with his growing rage.
“Filthy beast, howling like he’s not gonna die today, disrespecting Me.” He kicks the animal.
He falls to the ground and growls. He raises his hackles, he knows his place. He is the leader but is now trapped and alone; unable to decide whether he should fight back or accept his fate.
“I think he needs to be taught his place in this world,” Butch grumbled.
He raises the bat and forcefully brings it down; it hits his prey who lets out a soft whimper. He raises the bat for the next blow then stops. He looks toward Stan, standing like a frightened pup at Butch’s sudden outburst. Butch took a moment to calm himself, this was Stan’s kill, it wasn’t his time. It was time for Stan to leave his old ways behind and become stronger. Butch knew from experience that a first kill was often what changed a boy into a man. Stan needed to be a man, not a coward. It was time for him to make the world a better place by killing the evil that inhabited it.
“Sorry Stan, I got carried away and forgot this was your kill, wanna take a swing?” Butch offered him the bat back.
Stan looked at the bat, it slowly called him forward. The thought of the kill became more powerful, more seductive. He wanted to be the man that Helen wanted him to be. He looked at the animal that began to growl again, and then he looked toward Butch, then to the bat. He had seen the bat many times before being carried by Butch’s side or sitting on the mantel of his sister’s home beside the pelts of Butch’s carnage. Butch was now offering one of his most prized possessions to him. He grabbed it eagerly but carefully and turned towards his prey.
The leader in the animal cautiously emerges. He is lean and elegant, the epitome of wildness and freedom. He is ready to meet his maker head on. He growls with hackles raised. The back of his coat shines beneath the high noon sun. He decided then and there to not let himself be broken, not until his dying day. He stands, watching the unnatural being in front of him with the extension of his arm. He crouches, ready to pounce, but before he had the chance it happened.
The bat met his head but he did not fall. He did not let the temporary sting stop him. He became even more fierce and enraged at these things tormenting him.
From behind, Butch approaches and grabs hold of the chain on the trap. He yanks it toward him, laughter in his eyes, showing his superiority to the wild animal in front of him.
Their prey cries out, snarling and snapping, he attempts to lunge at Butch. Butch yanks again. A shocking pain shot through the animal’s leg as the bone snapped. The snap echoed in his head and seemed to echo throughout the wood.
Stan brought the bat down again and laughed, emulating Butch’s happiness, drinking it all in.
“Nice one Butch,” Stan complimented his teacher.
“If he tries to fight we just fight back harder,” Butch growled then spat on his captive.
“This boy’s gonna be harder to break than my last one,” he kicked the animal, his beast.
“Hit him again,” Butch ordered.
Stan did as he was told.
“Again!” he barked, “You keep hitting till this monster is stone cold dead.”
And Stan did just that. He became lost in the rush, in the blood lust, with Butch breathing down his neck. His blows grew relentless, then…
Their beast yelps.
He is left bleeding and broken.
His black, grey, and white fur, once so beautiful, is matted with blood. The eyes, once filled with pride, are gone, replaced by pain and defeat.
Butch cackled like an evil villain.
“Serves him right filthy, murdering, beast.”
Their beast cries. He cries for the pain, the loss, and this reality that is hell, the reality that is man: their brutal and cruel behavior, the will and want to be the best, the need to kill, the need for pride and honor. But at what price?
His eyes slowly close, behind the darkness he dreams. Dreams of home, of green grass, cool water, bright sunlight, blue skies, the moon and stars, dancing leaves, blowing winds, and family.
He dreams of his mate, a small powerful female; slim and gray with gentle eyes, her abdomen round and bulging. He dreams of the pups he will never see; the life that is gone. He dreams of a place foreign to man, his home.
The picture starts to fade and his breath becomes shallow. Here he dies, with him the dream dies, the true reality, of what was once wild and free.
Stan looks at the wolf, now bloodied and broken. Red saturates the ground, tainting the land. The sound of the wolf yelping and crying returns to his mind. It reminds him of a crying child. He looks into the lifeless eyes. They have remained golden but are now empty, the spark of life had faded, and he watched it disappear. The wolf’s features seemed to be frozen in grotesque pain. All he was told of the wolf being a monstrous, unfeeling create now seemed to be untrue , wrong. He grew up with these truths but they died along with the wolf. What have I done? He thought. I’ve taken a life, I’ve tortured and killed. How is this right?
Butch clasped Stan’s shoulders and shook him, joy upon his face accompanied by a huge smile.
“You did it, Stan. You’re a real man now.”
Somehow Stan couldn’t understand how this made him a man. Stan looked at the wolf, the one preached to be a beast and the devil, and thought. Who is the real beast in this world?
He turned his back on his dirty deed and returned Butch’s smile.