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Budd Nelson

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Old Lobo
By Budd Nelson
Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Family is all important in a natural world even if it doesn't exactly fit our human definition.


Old Lobo
A grizzled old lobo sits his haunches on a high boulder overlooking the heavily treed valley. While an eerie full moon bathes everything in bright opaque luster and stars pulse with glow that adds little to the ambient light, but much to the ominous mood. He recognizes the pack of his kind stalking a full grown black Honey Eater with a young grey as the new alpha male. Strong and fierce but not experienced yet. Old Lobo senses a familiarity in the bruin, something from long ago, not in his natural instinct and not a threat but still there. He had seen an aging Spiked Head earlier hidden in a thicket between the pack and him. He raises his muzzle to the bright orb: opens his jaws and takes in a full lung of the cool night air giving a deep bellowing yowl, long and multi toned.
Grey hears the bay of another wolf far up the mountain, a killing yell. A fresh kill of a loner will be easier to take than this large Honey Eater he is stalking. Off at a trot toward the baying with his pack right on his heels.
The black Honey Eater eases up now, he could feel the biters getting close but that yipping called them away. Somehow, somewhere he knows that particular yell. It is not one he fears, so down on all fours and off up this rise he goes away from the group of biters.
Old Lobo stands and walks away over the ridge before the pack gets close enough to spot him. It is time to hunt, time to eat and then he can rest for the night, alone, as every dark time.
After killing and devouring a small nocturnal unfortunate Old Lobo canters back to his den and lays down muzzle on tail. He feels safe here it is far from any others lair so this is where he rests peacefully if not occasionally fitfully.
As he is calming down and just about to drift off into blankness his nearest neighbor the white topped night hunter started his who whos. Finally he took off flapping the still air into a short breeze as he passed nearby gaining height. Now the sleep could come night hunter would be gone most of the darkness.
Sometime later as the moon was far past mid sky Old Lobo started twitching as he lay there. Through the graying of his slumber he could see his pack from long ago. One of his larger sibling males was playing at tussling and biting with him until a nip gave him a sharper pain than usual play caused. His neck hairs stood stiff along his spine and instinct drove him to bare more fang and clamp down hard on his playmate bringing blood out onto the fur of his opponent. Without warning their mother clapped him hard across his muzzle and sent his rolling across the hard soil. Later when all his pack was jostling for the meat his father had brought to the den the young Old Lobo sensed that one of the pack was missing. The missing one never returned but there was more to eat that day.
Bright specks started separating the grey on the inside of his closed eyelids and Old Lobo began to stretch and roll before waking up completely. The thirst was the first thing he acknowledged and for this he rose and walked to the spring dribbling from the rocks close by to quench the desire.
The dreams of the night were all but gone again. Old Lobo looked around and saw that night hunter was nowhere to be seen and he was silent again. The sun was rising higher over the mountain peaks starting to give off its daytime warmth and the creatures of this range were starting to stir from their places of the dark. Old Lobo started to walk off from his place of safety as well it was time to be about for the day. A long time ago he had found that less of his kind or any other did not search for him where there were no traces of him about. So he had picked this lair high in the rocks where no tracks were left and only relieved himself when off hunting.
When he came to where the Spiked Head had been yesterday he found that his old pack had done their work well. Little remained of the aging spiked head and blood covered the rocks, grass and soil. There was plenty left for a morning’s meal, relieving his slight hunger for now.
After his hunger was slaked he started on back up the ridge and in the direction where his old pack slept during the dark hours. While still above the spot and far enough off not to be sensed he leaned back on his haunches; listened and watched. Pups were starting to mill around and wrestle with each other while mothers watched. He did not see the grey nor some of the other males.
The White his long time mate was not there either, but she had not been there for longer than he had been gone from this pack. Her lying on the ground, not moving again was why he had finally left one day and never returned. He had not been forced out like some were by young Alpha males assuming leadership, he had just left early one sunrise and never went back again. He came to watch occasionally but would leave quickly and silently if he even sensed he had or might be noticed. So far that had never happened; he knew if he was still there he would have sensed any transient in their area.
Old Lobo rose and padded off over the ridge and into the valley to his left of where he had been sitting. He had not ranged into this area for quite a while. He crossed several trails of spiked heads and saw scat of the hulking Honey Eater. Then as the golden orb of heat was beginning to head for the dark time mountains he smelled why he had not been here recently it was the scent of the night screamer, the one who had caused the White to not get up any more a long time ago. His one instinctual fear was of this large growler who screamed in the dark. His neck hair started to settle back against his skin as the fear became a small blood lust he knew he could not quell.
As he slowly started in the direction of his own lair Old Lobo came across a long ear in a meadow. It was hard running with wily turns and cutbacks to bring the fat grass chewer down before he could reach safety. But the warming meat and blood were worth the effort his belly although not full, did not ache with hunger. He left only stains and meager bones for the dead eaters this time.
The warming orb was going behind the dark time mountains as he crested the ridge near his place of safety. He stopped sat back on his haunches and waited to see the non warming bright circle of the night rise in the sky. As it finally did Old Lobo kicked back his head, jaws wide and lungs filled with cool air and sang his sorrowful song for a long time. Eventually he stood and made his way to his place of sleep. By the time he got there night flyer was already gone, there were no who whos this dark.
 No dreams assaulted his rest during the dark and before the warming orb was fully up he was on a high perch watching his old pack again. He saw the Grey and other males leave their lair for a hunt and he followed along to watch from high secret. They did not have much luck until late as the heat bringer was headed over the dark mountains and they had strayed over the ridge to the left and into Night Screamers territory.
They were tracking on an old sick Spiked Head into a place where he could not escape when Old Lobo sensed the Night Screamer close. His neck hair immediately stood erect and his stance became crouched. Stealthily he slowly kept pace with the pack when at an overhang over the trail they were following he heard the hunting cry just before her leap onto the last of the males following the Grey. The pack turned as the Screamer landed on the back of the unaware male and bite into the back of his neck. The entire pack jumped to the defense of the unfortunate lager behind. However even one screamer was a menace to so small a pack of hunters. Her Claws were taking a heavy toll in the melee even Grey had been sent sprawling off with blood dripping from his muzzle.
Screamer muzzle and claws were smeared with blood and one two places bled from the packs attacks on her. But her the injuries she had inflicted on them were turning the tide until the large and ferocious physique of Old Lobo flew into her from up above, onto her back and his fangs first sunk into the nape of her neck and then as she tried to fling him off, into her under neck.
Grey and the others joined in on the screamer now being bested and finally jerking in death throes. The blood lust was rampant and the pack tore her carcass into shreds before the fever was abated. As they started to settle down, heads were turned from side to side then bodies turned but none could see the one who had jumped her back. Old Lobo had quickly and quietly slipped away before the screamer died. There was no searching and his presence was as quickly forgotten as if he had not been at all.
Old Lobo reached his safe place a little later than usual. He had been moving more slowly due to the fact that he gotten a couple of claw cuts during the fight with the Screamer. That had been one reason he took off as quick as he did, it would not have been well to be around the others while the blood lust was on them.
He was in pain all he could think of was his safe place for now. Sleep came with much groaning and was fitful when it did. As the warming orb rose he lay shivering and cold all the way to his bones. Luckily his legs and paws were not hurt so getting to the trickling water possible without going fuzzy again. After the thirst was gone he wandered back and lay his muzzle on his forelegs again falling into darkness rather easily. He merely slept and got up from thirst all that day. Sometime during the dark Night Flyer drops a just killed small long skinny tail right in front of Old Lobo on the ground. He ate it quickly before Night Flyer could miss it.
Warming Orb and the dark cool circle came and went twice before he left his safe place feeling strong enough to hunt. He did not venture too far over the ridge and at one point he thought he heard the mewling of little screamers in the distance. Not hunting calls, but ones of hunger and fear. He was not interested, they were only small screamers.
Finally one warming orb rising he was back on the rock high over where his old pack stayed during the dark and when the cold white wet came down. Grey was there and all seemed to not have changed, he watched for a long time unnoticed.
He saw Honey Eater that day as well far on the side of the ridge away from his old pack. He was clawing at a tree; he must have found some of the sticky yellow honey again.
When the bright dark circle rose into the sky that night less than fully round he took in a full lung of air and sang again. For soon the circle of the dark would be gone for a while. He had to sing while he could.

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Reviewed by Laurel Lamperd 10/30/2012
A lovely story, Budd. I always feel sorry for the banished when watching wild life on TV. I forget that once the vanquished was the victor. Such is life in the animal world and in ours. Laurel
Reviewed by Lily of Lough Neagh C. Dennis-Woosley 9/1/2012
This was a phenomenal story, but as you know
I am very good at reading into the characters.
Very well done I must say. You have a marvelous
imagination and are quite good at this Budd.
This would make a good book too!

Love and Light
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 5/15/2012
Very good writing, Budd; thanks for sharing! And thanks for the review! Much appreciated!

(((HUGS))) and love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Ruan Mills Burke 4/23/2012
This just blew me away. Such potent imagery besieged my mind whilst reading and the sheer beauty of Nature's cycle engulfed me so that I completely forgot where I was.

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