Title: The Howling of Wolves is without World
Author: Miss Murchison
Words: 538, some stolen from Ted Hughes
Summary: Usually, Seasonal Spuffy is my chance to dust off something that’s been sitting on my hard drive waiting for a lot of perspiration to be added to the inspiration that made me start it. But with the exception of a WIP, I don’t have anything Spuffy that’s sufficiently inspired to warrant any perspiration. I tried a few things, but nothing progressed. When I came in from covering the tomato plants tonight to protect them from frost (seriously, Iowa, it’s the middle of May, WTF?) I still only had a couple of hundred words of this.
You see, I decided two days ago to use the theme of this round. What I’ve done is pick up books of poetry and read until I found something that sparked an idea. Now I’m writing short fics around them. Unfortunately, the first book I grabbed was a little Everyman volume that I thought would be either love poems or a collection of sonnets. Instead, it turned out to be poems about animals. Instead of grabbing the next book, I persisted stubbornly and a few minutes ago came up with something that is marginally Spuffy.
Thank you, enigmaticblues, for maintaining this comm.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc.
The howling of wolves
Is without world
What are they dragging up and out on their long leashes of sound
That dissolve in the mid-air silence?
Twilight falls early in the winter, taking some by surprise. Predators slouch out of their lairs, snarling with hunger. But when one hears a sound that signals prey, he sniffs the air and grows silent.
Then crying of a baby, in this forest of starving silences,
Brings the wolf running.
Tuning of a violin, in this forest delicate as an owl’s ear,
Brings the wolves running – brings the steel traps clashing and slavering,
The steel furred to keep it from cracking in the cold,
Now two predators walk the dark streets. One follows its human prey. It can scent the blood pulsing beneath the skin and hear the beating of two strong young hearts. It seeks two victims, one carrying the other. The prey is moving more quickly now. Does the hunted sense the hunter? Or does she only fear the dark?
Yellow eyes fixed on mother and child, the hunter does not sense that it is being stalked by another predator, that it is followed by a slender figure moving with breathless stealth.
The eyes that never learn how it has come about
That they must live like this,
That they must live
Innocence crept into minerals.
The hunter is ready to pounce, to taste the salt and metals of that rich blood. But in the second before it strikes and before the human realizes the threat, another appears between them.
The earth is under its tongue.
A dead weight of darkness, trying to see through its eyes.
The wolf is living for the earth.
But the wolf is small, it comprehends little.
Now one predator fights another as the prey flees, screaming and trailing the scent of fear and food. Obsessed by the need to feed, the hunter snarls and would break away. He longs to go back to the chase, but his attacker charges him, forcing the battle.
It goes to and fro, trailing its haunches and whimpering horribly.
It must feed its fur.
The smaller of the two predators smiles, fangs bared, and he laughs as he strikes a blow.
The other does not wonder why they are fighting each other instead of sharing a kill. One wolf may challenge another, and there is no instinct to ask why; there is only the need to fight and survive.
The wind sweeps through and the hunches wolf shivers.
It howls, you cannot say whether out of agony or joy.
The challenger leaps on the hunter’s back. Muscles contract, a grip tightens, and bones snap. Then only one remains, crouched there on the ground, dust at his feet.
The victor’s head gleams silver in the moonlight, and when a voice calls, his golden eyes fade to blue. Standing erect, he leaves his kill and runs to a woman whose scent no longer screams “Prey!” to his senses.
No longer merely a wolf, he runs to the one who has taught him why it lives, to understand, to move beyond instinct, to be something more than violence and pain personified. To love.
The night snows stars and the earth creaks.
From The Howling of Wolves
By Ted Hughes
I’m working on two more shorts based on different poems and will post them tomorrow.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/345624.html