Tang by Jake P.
Artwork by Envision at FanArtReview.com
Tang ran as fast as he could. But he couldn’t match his brother’s stride. Bongo circled ahead of the deer and herded it toward the rest of the pack while Tang trailed behind. The wail of the deer told him the pack had taken him down, and the words of his father echoed in his mind.|
“He’s a runt, Indri. He’ll never be able to hunt with the pack. You know that. The rest of the pack say he should have been abandoned weeks ago.”
He’d heard the complaints of the elder wolves in the pack, and the snickering of the younger ones, but his mother wouldn’t accept the decision.
“Koodoo, shut up. You let them say that to me. I’ll set them straight. Tang is special.”
His mother was one of the biggest wolves, and the others were afraid of her. She and his father were the leaders… the alphas.
“Survival of the pack is more important than any one wolf. If Tang can’t contribute to our welfare, he’ll have to go. It’s the prime rule of the pack. He’ll have to show he can contribute to the hunt today, or we’ll have to banish him.”
Dad’s right. I’m useless. I should…
“Where were you, Tang? You’re hopeless. You need to walk away…”
Bongo stood behind him frowning in disappointment. He began circling Tang and was about to speak again when he winced in pain.
The cry pierced the stillness of the forest and caused Tang’s heart to pulsate in his chest. Wrenching his head left and right looking for danger, he saw nothing. Bongo whimpered and licked at his hind leg. A steel trap seized Bongo’s hind leg.
“Bongo. What can I do?”
Frowning in agony, Bongo replied, “Tang, go. Do not stay here. This is a hunter’s trap, and he could return at any time. No wolf can escape this thing. Go. Tell the others.”
“I can’t leave you. You’re the strongest of the young ones. You’ll take over the leadership of the pack when Mom and Dad are gone. You’re needed.”
“You can’t help, Tang. You need to tell the others. The pack will survive without me.”
Sorrow clutched Tang’s heart. “No. I’ll help you,” though there was nothing he could do to free his brother.
Bongo grunted and continued to gnaw at the steel trap.
They both alerted at the sound of footsteps. A hunter approached stopping just out of reach of his prey. Shouldering his rifle, he aimed toward Bongo’s head.
Tangs heart knotted. “Hooowww.”
The hunter jerked back noticing Tang for the first time, and spun the gun toward the unimpeded wolf.
Tang crouched on his stomach, and expressing the pain in his heart, he howled, “Hoooowwwww.
The hunter froze at the unexpected response and lowered his rifle. He studied the two wolves for several moments. Then he removed his coat and tossed it over Bongo’s head. Easing to the trap, he released the jaws.
Bongo backed away and tossed the coat from his head. Growling he turned and limped away. Tang followed. When they reached the pack, all were concerned with Bongo’s injury.
“Tang saved me. I was caught in a trap and the hunter was about to kill me when he howled. It was so…” Bongo couldn’t describe the howl.
“Sweet,” Indri finished for him. “Tang is special. His howl is like magic. The sound is mesmerizing. Show them Tang.”
As Tang’s melodic howl pierced the emptiness of the night, the wolves marveled at the compelling loveliness. Tang had a gift no other wolf could match. He was a treasure.
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