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Unaware Alpha, Chapter 12, Missing Pups

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The snow fell hard for days making it impossible to hunt and the food supply was running low. The cold weather was hardest on the pups as Nurse wouldn't let them outside the den for fear they would get lost or become sick. I watched as the pups become depressed and aggressive towards the rest of the pack. I snapped and growled at the pups until they fell in line and settled down. Since the weather was cold we didn't have need for a lookout as no sane animal would be out in the current snow storm.

We all snuggled down in the middle cave to keep warm. Tame stayed by my side when not with Nurse and his sisters. I don't know why he had attached himself to me and soon he would need to be put in his place but he was young, so I let him get away with more then any of the others but as soon as the snow stopped so would my leniency with Tame. I would have to lead a hunting party the following morning so we could eat. I would take Tank and Nurse with me and leave the pups with Shaggy.

When I woke in the morning, the snow was still falling hard, but we had little choice but to hunt as the food chamber was now empty. Nurse and Tank were waiting for me by the entrance of the cave. I got up and headed out without looking back. Tank whimpered from behind me but I just ignored him, I was in a horrible mood and I needed to take it out on something that wasn't pack. I knew why I was moody but without a male to mate with, I would just have to deal. I showed Nurse and Tank where the neighboring pack was and we marked our land once again to prove we weren't going anywhere.

Now it was time to hunt. The snow was still falling, as we trudged, it made my paws cold and wet but I kept going. We needed food, but I couldn't find anything in this area and I knew we would have to leave our land, if we wanted to eat anytime soon. We walked until the sun was high in the sky and in the far distance I could see a fence. Humans. I snorted my disgust and walked in the other direction. But it seemed no matter where we went or what we did, humans were always near and far.

We walked in a large circle partly in and out of our lands. Then we all saw something strange, a little horse tied to the ground. I looked at Nurse and Tank but like me they were too hungry to care what we hunted. As we got closer to the horse, it saw us coming and must have known it was in danger, as it stamped its feet and snorted loudly. Tank and Nurse split up to drive it forward from the rear, so I could take it down but it panicked and tried to run but slipped on the snow.

A loud crack was heard and I took a step back, as did the others with me. The horse was still alive but didn't get up. Tank was the first to move, followed by Nurse and then I was the last to react. By the time I got there, it was all over and the horse was dead. Looking closer I could now understand why it hadn't gotten to its feet... its back had snapped. An easy meal but getting it back to the den would be the hard part. We all knew what to do, so we each grabbed onto a leg and began to pull. We were doing alright until the carcass wouldn't drag anymore.

Nurse noticed the rope was still attached to the horse and set to work chewing through it and in no time at all we were on the move again. Dragging this meal back to the den was hard work and we had to stop many times to rest. But with each rest, we knew we were closer to home and I think this is what kept us all going. The pups would be thrilled and Shaggy would finally get a break from them. We dragged the horse right up to the mouth of the cave, but something wasn't right. It was to quiet and Nurse growled.

Shaggy and the pups didn't come out of the den. Nurse let go of her leg and slowly entered the cave, her tail straight and ears forward... something was so wrong here. Nurse came running out of the cave and started sniffing the ground around it. Tank and I had also dropped the meal and watched Nurse for a little while, until Tank got to his feet and walked into the cave. I followed. The cave was completely empty. I looked at Tank and he looked at me and in union we both ran from the cave with noses to the ground. Shaggy and the pups were missing.

We joined up with Nurse and started searching and it wasn't long before we heard a mournful howl from Nurse. We ran to Nurse's side and what we came across was just horrible. We found what remained of the pups. There was blood and fur and parts of what was left of the pups all along the waterfront of the lake. Nurse howled with such sadness it almost broke my heart.

Shaggy suddenly appeared from behind a tree near the lake, he was dragging his right hind leg along the ground and had bites and scratches all over him. He stunk of the rogues. Nurse wouldn't even look at him. Nurse slowly got up and started to dig a hole. At first I had no idea what she was doing, until she gently picked up a bit of fur and dropped it the hole.

Tank and I wanted to help, but Nurse wouldn't let us near the bodies of the pups, well the parts of bodies. So we sat and watched with heavy hearts until Nurse let out a whimper. She had found Tame under one of his sisters. He was in bad shape. He was missing his left eye and his left ear was barely hanging on by a tag of skin. If he ever recovered, he would never be able to hunt. Nurse picked him up as softly as she could and took him into the den.

Tank and I finished putting the rest of the pups in the hole and covered it. Shaggy had walked into the den but was forced out by Nurse. Shaggy had been banned from coming inside. Tank and I cleaned him up the best we could, but I could tell that he wouldn't survive the night. The smell of decaying flesh and fear mingled in the night air and just before dawn Shaggy was gone. Together Tank and I dragged Shaggy's body as far from the den as we dare go and left him in the grass.

I heard a sharp yelp from the den as Tank and I returned. Nurse walked out with the chunk of ear from Tame and dropped it next to the filled in hole and then she returned inside. Tank and I both didn't dare enter the den that morning nor did we eat. It was a very sad time for all of us. We had lost so much. Nurse only emerged to either relieve herself or to take food into the den. We all knew the rogues had done this horrible thing, their scent was all over the place.

Tank and I went around and covered their scent with our own. But the silence of no pups was almost more than I could bare. Tame made no sounds but I guessed he was still alive as Nurse never left the den unless she had too. Tank tried to comfort me but I wouldn't allow it. I wasn't the grieving mother. I thought it was time to venture into the den and see how bad Tame was and if he was too badly injured I would have to take him out and end his suffering.

I took a deep breath fearing the worst and slowly walked into the den. It was silent. I didn't like it. I got to the entrance of the nursing cave and saw Nurse with her back towards me. She must have heard me coming as she growled and flipped her ears back but didn't look my way. I whimpered, but got no reply. I slowly walked over and looked over the top of Nurse and there curled against her was Tame, still breathing.

He was in rough shape but I couldn't smell any decay coming from him, so maybe with some luck and a lot of help from Nurse...he would live. It was then Nurse looked at me and I knew. I couldn't take Tame from his mother. Nurse would not allow it either and I could see it in her eyes. I snorted as gently as I could and left the den. If Tame was to die, he would by his mother's side and in his home.

I returned to Tank's side and gave a little shake of my head, letting him know not to go inside. Only time would tell if Tame would make it or not. I threw my head back and howled as loud and as long as I could in one breath to mourn our loss and soon Tank joined me. We both howled for a long time and on our last howl Nurse joined us from within the den. Tank and I hung our heads but kept our ears open. As the sun made it's way past the trees heading towards the ground Nurse came out of the den with a very weak and battered Tame. He may have been injured and weak but for him to be standing before us, showed us he had inner strength like no other I had ever seen. Soon it would be time for revenge.

I would wipe out the heartless pack that did this to us. Even if I had to do it alone.

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