The Power of Formations - Chapter 6 - Wolf Pack
The two boys dressed up head to toe in heavy snow garb. Each had three inch thick wool coats, patched together with bits of scrap fabric, and equally thick cowhide pants. On their heads they were covered by thick wool caps, and on their feet they wore simple high-ankled boots, ideal for traversing through snow.
“Jeez, you’re so annoyingly persistent…” Emmet rolled his eyes, one by one taking careful steps through the blanket of thick white. With each step, his foot sunk down to his shins.
“Hehehe… don’t worry, we’ll have a great adventure!” Yorick cackled gleefully, also carefully taking steps. “The creatures that roam in this winter tundra are completely different from ones in the other seasons. Who knows what we’ll meet?”
They were both now over half a mile away from their home. Yorick was persistent on heading out toward the thick brush that surrounded the fields, in hopes of finding something exciting. Although for a brief few minutes, he had been content just making snow-angels and throwing snowballs, he had quickly grown bored, and was itching to do battle!
“Yeesh…” Emmet shook his head slightly. “We’d better not go too far. If we really find something, it’d be hard for us to run in this thick snow.”
The creatures that roamed around during the winter were completely different from in the other seasons! In the warmer seasons, animals were free to graze around, lazily living off the land, and there were many places to hide, so many that were around were docile. However, in the winter, all the greenery was gone, and most of the animals had gone into hibernation. Anything that was still out there was likely a predator, confident in its mobility through the snow. Mother had even warned them to be careful when they had went out, and to not go far, but clearly, Yorick hadn’t been listening.
“Relax!” Yorick pumped his chest. “What, you scared? Don’t worry! Big brother Yorick has grown much stronger over these past months. With the help of little brother’s healing arrays, what can possibly threaten us?”
Emmet rolled his eyes. Over the past three months, Yorick’s ego had really inflated. Soon enough, he was proclaiming that they were the “unbeatable brothers” – big brother with the strength and little brother with the wit.
Yorick pointed over the horizon. “Look! There’s an animal!”
Emmet looked over, squinting his eyes. Sure enough, in the distance there was a faint silhouette of a quadrupedal beast.
“Looks like a wolf.”
“Haha! Finally, something new!” Yorick exclaimed, raising his shovel excitedly. “Let’s fight! Fight! Fight fight fight!”
The wolf seemed to hear the proclamation and turned its head in their direction. After staring at them for a few seconds, it let out a howl, and then turned around and dashed away.
“Hm?” Yorick was surprised. “It’s running away?”
Emmet stared back at where the wolf had fled. For some reason, he had a bad premonition.
“Hahaha!” Yorick raised his head back and chortled. “Afraid, ey? Who can blame ye’? We are, after all, the unbeatable brothers!”
“Yorick…” Emmet let out a tentative whisper.
“Un-beat-able! Un-beat-able!” Yorick raised his shovel high and paraded around. “Un-beat-able! Un-beat-able! We are un-beat-able!”
“Yorick!” Emmet said, a little louder now.
“What’s wrong, unbeatable little bro?” Yorick patted Emmet’s shoulder and smiled devilishly. “We’ve got a reputation now! They’re scared.”
“Wolves…” Emmet gulped, panning his eyes around nervously. “Wolves… wolves usually travel in packs.”
“What?” For the first time, Yorick was stopped in his tracks.
Then, they heard it.
It was at first a distant rumble… but then grew louder and louder. Within seconds, they could hear the collection of soft, rapid, footsteps.
And then… like a chorus… AWOOOOOO!!!!
“Run!” Emmet screamed out, pulling Yorick back and haphazardly taking steps in retreat.
Yorick didn’t need a second warning. Immediately tucking his shovel away and turning around, he joined Emmet and began sprinting the other way.
However, the snow was thick and it was hard to run. Despite flailing their little legs as hard as they could, they weren’t making much progress.
The howls were getting louder and louder. Taking step after step as fast as they could, Emmet and Yorick felt their adrenaline pumping loudly. For the first time, they felt a real sense of danger.
A wolf pack… They had never seen one in real life, but they had heard rumors. Apparently, they were the most ruthless hunter in the winter. One wolf was scary enough, with its sharp fangs and incredible darting mobility through the snow. An entire pack of wolves? Their prey would have nowhere to run, inevitably getting torn apart by the barrage of sharp fangs.
Every year, they would hear the distant howls from the safety of inside the cabin. However, they had never experienced it up close! It was a truly frightening experience.
“Fuck… fuck…” Yorick groaned. “I’m sorry lil’ bro… if this is the end, just know I love you.”
“Shut it!” Emmet snapped back. “This isn’t the end. Don’t say stuff like that.”
The howls were much closer this time. They could hear the stampede of steps charging toward them grow heavier and heavier, so much that they could even feel the vibrations underneath their feet. At this rate, it wouldn’t be another minute before they would get swamped.
“Dammit, we’re not gonna make it,” Emmet grit his teeth. Although if he squinted his eyes, he could see their little cabin in the distance, it would take at least another ten minutes to reach it. There was no way they could get there in time.
“Fuck…” Yorick cursed for the n-th time. “Fuck, fuck, fuck. Is this the end? I never thought my way out would be getting torn up by wolves…”
“It’s not over!” Emmet suddenly grabbed Yorick’s shoulder and stopped in his steps. “Let’s stand our ground and fight!”
Yorick stopped in his steps too and pursed his lips. “You’re right… what kind of supreme warrior am I? It’s just a little pack of wolves! Is something so puny gonna take us ‘unbeatable brothers’ down?”
“Now we’re talking!” For some reason, in the face of supreme danger, Emmet felt his blood pressure rise, a palpable excitement flowing through his veins. “Get ready for battle!”
Both children turned around and faced their threat.
Stampeding toward them was a closely-packed group of around ten grey wolves, each snarling fiercely. Their fangs were over an inch long, gleaming sinisterly in the snowy landscape. Although they were still a distance away, at the rate they were going, it would only take tens of seconds for them to arrive.
“Battle formation!” Emmet yelled out.
“Aye aye!” Yorick immediately followed the order, stepping out in front and holding out his shovel threateningly. At the same time, Emmet backed up a few paces. Soon enough, they were a considerable distance away.
“Sun beam!” Emmet held out a small contraption out in his left hand, which quickly began to absorb sunlight. “Earth beam! Speed beam! Healing beam!” One by one, he took out small contraptions and held them out into the light. Each slowly began to glow with minute lights, growing stronger and stronger by the second.
It might seem logical that in the winter, especially with the clouds blocking the sky, there would be less sunlight for the devices to absorb. However, that wasn’t necessarily true. Although there was less direct sunlight from the sky to the ground, across the bright snowy landscape, the sunlight would be reflected through all different angles off the snow, resulting in a large amount of diffused sunlight streaming out in all directions. In particular, this large amount of light reflected off the snow and streamed into the sunstones embedded on the outside of Emmet’s contraptions.
“Battle position ready!” Yorick screamed out. He was now standing in a slightly crouched position, knees bent, slightly angled away from the threat. His shovel was held out in front of him like a sword. “Awaiting reinforcement beams!”
“Incoming!” Emmet screamed out.
The wolves had arrived! The leading three in pack had just now approached Yorick, and leaped toward him, fangs bared.
Yorick ruthlessly swung his shovel, smacking the first wolf in the side of the muzzle. It let out a small yelp before dashing to the side and retreating. However, the second and third wolves continued unimpeded!
“Fuck you!” Yorick shifted gears and slammed his shovel backwards, backhanding the second wolf. Taken by surprise, it sprawled out onto the ground for a moment before haphazardly getting back up and retreating back to the pack.
However, there still was a third wolf.
No time to do any other moves, Yorick attempted a forceful kick to drive it away.
However, it wasn’t enough. The wolf easily dodged the kick and sunk its fangs into Yorick’s calf.
“Yorick!” Emmet yelled out. The beams needed to charge; they weren’t ready yet! For now, Yorick was all on his own.
“AHHHH!!!” Yorick screamed out. He quickly raised his shovel and smashed it onto the wolf’s skull, finally causing it to let its grip go and retreat. However, a flow of red had began to appear on his calf.
However, it wasn’t over. At that moment, three new wolves had charged toward him, barking incessantly.