Hello once again to another backlog, this time, one from about a year ago actually, so this one’s definitely been long overdue. The style is definitely something that I wouldn’t normally do now, and it was quite endearing in looking over it and the theme I was trying to convey. It’s a relatively simple piece that I was going for, but the whole idea of being attuned with nature is one that I still want to explore and still explore in some of my more recent pieces. Either way, here you go, “Wishful Fending”.
Garent fired his rifle at the gray wolf that wandered his farm’s perimeter. The sheep were alerted by the ringing sound of his firearm and began storming towards him. Garent had missed the wolf, and the bullet had penetrated the ground a few inches in front of it. Garent took aim once again, but before he could pull the trigger, the wolf had already scurried back into the enclave of the woods. Garent lowered his rifle, and cursed at the beast. His farm had been a hotspot for wolves in the past week. Garent had considered hiring arms to deal with them, but couldn’t afford the extra hands. He settled with buying more ammunition for his old rusted rifle; the same rifle his grandparents had used during the war. It was a family keepsake that was passed down to fend off from intruders. The wolves to Garent were just that.
One day, Garent had decided to take watch at the base of the fencing. He had watched the wolves enter at the exact same spot every day, and escape in the same spot as well. He figured it was coordinated by the pack leader. To Garent, this meant an easy clutch point to stop the wolves from even entering. On the other hand, it would be a one way death wish if a group of them all rushed Garent. His rifle was quite slow, and he wasn’t anticipating for a pack to enter on this day. Garent had never had to deal with more than one wolf at a time. The wolf was different each day, Garent noted. He observed and remembered them as they came by. Each one had a distinct feature, whether it be a scar on the fur, the thickness, or even the way they moved.
The day grew old, and Garent didn’t catch a single wolf roaming around the forest near his farm. He was disappointed that they didn’t give him a fight, even feeling lonely that he had come all the way to meet one and not given the chance. Garent slung the old rifle behind his back, and turned around. However, before he could make much distance, he felt a small splash on his head. Garent turned towards the sky. He never noticed, but the sky turned gray. He wasn’t sure whether it was still day or night, but before he could guess, rain began falling. Garent wasn’t really bothered by the rain, and as it poured on him violently, he heard noises.
Garent turned towards the violent splashing of wet soil and saw a trio of wolves burst out of the woods at once. They appeared further than his anticipated entry point and quickly made haste to the sheep. Garent had no time to think as he brandished his rifle and began firing. Ringing resounded in the air, but was quickly drowned away by the rain. Even the small gun smoke that the old rifle produced was simply a mist in this weather. Garent loaded, unloaded, and fired as fast as he could. His aim was unsteady; the sudden arrival of a trio of wolves, the cold of the rain, and the damp visibility all contributed to his missed shots. Garent had one shot left, so he steadied his breathing, and tried his best to suppress the cold. Garent’s hand stopped shaking, and once he had lined up a shot, he fired. The bullet nicked one of the wolf’s leg causing it to cry out in pain. At this point, at least two sheep were attacked, and the wolves were ready to leave. The wolf that Garent had shot was slowly limping away, leaving large trails of blood in its path. Garent knew that if he wanted to follow the wolves back and clean the problem from the core, he had to do it fast before the rain washed away the trail. Garent had no bullets left, and if he went back to the farm to stock up, he would definitely lose the trail. Finally, Garent hesitantly grinded his teeth and chased after the fleeing wolves.
The rain didn’t let one bit for Garent. His rifle was slung over his back. He had no heart in him to leave it behind. The trail of blood was growing thin, but Garent was able to track it relatively well. Each step felt heavy to Garent as his feet sunk into the wet soil. He grew too tired for his own good, and eventually took a rest on a tree’s trunk. With one hand, he leaned on the trunk, and with the other, he blocked the rain from his eyes. The trail of blood slowly began fading. Garent had no time to waste, but as he got off the trunk and stepped back onto the wet soil, his head began spinning. Garent began stepping forward without realizing it, and began frantically reaching his arms out for support. Garent tripped and found himself falling down a landslide hidden away in the rain.
It was a while before Garent stopped falling, and once he did, his entire body ached. Garent thought he was lucky to still be able to move, albeit it was painful. At first wince, Garent didn’t think anything was broken. However, he was seriously injured, and wouldn’t be able to move until the pains subsided. Garent pushed his arms behind him, enduring as much pain as he could and grabbed the rifle. It was badly damaged from the fall. Even if he did have bullets at this point, it would all be for naught. Garent took exasperated breaths until his breathing finally steadied. He turned light headed but Garent closed his eyes and tried to focus. If anything, the last thing he wanted was to black out. The pains in his body began subsiding slowly. Even the slightest movement would cause a muscle to contract, but he endured it and stood back up. He used what was left of the rifle as a leverage to hoist his body, and looked around towards his surroundings, but he could find no bearings. Worst of all, it was still raining.
Garent tried to climb back up from the landslide, but his feet didn’t react well with his command. He took a step back and tried to look into an alternative to get up the hill. If he stood any longer in the rain, he might die from the cold, he thought. Before Garent could think of anything concise, he heard splashing in the distance. He turned his head, but remembered he didn’t have a functioning rifle, so he kept his weapon holstered. The rain clouded his vision until the figure moved in within a few meters of him. It was a gray wolf, with an injured leg. The wolf seemed to analyze Garent, and understood his situation. The wolf growled at him, but not in a violent manner. It circled around Garent, seeming to want him to follow it. Garent was left no choice, and simply abided.
Garent followed the injured wolf to a nearby cave. He was surprised to see it, as he never knew of the cave’s existence. The wolf entered the cave first, and Garent wasn’t reluctant in escaping the rain, so he followed shortly after. Garent walked a little further in the cave where the draft was weak, while the wolf had already begun circling what seemed to be a fire pit. There were sticks and stones nearby, and Garent used them to start a small fire. The wolf took a rest near the fire, and so did Garent. The apprehensive feeling in the air had faded. Garent took another look at the wolf’s injured leg, and felt a slight churning in his stomach. Garent’s clothes were beginning to dry, and so he tore off a small piece of cloth and reached around to the wolf’s leg. Garent worked quickly as to not startle the wolf, and once he had properly bandaged the wolf’s leg, he felt a sense of elation. Without thinking, Gerant had spoken his mind, “You were left by the pack, huh?” The wolf continued to rest near the fire, seemingly uncaring for Garent’s bantering.
“I don’t know why you saved me. I was the one who shot you.” Gerant expected no response.
“But I’m grateful anyway. They say the beasts of the wild know their territory better than their hunters. I guess it’s true.” Soon, Gerant began getting tired eyes. He couldn’t stave off his tired body, and now that he was warm, there was only one thing he could do. His mind turned to a blank, and his body was wedged onto the cave’s wall.
When Gerant woke up, the fire had already been extinguished. The injured wolf had left as well, and the sound of the rain was gone. The draft coming in wasn’t cold, and his body wasn’t aching. Garent stood up and walked to the mouth of the cave, where small beams of sunlight began entering. The one thing that Gerant was sure of when he had reached the entrance of the cave, was that there wasn’t a fish lying by when he entered. Nor, were there berries. Gerant smiled, and inspected the berries. They were sitting on a piece of cloth.