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The Interlopers: End of Story
Georg stopped attempting to see their rescuers. He was paralyzed by the thought that his ‘saviors’ were in fact his mortal enemies by nature. In the deepest darkest part of his heart he felt an icy blade of fear spear his heart and begin to take over his rational thought. His gut was twisted into millions of untie-able knots, and the taste of acidy bile rose to the back of his throat, as he knew that death was on its silent chariot, wafting closer with each howl of the wolves. Neither he nor Ulrich spoke, they listened in fear as the howl of the pack steadily grew closer.
“How many were there?” Georg whispered.
“I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess somewhere around twenty.”
They both felt the crushing weight of hopelessness sitting heavy on their chests.
“You said your men were only a few minutes behind you, correct?” Ulrich said ending the prolonged silence as the wolves paused in their blood chilling wail.
“And yours were soon to follow also,” Georg replied, both knowing that it was unlikely that they’d ever be found if their men hadn’t stumbled upon them already. They looked up simultaneously.
The intense yellow eyes of the biggest wolf that Georg or Ulrich had ever seen stared down into their eyes, while a myriad of shimmering blue, green, and golden eyes watched from several feet behind. The wolf was lean and shaggy; its coat was a deep black color with seemingly blue highlights from the light of the moon over head. Georg estimated its height to be around two and a half feet tall at the shoulder, with feet as big around as a small dessert plate. The wolf stood there for a long time, silent. Its deadly fangs glistening with saliva as it panted, surveying their plight. The way the tree had fallen on the two men gave them decent enough protection, the large protruding branches spread out over and behind them and smaller branches providing a wire fence-like wall between the danger and themselves. They at the moment were out of harms way, unless the wolf found a way through…
A distant sound snapped Georg from his methodical observations, he closed his eyes and strained to hear over the loud beating of his heart, several moments later, he heard it again.
And then from the opposite direction he heard,
They were saved!
Together in one voice he and Ulrich shouted, “Help! We are trapped! Help!”
Georg saw lights from multiple lanterns coming over the hills around them rushing towards them. The yelling had startled the wolves and they scurried into the surrounding shadows. Georg was so relieved, his young life was not going to end in a dreadful way, and the multiple centuries’ long feud between Ulrich and his families was finally over. The men rushed down the hills and began frantically breaking branches to release their masters from near death. But while the men were being rescued they were also being trapped. The wolves had surrounded the group, moving through the shadows, as to remain unseen. The men’s guns had fallen under the tree and were now covered by branches as they began lifting their masters from under the trunk. The men were now completely absorbed in their task, and the wolves took the chance to attack. They had bided their time, and now were about to reap the benefits of a larger meal. As one body the wolves launched themselves from the shadows, snarling, baring their teeth, and landed among the humans. Teeth and claws issued wounds like a drill sergeant issuing commands. Blood spilled quickly as the strong jaws of the pack did their work. Agonized screams filled the air carrying for miles, and the crack of bones sounded like sporadic gunshots. And then there were no more screams, the wolves had a successful victory. They feasted on the carcasses, and leaving behind nothing to tell the real story of the end of Georg and Ulrich, they disappeared as mysteriously as they had arrived. There was no one left to tell the tale of a feud forgiven, and it would now pass to the next generation.
A bloody battle between the two and their men would be last story ever told of them; about the place in the stolen forest, where the ground was forever stained red.