Young Falcon—Book One of Sons and Daughters
An Excerpt from Young Falcon
I glanced back at the wolves once I had confirmed that there was no way of escape. All seven were gathered around me in a threatening semicircle. The smallest, the reddish-black one, growled something uneasily, but the black wolf cut him off with a vicious snarl. The smaller dog shrank back, but he still looked on with disapproval. The black dog was at the head; it was clear he was the leader. My hand closed around the dagger at my belt. I had left my sword behind where I had stopped to rest. I had no idea what good it would do against such a huge monster, but it comforted me to have my hand around it. My heart pounded like a drum as the black wolf advanced slowly, his yellow eyes boring into mine hotly. I can’t do this! I can’t! Nowhere to hide, nowhere to run … How am I going to survive this? I took a deep, steadying breath, keeping my eyes firmly on his.
Two of the wolves, the ones to my far right, were glancing nervously at the rocks to their left, looking anxious and tense. One of them was the smaller, red dog. The black wolf, sensing this, turned his head and growled a snapping warning at them. He bared his bloody teeth and narrowed his burning yellow eyes.
Frantic, I turned and looked up at the rocks behind me and saw a ledge a little ways up that I had failed to see earlier. Several jagged spurts of rock which protruded from the wall allowed me to scramble quickly up to the ledge, panting with fright. I scooted as far as possible against the back of the shelf, almost hyperventilating with panic. I was about six or seven feet above the black wolf’s huge head and, therefore, over twenty feet above the ground, and it frightened me.
I did not particularly like heights, and being only a few feet above the heads of a pack of monstrous wolves intent on killing me, I felt even more anxious and light-headed. The thought of what those giant, blood-stained teeth and claws could do to me raced through my head, and I slumped against the stone wall behind me, weakened with fear.
The black dog whipped his head around and glared at the spot I had been standing only moments before and then stiffened in rage to see that I was gone.
I shifted slightly, trying to get farther out of sight. A tiny sound made by my boots against the rock, however, caused the wolf’s ears to swivel in my direction, and his crazed gaze found the ledge I was cowering against an instant later. Snarling, he crouched and lashed his tail angrily. Sensing he was about to leap, I tried to move back, but found myself unable to go any farther. Nevertheless, unless he was an extraordinarily good jumper, I would be safe from his reach.
He came flying towards me a second later, claws outstretched, and landed on the rock in front of me, a triumphant gleam in his demented eyes. I could not even feel a vibration from his giant paws when they landed. I screamed involuntarily as he bared his teeth at me, looking utterly demonic.
Heat began pulsing through my head, and black dots swam over my vision. I could not move or even think, so terrified was I at what could happen next. The black wolf bared his teeth again in a feral snarl and took several steps towards me, extremely agile and at ease, even with his massive bulk. I was covered entirely in his shadow. His hot breath blew over me, and the stench was overwhelming. I resisted the urge to gag, but my bile rose, and I struggled to breathe through my mouth.
Then he lunged.
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