Alcatraz bounded through the foothills of the mountains. He had just descended from the peaks, having met an interesting she-wolf on the way. They had met once briefly, and then again when she had fallen into a river! They had waited out the storm, and when he woke up she was gone, leaving just a rabbit for him. He had eaten quickly and taken his leave. It was about time he moved on.
As he bounded down the foothills he took one last look behind him. They sure were beautiful, the mountains. The view from the top was incredible. He hoped to be able to travel to other mountains and other places to see such beautiful sights... he looked back forward and kept moving.
It had been a night since she left that disgusting animal called Hyena behind. His single eye had terrified her, as well as his unstable and erotic behavior. She'd been very happy to get away from the male stranger and yet, his face was still haunting her shadow.He could see right through you Judy,
she thought, padding through the dark undergrowth of the forest. Judith doubted Hyena would try and follow her, he'd proven that when he'd gone in the opposite direction.Even if he does show up, I'll throw his body down the river. No one would suspect a thing. It would be fine Judy.
However she stopped dead suddenly, breathing heavily when she realized the dark subconscious she carried with her. How could I think like this... How... You already have blood on your paws Judy. I doubt a little more would matter.
Shivering she spied a cliff and without thought she padded towards it to look down at the drop. It left her with a empty thrill as she took a seat, eyes closed. One step Judith and you won't need to feel anymore. Your mother's blood can't stain your soul...
"I can't do that," she whispered, hoarse as she heaved a sigh.
Alcatraz was padded through the hills. With the rivers flowing from the mountains, there were many cliffs in these parts. He would have to be careful.... a breeze wafted toward him, bring an odd scent... another wolf? He continued walking. He was not afraid of anyone, so another wolf did no alarm him. Although it was interesting.... he did not expect to see anyone, but this area was just crawling with wolves.
Then he saw her, a thin pale she-wolf it appeared... and she didn't look happy. He peered toward her as he bounded on, wondering if he should speak with her, get an idea of where he was headed. She looked distracted and was walking right toward a cliff. Did she know it was there? He changed directions to bound toward her, a little concerned that she would just walk right off the edge.
He broke into a trot as she got closer to the cliff, but he slowed down again as she stopped and sat down. Good thing... she had seen it. But now was another question... why did she want to go to the edge of a cliff? What was down there? Why was she staring? Alcatraz wanted to know. Some may call it being nosy, but he called it being smart. Learning from the experiences and knowledge of others is a good way to survive out here, and know what to expect moving forward.
He stopped a respectful distance behind her. He heard her murmur some words and began to wonder if it was a good idea to speak to her... some wolves around here were crazy, like one self-murmuring wolf named Hyena. He decided to speak anyway. What could happen? He would easily beat her in a fight, he assumed (as he always assumed). He spoke in his deep rolling voice. "What are you looking at?"
Judith hadn't been aware of the stranger behind her, the lithe female too busy looking down the cliff side. At the bottom were sharp jabs of stone, peaking up and very threatening. If the fall doesn't do it, then those would...
When she finally noticed the male, she turned sharply at his growl, Judith springing into a defensive crouch. She was bristled and teeth bared. Some saliva cascaded down her slender chin, adding to her beautiful menace.
"Its none of your business male!" Judith snarled, lip curling in a warning. She was like a graceful shadow, her muscles wiry and thin yet showed a speedy wolf with a lot of endurance. "Now if that is all you wish to ask, then get going!"
Despite her snarling performance of sharp words and bristling fur, her face betrayed the look of lost and petrified soul.
Alcatraz took a step back, but was otherwise unphased by her angry greeting. That was Alcatraz, often stupidly confident. He lifted his head, considering her. Her words and appearance were defensive and fierce with her fur bristling menacingly from her graceful body.
But her face looked a little less confident than her words. It looked like she was really thinking about something, really upset and troubled. He peered at her through his sand baked yellow eyes. "You were thinking of jumping, weren't you?"
he growled. It was not an unkind growl, but a low rumbling sound with little expression in it. It was a daring thing to ask, but Alcatraz never shied away from being bold.
Judith's eyes seemed to widen at his daring accusation, the slender wolf's jaw dropping in response. She glanced at the cliff, shoulders tense and the furious bitch suddenly looking very similar to a newborn fawn.
However, she braced her spine and gave a low woof.
"So what if I was? You don't know me," she challenged, hackles raised. "And if I want to jump then I will damn well jump as I please!"
That really upset her... Alcatraz felt a tinge of regret for saying it. He supposed he didn't know why he should care... or what he would do about it. He supposed that he realized that he... kinda cared about other wolves... although from her nasty attitude, she could jump if she please and he probably would not do much to stop her! He knew it wasn't fair to judge her based on this several moment interaction, but he did anyway. "I guess... you're right."
he said carefully. Last time he had judged an aggressive she-wolf to be bluffing, he had a set of jaws sinking into his back ankle. Maybe he should be a little less pushy this time. "But I don't know if that is a good idea... surely there are other things you can do with your life... better things."
he said mildly.
Judith stepped away from the cliff side to push her way passed the nosy bastard. She scoffed loudly at his advice but didn't make any remarks about it. What purpose did
she have? She was searching for a mother who was probably dead by now, and it was entirely her fault. That blood was on her
paws!It will still stain your soul, Judy,
Judith thought, shutting her eyes tightly. She turned to throw a cold glance at the male, the peach-colored female finally finding something to reply with to his petty consoling.
"Have you ever thought we wolves give up?" Judith inquired, suddenly seeming so aloof and calm, like the whole cliff fiasco never happened. "I've wandered everywhere
to clean myself and I'm finally seeing its all for nothing." She scowled, sitting.
She realized she sounded even more petty than this male and growled out, "Why am I even telling you all this."
Alcatraz lifted his head up, offended as she pushed passed him with an aloof scoff. He looked over his shoulder at her, his eyes narrowed. Then he got to his paws. I'm happy to be out of here anyway,
he thought to himself. He was pretty bad at being social, he had found. Out of the many wolves he had met, only two he had actually liked. He turned to head toward the direction he was headed, into the forest, when he cast her one last glance in time to catch her cold glare.
And then she turned and spoke to him. He paused, listening to her words. She had clearly been through much, and he was always willing to learn from others. After she was done speaking, he realized that there was something in her past that she was regretting. He had a similar situation in his past, in that he had regret. He had been just a pup when half his pack had been massacred. How could he have helped? Though he still felt like he should have. And he wonders how they are doing now... he has long since left them, too unbearable it was to worry all the time about the safety of those so foolish.
He shrugged. "I never would think of a wolf to give up. If nothing else... there is always the world to see... and who knows what can happen in your travels?"
he said quietly. That was how he occupied himself now and kept himself focused on a direction. Wandering the world looking for the most beautiful places in the world. And his experiences had been mostly negative in terms of interactions with others, but occasionally there have been decent ones.
Judith fell into a peaceful sort of silence, the agile-bodied female listening to the nameless bastard express himself. However, his words were only hitting half-heartedly on the lonely Judith.
She peered at him through narrowed ruddy brown eyes, lips spread into a thin line. "I can't see the beauty of the world anymore," she told him, breathing deeply. "We're born pure and leave this world stained
of everything. Its a tragedy."
She stood up to look toward the forest that spread so far and wide. "Besides, I can't live knowing she's out there somewhere, alone and cussing my name for what I did." She tensed, Judith growling, "It should be me in that spot of life, she should be in peace."
"Though spirits be damned why I am telling you all this, not like I'll ever let myself get attached to anyone again." Judith furrowed her brow. "So its best we leave like strangers and pretend we never met. Don't bother giving me your name, I will let myself forget it as soon as I can."
She didn't seem like she wanted to be off yet, the female yearning for the company of another wolf. She hadn't had that since Taz and Pereche, she missed them.
Alcatraz was not at all prepared for the outpouring of emotions and broken words that slipped from the female's jaws. He had no idea how to console her, or even understand what she meant. He stared at her for a long moment.... she has been through some terrible things, he decided. And it had been haunting her ever since... probably for a very long time, by the hollow sound of her voice.
She sounded like this was where they should part, but she didn't seem ready to leave, and nor did he. How could he leave a wolf after a speech like that
? He didn't know her situation... but he knew that she was stuck in the past, and could not move on. "Well... whatever happened to you is done... and there is nothing you can do about it or you would have done it already, judging by how worked up you are. You have to move on. There is no other option. If you don't, you're probably in a worse place than this other she-wolf you speak of due to your guilt. And what's the point of both of you being miserable?"
he said. His voice was not particularly compassionate or concerned, but gruff. He really did hope he would be able to help the she-wolf, though, even if he didn't express it.
Judith seemed to disagree with the nameless stranger, shaking her head in a way to express it. She turned herself to face him fully, long snout pointed forward and lean body braced gracefully.
"But I can fix it," Judith insisted, her tone torn between being monotone and frustrated. "If I could just find
her, I could save her." She stared him down, gaze a tidal wave of many emotions,
Guilt was a present one, as well as anger and frustration. She just didn't know how to live without this weight on her back. "I'll run myself to the ground to find her. She didn't deserve to be left like she was. If I had been there..." She suddenly seemed ready to growl her frustrations, however, she bit her tongue.
"I still don't even understand why you are sitting here still, listening to this rant of a clearly messed up female," Judith said, aloof. "I almost threw myself off a cliff, I think that is a sign of itself to leave the scene, is it not?"
Her brows were arched calmly, curious.
Alcatraz shrugged his large shoulders helplessly. "What even happened to you?"
he dared to ask, "That's what you can live for, finding her and fixing this... surely that would be better than just dying."
he said. The emotions, guilt and anger, that haunted her gaze were overwhelming. Alcatraz pities the female, and whatever this crazy plight was.
He looked at her coolly. "How could I leave before I was sure you would not do anything stupid?"
She scowled deeply at his question of why she was even in this situation to begin with. Judith knew in reality she wasn't living, only surviving to see whatever light was left the next day.
Judith gave him a blank look before she felt she should reward him with some
retrospect for listening to her self-pitying lamenting of a soul charred black.
"I broke my mother," she simply said, letting him make his own assumptions on just how
she'd done it.
She seemed to smile at that, as if amused and quirked the corners of her lips just barely. "I suppose you make some decent point there, male," Judith replied with.
Alcatraz narrowed his eyes. "Broke?"
he pressed impatiently. She would need to be more specific than that! Did she kill her during childbirth? Did she literally break her? Such vagueness was not Alcatraz's strong point.
Alcatraz tilted his head a bit. A smile of some sort? At least she had agreed with him. He liked that. It boosted his ego a bit. "Well, do you have any idea at all at where she may be?"
he asked. That was the next step. He assumed not, or else she would be out searching now. But maybe she did and was just nervous to find her or something. He didn't know.
"Does it matter how I broke her?" Judith inquired, her tone carrying an edge suddenly. Her eyes carried a warning that he was pressing too close to tender territory now. "It happened and I broke her. Its as simple as that." She spoke with finality, leaving no room for him to pry deeper into her.
Perhaps if she got to know him she would tell him the entire story. She frowned to herself at such a thought. No Judy. You'll break him too, don't let him get close. You can't let anyone get close to you.
"Unfortunately, no. I lost her scent at the pass, or at least I believe it was her scent. It might have changed over the course of years." She gave a sigh. "There's a strange mutt in the area too, I worry she might find him instead if I don't find her first."
Alcatraz let out an impatient grunt. He would respect her privacy, although it annoyed him that he did not know specifics on a topic that they were discussing. He would just have to assume she hurt her mother in one way or another. He supposed it did not matter too much anyway."Mmm..."
Alcatraz rumbled thoughtfully at her words. It would be difficult to find her if she had no idea where she was. He perked as she mentioned strange mutt. This was the sort of thing he was listening for when he talked to others. News of danger he should be weary of. "A mutt, hm?"
He thought initially of Hyena. He had met up with the wolf quite a while ago. He was certainly the strangest. But was there another odd wolf around? His sand baked yellow eyes were questioning as they stared at her, wanting more information about it.
Judith was so tempted to slip in some more details, the female looking at him with calm yet frustrated brown eyes. If you do, you'll become attached Judy. Don't let yourself become attached.
"Yes," she replied to his inquiry. "He was a creepy bastard, one eye and rambling on and on. His name was Hyena, I believe." She scowled, a shudder running down her slender spine. "He better not find my mother somehow, he could do some serious damage I would think." "Hyena."
Alcatraz growled. "Yes, I have met him as well... quite creepy. You believe he can cause harm? He seemed to be a lot of crazy bark to me."
the dark male snorted scornfully. He was exaggerating a bit... he had truly been nervous around the male, but he was a little conceited, so since he had gotten away unharmed he was quite prone to downplaying how serious the situation may have been.
Judith's face hardened considerably. "I know
he can do so much worse, wolves like him should have been thrown in the lake as a rejected newborn whelp," she snarled. "I've seen plenty of crazies who bark, they always have some sort of bite."
She seemed to eye her short tail instinctively before returning her eyes to the male. "Either way," she said, suddenly so calm as if that outburst never occurred. "I refuse to take any risks of his character."
Alcatraz narrowed his eyes irritably at her rebuke, but saw her eye her tail and figured that perhaps she knew better than he did what crazy wolves can do...he nodded curtly. "Alright, then we won't. Have you spoken to others? perhaps they have seen her."
"I've spoken to many, however in limited amounts," Judith replied, glancing away for a short moment before returning her eyes to his. "None have been of any assistance, if you can assume why." The corner of her lip twitched unhappily as she resisted a frustrated woof.
Alcatraz let out a sigh, looking away thoughtfully. It would be difficult to find the she-wolf for sure... it was a big world. "Well, what do you plan to do now? Keep searching?"
he asked. Surely that was a more productive use of her time than killing herself
"As I always have, yes," Judith confirmed, dipping her head in a nod to add physical proof to the statement. She took a seat regally, chin raised. "When I do leave, I expect you to forget we ever met. Is that clear?" She furrowed her brows.
"I can't afford to get close to anyone or anything, and you the same," she added, calm. "So as far as we are concerned, neither of us exist."
Alcatraz looked at the regal female evenly, considering her proposal. "Unless, of course, I see signs of your mother."
he added questioningly.
He nodded curtly. He often had the same sentiment, but he was not sure if that was such a good idea all of the time... "Perhaps you should ease up on that rule."
he said, "I found that some companionship is not always so bad."
he said, referring to the few encounters he has had with others that he had actually enjoyed... and he had to admit he wish he had more of those.
She seemed to smile slightly at that, a wistful quirk at the corners of her lips. "I suppose that is
an exception," she replied, face thoughtful.
"I doubt I could," Judith said, peering at the still nameless male. "I never stay in the same place and I find those who do know me... don't stick around very long." Her face softened sadly before she shook it off just as quickly as the expression came.
Alcatraz shrugged his shoulders. It was true that being a loner made it hard to keep lasting friends. Every wolf was on their own journey with their own agenda. Rarely did the plans match well enough for the wolves to travel together for any extent of time. "Perhaps a pack?"
he suggested. She was trying to hold up her strong front, but he could tell that he was struggling, and sad.
Judith narrowed her eyes, perplexed. "What pack would take a bad luck charm into their paws?" She then breathed a sigh. "I can't think of joining other wolves, not when my mother is out there and alone."
She steeled herself, stitching every weak spot she could with her imaginary thread. "My soul is stained, and that is enough reason for me to keep away. Why don't you run still?"
Alcatraz looked away thoughtfully. That was true. She was on a mission to find her mother. She would not be happy until she found her, no matter how welcoming and kind the pack.
He looked at the female as she asked why he has not ran yet. he shrugged his broad shoulders. "I suppose... I just don't see how you are so bad."
he said simply. He disliked their conversation because of the low spirits of it, but the female herself didn't seem like a bad wolf at all to him. Just guilty.... very very guilty.
Judith seemed a little touched by this, however she hid it behind a sad smile. "If I told you, then it would make leaving harder," she told him, gentle as she looked at him. "Because bearing secrets leads to attachment."
Alcatraz lifted his nose as he looked her over. "And holding secrets makes you explode."
he growled. He wasn't sure if he agreed with this, but for her it seemed to be the case. Whatever she was doing, it was eating her from the inside out.
Judith for some reason had to resist a chuckle at how said explode. It seemed so utterly nonsensical, yet ironic to how the situation was in world of her mind. You try jumping off a cliff and instead find yourself debating your mental state with a stranger. What are the odds, Judy.
"I suppose you are right as well," Judith agreed, however, her face and eyes still carried a guarded veil of secrets. "But I fear how those around could turn their backs and see how things really are."
She met his eyes. "You can remember me then, and I can remember you," she decided to amend, nodding. "Is there a name you would like me to keep?"
Her brows were arched calmly. Ever since meeting Taz and Pereche, she hadn't bothered with names so much anymore. The crazy wolves she met across the land weren't worth it. Her soul was tainted and Judith felt it was better wolves didn't keep record of her, and if they did, she pitied them.
Alcatraz considered her words with a solemn face. He did not want to pry any further. He just wished there was something he could do for her. He made a mental note to ask around for a broken old she-wolf wandering around the forest when he came across others. He would not go out of his way, but he he thought of it he would mention it and see what came up. Alcatraz did not fear others, nor did he hesitate to speak when he wanted to, so he thought that his help could improve the search immensely."Alcatraz."
the dark he-wolf said in his low rumbling voice. "And how shall I remember you?"
he asked her.
Judith hesitated to share her name, however, she knew he deserved to know after trying to peel the shell that was herself. She looked away however, as if ashamed. "Judith," she finally said after a few tense moments. "You can remember me as Judith, Alcatraz."
She seemed to say his name almost wistfully, as if it were some fine delicious and ornate wine.
Alcatraz watched her as she looked away, as if ashamed of her name. "Judith."
he echoed. "A fine name."
he said with the traces of a smile, trying to make her less ashamed of it. He liked the sound of his name on her tongue. But he liked the sound of his name in general, even if the meaning of it had offended him slightly as a puppy; strange bird. "Are you going to be okay Judith?"
he asked her. He could feel that they would soon part, and he had to admit he was a bit worried about her mental state.
Judith tried to not let the compliment go to her head, her ears burning faintly as she kept her composure. "Thank you," she replied, sounding relaxed as she gave a small smile. It was still a bigger one than the ones that followed during the passage of this day.
"Your name, is also a pleasure to say," Judith added quietly, cocking her head in a teasing manner. At his inquiry, she just looked very wistful. "Depends on how the journey goes. I can't say if I'll ever be really 'okay.'"
Alcatraz returned the smile, blinking warmly. This was the most relaxed he had seen her. Maybe this was what she needed, a good encounter to show her that the world was not so bad, and there was still hope for her to have a good life.
He ruffled his chest proudly as she said she liked his name. It was far from a modest gesture, but for all Alcatraz is, he is also quite vain. He blinked slowly at she answered his question. "If you find your mother and make peace, then surely you can find peace, yes?"
Judith arched a slender brow at his peacockish bravo, however it was only out of amusement. At his question, she tipped her head in deep thought, her eyes squinting. Her ears were perked as well.
"I never thought that far," Judith said, slightly sheepish. "Perhaps I will, perhaps I won't. It depends just how she will regard me." Her face grew sad. "She might not even remember me after..."
Judith bit her tongue, realizing she was saying too much. She shook her head. "Never mind, I'm rambling now." She felt afraid, realizing that she found herself getting attached to this stranger.You wanted to Judy, that's the risk you take by remembering a name.
Alcatraz didn't notice her amusement at his behavior, so thoughtful he was about her answer. His ears perked as she cut herself off. After... the accident,
he guessed. Whatever Judith had done to "break" her mother, he assumed it was a accident, and he figured it was physical since it had the potential to make her not remember. Alcatraz was intensely curious at what had happened, but he had decided not to pry any further and he wasn't planning to. "You are not rambling."
he said, "Well, there is only one way to find out."
he said with a flick of his ear. She would need to find her mother, at least see what she had to say. That was what Alcatraz thought, anyway.
"I really hope I can find her," Judith remarked, seeming to look passed Alcatraz and into the wilds behind him. It was as if she was staring at the edge of the forest and beyond, however, that was silly and impossible.
She looked back at Alcatraz and was hesitant to dismiss herself to go back onto her lonely 'merry' way. Judith hadn't realized how much she craved
another wolven presence. It had been so long and she was so inept at the art of being social.
Alcatraz nodded. "I'm sure you will."
he said. He was being optimistic, which was very unlike him, but she needed this as far as he could tell.
She looked at him reluctantly. There was little else to say, and Alcatraz knew that they would soon part. Yet she looked unwilling to leave. Alcatraz got the feeling she really did miss the company of others, as he did after expended periods of time on his own. "Alright."
he said gruffly. "So Hyena is off that way?"
he flicked his tail toward the way he had been headed. He didn't know where to head now... he supposed it did not matter. He would head slightly more to the south in that case.
"Yes, the mangy carrion eater is," she affirmed, nodding. She scowled deeply. "Unfortunately for me, I will need to return in the said direction of foulness. I believe I made a wrong turn at the pass." Judith heaved a sigh, feeling drained.
"And if my mother is in danger of him, I would rather get to her first." Her face drew into a hard mask, the carefreeness of earlier now gone. She was a wolf on a mission and there was no time to be so coddled.
"I would assume its time we part then." Judith tried hiding her disappointment, knowing she had to get rid of the budding attachment before it could blossom further. I won't be seeing him ever again, just like with the others.
It was pitiful attempt at putting a reason for now shouldering the friendly male away.
"I won't promise we will cross paths again, because such a thing would be outlandish and unrealistic," she continued. "But you are allowed to remember me if it really matters in the long run."
Alcatraz looked at her solemnly. "Tread carefully, Judith."
he said. He hoped the best for her. He debated asking to travel with her, in case she needed help, but Alcatraz was far to proud to ask. He hoped she did find her mother before Hyena did, and even more so he hoped that Judith did not see anything of the he-wolf at all.
He dipped his head. "Yes.... I will remember you. I have no choice now. You are already a memory in my head."
he said. He did not understand what she meant by choosing. It was not a choice who you remembered. If you meet someone, chances are you remember them after. But he supposed that it was her way of keeping focused on what she needed to do.
Judith just gave a nod to give the stranger wolf some
console that she was taking consideration of his words. She didn't know why, since she had no obliged to Alcatraz. "I shall."
"There's always a choice," she told him, smirking a little. "And sometimes its dangerous. I wish you well, Alcatraz." There was a rough wind pushing through the cliffs and Judith decided it was nature's way of saying it was time to make her departure.
Without even offering a farewell, she was off. She ran very quickly, muscles bunching together tightly as she sprang into the unknown. All that was left of the odd bitch were her paw prints in the rising dust below.
Alcatraz didn't answer her as she bounded off, leaving only pawprints in the dust behind her. He looked toward the forest nearby. He would head there... hopefully avoiding any trouble.
What a strange she-wolf... he hoped she would be okay. He trotted toward the forest, not looking back or anywhere but forward. He found himself deciding that he would ask if others had seen her mother, so hopefully they could be reunited and Judith could finally move on...