The world has changed. Humans almost extinct, other sentient species now rule this planet and work to keep it in balance.
Without the polluting, noisy, conflicted centers of human populations called cities. Various plagues were released when those cities left, wiping out any concentrations of humans left.
All that is history now. Wolves and other species have achieved sentience. And they tolerate humans among them as the dying species it is. To them, humans are another dangerous feral animal that they avoid. Because they can’t talk with their minds.
In this standoff, a young child has wandered away from his parents into the wilderness. He’ll need help from the very animals his parents track and kill.
The child has little time left before hunger and exposure (or worse) take their toll…
Totem – New Fiction Writing by C. C. Brower
She heard it crying in the dark. So loud that it woke her. But it was crying in her mind. To her keen hearing, she didn’t hear a whimper anywhere nearby.
Someone was in trouble. Someone’s child.
And he was too young or too frightened to even form coherent thoughts.
“And I was sleeping so soundly tonight, as well.” Basheela mused. It wouldn’t do to get grumpy about this situation. She knew very well about feeling out of sorts. Her mate had only taken her twin cubs away to train them on hunting, and her udders still hurt from being too full. They were only 2 and a half year’s old, and she had hoped to keep them around longer. But her mate was right – with a new set coming on during the hibernation, they would only make the den too crowded. Besides, she had taught them all she could.
But where was that infernal noise coming from? Any mother who was worth anything would keep a baby quiet. For people could hear that from miles away and seek it out. Wolves for one, cougars for another.
Basheela sighed. She couldn’t sleep with all that ruckus. and the little one is probably nearby. Wolves wouldn’t bother a sentient like that, but cougars aren’t known to be discerning when their stomachs get too thin and empty.
Rolling out of the big, long opening of her den, she reached the entrance and sniffed the air. Nothing south or north. The wind was from the east. The hooman camp. Why would a sentient want to be anywhere near there? Dangerous ferals and uncivilized. A hazard to any sentient, which is why they left them severely alone.
That was, regardless, the direction the wailing was sent from. Another sigh preceded her ambling gate down the thin trail in front of her den that headed east.
She didn’t smell cougar or wolf, but if they were coming from the other side, it might be possible.
Her mothering instinct raised her hackles at such a strong sentient becoming someone’s snack. Her amble became a rolling gate. If need be, she could trot, but she could keep up a rolling amble longer.
As long as she still showed up in time…
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