Madeline and the Wolf
Her legs felt like lead and she knew she wouldn't be able to run for much longer. Why had she insisted on going on this hunting trip? Was she really going to lose her life because she wanted to be a hunter like the boys? She always wondered how great it would be to join the hunters and have everything you ever wanted and to be famous as well. Too bad it was going to cost her greatly…
Two weeks earlier:
“Dad, why can’t I hunt like the other children?” she had queried.
“It is because you are a woman, and everyone knows that only the men get to hunt.”
“No buts. You will not be going hunting!” her father slammed his fist on the table. “I don’t want to lose you as well as your mother.” He said in a quiet voice. Her mother had died when Madeline was 7, while hunting a wild boar. Her mother had been shooting at it from a tree, when it had charged the tree and she had fallen. The tree was on the edge of a cliff though, so there was nowhere to run. The boar had charged and caught her in the side, causing both of them to fall off the cliff. Neither the boar or her mother survived.
“Please dad! Just this once!”
“Fine; stay safe, I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“I’ll be fine! You don’t need to worry!” If only she knew how wrong she was...
The next week she was tasked with other hunters, with getting enough meat to sustain the village for a week. At the end of that day she returned home and just collapsed into bed. ‘Maybe the life of a hunter isn’t for me,’ she thought. ‘There’s too much work involved. I think I’d rather be mocked than do this everyday!’ She closed her eyes and went to sleep.
She was woken by the screams. She sat up and rubbed her eyes. ‘What’s going on out there?’ She thought. She stepped outside and her eyes widened with the carnage presented to her. Broken houses were strewn all over the place, people she had known were strewn all over the place and the air was thick with the stench of blood. She looked around and saw her father. He was in a bad way, with a piece of his hut impaled in his stomach. There were healers around him, and when she approached they all looked at her remorsefully. “He doesn’t have much longer, but he wants to speak to you,” one healer informed her. She heard him speak then. “Madeline.” It was almost inaudible over the cries of the mourning; her ears just picked it up. She knelt next to him. “Father, I’m here.” His unseeing eyes turned towards her. “Madeline I have something to tell you. It’s about your mother. She...” His eyes glazed over and he let out a final breath, and Madeline knew he was gone. Hot salty streaks rolled down her face to splash on the ground, and that’s when she looked down. She saw it then, the footprint of a wolf, except this one was at least three times bigger. She then knew she was going to become a hunter, and avenge her father.
A few days later, she had organised a party. The finest hunters of the tribe were going to go with her to slay the beast. They were bringing with them: 3 spears, a pack full of food, ropes, flint and steel for a fire, 3 torches and the golden dagger with rubies encrusted in its hilt that her father had given to her for her birthday. She had asked everyone she knew about it, and finally one person had some information for her. “I saw it myself,” he said “At least three times bigger than a normal wolf, but that’s not the strangest thing about the beast.” He leaned closer, “It’s got no eyes, so I don’t know what it relies on to track its prey. Maybe smell, I don’t know, but that thing’s unnatural, you probably don’t want to mess with it.”
“Thanks for the information.”
“No problem. Also, good luck, seems like you’ll need it.”
“You’re right. We probably will.”
They trudged through the marsh, following the footprints and the occasional drop of blood. After a while, they came across a caravan on its side and the broken bodies of traders were scattered everywhere. Their spears were smashed, but one was missing a head and there was a trail of blood leading across the road and into the dense forest, heading to the mountain.
“It must be going there,” Madeline stated. “We will follow it.”
When they reached the mountain it was then they realised the height of it. They thought that the trip was all for nothing until they saw a narrow trail on the side leading straight up. “We’ll go up there!” Madeline stated. Suddenly, one of the hunters went green. “I don’t do well with heights, I’m actually quite scared of them,” he stuttered (He had fallen out of a tree when he was young and had been terrified of heights ever since).
“I don’t care!” She shouted. “We’re going up there and that’s final!” The hunter reluctantly trudged up the path, looking less like a man and more like a sulky child. When they were halfway up they saw a cave in the side of the mountain. One of the three hunters knelt. “The blood goes in here.” He said, pointing into the gaping mouth of the cave.
“I don’t like the dark.” Another hunter commented (His parents had been killed at night when there was no moon by some bandits dressed completely in black).
“And I don’t like spiders,” the third hunter said. Madeline sighed. For the supposed greatest men in the village, they were acting like babies! She gave them each a flaming torch so they would be able to see in the near complete darkness, but even with the torches they could only see about a metre in front of their faces. The man who was afraid of darkness whimpered. “Oh come on!” She groaned. “Act your age for goodness sake! In fact, I’m sick of you doing nothing but acting like a baby. We’re splitting up now.”
The hunter paled. “No, please, let’s stick together! Safety in numbers right?”
Madeline ignored his pleas. “Nope, we’re splitting up and we’re splitting up now!” The hunter's reluctantly split up, complaining it was a bad idea. If only Madeline had listened to them, then maybe they would have all survived.
A few minutes later, she heard the first scream. “It’s after me! Help! I can hear it!” The screams rang out again and again for what seemed like an eternity, before the screaming stopped and the caves went quiet. “Who was that?” Madeline queried as she headed towards the area where the screams had come from. It was the hunter who was afraid of the dark, although he was kind of hard to recognise, he had been clawed that much. She muttered a quick goodbye before moving on. The next death was the hunter that was afraid of spiders. He had been running after he had heard the first hunter’s screams and had ran straight into a spider's web. The spider itself was completely harmless, but he didn’t know that. He, like the first hunter, was found battered and broken by the third hunter. He couldn’t take it anymore, and ran screaming from the cave.
Madeline heard him screaming, and it sounded like he was getting further away. Of course! He was running, and that meant the wolf was probably following him. Maybe, if she was fast, she would be able to attack the wolf and save the hunter outside, killing two birds with one stone. By the sound of it, he was running down the mountain. She ran outside, into the blinding sunlight. “No, no, no!” She tried to make him turn around and come back up, but she wasn’t a psychic so the hunter kept running down towards the... “Oh no!” He was going towards the cliff, the one where her mother had died! “Not there! Turn around, turn around, turn around!” Still the hunter kept running. She ran down, following him towards the cliff she had avoided for so much of her life. When she arrived, though, she knew she was too late. She saw the hunter, or at least, what was left of him. She heard the growl then, and felt goosebumps ripple across her flesh. She turned around slowly and saw it. It was hairless, and its skin was pure white. Her heart started racing, and it looked up. The worst part was its eyes. There were no indentations there, which meant it had probably never meant to have eyes at all. She shivered and it seemed to get a lock on her, staring right at her. She looked at it’s mouth, and saw blood. That reminded her of her of her father, how he had died, and that made her almost explode with rage. She felt every bit of fear leave her, and the wolf spun around in circles, looking for her. “It smells fear?” Madeline said. “That must be why the hunter that was afraid of darkness died first. It was because he was the most afraid.” She looked at the wolf, spinning in circles and searching for her, and almost felt sorry for it. Almost. She pulled out the only weapon she had, the dagger her father had given her, and with a deafening cry, she leapt at the wolf.
This term we have been learning to write narratives. We used the picture prompt below to help us imagine how this situation came about. We tried to hook our audience in by thinking about the pace of events and the pictures we painted with words.