The Call of the Wild
Chapter 15: The Race to Save Ginger
As Told by Ginger copyright Viacom
Posted: Jun 17 2012
Noelle woke with a start.
Something huge and very dark was looming over her. It was barely more than a shadow. She lay absolutely still as she tried to figure what it could be. She felt nervous. But she wasn't about to let a little thing like that stop her. She wasn't about to lie there and cry like a little baby and do nothing!
She could now see it a little better. What appeared to be a large wolf was standing over her and reaching out to her with its arms. Wait that couldn't be right. Wolves don't have arms.
It was only when the "wolf" held her down by the shoulders and she felt its hot, stinky breath that she redacted. Hard.
The wolf went flying high through the air. What seemed like forever passed as it soared through the air. Before it hit its back against a pine tree. Noelle waited, while trying to her breath back, for the beast to show the slightest bit of moment.
It took awhile, but she finally accepted the fact that it wasn't going to.
Not in this lifetime anyway.
Noelle wept for the poor creature. It had been one of God's creatures, and she had simply… killed it. Without any thought at all. Its life snuffed out just because she couldn't keep her feat in check.
She was a murderer!
She curled up into a ball and began to cry.
She didn't see the other wolf sneaking up on her.
"Noelle! Look up!"
She did. And smiled. It hadn't so wrong to kill the wolf-thing after all. She could definitely feel an aura of evil coming from this one. Thanks to Carl's well-timed warning, she finally learned the truth and could stop feeling sorry for herself. Not with the thing now creeping toward Carl.
She had to act.
Quickly she tried flinging the new wolf as well. But it wouldn't budge. It turned in Noelle's direction. "You really think that works against me?" it said to her without moving its mouth.
"W-who are you?" she asked nervously.
It leered at her. "Your executioner."
"Executioner?" Carl didn't look too happy. "What for?"
"No one must interfere with Tara's plans to get a new friend."
Tara? Noelle wondered. Who's that? "Why can't she find friends the old-fashioned way?"
"This is the old fashioned way."
"Since ten thousand years ago."
"Oh." Ten thousand years. That must mean…. "Just how old are you?"
"That is irreverent. Tara requires friends. And I am the one who must provide her them."
"Stealing them won't make her any friends!" Carl slid closer to the action. "You have to be a friend yourself!"
"Silence! You are a danger to my mistress and must be eliminated."
"I don't think so!" Carl slipped behind Noelle, and she felt him hand her a knife. "That wouldn't be very nice, now would it, Noelle?"
"No, it wouldn't," she agreed.
"You really think that knife of yours would do you any good?"
"So you noticed huh?"
The wolf made no response.
Noelle's grin was feral. "Let's just see what this baby can do then, shall we?"
They lunged toward each other.
After an hour or so of searching for the kids, Lois was beginning to lose a little heart in this endeavor. There didn't seem any sign of Ginger, of her friends. Of course it was a little hard to tell with the dry brush underfoot. "See anything yet, Roberta?"
"No. Nothing yet."
Lois sighed. "We can't keep looking like this. We weren't getting anywhere this way."
"What do you suggest then?" Roberta didn't look the tiniest bit tired. What was she? A zombie? "I'm out of good ideas myself."
"Well we…." Lois trailed off. She couldn't think of anything either. And she was supposed to be the responsible one here. She was the nurse of the group. The Lightfoots may have been doctors, but they weren't medical doctors. Psychology may have its place. But that wasn't in the middle of a freaking emergency!
"Lois, do you have any idea what this thing is?" Roberta picked up something that looked like a glass ball. Only it was concave, instead of the usual convex. The exact opposite of what ball should be shaped. She had trouble picturing it. But it was right there for her to see. So she had to have some idea what it looked like. Yet she didn't.
"No. But I don't think I like it."
"It's probably a clue." Roberta placed it in her pocket. Somehow.
A scream pierced the night.
Lois ran toward the scream without waiting for Roberta.
"What was that?" Roberta asked behind her.
Lois didn't answer. She just kept running.
"Lois! What is it? Where are you going!"
They had made a break for it the first chance they got. They just hadn't get very far.
That creepy girl had somehow found them again.
And was blocking their one and only escape route. Through the chain-link fence. Dodie didn't like it. How long had that been there?
"How does she do that?" Dodie wondered.
"So you want to know all my secrets do you?" Tara's tone wasn't a friendly one. Not friendly at all.
"Not really. No." It was Macie who spoke. Dodie was much too scared to.
"I thought not." She drew closer. "Too bad. Friends share each their secrets." She had a dangerous gleam in her eye. "Let's start with yours, shall we?"
She drew even closer. "So you know, I have your little friend back in my cave. If you ever want to see her again you best come with me. Quietly."
"But why can't we make a sound?"
"You talk too much."
"Ah." Dodie grabbed Macie's hand and bolted.
Macie didn't think that it was a very good idea, but she wasn't much in a position to argue just then. Dodie was surprisingly strong. "Don't you think we should back?"
"No. Absolutely not!"
"But she said she was going to hurt Ginger."
"She was bluffing."
"I don't know about you, Dodie, but I don't I'm willing to take that chance."
Dodie stopped running. "Uhm…."
"I think we should go back."
"Yeah. You're probably right."
Tara appeared from behind a tree. "I knew that you would see it my way."
They ran as fast as their little legs would let them.
Through trees, bushes, and barbed-wire fences.
"I thought the knife would have been more helpful than that," Carl observed as they ran for their lives. The wolf wasn't all that far behind them.
"It bought us more time. What more could you ask for?"
"True." Carl stole another glance behind them. "Do you think that you actually hurt that thing?"
"No. Not really."
"But I think that we bought ourselves more time."
"Can't ask for anything more."
"No," Noelle agreed. "No we can't."
They ran past a tree that bore a remarkable resemblance to a cross. "I think this might be a good sign, Carl."
"What are you talking about? Of course it's a good sign. It's a cross for crying out loud!"
"Tell that to Spartacus."
Carl cursed. The wolf had somehow gotten in front of them. Now what were they supposed to do? And what was with the Spartacus reference?
"Now is that any way to talk in front of a lady?"
"That's not the first time I heard him say stuff like that," Noelle put in.
The wolf growled.
"I don't think that helped us very much, Noelle," Carl whispered into her ear.
"I was just saying."
"Silence!" They became silent. "Do you always argue this much?"
"We weren't arguing," they said.
"I meant with your elders!"
They shared a glance before replying. "No."
"No matter. You two seem to be excellent playmates for Tara. Perhaps I will keep you alive. For her sake."
"We're nobody's playmates. I know what I'm talking about here, Noelle. You don't have to give me that look." Noelle looked away. "Trust me. I have an idea."
"I hope that's it a good one."
"Oh, it is." He whispered it in her ear.
Noelle nodded as she listened. "Yes that could work," she said when Carl was finished.
"You think you are so clever, don't you?"
Carl shrugged. "Yeah. Pretty much."
"Let's just see how clever you are when I do this."
Okay. Time to implement the plan. Carl held onto Noelle's hand.
And began to run the other way.
"I thought we were-"
"That was the idea I had."
"Oh." They jumped over a log. "I don't he liked being lied to."
"Who does?" He shrugged. "Besides I don't think that not ticking him was much of an option."
"True. But you didn't have to do it so… decisively."
"She's right, you know." They skid to a halt as the wolf came out from behind a tree. "You didn't have to be so reckless."
It had been a while since they heard the screaming. And they had traveled quite a distance since then.
So she had no idea if they were getting close or not. But that wasn't going to stop Joann from saving her baby. No way that she was ever going to let anything happen to Deidre Hortense. Or to Robert Joseph.
Unfortunately running to save her with a ten-year-old boy on your back wasn't the easiest thing in the world to do. But she simply couldn't put him down. He had sprained his foot and couldn't keep up.
"Mom," Robert said from her back, "I don't think that was Dodie that screamed. I never heard her ever make a scream like that. Ever."
"I think that I would know her voice better, Robert Joseph. I have known her a lot longer than you have."
He trailed off when they came upon a curious sight. A little girl was staring down both Deidre Hortense and Macie. "What the heck is going on here?"
The girl shot Joann an accusatory look. "Your daughters here won't play with me."
Actually only one was her daughter, but Joann wasn't so crass to point that out. She was too intent on finding her daughter after that long search. She forgot to let down Robert Joseph as she embraced Deidre Hortense. "I finally found you, Dodie."
The hairs on the back of Joann's neck bristled as she heard, "I'm talking here!"
"I'm sorry, sweetie," Joann replied without letting go. "What seems to be the problem?"
"NOBODY WANTS TO PLAY WITH ME!"
Joann winced. "There's no need to shout."
"YES THERE IS!" She began to calm down. "I'm sorry, lady. I didn't mean to scream like that. I'm not used to being around people."
"Oh? What about your parents?"
"They don't count."
Joann frowned. That can't be right. "But they're your parents. Of course they count."
"Not to me."
The mother of a daughter herself sighed. The poor girl couldn't have a pleasant time growing up. "Oh I see. Have they done something to you?"
"No. That's the problem."
"They ignore me completely."
"I won't ignore you."
The smiled. "I know you won't."
"That's good to hear. I-" Joann froze when a shadow appeared overhead. "What is that?"
"My pet. Do you like him?"
Robert Joseph stood. "Not really. No."
Noelle fluttered her eyes at the wolf. "Now what is a handsome wolf such as yourself doing in the wild all by himself?"
"You fool! I am the wild."
"Oh." Noelle chewed on her lip. "That changes things, doesn't it?"
"Yes it would if it were true."
"Just because he says it doesn't make it true."
"Oh, but it is true. I would never tell a lie."
It smiled. "I have no need to lie to you, my prey. There is nothing you can do to save yourselves."
"I wouldn't exactly say that," Carl calmly replied.
"Ha! I don't have to explain anything to you at all."
The wolf back-handed him. And Carl went flying.
A little while later, when he returned to consciousness, he wished that he hadn't. His head felt as if his brain had been put in backwards. He felt his cheek where the wolf had struck him. At least it hadn't left a scratch.
As he took in his surroundings he noticed something else of import.
The wolf was gone.
"Where did our charming host go?"
That was when he noticed that Noelle was also gone.
"Damn. This can't be good."
He was about to stand up, despite the ache in his head, and run after her when she returned from the trees carrying a load of logs. "Oh good. You're awake." She paused. "I think you should take it easy, Carl. You just conked on the head. There's a good chance that you have a concussion."
"No I'm good."
Noelle gave him a funny look. "Okay. If you say so." She dumped the logs onto the ground and got out a matchbook.
"Did you heard my question earlier, Noelle?"
She shook her head.
"It was nothing. I just was noticing that the wolf was gone."
"Oh right. He said that his mistress needed him and left soon after hitting you."
"Huh." Now who was this mistress that the wolf was…? "His?" Carl asked incredulously.
"He seems like a male wolf, doesn't her?"
He, knowing better than to argue, tried to sit back up. He felt a little woozy, but he didn't let that stop him. That took Noelle pressing against his chest to do that. "I don't think that's a very good idea, Carl. You did take that blow to the head."
"That's not important, Noelle. We have to keep moving if you don't want the wolf to come back."
"I think we have it pretty much established that moving won't help with that."
Carl didn't answer. His only company just then might just very well have a point.
"Besides that I think we have a bigger problem."
"Where had the wolf run off to?
Carl took this all in. Until the full meaning of Noelle's words soaked in. "Oh crap."