So I was thinking about the movie Balto the other day and I was wondering why I hadn't ever done a oneshot about my favorite part of the entire movie, and I decided to whip this out. After all, besides horses, wolves are my favorite animal (they are, after all, my totem animal). Hopefully you guys (I'm speaking to whoever bothers to read my annoying author's notes :D) will like it.
Enjoy! Please drop a review; I'd appreciate it a lot!
But Maybe A Wolf Can
The first thing Balto was aware of when he woke was snow. White, swirling, thrashing snow that burned his fur with its sheer force. He was covered in it.
He tried to draw a breath but to his horror such a thing was not easy to do. Desperately he shook his head and his shoulders and wiggled forward, realizing that the snow had covered his entire body, and with a gasp and a small groan of exhaustion he broke out of the snow-mold and collapsed on to the ground.
Snow was flying around him but now that he could breathe normally Balto couldn't care less about the cold. Despair clenched at his heart when he realized how far he had fallen, how the medicine had come flying down with him and how the sled dogs now had no leader to take them back to Nome and—
"Rosy," he whispered to the wind. Balto put a paw over his muzzle and closed his eyes. Every part of him was worn thin. His very soul ached when he thought of Jenna, how much she loved that little girl and how there was no hope, no hope for the medicine arriving to the town that desperately needed it. He had failed. He had completely and utterly failed...
A tug of something he knew not of—perhaps he felt he was being watched—made his ears prick up and his eyes open warily. Balto's eyes widened in astonishment as he saw a great paw that, as he saw when he raised his head to look, was attached to a magnificent wolf so white she almost blended into the snow swirling around her. Her deep, intense eyes pierced into him like no gaze he had ever felt in his life; he blinked and gazed back in utter awe at the beautiful creature, a part of him awakening that made wonder grip his mind.
Suddenly the wolf lifted her nose to the sky and let out a mournful, stirring, powerful howl that sent chills down Balto's spine. As the white wolf looked back at him he was filled suddenly with such a shame that he quickly looked away. He knew what this wolf wanted him to do. And it was clear to him that he was never to complete the wish.
After a while he knew without looking that the white wolf had vanished. His misery had, if possible, multiplied, because he knew that now he had failed this breathtaking creature who had so much faith in him. The song of the wolf's howl still roared through him with the power of nothing he had ever felt before, yet it was gentle and forgiving and his sadness deepened as he remembered...
The medicine! In the snow. Mere feet away from him.
The lantern was still tied on top of it, giving off a weak but undying light that made the snow glow around it. It was really there.
Balto looked up above the package and saw, through the blinding sun, the cliff that he had plummeted down from. He squinted at the place where the rocks stopped: the top. It was a long way up.
Balto's frustration grew. Even if he had the strength to climb he would still have to haul the medicine back up to the sled and the dogs as well...
"Let me tell you something, Balto," the goose had told him, the last time they had seen each other, "a dog cannot make this journey alone..."
He knew that. Balto knew that Steele and every resident of Nome had been right...
"But...maybe a wolf can."
Something filled Balto's heart so fast it swept away the devastation before he even had time to think. Strength seeped through him to every inch of his body. Feeling as though he almost dared to hope, he staggered to his feet and stood on four legs, facing the wind.
Balto eyed the footprints in the snow that the white wolf had left behind. He stepped forward and briefly, just briefly, placed his own paw over one of the tracks.
Disbelief caused for him to repeat the act. Sure enough, his own paw print matched that of the awe-inspiring white wolf that had stood before him minutes before.
But...maybe a wolf can...
Determination crashed into him as he raised his head to the sky and let out a unwavering howl, his voice powerful and giving off everything he was made of, every joy, every sorrow, every laugh and sob and doubt and hope and dream he had ever had in his entire life vibrating within his song. Almost as though summoned, the white wolf reappeared, materializing through the snow like a ghost. And she lifted her head upwards as well and answered his howl, pride and joy now taking over her tone. Together their voices harmonized and gave off a power that sent energy flowing through Balto's very spirit.
After minutes, hours, days—he couldn't tell how long it had been—Balto took the parcel's ropes in his teeth and started pulling it across the white and frozen ground, knowing that every step brought the medicine closer to Nome. He felt a little spark of pride flicker inside of him, a spark that grew with every step he took. It took him a moment to realize that that spark was pride.
For the first time in his life...he was proud of his wolf heritage.
A dog could most definitely pull a sled and lead a team across the frozen wilderness the same way he could, but being a wolf, Balto realized as he started his climb and as his mother vanished once more into the whiteness that surrounded them, meant that no voice inside of him could be silenced when there was a song to sing.
His song had begun...and now it was time to continue its melody.
So if anyone wants to know the true story of Balto, go to Google and type in "Balto"; most of the sites you'll find are reliable. And while I know that in real life the dog was not the only hero in bringing the medicine to Nome that would cure the diphtheria-stricken patients, Balto was the hero of the Universal movie that this oneshot is based on.
Thanks for reading; please review!
P.S.: I am working on the next chapters for both my multi-chapter fanfics. I haven't forgotten those stories!