Amy sighed as she set to work hunting for wolves. She was getting very tired of Jack's stupid antics. If she had to be abandoned like this on a deserted island, couldn't it be with a guy who was a little smarter? Today, she had dutifully nursed Jack back to health after he ate her entire mushroom stock for the third time in the last month, and some of them had turned out to be poisonous. Each time she'd order, "You don't do that again!" And he would reply, "I won't, I won't." And then he did again.
Just recently she had scolded, "You just wait. There's going to be a big storm and we won't have any food because you ate it all. Now if that happens, one of us is going to have to go out in it to grab some food. And that person won't be me. Do you understand?" He had replied meekly, "Yes, ma'am." And then he had shut up.
By now it was getting dark, and she'd been out here hunting wolves for about an hour. That was okay by her. She hadn't been expecting wolves to come and attack her for another few hours. She picked some raspberries and ate them, relishing their cool, natural taste.
She was getting tired an hour later, and sighed when she realized that she still had an hour or so to go. She also couldn't go to sleep lest she be killed by a wolf. So she leaned against a deciduous tree and waited for the wolves.
Amy finally found one about forty minutes after that, sniffing around the entrance of the tunnel cave. She got on her knees, drew her bow, notched a fletched iron arrow, and loosed it. Satisfied, she heard a yelp as the arrow found its mark and met the beast as it came for her with a sharp bamboo-and-wolf-bone spear.
The lean figure of the girl circled and circled, dodging the wolf's bite each time, and finally wounded it enough that it collapsed. Quickly, Amy put the poor wolf out of its misery and was about to skin it when she was promptly jumped by a couple more wolves. Hopeless despair clutched at her heart. There would be no way for her to defeat all the wolves at once. But she gave her all.
The original wolf had bitten her when it had leaped upon her earlier, and the back of her neck stung painfully as she battled the other wolves. Now, her spear was bending and flexing and chipping, and she wondered how long it would hold out. If it broke, all she would have would be a pretty useless half-spear. No sooner had the thought finished crossing her mind than it happened: her spear snapped and the wolves, triumphant, jumped on her again. Amy was forced to use her fists.
Amy fell to the ground, winded from the ferocious fighting, wishing that Jack would get a clue and come looking for her. He's probably not expecting me for another couple hours, she thought resentfully, sure she was going to die as she pummeled whatever wolf part was nearest. After a while, all members of the fight became slowly exhausted, and Amy could no more run away than lift a mountain.
So she nocked another arrow and loosed it, surprised as the iron shaft pierced deep into the first wolf's chest. It looked astonished as well, and slumped over, dead. So much for hopelessness, she thought, grinning ruefully in spite of her situation, and prepared to kill the other wolf.
Unfortunately, that wolf didn't give her a chance. It leaped into the air, wicked teeth and claws poised to sink deep into her limbs. However, Amy had just enough reflex to dodge out of the way at the last minute and wound it severely on its shoulder. She removed the arrow quickly as the wolf collapsed, and put it out of its misery.
Winded again, Amy sat down, completely exhausted. If anything attacks me again on the way to our house, she thought despairingly, I have practically no strength left in my body…how will I survive?
She took out Jack's pocketknife and skinned the wolves, which took about an hour. She wore one of them as a warm shawl in the cool evening, and folded the others as small as she could make them, placing them in her messenger bag. She took the good meat for eating and the lard for cooking or torches, and set those in her bag as well. She climbed the cliffs, the wolf bite still stinging, exhaustion filling every part of her body.
Amy's trek through the jungle seemed to take ten times as long as it was. Twice she had to stop and rest because she had almost collapsed. It's certainly been a long day, she thought wearily during the second of those rests. Nursing a stupid guy back to health, then getting attacked by three wolves, two of which were simultaneous. She gave a weak giggle. Sure, that happens to everyone back home!
After about five minutes she set off again. A prickle of worry burrowed itself in her mind until it almost gave her a headache. Those rocks that are stepping-stones are mossy, and slippery, she thought nervously. If I slip and fall into the river, what will happen to me?
Trembling mostly from the cold but a little from fear and exhaustion, too, she slowly stepped across the rocks in the river and headed over to the place where she and Jack got fresh drinking water. Amy lowered a shaking hand down into the river, with a glass bottle in it, and filled it to the brim so that she and Jack could drink it with their very late supper. She kept it in the bottled-water pouch in her bag, and then drank from a separate bottle that was distinctively hers. She left Jack's empty; she still hadn't forgiven him for eating the whole mushroom supply.
As she departed from the water-place, Amy felt a heavy drop on her shoulder. All around her, more drips splashed onto the ground and she suppressed a feeling of defeat. Great. What next? I hope the house I built is watertight…this would only be the second rainy day that we've been in this house, after all.
Distractedly, Amy walked towards the house. It grew ever closer and a ray of hope shone through her mind. Unconsciously, and though her legs screamed in protest, she quickened her pace. If I can just get home, I'll be all right…
She bit back a shriek of indignant rage, and partial fear. There, standing in front of her, challenging her, was yet another wolf.
Utterly exhausted, and feeling worse than she'd ever felt in her life, Amy staggered up the bamboo ladder and into the thankfully watertight house. She was so mad at Jack. It was almost midnight and did Jack wait up for her to make sure she was all right? No! She spotted Jack curled up in his warm bed, and fought the urge (with difficulty) to trample him. She sighed wearily and shook him with all her remaining strength—admittedly, not much. He groaned and swatted her hand away.
That did it. Amy shouted in his ear, "WAKE UP, JACK, YOU IDIOT!"
Jack sat up, alarmed, and then his face cleared. He sat up, grimacing as his bones cracked loudly, and yawned sleepily, "Do I get a hug?"
Amy was so mad that she shrieked, "No, you damn well don't get a hug! You just let me get attacked by four wolves! FOUR WOLVES!" She panted, sitting down hard. She had been so angry that she had forgotten to take it easy. "Anyway," she continued more quietly, "it's stormy out there, and you ate our storm supply, and you let me get attacked by—"
"I didn't know you were attacked by four wolves!" protested Jack, appalled at being accused of letting her get chomped on. "I was asleep the whole time."
"You didn't hear that last battle? It was right outside our front door, Jack." Amy's voice had very ill-veiled skepticism mixed with it. She didn't want to insult him too badly, since really he did have a heart of gold, but this was beyond her understanding.
"No! Well…" said Jack, looking distinctly guilty and embarrassed. "I did hear it…but…"
"But what?" Amy's tone was faint but icy, and was akin to a thunderstorm about to break. "But what?" she repeated when Jack, clearly reluctant to speak, remained silent.
"But I thought you could handle it on your own," finished Jack, and cowered as Amy leaped up, all tiredness forgotten in her newfound anger.
"HANDLE IT ON MY OWN?" She stopped there, unsure of where to go from there. "I'll determine what I'll do with you later," she muttered, wanting nothing more than to climb under the covers of her beautiful wolfskin bed.
"I'll smoke the wolves' meat," offered Jack, and placed it in the jerky-maker that Amy had made after a rare but brilliant idea from Jack ("Why don't we make meat that will keep longer?").
"Thank you," said Amy, very resentfully, and limped to her bed. She climbed under the covers and her last conscious thought was, If he doesn't make up for this soon, I'll have to kill him…