Chapter Eight - Karasu and Kuma

I froze, my body was crunched at my ribs, my ears flat on my head, and my teeth automatically shown, and a low grumble formed in my throat.

The bear's eyes widen, "Woah woah woah, I'm sorry wolfy, I meant no harm!" She backs away.

The crow then lands on her shoulder, "We mean no harm, kind wolf, we simply thought the carcass was abandoned."

I relaxed, and stood up straight, looking at the bear and then the crow, a bit confused. "Oh...sorry. No, this carcass belongs to me."

"We are very sorry, we will be on our way." The bear steps backwards.

Before she could turn away from me, an idea popped in my head, "Actually, go ahead and eat what you'd like."

The bear stops, and turns to look at me, "Oh, thank you very much."

The crow takes flight and then lands in front of me, "Thank you, kind wolf. My name is Karasu, by the way, and my friend here is Kuma."

I nod, "Very nice to meet you."

Karasu nods, and takes flight once more and lands near the carcass, and Kuma soon also walks over and they both begin to eat.

As the two creatures eat, Ty pokes her head out of the den. I look over at her and I smile in amusement. Her face in a confused expression. And looks up at me and lifts a brow. I simply shrug, and change my focus to the creatures known as Kuma and Karasu.

"My name is Ash, by the way, and this is Ty-Ohni. What brings you to this part of Slough?"

Ty had fully emerged from the den, and was now sitting beside me. Karasu took a string of carcass skin, and swallowed it whole, before looking up at me.

"We live in the area. It isn't common to find a carcass lying nearby. Kuma here picked up the scent." The bird nudged her head toward the grizzly, and continued to feast.

"We normally have to reach the creek to find food, or if we are lucky, a hare trails by. But no elk." She resumes, placing her paw on the carcass's shoulder, and ripping pieces of its neck. "Plus, hunting doesn't come very easy to me."

My expression becomes puzzled, "But you're a bear."

"Yes, but my heart is far more greater than my native thirst to kill." She looks up at me, her muzzle stained and dripping with blood.

"But...you're eating something that was killed..." Ty had now lay down, her paws crossed, and her head positioned on them.

Kuma simply replied, "A bear has to eat."

I decided to not protest, and Ty simply hummed.

Minutes had gone by, and the two strange creatures had finished feasting on the carcass. They didn't leave much, but what else would you expect from a hungry bear?

Karasu had finished before Kuma, and was sitting patiently on a nearby rock, preening her feathers, picking at her talons, and rubbing her beak against the rock to remove any blood. By the time Kuma was done, she waddled over to her friend, and slumped down on her stomach, and began licking her paws and wiping her muzzle.

Ty stood and sniffed the carcass, finding remaining bits and pieces. I too stood, grabbing a femur bone and began gnawing on it, gently beginning to crack through it. I persisted, until it eventually snapped, and I stuck my tongue into the opening and swallowed the marrow.

We spent the remaining of the morning, and part of the afternoon this way. We occasionally exchanged words. Mainly about that the cloud to our left looked like a beetle, or the one next to it looked like two hares pretending to be wolves. And then, there was silence.

The minutes passed on, and Ty grew bored. She had by them lay next to me again, but now she was standing, and stretching out her back, and in that movement, she extended her wings out, exposing their strength.

Karasu gasped, and Kuma's jaw just dropped. Ty sat back down, and smirked a bit, her left wing slightly closed, and her right slightly extended. "What? Never seen a wolf with wings?"

Karasu flew off her rock and landed on Ty's head. "No." She replied, examining the pieces of artwork. "This is...unheard of. Kuma, have you ever heard of such thing?"

Kuma simply shook her head.

"I have them, too." I outstretched mine.

Karasu now had her beak open in amazement. "How could this be?" She couldn't grasp an explanation.

"We are half dead. We can fly, and roam the Earth, we can breath under water, we can communicate with the living, but we aren't like the living. We have no explanation either." Ty finished her sentence, and looked at her wings, shrugging them and putting them on her back again.

Karasu blurted a million questions at us, and in the end, we explained ourselves. Kuma was heartbroken to hear that a bear had been the cause for Ty's half-death, and she hoped she didn't know the bear.

The night fell, and our stories continued. We learned how Kuma and Karasu met.

"My mother was killed by hunters when I was just a young cub. They skinned her right in front of me, of course, I was hidden inside my den, they didn't find me. They left her carcass, but took her skin." Kuma was looking up at the stars as she told her story. My body shuddered, trying to imagine how she felt. I wouldn't have enjoyed watching the wolf who gave birth to me being slaughtered before my eyes. "I just hid. I did not move from my position, I just sobbed. I heard wings flapping coming toward my den, they became louder, then suddenly croaks pierced my eardrum. I looked up to see dozens of crows nipping at mother's body... It angered me, so I stood and tried chasing them away. They would fly off a bit, but return short after. I returned to my den, and covered my face with my paws. Then, I heard pitter patter. The smell of feather dust made me peek through my paws, and a small crow was tilting her head at me. Karasu and I have been together since then." Kuma lowered her gaze from the stars to the bird, who had perched herself on the bear's paws.

"She was lost, I was lost. My parents had been killed by eagles, and my flock hadn't fully accepted me, so I made the choice to leave, and look after this giant fluff." They both smiled at one another. You'd think they were in love, but they were simply the best of friends.

I turned to look at Ty. Her fur glowing in the starlight, and when she turned to look at me, her eyes had become a silver tone. I leaned in and licked her nose. She licked my chin, and with that she leaned her head against my shoulder, and we continued to listen to the story of the two unlikely friends.

End chapter eight.