Chapter 2: The Way Life Goes

They were making good time despite no food for a whole day. Cole walked next to Aleu looking out into the distance, wondering what he was going to find in this town. His stomach growled and Aleu sighed.

"Huh, again?" she said.

"Well, I haven't eaten yet. Why? Did you sneak a rat when I wasn't looking?" Cole retorted.

She sighed again, "You wanna stop for some food?"

"You couldn't have asked that earlier?"

"Fine, I think I smell some rabbits. Do you want to catch one for me? I mean you did bring down a big male buck the other day," she said sarcastically.

"No, no, you go ahead…your Majesty," he added with a laugh.

She turned around and looked him face-to-face, "Look. You think I want to be wandering the forest with you and your 'charming' attitude?"

He felt the heat rise up in his face and all he managed to get out were some "Uhh's" and "Er's". Aleu looked away and stuck her head up in the air, sniffing for something. In a flash she bent low to the ground and quietly walked over to a clearing. She jumped in the air and pounced on something. It was bigger than a rabbit.

"Well, we are eating better than we hoped," she announced. Cole walked over and looked down at a white fox, it's neck was ripped wide open. "Well, it's there right in front of your face. Start eating."

The duo started eating Aleu's kill. For being apart of their family tree, the fox tasted quite delicious. They each ate half of the white fox and burped at the delighting meal. The two of them bounced up with renewed strength. Aleu looked at Cole bouncing up and down from all the extra energy.

"You wanna race?" she asked. The proposal shocked Cole that he just stared at her, and cocked his head. "Is that a yes, or a no?"

"Uhh, sure," he replied. "Where should we finish?"

She lifted her front paw and pointed to the tree line. "First one there wins."

"Fine, when are we-"

"Go!" she yelled as she started to run for the tree's.

"Hey, no fair!" Cole yelled after Aleu. But it didn't take him long to catch up and get ahead of her. They were now a body length apart.

"Hey, Cole slow down," Aleu said.

"Not a chance!"

He made it to the tree line and saw that there was a forty-five degree hill. He stopped but Aleu ran into him sending them both tumbling down the hill. The fall didn't hurt and it wasn't long, it was almost enjoyable to Cole. Even more so that when they made it onto flat ground that Aleu had fallen right on top of him. They were nose to nose, just staring at each other. Cole felt something deep within him and realized what was happening.

"Er, c'mon let's go. The town should be up ahead," Cole said pushing Aleu of and quickly walking away.

Aleu just sat there in silence for a little bit, "Cole…" she whispered.

{{_}}

Only a few hours later they arrived at the entrance to the town, they made just as the sun hit the middle of the sky. Aleu made her way towards the beach and Cole was about to follow her but stopped himself. C'mon Cole, she is obviously here for personal reasons, he thought to himself.

So instead he walked down the only road, if you could call it that, in town that ran down the center. He looked around at all the people talking to others and having a grand time. They did not even stare at Cole as he walked by. Hmm, that's strange.

His thoughts were interrupted by a soothing voice of a girl, "Balto?"

He turned around and saw a beautiful looking red husky. She had an orange scarf tied around her neck which he thought made her look even cuter. A look of shock came over her face than humorous relief. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I thought you were someone else," she said.

"Um, no it's fine. Hey if you don't mind me asking…why do all the humans not pay attention to a wolf-looking dog like me?"

She giggled a little, "You don't know? Balto is part wolf and part husky. He saved this town from a plague and everyone here knows who he is. You look a lot like him, that's probably why the people don't bother you. That's also why i thought you were him"

"Oh," Cole said.

"Now if you don't mind me asking, why did you come here?" she asked.

"Actually, I probably wouldn't have gotten this far without a wolf helping me," Cole said.

"Who is this wolf? It sounds like you're really attracted to her," the husky said. A look of confusion came across Cole's face, which made her laugh. "I'm a mother, I should know these things."

"Oh."

"Actually, my son should be getting back from his job. Maybe you could wait around with me. We could get to know each other a little better. And I could tell you about this place."

"I think I'd like that," Cole said with a smile.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get you name. Mine's Jenna."

"Cole."

Jenna and Cole talked for an hour or so about the town and where everything was. This Balto character really pulled out all the stops for this town. Saving all the kids from the Dipthermia, quite a feat.

"So, Cole, you look young. About my son's age. Where are your parents?" Jenna asked.

Cole's face dropped to face the ground, "Um, yeah...their...their dead, Jenna."

"Oh my...I'm so sorry. How?" she asked.

Cole sighed, "Gunshot to the head."

"That must have been terrible," she said going closer to him almost to the point of touching him.

"They…died…protecting me. The bullet was coming for me but my dad jumped in the way. He got it in the gut than to 'put him out of his misery' the man shot him in the head. My mom saw what had happened and bit the man on the arm. He threw her aside, then…then…" he trailed off, fighting as hard as he could to keep the tears from flowing.

"They died right in front of you?" Jenna asked. The look on his face gave it away. "Oh, I'm so sorry Cole." She went up to him and nuzzled him. It took him by surprise and he pulled back. She's not even my mom, but she still shows me sympathy?

Cole heard a bark in the distance and perked his ears up. Jenna saw this and did the same.

"That should be my son. And there is my mate," she said pointing towards a brown dog. He did look like Cole. Almost down to the coat color. And at his side was. "Aleu," Cole said. Loud enough for her to hear and turn his way.

"Cole?" she said.

"Aleu? Oh, Aleu!" Jenna said as she ran up to her daughter nuzzling her. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming back?"

"Hi momma. Well I wasn't, but I had to look out for some un trained dog," she said looking at Cole.

Jenna put two and two together and looked at me. She did a sort of half smile. The wolf-looking dog saw the smile and butted in.

"So, who's your friend?" he asked Aleu.

"I'd hardly call him a friend," she said with a sarcastic smile. "His name is Cole."

"So where are you from Cole? Where are your parents?" the dog asked.

Cole's face dropped again, and Jenna interrupted, "He's not from around here. He's just trying to find a new home."

The dog looked confused, "What'd your parents do to you that would make you want to leave your home."

His face dropped even more. This time Jenna and Aleu both pulled the wolf aside and walked away talking about something.

Cole could hear the dog in the distance getting closer., but he didn't want to deal with anyone right now. He went into an alley and laid down, trying to get some rest but his thoughts and the dogs barking were becoming even more obnoxious. Now the dogs barking had become so loud that probably people in the north pole could here them.

When Cole looked up, he saw dogs stopping right in front of the alley panting and smiling. Great, just lay still and maybe they won't see you, he thought to himself.

Too late. "Hi, what are you doing?" A rust colored husky was standing over him. He had a creamish coloring on his stomach.

"Trying to get some rest," he replied.

"Out here? It's way too cold for that," the husky said.

"What's it to you," Cole said standing up and looking at the dog eye to eye.

"I'm just trying to be kind. I see you need a lesson in that," he said sarcastically.

"What the hell did you just say?"

"You heard me I said-"

"Kodi, welcome back," Jenna said rounding the corner.

"Hi mom," Kodi said. Jenna looked around and saw Cole staring at Kodi with a fight burning in his heart.

"Umm, I see you met Cole," Jenna said.

"Who? Him? Yeah I met him," he said flicking up his tail.

Cole laughed, "Come have your mommy protect you, huh?"

Kodi turned, "What did you say?"

"You heard me," Cole said as he walked around him. "You look tough, but looks can be deceiving, and I guess in your case...very deceiving."

"That's it," Kodi lunged. Cole ducked gracefully and spun around. Coel threw him against the nearets wall and put his paws over his neck hard enough to keep him up in the air, but not too hard so he would break his neck.

"Next time, Cod," Cole said letting go.

"It's Kodi."

Cole dropped Kodi to the ground and was walking away when he heard Jenna start to reprimand Kodi. "What's gotten into you Kodi? You are better than this. At least Cole has a reason."

"Yeah, what's his reason?" She went silent. "That's what I thought," Kodi said as he pushed past Cole.

"I'm so sorry for his behavior, Cole, He-"

"No it's my fault. I started it. And I should be the one to apologize," Cole said.

More barking sounded through the little town but these were lower in pitch. Cole and Jenna ran out and found Kodi's team staring at some dogs. Kodi seemed to be glaring at them.

Cole looked at the lead dog, he was a big malamute with black and white fur. He had a gloating expression spread across his face.

"It's…it's St-"

"Steele," Jenna interrupted with a low growl.

They both looked at each other, "How do you know him?" they asked simultaneously.

"He..he was the last dog I saw when my parents died. And him…he's the man who…" Cole trailed off in thought.

"Steele's cruel but killing another dog? That doesn't…" she remembered the time where he almost killed Balto and his team. Steele obnoxiously took off his reigns and pranced about like he owned everyone. His team were smaller than him, but not by much.

It was too much for Cole to handle. He ran as fast as he could towards Steele.

"Cole! Cole! Stop!" Jenna yelled after him.

Cole pushed some dogs out of his way making Kodi's team turn his way and watch in stunned awe at how fast he was going. He ran over more dogs, finally making contact with his target. He head butted Steele in the chest sending them both flying. They both got up uneasily. Steele was the first to recover and grasp the situation.

"Who the…Cole?" he let out a harmonious laughter. "Hey guys look, the mutt is here and he wats to play." The other dogs joined in on the laughter. Cole felt something at his side and looked back. It was Aleu and Jenna. They were trying to hold him back with no avail.

"Balto help," Jenna said.

The wolf-looking dog came over and tried to pin him but with no luck either. "Dingo, Kodi, Saba…help us," he said already tired from the strain. Three more dogs came and helped pin Cole down. He knew Kodi, but there were two other dogs that looked exactly like him. Probably brother and sister, Cole concluded.

With their combined efforts, they got Cole down. He stopped struggling and relaxed a bit. Steele saw his opportunity.

"When your friends aren't here, your dead," he said spitting on Cole's face.

That was it. Cole had had it. With everything. He gave his last effort and managed to push them off of him. He ran and tackled Steele again, but this time a man came up and put himself in front of Steele.

"Hey who the he…Cole?" he let out a laugh as well. That was the same thing he did when he shot his father. Cole fell back and started to inch his way back. "Oh, I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to say hello." Jenna jumped in front of him putting herself in between the man and Cole. She growled and the man smiled at her. "My, my aren't we feisty," the man said as he went into his coat.

"Jenna, no!" Cole yelled as he pushed her out of the way.

The man took out a whip and threw it down with all the force he could manage on Cole's side. He let out a yelp and fell down the blood flowing from his wound. All of the animals let out a gasp.

The man laughed and walked away. All the attention was on Cole, Jenna came up to him and started to lick his wound. But Cole pushed her away and started to limp towards an alley.

"Cole!" Aleu yelled after him.

He turned and looked at Aleu. He gave one last smile before he collapsed from blood loss.