Tribal And Story; Maternal Instinct by talani-mae (critique requested)

Tribal And Story; Maternal Instinct (critique requested)

talani-mae

27 June 2016 at 22:16:22 MDT

I do not know what came over me when I was about to fill out the description for this. Looking at the she-wolf's expressive face, a story popped into my head. I drew this a couple months ago as a doodle... but looking at it more, this one, I simply could not stop myself from writing a short story to go along with this. I spent an hour or so writing this. My heart ached in a way I cannot explain.

A large canine gazed sadly through the bushes where her packs pups had played that very morning. The heavy scent of rain and musty forest was all around her, and despite the large droplets that were soaking into her raven-black fur, the wolf seemed unaffected. Why she had not chosen to follow her pack to the new den-site was beyond even herself, but regardless, here she sat, alone, soaking wet, with only the thundering sound of rain in her ears as company.

She shifted, thick mud squishing between the pads of her huge paws. Memories from early morning played again and again in her head. She had been watching the pups play in the glade. How many were there, four...yes four she remembered now, such a beautiful morning it was too. They tussled and played in the very spot the she-wolf had her eyes locked on, little mouths nipping, long, elegant tails wagging. She should have stayed put, the alpha was testy no matter how many litters she birthed, even the young knew to stay away from their leaders pups.

Her fur bristled from the cold, though perhaps the residual memories had something to do with it. She had padded towards them, ears forward, hazel eyes bright with longing. They saw her approaching, and romped over to greet her with precious whines, tiny yips, even hopped clumsily in place as they tried to reach her muzzle. Her long, sleek tail had wagged happily at their greetings, her maternal heart throbbing painfully in her chest. The pups got down on their front paws, bouncing, pawing at her, tails and rumps wagging franticly at having a big playmate. She had gotten down on her belly, rolling over onto her back as was proper respect to the alphas pups. All she did, was stretch her muzzle towards the nearest pup, a tawny little pudgeball, mouth open slightly in a canine grin of pure bliss.

In seconds her alpha was upon her, milky white fur a blur, jaws snapping loudly with her growling barks of anger, and before the female could even blink she felt jaws tearing at the thick fur at her throat. She remembered watching the pups scramble back from their mother and playmate, whimpering, startled. Somehow she got out from her alpha's jaws, bolting towards the treeline with her long tail tucked between her legs.

She was shivering now. The rain was freezing, but she shook from a deep rooted despair. The rest was a blur. That tawny colored pup was hurt, trampled by his mother in her protective jealously. Not dead, but hurt nonetheless. And the alpha blamed her. But why? They wanted to play, and of course so did she, so why did the alpha get so angry? It was not uncommon for the pups to have playmates in the pack, older wolves to help watch and nurture them so their mother could get a break.

Kaniika. That was her alphas name. Why had that slipped her mind? Kaniika had calmed down, even tried encouraging her to keep up with the pack to the new den. But she had stayed behind. She was not welcome, no matter how well the alpha pretended.

Her sleek tail was caked in mud now, and the rain was starting to seep through her undercoat. She was whimpering, shivering from despair, so hard her teeth were chattering with her strained, ragged breaths. She wanted to play. Play with the tawny pup. He looked so much like hers. Had it really been two years? Two years since she had lost him.

Her sides heaved with the staggered breaths of a wolf sob, and she lifted her long, slender muzzle to the dark sky above her, letting the forest know her anguish in the only way she could; With a long, shuddering howl that pierced through even the heavy rains, she cried out, knowing no answer would be returned. Paws digging into the mud as her pads flexed with anxiety, her body shook uncontrollably, and her howl with it. Her world had been shattered, the only pup she had ever birthed was gone, and the one pup she had met since then that looked like him was gone too, carried away by his mother. Her howl faded for only a moment. She cried out again, calling out her pain, her anger. She had wanted to belong, Kaniika had taken that from her. She was standing now, paws sunk into the mud. Again she cried out, and feeling far too many emotions at once, her howl quickly became muddled and incoherent.

After long moments, her cry faded, jaw slack, peering into the thick sheets of rain at the glade in front of her. She felt so empty. Though she knew it had been possible to keep going with the pack, she had chosen to stay behind. The pups had played right there, in the glade every day from the moment they were big enough to come out of the birthing den. She looked harder, surely it was just a trick. But no, it was no illusion, there was a small form laying in the muddy moss. Her body stilled, breathing shallow. What was that... it had not been there before.

The small figure lifted its head, and she could have sworn the big round eyes glowed briefly through the rain. She padded forward, her inky black fur clinging to her finely toned body as her huge paws sunk into the muddy forest floor with every step. It was small. Why did it not flee? She stood four times its size. As she drew closer the outline became clearer; Large, broad, rounded ears flicked as they were pelted by rainfall. Slender, delicate legs were folded under it. She stopped in front of the creature.

A fawn. It was a tiny fawn, spots and all, laying down in the squishy wet moss. She looked down at it, her head tilted, hazel eyes narrowed in confusion. Surely her air shattering howls would have chased away even the dullest of creatures. But here the little one lay at her paws. But why? She looked around, peering intently into the darkness. Why would a little fawn, not weeks old, be here alone?

She dipped her muzzle cautiously, sniffing the little one. Fearless. Completely fearless, the tiny fawn met her gaze with large round eyes. Flee. Run. Her predator's mind screamed at the fawn. But it did not. The rain was letting up, slowing to a steady drizzle. Inside, her heart still wailed with despair, but here, yes, here was a distraction, if only temporary.

The smallest ray of sunlight peeked out from the dark stormy clouds, softly, dimly shining on the fawns face. What eyes. So strange for a deer. Why was she pondering such things? She hunted deer to sustain herself, why care about a small creature like this?

Lichen-green eyes stared up at her, oversized ears twitching. "Sad..."the little one said with a soft, gentle voice, unblinking as it looked up at her.

She recoiled slightly. It took a moment for her to respond, though why bothering to respond to what was normally a food item was beyond her. "Yes little one..." her voice was rich, smooth, deeper set than the tender fawns but still loving and motherly. "Yes... yes I am..." she repeated again, gazing down at the little creature, confused, but curious.

The little female deer blinked slowly, tilting her head. "Why?" She had to crane her head up to see the canine. Still. She remained unafraid.

She did not answer the small fawn, just slowly padded behind it and gave its rump a little nudge, urging it to get up. Why? Why care? Her inner thoughts asked once more. But the moment the fawn stood up, she continued herding it towards the shelter of a nearby thicket. Its spindly little legs, as long and narrow as they were, moved gracefully as she walked, stumbling only once or twice as her tiny hooves sank in the deep mud. In a few moments, they were in the bushes, shielded from the drizzling rain, though as a creature much larger than the tiny prey-thing, she had to squeeze her way into the small opening.

The tiny fawn carefully laid down at the center of the thicket on a padded mound of moss. Again, the little one looked up at her, "Why sad?"

She knew some members of her pack would have scarfed this innocent little creature up the moment they laid eyes on her, and certainly would have been too impatient to tolerate questions. But her heart throbbed painfully, her maternal self aching to fill the massive void that had grown deep inside her being. "I have no babies..." came her hushed whisper as she sat down close to the delicate little deer. Of course she did not expect the baby to understand her. Why would she? Despite all the predatory screams inside her, she began grooming the little one's short, velvety coat.

"No momma..." came the tiny reply as the wolf licked water off her with a long, smooth tongue. "You no babies... I no momma... You momma?" she spoke slowly, softly, but the little ones reply was surprisingly long for her age.

Her heart dared to dance and flutter at the small ones question. Her? Mother to a fawn? Mother... momma... Her teeth started chattering, intense shivers racking her body with the strong feelings that surged inside her. Momma... she could be... why not? Without thinking another moment, she responded shakily, "Yes...yes I am your mother now..." she lapped at a stubborn spot at the top of the little fawns head. Daughter...she could have a daughter?

The little fawn let out a soft, happy bleat. "Momma!" she met the wolf's hazel eyes lovingly, with an innocent, pure trust only a youngling could have.

"Baby... my baby..." she choked out in a hushed tone. "My little baby..." she settled herself down next to the little fawn, curling her massive body around the tiny baby. Perhaps, her heart would mend after all...