A Newcomer From the Shadows
"All dogs are born innocent, yet there was a thought that swarms in my head from time to time that theres an exception to that rule. I have met only one dog that was that exception, and I regret even having him in my memories."
--Jared, Newfoundland resident of Nome, Alaska
Theres only one thing that I liked about that man-town in the middle of nowhere, and that is the food was good. Yeah, you heard me right. Somehow, for some strange and unknown reason, the dry dog food that my master gave me was sweeter than the food I was given back south. The sausage in that town tastes like some wolf had spat on it, and the bacon was even worse, but the dog food was tolerable. Maybe it was the cold that changed it. Or maybe it was me that had changed.
I used to live in a place WAY far down south, in a much different climate than the frozen hell-hole the men call Nome. A place called Pine Cove. It was located in the mountains, abundant with evergreen trees, streams, and just plain old nature. The best thing I loved about that marvelous place was the sunlights warmth. I used to bask under the sun, aloof and carefree. The other resident dogs were fearful of me, for I was massive and I have a sense of evil and power, and they quiver at the mention of my name. They were not sled-dog material like me, and they were just too soft to do me any good. All except for two dogs are ones that I considered to be truly friends. I blessed my heart that they came with me to Nome.
Nome.......ugh. Now, heres something I dont understand. I admire the intelligence of the kin of my master. They could do things that dogs like me could not even dream of doing. However, there were many examples of their lack of intelligence. Nome ranks very high at that list. Think about it. Nome was located in the middle of a stinking frozen desert, where theres seemly no such thing as an activity of basking under the sun. Oh the sun was there alright, but I missed the warmth that it gave me back home. Nome was a place that suffers from cold wind, cold snow, cold air, cold everything. Now, why in Heaven would the men build an entire town in a desolate place like this? To see if they were brave enough to endure the climate? To show everyone that men can indeed live in a place like this? Or maybe, just maybe, they were just plain stupid.
Anyway, Ill stop moaning and griping about Nome. I just want to tell you what I think about that icicle of a place, thats all. I want to go home.
"Nome sounds like something a dog chews on."
--Band, malamute resident of Nome, Alaska
"Cripes, is this the low point of my life? Having to stay here?" I muttered irritably as I walked down an empty, dirt and snow trodden road. Quiet houses with their snow-capped roofs looked down on me as my massive malamute paws set tracks on the fresh snow. The air was silent; the grumbling spewing out of my mouth being the only sources of sound. Yep, this is Nome alright. Remote and right in the middle of nowhere. Being used to the bustling sounds of Pine Cove, I was uncomfortable by the silence, so I grumble to calm me down. Gosh, I hated this place. Pine Cove may have less sledding dogs (it was more of a cat-dominated community), but at least its close by another site of civilization, not all alone like Nome.
It was my part-malamute heritage that got me here. Someday I will go to my father and kick his curly black tail. My mother was a part-malamute herself, but Dad was the purebred, so I blame him for giving me the strength of the malamute that got me a sled dog job, and thus got me here. Oh well. Hes a competitor in dog fighting contests, and I sometimes root for the other dog. Still, being mostly malamute may be beneficial to me. After all, I do have my strength. I fought against an adult gray wolf and still manages to live afterwards. Hows that for strong? My all-white fur (thank you Mom) may shine under the sunlight, but it easily exposes the wounds I would get whenever I fight some dog or in some sledding chore. I have stunning blue eyes (as so the Pine Cove female dogs tell me), a thick tail that mostly arches over my back, and a broad chest. I have powerful jaws as well. If you dont believe me, ask a certain bulldog in Pine Cove that I bit one day. Got him to the hospital. Pity.
My name is Band. Dont ask.
My enemies call me evil, my friends call me strong and intelligent, and most females I have met call me handsome and charming, and still others call me a control freak and a downright jerk. Im all of those combined, and more. But theres one great weakness of mine that I dont keep as a secret. Its the weather that Nome tolerates everyday.
"Sheesh, its cold here," I muttered again as I continued to walk.
"Hey Band! Where you going?" A familiar voice called up from behind. I didnt look back. I knew that was Draco asking me.
The chinook Draco bounded up beside me, cheerful for some reason. He was tawny-furred, almost in a golden retriever shape, but bigger and stronger. Like malamutes, chinooks like him were bred to dog sled, and Draco was a good example of what a good sled dog should be. He was just as strong as I am, but he lacks the decision-making that made me the leader of the dog team I was in, so hes always on the third column. I snatched a look at him.
"Im going to my masters home. What about you?"
"Theres a race between Steeles team and two other teams tomorrow. Im going to sleep overnight on the sidelines to get an early seat. You want to come with me?"
I scoffed. "What, and see a black and white dog that was once banned here but came back win the race? Steele is friends with that half and half dog, er...wolf, or whatever!"
Draco was more open with the other resident dogs than I am, so he doesnt share my prejudice and silent hatred toward them. "Whats wrong with Balto?"
I halted, and gave a glaring set of blue eyes on that chinook. "Whats wrong with him? Hes part wolf, thats what wrong with him! I met wolves before. Dang worst bunch of flea-ridden mutts I have ever seen. Now here is this wolf/dog living among us. I even heard hes some father."
Draco nodded. Since the other dogs dont hate him as much as they do me, I rely on him to feed me information and gossip. "Father of two. Jenna is his mate."
"A husky that I met once when we first got to Nome a few weeks ago. A beautiful one she is, but I prefer chinooks."
"Ha, try finding one. Your breed is so rare that you may never see another one of your kin in your lifetime."
Draco grinned, confident. "Oh, youll never know. Maybe one day, the right female chinook would come by and if I say the words right-"
I nudged him on the shoulder. "In your dreams, goldie. Well, this Jenna sounds interesting. You think you can arrange a meeting with me and her?"
Draco sighed. "I dont know. She does know your reputation as a bad dog around here. Come to think of it, you really shouldnt have beaten that Newfoundland dog into a bloody pulp in front of dog witnesses on the first day we were here, Band. That incident was the one that gave you such an infamous reputation."
"That fool deserved that," I growled. "He said that I have a stupid name."
Draco sighed again. I may be his friend, but his constant sighing can be dreadfully annoying at times. "Thats your problem, Band. You fight all too eagerly. Youll think up any excuse to do it. You need to control yourself. Well, I have to go. You sure you dont want to see the race tomorrow?"
"Well, only if I get really bored. Ill see you later."
"Bye," Draco finally said, and marched off. I grinned as I saw him off. He was my best friend ever since our days in Pine Cove, and I was glad to have him come with me to Nome. He was loyal to me, but there were several things that I found about him confusing. For one thing, he actually likes the dog residents here, including Mr. Half and Half. The dogs in return actually like him. Also, he tolerates the climate here much better than me. If I havent known better, I would say that he actually enjoys the cold here. I shuddered at that thought, but it may be true.
"Alright, alright, Band does have temper outbursts and has the urge to beat up every dog in town if he gets the chance, but Im still loyal to him to his dying breath."
--Draco, chinook resident of Nome, Alaska
I remembered that first day of Nome very clearly. My master was a carpenter, whatever that is, and I live in a small shed next to the carpenters workplace. I tolerate the constant pounding of nails into wood quickly enough, though Draco was more intolerant of it. He always seem to want to leave whenever my master works. What a strange chinook.
Well anyway, that first day. My only two friends, Draco and a samoyed named Bitey (he deserved that name, and hes proud of it), and I were walking down the street, trying hard to get used to the cold wind that were blasting on our faces. The humans that over tower us were crossing back and forth around us, wearing thick furs and hats. We found several dog neighbors, but at first they were connected to sleds and were too busy to even acknowledge to us. Finally, we met a dog that had enough spare time to greet us.
His name was Jared, a black dog that called himself a Newfoundland. I have never seen a Newfoundland before, and I could see that the breed were meant to stand the cold. Jared was thick-furred, with about forty layers of fur (I like being sarcastic, dont you?). He has massive boned legs and a massive skull, with small brown eyes and ears that flap down like flags. He was bigger than me, and perhaps stronger.
I greeted that idiot innocently enough. "Hello. Were new here."
"Oh so you are? Well, welcome to Nome! You like this place so far?"
I grumbled. "I hate this frozen-"
Draco interrupted me. He sometimes does that. "Were just getting used to the cold here. We three are from a much warmer climate. A place called Pine Cove."
Jared seemed intrigued. "Pine Cove, huh? How far away is it?"
"Very far," replied Draco. "South, I believe. We took a train that took five nights, then we were sledding for Heavens knows how long till we got here. Quite frankly were exhausted. My name is Draco."
"Bitey," replied the samoyed quickly. He rarely talks.
"My name is Band," I said calmly, my eyes squinted from the wind.
Jared chuckled. A bad move. A very bad move.
"Whats so funny?" I asked, fury rising.
"Band......what a stupid name. Where did you get that from?"
I growled at that stupid Newfoundland. I bared my fangs, and the hair on the back of my head raised up. I neared my head toward Jared, whom seemed to be ignoring my threats. Once again, Draco came in between.
"Hey! Band, calm down. Lets go...."
But I paid no heed. This Jared needs to be taught a lesson. "Leave me alone, Draco. I dont want to hurt you."
The chinook knew about my temper, so he and Bitey backed off wisely. Just then, Jared whimpered. "Hey, I was just joking, Band. Its a good name! Im sor-aaaaaahhhhh!!!!"
I never allowed him the chance to finish his sentence. I lunged at his throat, and sank my teeth into his thick-furred neck. Jared reeled back, and swat his right paw at me. The paw struck my face, distracting me a little, but I held on. Jared stood on his hind legs, forcing me to stand with him, and he was growling and whimpering like some hypocrite. The fur bristled at my eyes, and finally he managed to throw me off, releasing my hold. He retreated back some steps, his neck bleeding already.
I began to notice commotion from my surroundings. There were other dogs coming into view, watching the fight. Draco and Bitey stood close by, their eyes fixed on me. I attacked the Newfoundland again, swinging my left paw at his face. I grinned as my sharp claws shredded through fur, and crimson liquid was showing on his frantic mask. Jared never really wanted to fight me, so he was on the defensive. He retreated back time and time again, taking the blows that I befell upon him. Stupid wimp. He doesnt have the guts to fight back against little-old-me!!
Then Jared dropped down and rolled over, exposing his belly and throat at me. It was an appeasing move. I never would try to do something like that. Never expose yourself to the enemy! Of course I refused to stop. I sank my fangs on his throat again, and I chuckled when I tasted the liquid that was my award for doing the effort.
Too bad all great things must come to an end. A man came by with a hose, and since I cant stand cold, freezing water, I retreated from the fight the moment the water sprayed at me. Draco and Bitey were running at my heels, but I was the only one celebrating. I later heard that Jared was taken to the town hospital, and was treated for the wounds I inflicted. Damn fool. I wanted weaklings like him die and rot like a wolf being hung on a rope by the legs. Oh well. At least he now quivers at the mention of my name. Theres a new dog in town, and everyone would just have to deal with it. Maybe someday I will give Jared another gift. Hopefully that gift would be his last.
At first I felt like staying home at the day of the race Draco told me about yesterday. The hay may not be a comfy bed, but I quickly adjusted to it. Four other dogs besides Draco and Bitey live and sleep with me on that shed, all of them owned by my master. They were all huskies and born in Nome, and I rarely talk to them. They seemed to be loners at heart, so I cant rely on them for gossip and they were dull-witted in comparison to me. Still, they obey my orders during sledding runs, and they dont talk back.
Then, around noon, I heard cheering coming from the distance. I knew that was the race, but I was still curious. I set out to find Draco, and hoped I would get to him in time to see who was leading the race.
The chinook was sitting patiently among the worn boots of the human residents of the town, his eyes scanning for any sign of the competitors. Before I got there, I heard a blast and there was a light exploding in the sky. Must be some flare or marker set off by one of the race officials. The noise of the crowds standing beside a snowy road was buzzing in my ears, but that was relaxing, for I hated prolonged silence. I spotted other dogs in the area: huskies, malamutes, among others. Of course I recognized none of them.
"Band! You finally decided to go see the race," Draco greeted me as I came up to his side. He was in a chipper mood, and I felt that was because he was caught up in the excitement.
"Yeah, might as well. Got nothing else to do. What was the blast I heard earlier?"
"The one-mile marker. The teams will be here soon," Draco quickly replied as the crowds grew noisier.
"Whats the race for, anyway?"
"Theres a problem occurring in some town a few weeks away from here. The best team will be the one to carry the anti-toxin for some flu to that town. Thats about it."
I grunted a reply and sat down on the cold snow. The humans are in trouble and whos going to be the one to work? The dogs. Its always the dogs. Were nothing but slaves for them. At least the food we get as rewards would be sufficient enough.
I continued to wait for the slow teams to come over, and I braved the winds the best I could. As fate would have it, I turned my eyes to my right and spotted a red husky sitting only thirty yards away on the other side of the road.
At first, I thought I was hallucinating. For one thing, all the huskies I have met in my life were black and white furred, tan-brown and white, and even one that was completely albino like me. But never a red-furred husky. Besides, she seemed too beautiful to be real.
I was in a trance, my blue eyes fixed onto that husky like a deer on the headlights. I might as well say that the muscles that move my neck were stiffed solid. She was not only the most beautiful dog I have ever seen, but there seemed to be some sort of majestic aura around her that hypnotized me. The white parts of her thick and smooth fur were more creamier than the snow flakes that drizzled on my face, and the sun reflected off from it like a mirror, almost blinding me. The red fur that she has, which was the dominant fur color, seem to separate faithfully with the white, never in conflict that would have give her a blending look to it. Her thin, narrow, fragile-yet-strong legs may seem like twigs in comparison to my bulky limbs, but they were well-groomed along with her fur. Her coat swayed back as the wind brushed against her, and her puffy tail swayed right and left smoothly and slowly. And those eyes....oooohhh,....those eyes. The irises red like crimson fire that had been burning deep inside her very own soul.
A man yelling above me dragged me out of my trance. I looked up at with a face of pure disgust. He paid no heed of course. I set my eyes on that red husky again, and nudged Draco on the shoulder.
"Yes?" He replied without glancing at me.
"That red husky over there. My God, shes beautiful! Whats her name?"
Draco took one glance at the husky and grunted. No wonder he doesnt have a mate. He doesnt appreciate the beauty of things. Its the inside that counts he says. Yeah right. "Oh her? Thats Jenna."
"Jenna? You dont mean....."
"Yep. Shes the mate of Balto, and mother of two. Its best if you just leave her alone."
Drat! Of all the huskies in this town, the most beautiful just HAD to be the one in love with that wolf hybrid! Gee, wheres my luck had gone? I grumbled and growled deep from under my throat. Balto.......I hate him even before I met or even seen him. I watched Jenna again. Its very hard to keep my eyes off her. At first sight, I wanted to worship the goddess that was Jenna. To hold her and cherish her, to be one with her. She was a trophy that I would try to die to win it, a prize worth winning even if I have to sacrifice all but my life and feelings. If theres a gauntlet of drooling St. Bernard dogs with rabies that I have to go through to reach her, then I would fight past them in a moments notice.
"I want her......." I said out loud.
Draco caught that. He looked at me finally, and shook his head, sighing. "Band......what in the world are you thinking? Just leave her be! Its not wise to even charm her, for she already knows your infamous reputation and shes already devoted to Balto. She will just dislike you even more."
"Gosh, youre optimistic and supportive," I replied, reeking with sarcasm. Draco continued on.
"Band, dont you remember that incident with Sherry in Pine Cove? You wanted to date her even though she was already engaged with that mastiff. You actually fought that mastiff, and though you may have beat him, Sherry later said that she didnt want you. So you confronted her and...um..."
"I know what happened, Draco. I dont need reminding," I said, and that was that. Just then, I spotted a brown dog, his breed uncertain, bounding aside Jenna. He was a little bigger than Jenna perhaps. He had a somewhat frazzled coat of dark brown fur, and his belly was in a lighter shade of brown. He seemed well-built, with rather massive paws and well-fed muscles. His brown eyes seemed rather intelligent, and has a sense of friendliness.
But that was on first glance. When I noticed Jennas reaction on his appearance and the way they seem to be talking with each other, I knew that the brown dog....err...wolf...or whatever was Balto. I have met my enemy.
I growled even deeper. I wanted to rush my body across the road and show that Balto the true meaning of pain, but I refrained. I wasnt in the mood. Lucky Balto.
"Band.......I implore you not to fight Balto just to get to Jenna. Youre only seeing her from the outside! Thats not love-"
I glared my eyes at him. If my blue eyes was the sky, then theres a heavy storm coming. "Love? Youre telling me the definition of love? Go on, continue," I taunted.
Draco shook his head and sighed. "Its not my lack of experience saying this. Its common sense. Just plain common sense. Think about this throughly. I know this Jenna more than you do. She has friends......many friends. Insult her, and with the reputation you have, youll have to face every single dog in this town, including Balto and Steele."
I continued to stare daggers on him, and it was having an effect on the love-starved chinook. "Draco.....I dont care if I have to massacre every dog one by one, from one side of this stinking town to the other side of this stinking town. I want her, and if Balto or Steele or God comes in between, then Ill whoop their tails so fast, their mothers will feel it. I know that because I CAN!!!!"
Draco flinched back from that last word that I spat on him, and made a low whimper. I sighed with displeasure. "Come on, Draco. Go home now."
"But what about the race?"
I growled at him. He can be so stubborn at times. "Go.....home....now...."
Draco stamped his paws in frustration, but decided to obey me. With a groan, he stood up on his fours, and walked away. I made one last look at Balto before I left. We shall meet again, dear Balto. Jenna is mine,....and theres nothing you can do about it. Resist......and die.
"Band is like a bulldog in a fight. Once he has you in his grasp, he wont let go."
--Sherry, borzoi resident of Pine Cove, California
Im sure you must be wondering about that incident with Sherry in Pine Cove, so I might as well tell you about it. Pine Cove, as I already told you before, was located high in the mountains. Cabins large and small dot the town amid pine-smelling tress, and the air was crisp and fresh. It can snow here, but I loved Pine Cove during the summer, with the sun giving warmth onto my fur. Sunbathing had spoiled me really, and I would lie out under the sun for hours on end, dozing and not having a care in the world. Though Draco and Bitey doesnt enjoy it as much as I do, they sometimes sunbathe with me.
I was among a small dog population of those that would be fit for dog sledding. I was stronger than most, and I took advantage of that whenever I can. Pine Cove had a larger variety of dog breeds than Nome, but thats due to climate. There were huskies, bulldogs, toy dogs, pit bull terriers, greyhounds, to name some. They try to avoid me, and just like I did in Nome, I relied on Draco for gossip and such. It would be a boring and isolated life without him. Bitey may be my friend, but hes not the one to have a conversation with. After all, he rarely speaks more than five words in a sentence.
There was a borzoi named Sherry, owned by a wealthy family that lives in one of the higher elevation cabins in town. Now Jenna may be more majestic in physical beauty, but Sherry wasnt that far behind. She has the thin legs and sleek body of a snobbish greyhound, with brown and white curly fur that felt soft to the touch. Believe me, I know that from experience. Sherry was not the first female I have touched in love, and she wasnt the last. She had sharp brown eyes that sparkled under any light, and she speaks with a soft tone with a touch of a little bass.
However, I had one problem. Sherry was engaged to Salem, a mastiff with red short fur and black stripes crossing his back. He was huge; bigger than me, though a little dull-witted if you ask me. He had a huge head, and that must of mean he had a thick skull, if you know what I mean. Sherry and Salem were lovers, but I didnt care. Sherry was the one I wanted, and I always get what I want. I once even killed a mate of mine due to disagreements, but thats another story. For some while, I have kept in the clear, not making any move until I would not be able to resist my temptations any longer.
One day in summer, which was the last summer I spent in Pine Cove, I have decided to win Sherrys heart. I had a better chance of winning her because Salem was a little abusive to her, and he sometimes neglect her. I have no idea why they were lovers in the first place. Sherry was regarded as one with low self-esteem anyway.
I met them in an open field near a small stream that was surrounded by redwood trees. They were splashing on the stream, and the cold, fresh water were spraying on their furs, giving them a look that they had just been out of a bath. They didnt notice me until I barked out a greeting at them at the edge of the stream.
The two dogs were startled, and they looked at me with silence. They knew about my crush on Sherry thanks to the gossip-loving Draco, so Salem felt threatened at my appearance.
"What do you want, Band-Aid?" Salem growled at me with his gruff voice. I have always hated that dog, especially that insulting name.
I ignored him. "How are you faring, Sherry?"
Salem came up within a few feet from me and splashed some water on my face. "Leave her alone, punk! Get out of here!"
I growled. "Im just trying to have a pleasant conversation with your girlfriend so if you so please, just-"
More water splashed at my face. Dont press your luck, Salem. "Get out, Band. I dont need you or your scum in here," he said, and splashed some more water on me.
That did it. With fury bursting from my eyes, I leaped at him, and with a loud splash, sank my fangs on the back of his fur. Salem screamed and tried to bite me on the neck, but the splashing of the water distracted him and missed his mark. I answered with a slash on the face and that tore some of the flesh of his ear away. We exchanged blows, growling, snarling, splashing, and fangs turned bloody. As an unwilling spectator, Sherry was screaming at us, trying to put a halt on the fight. We both paid no heed to her. I retreated and charged forward, trying to anticipate his movements. He was slow; in normal speed and reaction, so I took great advantage of that. Despite my own bulky size, I was quick on my paws, and my fangs were like daggers every time they met the short red fur of the mastiff. Salem was being routed, and his wounds drained his strength. The fresh water of the stream was flowing red liquid. Finally, I gave one last lunge at his throat, and hit it straight on. Salem yelped like a sick puppy as I wrapped my jaws on his neck. I wanted to kill him, but I also wanted to let him suffer defeat. I brought him down onto the water, and Salem was soon crying out submissive calls. Oh yeah, he was drowning as well.
I let him go, and Salem was left in the middle of the stream, breathing hard and not moving much. I too was bleeding, but I have only flesh wounds that healed completely a week later. I retreated from Salem, chuckling victorious chuckles. Add one more victim on my wall of victories. I panted and turned my head to face Sherry.
The borzois facial expression was one of dismal and shock. I calmly walked toward her, but she stepped back away, shaking her head in growing horror. I looked like a monster to her. I could smell the fear vibrating from that borzoi.
"You.......you shouldnt have done that," she spoke, almost hesitantly. "Why did you do it?"
"Sherry, dont you see what I have done for you? I set you free! The mastiff that you think loves you is using you! I have just broke his chains that held you!" I said, and came up to her. My muzzle touched hers. I was so close that my nose felt her hot breath. It wasnt hard to charm her. Since she had low self-esteem, she thought herself as second-class, one that would love anyone no matter what they do to her. I like charming those kind of dogs. Easy pickings.
To my relief, Sherry nodded in agreement. I won her! "Come on then. Walk with me on your side. Together we can we share our greatest moments and happiness," I said in my most flowery tone of voice. We walked away from the stream alongside each other, leaving the defeated mastiff still lying down on the stream, mourning the loss of his now ex-lover. Pity him. Oh well, whenever theres a loser, theres a winner.
I should have known that Sherry could be influenced very easily by her snobbish friends, all of them viewing me with condemned feelings. My relationship with Sherry lasted only several hours. Some of the dogs, including Draco, blamed my hot temper on breaking the relationship, but I blamed the others for staining Sherry with anti-Band propaganda.
Since she and I lived in different areas of town, I didnt see her for several hours after the fight with Salem. I met her again in the western edge of town, inside a large shed with several bales of hay and a coal-burning broiler. Sherry was chatting with a keeshond friend when I came in, and they stopped the moment they spotted me.
"Hello Sherry," I greeted. Sherry didnt acknowledge that, and the keeshond made a disgusted look at me.
"You may have told her that you broke Salems chains, but to me, you had just simply reattached her with chains of your own," the keeshond snarled at me.
"Band," Sherry nervously said. "I dont want anything to do with you anymore. I have realized that being with you wont do me any good, and that-"
My fierce growl stopped her. I barged in, my face grim with anger and hatred. "What are you saying? You want to break up with me? I own you, Sherry. You love me and-"
The female keeshond interrupted me again. She was getting on my nervous fast. "Dont you get it, Band? Shes not your property! Shes not anyones property! She doesnt love you! In fact, how can anyone love a control-freak like you?!!"
"Shut up!!!" I howled, and slapped her. The keeshond was lifted upwards from the blow, and fell back on her tail, yelping in pain.
"Dont harm her, you....you......" Sherry responded, trying to act tough.
"Finish the sentence, Sherry. I tire of waiting fast," I taunted at her face.
Sherry narrowed her eyes at me, and gathered up all the courage she had. "Bastard."
That was pretty much the end of our relationship. The volcano inside me exploded with uncontrollable anger. I snarled loudly, and I attacked her. I grabbed the scruff of her neck with my jaws, and pulled her off her paws from the floor. I spun her around like a player would do with a shotput, and with enough momentum, threw her across the room. I wasnt good on my aim, for Sherry smacked against the flesh-burning metal of the broiler.
I have heard train whistles close by my ears. Car horns blast beside me. However, nothing, and I do mean nothing, could make me cringe more than what Sherry had screamed once she became uh....cooked. Her right side was burned instantly, and her scream of pain was so loud that I retreated back, and got out of the shed. I ran away from that place, never looking back. I never set eyes on Sherry ever again, though Draco told me that she was bandaged for several weeks. Sherry was the last dog I have ever dated before I moved to Nome, for after the news had spread, all the dogs, female and male, hated me. Draco became more objective to me, and Bitey changed little. Did I regret harming Sherry? No, I really dont. It was an accident, and besides, she was too weak minded to do me any good anyway.
"Love requires two things. One to love the other, and the other to love back. If you could figure that out, I will give you a meaty bone as a prize."
--Draco, chinook resident of Nome, Alaska
Later on the day that I saw Jenna for the first time, I made a meeting with Draco at our home while all the other dogs were out. Draco was actually angry with me, realizing that I have learned little from the incident with Sherry seasons ago. He hated my hot temper and my ridiculous lust for beauty, and also my controlling ways and willingness to fight any dog that come in my way. If he wasnt my friend, then I would have hushed him with my fangs.
"Draco, I want to see Jenna again,....up close."
The chinook, as I expected, sighed and rolled up his eyes. "Oh great, I knew you were going to tell me that."
"Draco, just shut up and listen. I want you to go over to her tonight and tell her to wait at the broiler room, and make sure she is alone."
Another sigh from Draco reached my ears. "Its impossible, Band. She will never see you alone in a meeting."
"Just dont mention me in it. Just think up an excuse. I want her there at midnight."
"No buts, Draco. Just do it."
The chinook sighed again (for the 80,000th time for Petes sake) and nodded in agreement. "Alright, Ill do it. Just remember....it wont work. Treating her like property like you do to most of the females you meet is not going to benefit you. It will be completely the opposite. Its-"
At an instant, Draco was away, heading toward Jenna to arrange a meeting with me at midnight. I chuckled as I counted my lucky stars. A meeting with Jenna might be all I need to have her in my grasp. Then, once I partly have her, I will set my sights on my one other goal on my plan.........kill Balto. Once hes eliminated, then Jenna would be mine.....all mine. My chuckles had grown into maniacal laugher that echoed in the shed that serves as my home.
The moon was shining majestically amid the shining stars above me, and the air was calmer than usual. A rather cold breeze rather than wind. A soft drizzle of snow was drifting down on my white fur, and the town, with almost all of the lights turned off in the buildings, seemed equivalent to a ghost town. It was all quiet and spooky, and since I was in a jolly mood, I couldnt grumble to provide entertainment to my ears. I was actually walking hurriedly toward the broiler room in the center of town close to the hospital, and I was out of breath when I got there. Before I got in, I caught up on my breath, cleared my throat, and calmly got in to meet Jenna.
The red husky was sitting patiently in front of the broiler that was radiating heat, and seemed bored from waiting. Her being there alone must have mean that Draco had done his work. Thank you, Draco. I owe you one.
Jenna was of course surprised to see me here. She had never really seen me before, but since rumors about a "white malamute causing trouble" were floating around, her greeting was not really welcoming. She just simply stared at me, almost at a frown.
"Ah, Jenna. What, no hello?"
"Youre Band, right?" She said. It was her first words ever directly at me, but it had a cold touch to that tone of hers.
"Yes. Thats me. Im sure there are rumors flying around here about me being a hot tempered fighter, but if we can get to know each other better, then youll realize that Im a much different dog than you may think."
Jennas red-iris eyes were showing signs of suspicion. "I dont know. I heard that you abused female dogs back in Pine Cove."
I almost growled in frustration. Draco, you idiot! You and I are going to have a long talk about what and what not to say in gossiping! "Um, those days are long gone. Im a changed dog now. After all, all the trouble I had done actually was on that first day here when I beaten that Jared, and he deserved it. Why dont you just give me a second chance?"
"Ill think about it," replied Jenna. "Say, what are you doing here anyway?"
"Just roaming around."
"Well, what about you?"
"Balto was supposed to have a surprise in store for me. He was too busy to say this to me personally, so he told Draco and he told me."
Good excuse, Draco, my friend. Maybe Ill ease down on that long talk were going to have later tomorrow. "Oh, so I see. Well, can I stay here for a while? I want to meet this Balto."
"Oh. Youll like him," Jenna replied, breaking down her defenses. At least Draco didnt spill the beans about my hatred for wolves. "Hes my mate for a seemly long time, and hes also a good father. Jenner and Kala just loves him.
"Your two pups, I presume?"
Jenna nodded. "Yes. They are two bundles of joy if you ask me. I love them dearly, and I know Balto does as well."
I wanted to change the subject. All that sweet talk about two whining pups were already getting on my nerves. "So, this Balto...," I said and sat down next to her. The broiler close behind us was radiating heat on my back. Reminds me of those pleasurable times of sunbathing back in Pine Cove. Maybe I ought to come back here more often. When the place is vacant, of course. "Hes part wolf?"
"Yes," she replied with a hint of sharpness, as if she hated that question. "You got a problem with that?"
I went to the defenses immediately. "Oh no, no, I dont! I just never met a wolf hybrid before."
"Hes no different than the others. He looks like any other dog, and he also feels and behaves like one. He just has some wild traits inside him. Some may think thats bad, but I disagree. I think his wolfish heritage makes him special in some ways. Thats not all that makes him special."
I realized that I must of underestimated her devotion to Balto. Killing him may seem to be a more possible option as the seconds go by. "Have you ever been criticized being a mate of a wolf hybrid?"
"His name is Balto, not wolf hybrid!!" Jenna suddenly snapped at me. She then let out a deep sigh to calm herself. "Sorry. Well, at first yes. Some of the dogs didnt like that thought, but they were newcomers and didnt know what Balto had done to the people of Nome. What he had done really did deserve the respect of the dogs you see around here."
Jenna paused to think back on memory lane. "Almost two years ago, maybe less, maybe more, Balto used to be an outcast. You remember seeing that old ship a short distance from here?"
I nodded in agreement. I had always wondered just how did that ship ended up in the middle of a frozen nowhere.
Jenna continued. "Well, one of the more famous dogs here, Steele, hated Balto. One time in winter, there was an epidemic in Nome that had made the children, even Rosy, stricken with diphtheria."
"Huh.....Rosy?" I asked, intrigued on Jennas tale.
"A girl that I live with along with her parents. Finally, Steele and his team embarked on a journey through the harsh snowy wilderness, only to get lost. Balto went over to them, took over the team, and got the anti-toxin back to town to save most of the children."
"And what happened to Steele?"
"There was a fight between Balto and Steele, and Steele went over a cliff. He managed to survive, climbed back up, and foiled the marking points that Balto should have used to get his way back home. He then lied to me and the other dogs, saying Balto was killed. When Balto and his team came back, Steele was so shocked. You ought to see the look on his face," she said with a grin.
"I would imagine," I said, grinning back. I had heard this tale from Draco, but the tale coming in the form of Jennas voice was more soothing. "And then he was banished?"
"Yep. But he later came back, apologizing for his actions and promised to start over. He kept his word, and now hes friends with Balto. I believe he still has a crush on me, but he respects my relationship with Balto."
"Have you noticed any difference that Balto has in his behavior due to his wild side?"
Jennas eyes crossed in a flash of anger. "Didnt I tell you before that hes no dif-.....wait a minute. Whats your problem with Balto and his wolf heritage anyway?"
"Nothing!" I said in defense, trying desperately to think up a plan. I couldnt just simply barge in and say "I love you" at moments notice. A slap to my face would be the answer. Maybe if I could degrade Balto and try to deteriorate his relationship with this beautiful husky sitting before me. Well, you know this for a fact. Jenna is waiting for Balto, but he has no idea she was waiting for him. Ah-ha!!!!
I changed the subject on that instant. Hopefully, I could make the first drive of my wedge between the husky and Mr. Half & Half. "You sure Balto said to tell you to wait here?"
"Thats what Draco said. I trust him, so here I am. I wonder whats keeping him?"
"Probably got held up somewhere. Or maybe he overslept. It is midnight after all. Or maybe......nah."
"He forgot about it, or even worse, did so in purpose."
"Now why would he do something like that? He would never do that-"
"Dont ask me, Jenna. Im not a telepathic. Maybe-"
What happened next was my exact proof on why I hate fate and their ways of making situations miserable for me. Balto, of all dogs and wolves in town, in all the world, came inside the broiler room, huffing and puffing. He was shaking off flakes of snow, and his chest heaved in and out like a bagpipe.
"Balto!" Jenna exclaimed. I need to get out fast before this gets too mushy on me.
"Jenna! I was trying to find you when Jenner said about you not being at home for hours."
Jenna halted in her march toward her mate, and gave him a confused look. "What? Trying to find me? But you told a friend to tell me to wait here!"
Balto almost chuckled in surprise. "Wait here? For what?"
"For....a surprise?" Jenna replied, not certain anymore about what she was waiting for.
Balto shook his head. "What surprise? I didnt tell anyone to let you know to wait here. What are you talking about?"
"I.....I dont understand.....why would Draco tell me about this?"
Finally, Balto spotted that white furred malamute in the back of the room. "Who are you?"
"Im Band, a newcomer here."
Balto didnt growl, but his face told me that he knew about me through rumor. Dracos gossip no doubt. "Ah, so I see. What are you doing here?"
I was about to respond, but Jenna, whom was thinking hard in confusion during all this time, turned toward me with an "are-you-hiding-something?" look on her face. "Band.....Draco is your friend, am I right?"
I made a nervous swallow. This situation was going sour fast. "Uh....yes, he is."
"Well.....if Draco actually lied to me, then he might be doing so to lure me here. You wasnt just roaming around, werent you?"
I stumbled at my words. I have to get out of here. "Um, I, uh...."
Jenna muttered some unheard curse and shook her head. Her eyes were flared with sheer anger and disappointment. "Balto.....can you let me handle this? Ill come home as soon as I can."
"Alright....fine," Balto replied softly. He touched her side of the face with his nose in some quick kiss, and silently left. Jenna stared frozen daggers at me.
"You wanted to meet me here alone, did you? Why you had me lured here?"
"I want to talk to you, and I was afraid you might refuse to do so, knowing my reputation. So I had Draco to lie to you."
"Just to talk to me? Theres more to it, Band. Speak up!" Jenna demanded furiously, stamping her front right paw to dramatize her insistence.
I knew I wasnt going to get out of this easily, so I gave in. "Alright,....there is more to it. First of all, my apologies for having-"
"Just get to the bloody point, Band!!!!" Jenna hotly snapped at me again. "I dont want your apologies! They mean nothing to me! I want the truth! Nothing more, nothing less! Now, answer my question! Why?!"
Having my answer spoken out in slow motion wont do any good, so I just spurted it out. "I love you."
I said those three words in a very quick sequence, hoping that Jenna wont catch that. Unfortunately, she did. "Oh you do, eh? So you had your friend lie to me to drag me here all alone with you, when I should be back home with Rosy, Balto, and my two babies! Ha!"
"You dont understand-"
"Oh I understand this alright. I understand this perfectly!" She interrupted, her voice rising to an angry yell. "You dont care about my relationship with Balto! In fact, I think you hate him just because of that and because of his wolf heritage! Do you really think Ill accept you barging in between me and Balto, saying that you love me and all that junk? How dare you anyway?"
I was becoming angry myself, for I was never used to having a female yelling at me, and being on the offensive. However, I tried to be as guilty as I could. I kept silent, my ears still open to hear her.
"If you want my advice, go find someone else. Or in fact, give us a break. Dont find anyone in particular. We dont need your scum here."
I couldnt control myself much longer. "But Jenna! Youre the only one for me!"
Jenna didnt reply to that with a vocal, but rather did something that spoke volumes. With her eyes even growing more furious, she raised her right paw, aimed it back, and quickly swung it forward in an arch. She slapped me loud on the face, sending my head reeling from the sudden blow. Even days later, I was still feeling that paw hit my face like that.
When I faced Jenna again, she was clearly fuming. However, I began to show my anger as well. "No....one....slaps....me!!!! No one!" I barked back, standing on my fours. I was bigger than her, so I must be some giant to her at that moment.
Jenna, already learning not to be in close contact with a dog that was not controlling itself, retreated back. She was afraid of me now, but her anger persisted. "Get out of here, Band. Get out of this town, get out of this state, get out of this country, get out of this world, and most of all, GET OUT OF MY LIFE!!!!!"
I growled loudly, exposing my fangs at her. I still loved her. It was just anger getting the best of me. I still had enough sense not to attack her. Instead I ran out of the room, with Jenna yelling threats and quick lectures at me as I went. I continued to run until things were quiet again. As the silence flooded my ears, I stopped, and looked back.
"You havent seen the last of me, Jenna. Love cant be broken that easily. You of all dogs should know that. Later......." I said, and continued my trek back home.
"I knew he was a problem when I first saw him in that broiler room."
--Balto, dog/wolf resident of Nome, Alaska
"You have done it now, Band."
"Shut up, Draco."
I was at home the next morning, devising another plan, and of course, Draco objected to it. That Draco seemed to have made a vow years ago to mold me into a dog that he wanted me to be: kind, charming, generous, clings on to moral values, all that goody-goody stuff. I was everything he didnt want to be, and he just couldnt take it.
Draco ignored my request to keep his mouth shut and give me peace. Sometimes, I regretted saving his life all these years ago. "Now you pretty much have every single dog hating you, if they dont already. Just give up on her, Band. Let time heal the wounds."
I stood on all fours, flashing anger on my chinook friend. I wanted to beat him up so bad at times, but I owe him in certain ways. I would be dead back in Pine Cove if it werent for him. Once again, thats another story. "Give up? Give up? GIVE UP? ON HER???"
Draco went low as my words invaded his ears. "Its hopeless now, Band. She will never even speak to you. She will never come to you."
"Maybe,......but what if she has no choice.....," I said to myself thoughtfully.
Draco was in his objective phase again, shaking his tawny-furred head. "Wha-wha- are you thinking about? Cmon now, Band. Leave Jenna-"
"Draco......." I said suddenly.
"Speak another word, and I will give you a new meaning of suffering."
Draco knew my threats have little action to support them, but he got the clue and shut his mouth. "Hmmm......I have another plan. I believe there is a forest some distance from here. There could be some large foxhole or an abandoned wolfs den in that place. Draco......why dont you go over to the dogs in town again and see if you can find out when Balto and Jenna would take a walk over to that place? I believe you told me that they do that at times?"
The chinook nodded nervously. "Sometimes. Along with a goose named Boris."
"A goose," I repeated. "Ive heard everything now. Be off now, Draco. They may not trust you as well as earlier due to that incident yesterday, but try your best."
Draco sighed and left home. I went over to the other side of the shed and poked my paw on Biteys side, since he was sleeping.
I havent told you much about Bitey, didnt I? Figures.
Well, first off, hes a samoyed with all white fur like mine, but has yellow eyes. Hes short and small in stature in comparison to me, but thats because hes a samoyed, and Im a malamute. One ability that I admire in him was his style of fighting. In fact, I believe he was a greater fighter than me, and therefore I would never even thought of pitting against him. Hes quick on his paws, quick on his jaws, and whenever he manages to grab a bite onto an opponent, he just wont let go. His jaws were more powerful than any dog I have ever seen, and his fangs were like steel nails. If Bitey grabbed hold of a hapless victims leg, then it would be a world of pain for the victim. His teeth could dig into the bone marrow and perhaps drill a hole straight through. However, he wont be satisfied with just a clean bite. When he holds on the victim, he would shake it wildly, inflicting more pain. To experience it yourself, you could hammer a nail through your arm, then grab a hold of the top part of the nail and shake it like an earthquake on a 9.0 on the Richter Scale. Hurts, doesnt it? Thank God he never bit me before.
So thats why he was called Bitey. He was my friend for so long, I couldnt remember when I first met him. Probably when we were pups back in Pine Cove. Though I dont need protection, he refers himself as my bodyguard, and I accepted that. He doesnt always follow me around though, and often sleeps. He got nothing else to do, for hes not a sled dog like me and Draco. Hes more of a house pet. He has a stern look on his face, and his yellow eyes showed determination every time I looked at him. For what, I am uncertain. Oh yes, he rarely, and I do mean rarely, talks. Hes so silent that it would be uncharacteristic for him to speak more than five words per sentence. He could go for days without uttering a word. He does snore however.
Bitey woke up with a start, and stood in attention. "Yes?"
"Be prepared for some action today. I have a plan that involves me, Draco, and you. There is no time for errors."
"Understood," he replied firmly. Maybe he does have a good vocabulary, or maybe not.
"Okay.....heres my plan. If this doesnt bring Jenna back to me, I dont know what will..."
The forest that lies some distance from Nome was unnamed. It was just simply called "The Forest" or something like that. It wasnt very large, and theres no lake, but a stream instead. The trees were pine, exactly like those back in beloved Pine Cove, and were covered with creamy white snow. It was a beautiful place in the winter, but only if it doesnt have the cold weather along with it. I couldnt admire the beauty of it as I shiver with a cold and freezing spine.
"You sure this is going to work?" Draco whispered at me. He, Bitey, and I lay crouched behind a hill overlooking a natural pathway in the forest, letting the snowflakes fall on our backs, waiting patiently for our targets to come.
I grunted a reply, and steam spewed from my mouth. "Now you ask, Draco?"
"What if Balto refuses to do this? What if he comes back to Nome and gets help? What if-"
"Will you just shut up with the what if questions? Just wait and see!"
"Silence!" Bitey spoke all of a sudden. "They come."
We went low amid the snow and listened. Indeed, I heard voices coming from the pathway ahead of us. I peered above the peak of the hill to snatch a look, at the risk of being spotted. Just as Draco told me earlier, I spotted Jenna first, then Balto, and finally a goose named Boris trailing them from behind. The goose was waddling across the snow, speaking with an accent that I wasnt certain of.
"Hmmph, just when we thought Steele was our last problem, we now have a malamute in love with Jenna. Its like we must have problems to make our lives a little spicier than what we want," Boris was saying in a tone of disgust. I was sure he was talking about me.
"Hopefully that Band is gone for good. I sure gave him a lesson," replied Jenna. I was still angry about her slapping me on the face, but thats natural. Maybe I could forgive her if she would accept my love for her.
"I doubt it though," Balto said, shaking his head. "Dogs like Band dont go away easily."
I chuckled as I await my chance to burst out and give them a surprise. For once, I agree with you, Balto!!! I looked at my partners, and grinned. "Now!"
All three of us burst out of hiding, and bounded in front of them on the pathway. Balto and Jenna jumped back in surprise, and Boris uttered a small scream of fear, almost stumbling back on the snow.
Jenna growled and stared at me. "You again! You never give up, do you?"
"No, I dont, dear Jenna. Im now a dog of desperation, and extreme measures must be taken!"
"Why cant you just leave me alone?! Thats all you have to do! If you would just stay out of my sight, then I can forget about that incident yesterday!"
"Sorry Jenna.....no can do," I said. Draco and Bitey were moving to flank the trio. Balto and Company knew that they wont stand a chance against us at this moment, so I could smell the fear vibrating from their very bodies.
Boris, changing his fear into anger, was having his white feathers ruffled at Draco, whom was moving in position on Baltos side. He had his back turned at Bitey, which to me seemed to be a mistake in his part. "Draco! I always knew you to be a nice dog, but now, now...."
"My apologies, Boris," Draco simply said. "My apologies."
"Bah!" Boris furiously replied, but said nothing more.
"What do you want, Band?" Balto demanded.
"I want that red husky standing in the middle between you and that goose."
Jenna muttered another curse. "Of course. Who else besides me? Forget about it, Band. I keep telling you that! Why cant you just listen?"
I grunted a reply. "Well, if you dont want me, then I have to do something about it. Bitey!"
Suddenly, on my signal, Bitey lunged forward at the goose, and quickly had his fangs on Boriss long and narrow neck. He would have ended that gooses life then and there, but I already told him not to. That would be like killing a hostage, and lose my advantage. Boris screamed, and Balto tried to move forward, but he knew one snap of the neck would be bye-bye for this fowl. Jenna continued to watch me, even more angry, though more terrified.
"Let him go!" She demanded.
I shook my head. "Only if you come with me, Jenna."
"What? You got to be loco if you think Ill agree to that!"
"Okay fine then. Bitey....if you ever so kindly.....break the turkeys scrawny neck."
"Nooo!!! Dont!!" Balto cried out in alarm. Jenna yelled that out in unison as well. Of course, Bitey stopped. He expected them to do that.
"Jenna....if Boris is to stay alive, then you must be on my side. Refuse, then you will have Boris dead on the bloody snow, and Balto wont be able to live for long as well. Refuse, and you will have two deaths,...two unnecessary deaths, all because of your stubbornness. Now, is that pitiful resistence of yours worth the trouble?"
Jenna looked down with disbelief. Bingo. I have her now. "Alright, Band. Ill go with you."
Balto snatched a look at his mate in shock. "What?"
"We have no choice, Balto. I must go with him."
"Yes," I repeated her words. "She must go with me. She will stay with me for the rest of her life. Bitey, let the feather-brain go."
Bitey released his hold, and Boris retreated back, half in shock, half in anger. "You wont get away with this, Band! You will have big trouble on your paws! Just wait and see!"
With her head bowed in shame, Jenna slowly walked toward me, and eventually stopped beside me. For the first time, she was on my side, not on Baltos wolfish side. Ha, ha, Balto. Shes mine now, and you cant have her! I clicked my tongue and Bitey along with Draco came up beside me, keeping a close watch on my newest prize. I bear one last look on Balto before I left with his beloved wife.
"Its been nice meeting you, Balto," I said with a victorious grin. "Believe me, I will enjoy your wife very well. Very well indeed! Now, one last warning. If you, or that bird beside you, ever show up here in some stupid rescue attempt, you will never see Jenna alive again."
Balto objected. "You will never do that. You love Jenna too much to kill her."
"Oh, I wont........but Bitey will. If he sees you around here, then he will snap Jennas neck like a twig. Then, if hes bored, he might toss her carcass around like some toy. Do I make myself clear? Now, get out my sight, Mr. Half and Half!"
And with that, I flashed my white tail at him, and left them to console their defeat. Jenna still had her head bowed mournfully, but she was walking with me. On my side.
"I hate Balto."
--Bitey, samoyed resident of Nome, Alaska
Two hours went by without further intervention from Balto, Boris, or any other dog from the town. I had Jenna inside a large wolfs den with only one way out, and that was guarded by Bitey. I could hear her pitiful crying as I sat on the snow a short distance away. Draco was beside me, and he was quiet during the past two hours.
"Happy now?" He said, being sarcastic completely.
I looked at him. "Well, yeah, but Im a bit disappointed. Jenna just wasnt cooperating with me in that den."
"Of course. What did you expect? Her saying I love you time and time again like some heart-struck lunatic while her husband and two pups were stricken with worry back in Nome? I really should have objected this harder."
"Draco....tell me the truth. If you have the chance, could you leave me forever to fend for yourself?"
Draco paused a bit before his answer. "Yes. I would. There are times when I thought I want to hit you and knock some sense into you."
"Yet.....you never did."
"Band, you know why. Im very honor-bound, and since I vowed to be loyal to you when you saved my life all those years ago, Im stuck with it. Even when its like some curse at times."
"I dont know if youre too loyal or too stupid, Draco. Im sure the other dogs wont talk to you anymore now."
"Ha! Only in my wildest dreams would they accept me after Balto spreads the news on what happened several hours ago. Im now stuck with you," he said with distaste.
Jennas crying was now getting on my nerves. I growled and stood on all fours. I rushed over into the den. The red husky was bundled into a large ball, her face covered by her tail. Her eyes were watery with tears, and when she saw me coming inside, she cringed away from me.
"Why dont you just keep quiet, Jenna? All this pitiful whining is not beneficial to you!"
"Leave her alone, Band," Draco said from the entrance behind me. Jenna looked at me with fearful eyes, saying nothing but more of her whimpering. With a sigh of disgust, I retreated back out of the den, and she was alone once again. I muttered a curse and shuffled my paws angrily on the snow.
"Ill give her time to get used to me, Draco. Eventually, shell accept me."
Draco decided not to say anything. Instead he silently walked out of the area to be by himself. I laid down on the snow, and nodded off to sleep. Sooner or later, my fantasies with Jenna would soon become a reality.
Another hour went by. Even though I threatened Balto not to come, I knew he would not allow me to control his mate for long. He knew that he must think up some rescue mission, but he also knew that he couldnt come. Hes not stupid, and would do anything to keep Jenna safe. However, as time went on without any outside contact, I wondered if Balto chickened out on this. Maybe he gave up on Jenna and decides to raise his pups alone. However, I didnt like the thought of that possibility. That would be totally out of character for Balto, and besides, I want him dead. In combat if needed.
I was still sleeping when I heard Bitey make a bark. The sharp sound startled me into my paws, scanning quickly around for danger. Bitey was renowned as a watchdog, and I trust him and his warnings. "What is it?"
"To your right," Bitey answered, looking at the direction of the source.
Four dogs were cautiously marching toward the wolfs den. I never saw them before, but I knew that Balto must have told them about Jenna being taken hostage. Stupid Balto! Jenna would die for this!
"Bitey! Go to Jenna and force her out of here!"
"No! Wait!" The dog in the front of the quartet barked out. He was a malamute like me, with coal black and cloud-white fur, and somewhat cold eyes that shone yellow. He was bigger than the others, and I presumed he must be the leader of this quartet.
"And should he?" I taunted.
"You said only if Balto and Boris came, Jennas life would be threatened, not anyone else, like us!"
I chuckled at that. "Balto is smart. I like that! Oh fine then. Im sure you want the husky in the wolfs den, am I right?"
The malamute nodded. There was a chow-chow next to him, along with a chinook (a bit different than Draco in size and texture), and a strange little dog that seemed to have some sort of dull-witted appearance about him.
Draco came up to my side. "You know these fellas, Draco?"
The chinook nodded. "The malamute is Steele, the chow-chow is Nikki, I believe. The chinook is Kaltag, and that one over there is Star."
"Steele, eh? The jerk that was banished from Nome but came back begging for forgiveness like some yellow-bellied coward?"
Steele narrowed his eyes, and growled. "Me, a coward? Youre the one who ordered that bodyguard of yours to almost kill a goose that couldnt fight back. The other dogs may have accepted me back, but theres no hope for you, Band."
"Ha! I dont care about those mutts! I only want Jenna, and you cant have her!"
Steele, Nikki, and Kaltag moved forward, but Star stayed behind. Must not be some fighter. I stood ready against them. I love a fight, and Im sure Bitey does as well. The samoyed growled at them, trying to choose which victim to fight. Draco crouched in a fighting position as well, though from the look of his face, he didnt like doing it.
"I dont want to fight you Kaltag," he said, since it was he who was coming toward him, thus choosing to pit against him. "But if I must, I must."
"Youre nice and all," Kaltag answered with a snarl. "But youre foolish to follow this white-furred coward. Get a brain of your own and resist him!"
"I cant, Kaltag. I just cant," Draco replied. Good dog, Draco! Loyal to me to the bitter or sweet end! Thats the spirit!
"I fought against wolves ten times more stronger than you, Steele!" I boasted. "Do you really think youll have a chance against me?"
"Doesnt hurt to try, right?" Steele said, and charged at me. At close enough distance, he opened his jaws wide and tried to grab my neck, but I was too quick and ducked low. His head sailed above mine, and at that moment I lunged up and snapped some of the thick fur on his chest. Of course that didnt hurt him and he retreated and shook off me. He then stood on his hind legs and with front paws forward, slashed at my face. I ignored the pain and stood up with him. Our front paws pressed against the others chest, and before I could make my move, Steele thrust his head forward and somehow had his jaws grab my throat. I knew I must escape from that hold, so I shook him off furiously, and pivoted my feet so when I landed on all fours, my back was toward him. Then to prevent him from toppling on my back, I threw out my hind legs and smacked him on the face right on target.
Steele uttered a grunt as he suffered the blow, and was knocked senseless long enough for me to turn around and face him safely. I dove at him, slashing his face with my sharp claws. Forcing to be on the defensive, Steele could do little but to take the blows, and stepped back in retreat rather frantically. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Draco and Kaltag battling it out. Although Draco was strong and does know how to fight, he lacked to will to do so, and Kaltag was taking advantage of that. I knew that Draco had some chances to turn the tables, but he just wont take them. He was always on the defensive, mostly dodging Kaltags slashing moves and bites.
I couldnt help but to mutter out an angry curse. "Draco, you idiot! Fight back for-oof!"
Steele interrupted me with a slash to my face. It was harder than the blow Jenna gave me, and as a result, I was almost thrown back. However, I recovered quickly and charged at him again. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, and although he was a little stronger than I was, I managed to whirl him around, and when the time was right, I released my hold and Steele was thrown a short distance away. It was deja-vu without the broiler and Sherry.
With Steele too far away to counter-attack quickly, I took the few seconds time to snatch a look on what Bitey was doing, and I grinned. Nikki was over twice the size as the samoyed, yet the chow-chow was already in horrible shape. Bitey was too quick for him, making hit-and-run moves and snipping little bits of flesh off him. Nikki was bleeding in some areas, and I knew that Bitey would make his trademark move soon.
I was glad I witness that move that make him so devastating. Bitey, with quick agility, chomped those steel jaws onto Nikkis right front leg, and my ears caught the sound of bone breaking. Oh yeah, it also caught Nikkis screaming. Very clearly. The chow-chow threw back his head with his eyes clinched shut, and he bellowed out a scream for the ages. But Bitey of course wasnt finished yet. Still holding on to his bleeding leg, the samoyed, amid fierce muffled growling, shook his head left and right wildly, forcing Nikki to shake with him, in excruciating pain. Bitey would have done this for a few seconds more if Star hadnt interfered. That dog was standing on the sidelines through most of the battle, but suddenly he gotten into the middle and bit Bitey on the hind leg. The samoyed released his hold on Nikki and snarled at Star, but the dog jumped back, not wanting to be attacked. Bitey would have charged at him, but Nikki distracted him despite his now injured leg.
The battle raged on for several more minutes. Jenna poked her head out of the den, cheering Steele and his buddies on. I was too busy fighting to discipline her. She was supposed to be rooting for me. Sadly however, Steele was taking over the advantage. Draco, the wimp, had already given up. He laid down on the snow, utterly defeated and showing an appeasing move at Kaltag. The chinook simply ignored him and ganged up on Bitey. The samoyed may be a great fighter, but outnumbered, he lost his advantage and was losing the fight. As for me, I suffered too many blows for me to be willing enough to drag this on further. I knew that I would lose Jenna this time, but theres always next time, and I dont want to die right here right now.
So I swallowed my pride and began to run away from the battle scene. Bitey knew I was retreating from the fight, so he broke away and followed me out. Draco never made a move. He continued to lie down, watching me and Bitey escape. We have lost the battle and Jenna, and at that moment, I thought I lost Draco as well. Who knows what Steele would do to him?
Bitey and I ran through the snow for several minutes, and when we finally stopped, out of breath, everything was silent among the glistering snow and trees.
"Didnt follow," Bitey said. I knew that wasnt a complete sentence, but he often talks like that.
"Yeah, Steele must be concerned only with the rescue of Jenna, and not to kill me. Stupid fool. Now I can strike back, and he will regret not killing me when he had the chance. Hey, I noticed your work on that chow-chow."
Bitey grinned. "Must have broke that leg in three places," he said. That was one of the longest sentences he had said in his life, but I was too tired to mention that to him. "His blood was delicious."
I made a pained chuckle. "Ugh, my sides hurt. That Steele is a fighter worthy to fight me. But he will eventfully lose. I will have Jenna back, and he along with Balto will die before Im gone, if I ever lose."
"Draco?" He said, concerned about his friend.
"I dont know if hes still alive or not. If he is, then we might as well get him back. I ought to teach him some lessons. He never fought back!"
"Never wanted to fight," Bitey replied.
"Still, he would have tried! Oh this is pointless talking about him! We need a plan!"
Bitey could only shrug. Not surprising since he always let the strategic thinking up to me. However, the only thing in my mind was to wait and heal my wounds to the point that it doesnt hurt anymore. Blood streaked across parts of my white fur, including my face, and my eyelids were heavy with exhaustion.
"Why not just rest for now, Bitey. Thats a good idea at this point."
Bitey nodded in agreement, and laid down on the snow. I did the same, and together, we dozed the rest of the eventful day away, a plan developing in my mind.
The next morning, I awoke to find Draco sleeping within my view, bruised and beaten. When I demanded an explanation, he said that when he tried to escape Steeles gang as they were escorting him to Nome, Steele caught him and gave him a beating before he finally managed to escape. I wasnt sure if that was the truth, but it was convincing enough.
"I knew this was a risk that I might never recover from if this failed, but Im sure this plan would work, or otherwise I wouldnt have agreed to do this in the first place."
--Jenna, husky resident of Nome, Alaska
Draco wasnt one to gain hatred towards anyone all of a sudden, and even less to make a plan that would harm, degrade, or insult anyone as well. Ever since I saved his life years ago, I knew him to be some sort of prodigy dog, someone who would do the opposite of what I would do. Thats why he objects to me all the time. He believes that what I do harms the others and wont benefit me. What he doesnt understand that I dont care what the other dogs think of me actually. Otherwise, I would have begged for forgiveness to them like Steele did. I dont beg. Thats absurd and tells the others that Im inferior to them. That Im dependant on them. Hah! Yeah right! I will never kiss their kingly and queenly paws! Never in a billion years! Too bad Draco cant realize that, no matter how hard I try to teach him.
A few days after the fight and my loss of Jenna, Draco demanded a meeting with me privately. I was puzzled by this; usually Im the one who does that, but I agreed. While Bitey was away eating something for lunch, we talked about whatever Draco wants to talk about.
"Band, I have been thinking for the past several days, and I think I have found a weakness in Jenna and Balto that you should take advantage of."
"Really? Which is?"
"Jenner and Kala."
"Who are they?"
"Oh, oh, right. Theyre a weakness?"
"Yes, dont you get it? Theyre only six or so months old, so they are very dependant on their mother. Jenna loves them so much that she would do anything to make sure they are safe, so....."
My eyes brightened. "Draco.....dont tell me this is you talking here. Youre actually devising a plan of this level?"
"Yes. I used to like those dogs. Now, I have developed a feeling of distaste for them. I know that I have objected to your ways for a long time, but I have decided to go along with this and help you. Together, we can teach them that we wont fade away quietly."
"Huh.......speak more of whats on your head."
"Well, every morning, Jenna and her pups would go outside from their home for their daily walks. From what had happened several days ago, I seriously doubt she would allow herself outside of town where you would be able to confront her again. Now, instead of having Jenna come to us like last time, why dont we come to her?"
I almost felt like laughing. "Ha! Im pretty much banned from that town. If the other dogs see me there, they will kill me for sure."
"How can they if they cant see you? Be like a sneaky fox in the same lot as a hen house. Ambush them when they are taking their walks! Take one their children and escape before Jenna or any other dog would have a chance to get you."
I shook my head in disbelief. "Sounds good, but too many flaws. First off, we still have the risk that every dog gets whenever they come into enemy territory, and also, what if Jenna and her pups werent alone in this? What if Balto or Steele or any other of those idiots go with her? If we were forced to stay and fight, then we will be in perilous position. The other dogs will come over to reinforce our opponents, and when that happens, then by-golly, we will be in a whole load of-"
"Well do you have a better plan?" Draco challenged. He rarely does that to me.
"Im still thinking! Yours too risky!"
"Time heals wounds, but it does have drawbacks. The dogs will gain strength as time go by as well. Sure we are outnumbered now, but we will never bridge the gap that separates us from them. Time will only stretch that gap further away. I still believe that the dogs, especially Jenna and Balto, are in shock on Jennas capture, and we should take advantage of that."
"They will be more alert for us, Draco."
"And they will continue to be long after now."
"Thats not considerably true. Wait a month. If they havent seen me in that span of time, then they will think Im dead, and they will think things have gone back to normal."
Draco looked at me like I had just said something stupid. "Band.......answer me this. Do you have the patience for that?"
I sighed. "No......I dont. Well, despite all those risks, I might as well go along with your plan. We do this a half an hour before the sun comes up."
"Fine, but Im staying here. Im too bruised to fight if we get to that point, and besides, in respect to that fight against Kaltag, Im no good. You and Bitey will be enough."
I wanted to object to it, but I failed to even utter a word. I simply nodded, and walked away to the stream. Dracos plan may have danger holes in it, but its going to be the one we follow.
Morning came quicker than I thought. I wanted more sleep before I would set this plan into action, but I might as well get this over with. Dracos right. I am impatient. Some say that it is a trait that dooms the carrier, but it does sometimes works for me. The dastardly cold was chilling my spine as the town of Nome came into view as I walked along with Bitey on my side. The town was as usual quiet as the faint rays of the sun crept up behind mountains in the distance. As we stepped onto the snow-covered roads of the town, there were no dogs to be seen. So far, so good.
Still, I had a nagging thought that we were being followed. Maybe it was the utter silence that was the culprit. Anyway, whenever I snatched a look behind me, there was nothing. Panic rose inside me, and stress began to build up as I worried more and more about the possibility of an ambush. Still, I persisted along with Bitey on the streets, the dark buildings still and silent like hibernating giants.
I finally reached Jennas home, and noticed some light coming from inside. The humans that own her must be early birds or something. Across the street was another house similar to Jennas, and there, I crept under the porch and braved the cold as I waited.
I didnt have to wait long. As the sun shone a bright morning red, the door across the street opened, and out came the most beautiful dog in the world in my observant eyes. Jenna stepped on the snow, scanning back and forth with cautious eyes (looking for me, Ill bet), and then called out to her pups. Just then, two small pups, Kala and Jenner, bounded out, oblivious to the danger in the form of me and Bitey just hiding a few yards away. They were smiling and overjoyed as they anxiously await their daily walks. Too bad I have to ruin their fun in about a few seconds.
I snickered. "Alright, Bitey. Now...."
We burst out from under the neighbor porch snarling, and when I heard the two pups scream in horror, I laughed. We stopped to confront Jenna, whom was staring at us with cold eyes, and I wasnt sure if she was afraid or not.
The two pups cowered behind their mother. "You again......," Jenna growled.
"Yep. We keep bumping into each other, do we? Maybe its because you cant get enough of me."
"Slimeball. What do you want?"
I had already made the mistake that completely foiled the chance of this into a hit-and-run kidnaping, but I still can escape unscathed. After all, theres still no other dogs around, and that confused me. "Havent I already answered that question, Jenna?"
Jenna growled even deeper. "Why you just amuse me and answer it again?"
Shes stalling me,.....but for what??????
I was about to reply when I heard one of the most irritating sounds I have ever heard. It was a howl of a wolf. I faced my left and spotted Balto a short distance away, his nose pointed upwards, and he was howling so loud that I knew that must be some signal to the other dogs.
It was a signal.
Suddenly, about ten dogs, including Steele and his trio, came into view, and I was quickly surrounded. The dogs stared at me and Bitey like they were searching for blood......my blood. By that time, I was nervous out of my wits. I might get killed within a few minutes from now.
"Its all over, Band," said Balto. "You will never again terrorize Jenna."
"I was set up! How-how did you know about this?"
A familiar chinook answered that. "I told them about it."
It was Draco, and he was standing alongside one of the dogs. The traitor!!!
"You! You! Draco, you have made the greatest mistake of your life!"
"No, my greatest mistake was by being loyal to you, and no matter how hard I try, I cant give you enough common sense that would have made you popular here, and not the hated dog you are now. So, after the fight against Steele and his group, I consulted with them and made an agreement that I will conspire with them to end the terror that you are bringing."
"You......worthless bum!!!" I screamed and charged. I wasnt trying to attack Draco for what he did to me; his lesson would be taught some other day. Instead, I found a small opening among one wall of dogs and tried to burst through. As soon as I tried to escape, the dogs tried to trap me, circling me in. I collided with a great fury, barging my way through them. I screamed in pain as they sank their sharp fangs on my flesh, and even Bitey was suffering, being attacked on all sides.
Like two bulldozers, Bitey and I crashed through them, and when we got through, all we could do was run, and run we did. The other dogs, angry and frustrated, were barking and chasing me, but by the time they reached the edge of town, they gave up.
"If you ever come back, Band, we will make a carcass out of you!" A dog warned us as Bitey and I ran across the snowy field, back into the woods. I suffered some flesh wounds, and Bitey was worse off, but my heart still beats. My love for Jenna would never leave, but there are more obstacles to deal with. Never to be on my side again was Draco. I saved his life and this is how he pays me back. Back-stabbing idiot! Ha! I will get you, Draco. You can count your tawny-furred tail on it!
"We should have chased them right into the woods, but as long as they stay out, everything will be fine."
--Jenna, husky resident of Nome, Alaska
"What now?" Bitey asked me sooner after we caught our breath in the woods. Thankfully, the dogs had not followed us, and everything was silent.
I grumbled a response. "I dont know. Rest or something. I think we are going to be staying here for a long time."
"What about master?"
"Oh he might organize a search party to find us, but Im not safe back in Nome. Therefore, we will not respond to his calls if he comes here. We stay here."
Bitey nodded and limped toward the stream. I wanted to take a swim to heal my wounds, but I was too exhausted to walk any longer. I collapsed to the snowy ground, groaning in defeat and pain. And there on the spot, I tried to sleep, only to fail miserably. The failure of having Jenna was heart breaking enough, but now I was set up into a trap by my so-called loyal friend, Draco. That chinook betrayed me, and he must be taught a lesson. How, Im thinking about it.
Several days went by with no occurrences. I scratched out a living, hunting, drinking, and sleeping whenever I could. I didnt have the heart to see Nome again till one time at noon. I stopped at a large hill several miles from town and stood at the crest, and from there I looked down at Nome, which was forbidden territory. Steele had to go through this, but he was forgiven. That malamute was right. There is no hope for me. They would never forgive me. So be it.
"Jenna........dont count me out yet," I simply said to myself and to Jenna, probably resting comfortingly with that stinking Balto at her side in a cozy house.
"Later, my love..........later."
I would like to thank Cyberwulfe for convincing me to write a Balto-based story in the first place. Jenner and Kala are his characters and not to be used without his permission. This story is connected somewhat to Cyberwulfes own storyline in his Balto stories.
Band, Draco, Bitey, Sherry, Salem, and Jared are my characters and not to be used without my permission. Same goes for Pine Cove as well.
Balto, Jenna, Kaltag, Nikki, Steele, Boris, and Star are the characters created by Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment.
*Authors Note Once Again*
This story has SEQUEL written all over it, doesnt it? :-)
Written by J Wolfman