Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wolf Pack


Edge of Night - Timber Wolves.
Robert Bateman.
Acrylic.

The first time I truly understood I had bred a wolf pack was, of all places, the intensive care unit of the local hospital.

Security is tight in intensive care. Even family must be vetted and buzzed in past the equivalent of siege and blast doors. One practically has to produce a pedigree to be admitted.

So when an unfamiliar, unctuous young man breezed in that afternoon, we turned inimical stares on the intruder, collectively noting he carried no poke-and-prod equipment or other mark to indicate he was medical. Four head raised; four muzzles sniffed the air.

Hr halted, a little non-plussed, and introduced himself as one here to offer spiritual solace.

Two moved closer to the end of the bed and turned to face him. One uncurled from the floor, another rose from the lone chair and stretched. Four pairs of feral eyes gleamed and began the inquisition. With each question about his credentials and each no-name, generalized answer, they padded forward a step, softly, until he faced a half-circle.

When it dawned on him he was prey, he fled.

The cubs turned with one accord and grinned at the alpha in the bed.

28 comments:

S. W. Vaughn said...

Wow.

Bernita, this is awesome! I mean, I know this post is about what actually happened, but it's damned good writing to boot.

Very visual. You should be a proud mama wolf! :-)

Angela James said...

I second that, made me want to read more :)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sonya!
~inspects claws~

Glad you enjoyed it, Angela!

Jaye Wells said...

I agree with Sonja. Excellent.

Sam said...

Wolves don't Need spiritual solace.
;-)

Sela Carsen said...

That was amazing, Bernita! Excellent writing!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Jaye.

Hee, Sam! If he has been one of an identifiable breed, his reception might have been different. Sheep's clothing, etc., notwithstanding.

Bernita said...

Kind of you, Sela.It was certainly amusing at the time.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Are you telling me that you chased a preacher out of the room?

Ric said...

A true storyteller can make take a scene - even in a highly emotional atmosphere - and make it her own.

Wonderfully done.

Bernita said...

A preacher, Bonnie?
We were never sure just what he was.He claimed no demomination, faith or attachment.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ric.That's a very nice compliment.

ORION said...

I want to read more too...
A family of wolves...but not werewolves...heightened senses...but still human...hmmmm...
very cool.

Erik Ivan James said...

Ditto Ric!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Pat. Maybe I shouldn't have brought them up on The Jungle Book...

Aw, thank you, Erik!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Okay, now you got me curious! So what did he want?

raine said...

Bernita, that was absolutely FABULOUS!!
You never cease to amaze me. I was right there in the pack with you, lol!

And more than that--now I KNOW I adore you. You have BATEMAN on your blog!!!!!
My absolute favorite living artist, and the best wildlife artist EVER.
I have books, calendars, posters, you name it.
And I've met the man on a few occasions at signings. Not only is he a master artist, but a fine person and true gentleman. He actually took the time to stop, talk to me about why he chose a certain composition for a certain painting, discuss his choice of medium, and question me about my own paintings. I was so overwhelmed I stuttered like a complete idiot, but he was absolutely wonderful.

And now I'm gushing, so I'm gonna go away, lol.
The post and painting made my day!

Bernita said...

Your guess, Bonnie.
Whatever he was after, he didn't get.
We think he was some itinerant, no-name, un-ordained do-gooder with minimal credentials who has somehow wangled his way on the visitation list.
That's the charitable view.
The point was he had no business just walzing in.

Knew you were kindred the first time I saw your beautiful blog, Raine!
Bateman IS superb. He understands what wild means.
Thank you.

writtenwyrdd said...

Oh, Bernita, please tell me you are going to start the book with that line! That is a wonderful hook, and you couldnt' have kept me from buying a book with that line!

The writing seems like a very different voice from the other excerpts. I liked this voice. I did want a touch of explanation if you were literally talking about people who were also wolves or wolves in people form, but that's a minor fix.

Overall, really vivid feeling. Not as much visual clues as you usually give, but it wouldn't have held me back, like I said.

by the way, San Diego is in the 70s. Heh.

Bernita said...

Whoa, Written, slow down!
This is a familiar essay- not a fiction piece, not part of a book- merely a family incident.
But thank you, plot bunnies taste good.

writtenwyrdd said...

It didn't sound like that. You were being metaphorical but I would have sworn it was the fictional.

Bernita said...

Nope. Happened almost exactly like that.

Scott from Oregon said...

Our distant neighbors breed packs of some kind of African dog that howls like coyotes. We also have coyotes that howl back.

I read bernita and the packs of dogs start going off like a bad soundtrack.

The coyotes join in, my dogs get riled...

There is a preacher-thing running from an IC...

Whew!

I think I need some tea...

Bernita said...

Must be the Cascade effect, Scott...

Rowan said...

Wow, that totally hooked me. The blend between the real and figurative was, well, unreal. You achieved that rarest of things, where the metaphor and the actual become one, and one cannot picture the persons sitting in the ICU without mentally imposing the reflecting eyes and probing noses.

Please miss, can we have some more...

Bernita said...

~delighted~
Oh, Rowan, thank you!

spyscribbler said...

ROFLMAO!

Okay, I totally saw that. That was perfect! Hilarious!

(And I'd be growling, too!)

Bernita said...

Thank you,Natasha!
Fresh meat!