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8 8 8 8 8 When you have been raised by wolves people expect better of you, but you have no idea what they mean by better. Happy comes out of the crate panting and terrified. When you have been raised by wolves, you expect better of people. Injured in the struggle before the dart bit him and his world went away, Happy blinks into the white glare. A dark shape moves into the blinding light. Sound explodes, a not-quite bark. “Welcome home!” This is nothing like home. Then why is the smell of this place so familiar? Troubled, Happy backs away, sucking his torn paw. He hears a not-quite purr. “Is that him?” “Back off Susan, you’re scaring him. Handsome bastard, under all the filth.” The dark shape gets bigger. “Hold still so we can look at you.” Happy scrambles backward. “Wait, dammit. What’s the matter with your hand?” The not-quite bark-er is not quite a wolf. Pink, he is, and naked, except for fur on top, with all his pink parts wrapped like a package in tan cloth. It’s a . . . Hunter is the first thought that comes. Happy has never been this close to one, not that he chooses to remember. He looks down. His body is choking. There is cloth on Happy too! It won’t come off no matter how hard he shakes. He tears at it with his teeth. The not-wolf yaps, “Stop that! We want you looking good for the press­conference.” Happy does not know what this means. With his back hairs rising, he gives the wolf’s first warning. He grrrs at the man. Man. That’s one of Happy’s words. And the other? Woman. The rest, he will not parse. The man grabs for him even though Happy rolls back his lips to show his fangs. The wolf’s second warning. Now, wolves, wolves know when close is too close, and they keep their distance. With wolves, you always know where you are. Wolves don’t stare like that unless they are about to spring and rip your throat out, but unlike the wolf, man has no code. If Happy bolts, will this one bring him down and close those big square teeth in him? What Wolves Know What Wolves Know 21 “Hold still! What happened to your hand?” Happy does as taught; he snarls. The wolf’s last warning. “Now, stop. I didn’t bring you all this way to hurt you.” “Brent, he’s hurt.” The other voice is not at all like barking. “Oh, you poor thing, you’re bleeding.” The man growls, “Come here. We can’t let the people see blood.” Happy bunches his shoulders and drops to a crouch, but the man keeps on coming. Happy backs and backs. Oh, that thing he does with his face, too many teeth showing. Just stop! The more Happy scrambles away the more the man crowds him. At his back the walls meet like the jaws of a trap. He tips back his head and howls. “Ah-whooooooo . . .” “Quiet! What will people think?” “Ah-whoooooo.” Happy stops breathing. He is listening. Not one wolf responds. There is an unending din in this bright place but there are no wolves anywhere. Even though he was running away when the humans caught him, Happy’s heart shudders. He is separated from his pack. “Shut up. Shut up and I’ll get you a present.” There are words Happy knows and words he doesn’t know, but he remembers only one of them well enough to speak. “Oh,” he barks bravely, even though he is cornered. “Oh, oh!” “That’s better. Now, hold still.” When a human shows its teeth at you it means something completely different from what you are taught to watch out for, but you had better watch out for it. The woman purrs, “Brent, you’re scaring him!” Woman. Another of Happy’s words. The sound she makes is nothing like a howl, but he thinks they are kindred. “Are you going to help me or what?” The man lunges. Should Happy attack? Other words rush in. Clothes. Arms. Clothes cover the man’s stiff arms and he is waving them madly. How can Happy tear out the throat with all that in the way? Can he bring the man down before he pulls out his . . . Another of Happy’s words comes back. Gun. It makes him shudder...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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