I measured distance in lines departing the rest of my life.
This venture turned to be quite pleasurable, he’d admit, stealthily threading his sinuous form through the strange undergrowth he’d never seen before. He had no real expectations when he decided to go on this personal odyssey of self-fulfillment, as he might have started to romanticize his little ‘walk’.
“I’m going for a walk,” was what he’d grumbled to the alpha, his brother- a well-intentioned fellow but a cheeky little prick. It was as innocuous a statement as any, no trace of finality being veiled behind those carelessly tossed words. He’d been feeling restless, inadequate- it wasn’t as if his mother’s passing hadn’t been anticipated for months before it finally happened, and the precious span of time he forced as much interaction between did very little to circumvent the crushing emptiness she left in his heart. What was a knight without his queen? What purpose did he serve when there was none to be served? He had the good fortune of being born to a pack of level-headed individuals, unlike certain other packs that neighbored theirs full of psychopathic blood-hungry lunatics that almost always carried the stink of death and famine wherever they roamed. No, his can manage quite dandily without him, his home a secured valley within a mountain fortress, with hectares upon hectares of grassland and forest where food was always plentiful. It was almost a joke to think that they would ever be in any real danger with his lack of presence.
So what was his proposed solution to an ever-deepening depression due to a lack of purpose? A walk. Nothing more, nothing less. Originally anyway. He trekked the hills and vales of his extensive home, roamed the beaches and forests that bordered it, and crossed the massive mountain faces that guarded access from the outside. He strolled into the neighboring territories, as bold as a wolf with a deathwish. The opposition was far less intimidating than he’d imagined- kids looking to make a name for themselves in the legendary group of killers, being all rude and rowdy and generally a pain in the ass to deal with. It didn’t take long for his presence to be known by the rest- he made his trip short, unwilling to take the brunt of any disease those scavengers might’ve been carrying. Once having his share of unwarranted mischief, he’d wandered the unclaimed lands for a time, greeting the lone wolves- vagabonds from worlds beyond the known tundra- who captured his fascination with tales of their ventures. Somehow, the ennui that persisted on his spirit began to abate as he entertained the prospect of adventure. Why not make a challenge out of that ‘little walk’; before him lay the empty expanse of the tundra, where wolves of all kinds had come and gone- the proverbial crossroads that connected his little hamlet to a central hub that could lead into any number of other hamlets completely different from his own. He decided to walk down that unknown road as far as his paws could take him, thinking it wouldn’t be long before he decided it was a stupid idea and ended up taking the pain-in-the-ass express train back home.
Flash forward to the present, where a wide-eyed Angelo drinks in the unique vegetation he finds himself immersed in. The rainforest was a biological wonder in contrast to the forests he grew in- never before had be resided in an area so lush and full of life, it was almost overbearing. The sun’s light was an ethereal glow far above, trickling through the viridian of the leaves and the thick, crisscrossing network of vines and branches to cast what reached the forest floor in a soft golden glow. Various creatures twittered and scurried about, too fast and too strange for him to take particular interest in. Mammoth trees twisted from the foliage in ways Angelo didn’t think they were capable of growing, structures so tall and large it could probably house an arborous pack in its hollow. A strange concept, and yet so very enticing.
…no, it was actually starting to be a pain. Unlike even the most wooded forests he’s ever encountered, every step was a potential pitfall. The vegetation grew thick, but oftentimes not thick enough to support his weight, causing him to fall through into unknown horrors beneath, like sinking ankle-deep in mud, or trampling the den of a particularly large spider-like beast (that one left him quite unsettled). The insects were annoying, buzzing in his ears and before his eyes, hindering his acute senses with their constant meddling. Vines, branches, leaves were so tightly interwoven navigating through them took more effort than he felt should have been necessary. And the humidity of the trapped damp was making his breathing even more laborious. He really needed to find a way out.
He concentrated his sights towards a part in the trees where he thought he heard a soft noise. It was really hard to discern from the usual footwork of the critters and through the cacophony of insect noise, but he could feel fresh air flowing from that direction- a refreshing reprieve from the heat and exertion that encouraged him to follow like a tempting lure at the end of a line, to which he followed with renewed vigor. So great was his eagerness to escape the jungle prison he almost missed the presence of another wolf in the vicinity as he finally broke through into open air. It was a flash of bright grey in a against the dark barren backdrop, a small figure hunched over, seemingly as winded as he were as if she had emerged herself from the trials of the rainforest just moments before. But not worse for wear- he couldn’t help but admire the pristine silkiness of her pelt, which he felt was a fitting accent to her dainty figure. Like a little wolf fairy.
As for himself…he cringed inwardly, inspecting the mess the jungle had left him with- various brambles and leaves stuck to his fur, a nice mudsock on one forepaw, and what he assumed was sap from inadvertently brushing up against one of the tall plant-like structures, matting down a portion of his normally fluffed pelt. Vanity was never really part of him; really, he couldn’t care less if he resembled a warthog fresh from the mudpit, but he was a gentleman of standards nonetheless, and appearing to a lady like this was in poor taste. Oh well.
“Apologies for the intrusion, madam,” was his smooth, deep rumble, form held high and head bowed towards her in respect. “I fear I am not familiar with the whereabouts of this land. Mind you informing me if I am trespassing in claimed territory, and if you know a nice watering source I could wash in? I seem to be quite a mess…” He looked down at himself again and shook off his pelt for emphasis, likely spraying her with whatever debris that managed to fly off.
Like a gentleman.