Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (11/21/13)
TITLE: Operation Packman
By Christina Banks
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Our mission was to enter the enemy camp and deliver a meal they'd never forget.
I pulled the skin over my freshly shaved hide. It smelled of death and my heart hammered in my chest. If I failed at this mission I would die. They enjoy ripping me to shreds. After all, it’s not every day that a sheep willingly runs with a pack of wolves. I’d be an easy target if they discovered my deception. I couldn’t let that happen.
We’d been training for this mission for months. I’d learned to move like a wolf, talk like a wolf. But I couldn’t make myself eat like a wolf. I hope'd they wouldn't require it of me.
“We have a go, Lieutenant Lambert, Sir.” The soldier, also dressed in a wolf’s skin, saluted.
“Code names, Corporal.” He was a good kid, but if he called me by my name out there, he’d get us both killed.
“Yes Sir, Phelan, Sir.” He sounded like a wolf, despite his formal words. I’d run the starch out of him before we joined up with the pack.
With the tracking chip tucked safely inside my second skin, we left the pasture with a series of growls and howls that started lambs bawling. Adrenaline pumped through my veins as Channing followed me through the dense forest where the pack was last spotted. No sheep had ever infiltrated their lair and lived to tell about it. Many believed this to be a suicide mission. I had every intention of returning home to my ewe when this was over.
Even though we lacked the keen nose of a wolf, the trail was easy to find. The smell of evil warned us as we neared the cave. The look in Channing’s eyes told me he wanted to go back. It was too late for that now. I barked out the code we’d learned from the wolves whose skins we now wore. Agonizing moments passed before the answer came back.
We entered the cavern of death.
Nothing prepared me for the degradation of the cave. These were barbarians. If I was going to survive, I had to think like a wolf. Steeling myself against the stench, I pushed toward the center of the room where the Alpha sat on a pile of bones. Scraggly wolves circled us as we approached the leader. I snarled and snapped at those who got in my way. The winter had been long, and from the sight of the ribs poking through the matted coats, these creatures were near starvation. It was little wonder they were targeting the flocks.
"Who are you?" The leader barked.
"Phelan." I raised my lip in the snarled I'd perfected.
Alpha jumped down from his perch and circled Channing and me. “You smell of sheep.”
“The flocks are fat and easy pickings.”
He studied me intently, but I don’t meet his gaze. I have no desire to challenge him for leadership. He’d rip me apart. “Show me.” He finally growled.
The answer we’d expected. Casualties were part of war. Still, a part of me hated serving my companions up to this group, even if it would be their last meal.
Corporal Channing led the way, and the pack bayed in eager anticipation of a filling meal. The trackers under our skins would warn the flock of our approach. Ewes and lambs would seek cover near the fold, but the volunteers would be out in the field, away from the eyes of the shepherd. Even now, I knew that those brave sheep were ingesting the poison.
The pack’s reign of terror would soon be over. They had finally trusted the wrong wolf.
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