Wolf: Howling Mad or Howling Glad?
You end up choosing to try to have a chat with at least one of the dogs running about, mostly because you’ve often wondered what it would be like to speak to a dog that understood you in full. You know that it won’t be a simple feat, as Akam made that clear when he said it himself - but, hey, you’ve got nothing else to do right now, so why not try?
Your mind is ablaze with how this will work. You’re excited, to say the least.
You trot forward, closing the distance between yourself and the humans playing with their dogs. Of the dogs in the park, one seems to notice you quicker, a Golden Retriever - it turns to look at you and tilts its head to the side, appraising you with an inquisitive stare - you can tell that it is wondering what you are, and you yourself wonder how it is seeing you right now.
The Golden Retriever slowly moves from where it was standing, and comes toward you, its tail wagging and its nostrils flaring. You halt, and it stops a few inches away from you, still staring and sniffing to try and deduce what sort of dog you must be.
“Smell odd,” you hear it say amid a soft bark. “Have a strong human scent.” It looks around curiously. “No human near?”
You pause to think of what to ‘say’ to this dog, and how to even ‘say’ it in the first place. You suppose you can try to, well, speak the normal way.
You let out a bark - a somewhat deep bark that you feel resonate from your throat as it leaves your mouth. And to you, the bark sounds like what you imagine a wolf barking sounds like. But there is no words to it, and you feel at a loss as to how you can articulate that despite your desire to communicate.
The Golden Retriever’s ears perk up. It eyes you. “What?” it barks out, and it moves closer to sniff you more. It gives a tiny noise that seems to turn into the words you hear next. “You sound strange, very strange. Not like others I have smelled or heard before. Deep bark, deep scent. You don’t smell of this park.”
You try again, but you try to actually use words while willing them out of you. “I…”
The word escapes you, and you hear it clearly, even if it sounds like it was growled out. The Golden Retriever perks up and stares at you, waiting with a strange sort of patience that, to you, registers as it not only having heard and understood you, but also that it recognizes you have more to ‘say’ to it.
‘This is so weird,’ you think.
Akam chuckles. “You are doing well, Master. Try again.”
You do so, and you try again to speak to the dog like you were speaking normally. “I… am… not dog. Not… like you.” You let the words fill the air, then, you finish up with a truth for the moment. “I am… am a wolf.”
The words sound like your voice, you hear, just deeper, more guttural. They are mixed in with the bark you let out, but it seems they have done the trick - the Golden Retriever looks at you again with the eyes of something that has registered what was just spoken, and it stares at you for a silent instant.
“Wolf dog?” it asks, with a low bark. Its nostrils flare and it leans in to smell you closer. You feel a strange urge to bare your teeth at it getting so close, but, you ignore this urge and let it sniff you since the dog is harmless and not threatening you at all. “No wonder you bark low and smell different.” It cocks its head at you, and utters words that seem to come from its lips without any barking or growling. “But strange wolf dog. Scent is still more human than like me or others. Not wild, no. You smell different.”
You are fascinated by all of this - it’s so cool to be talking to a dog, you feel all giddy inside, like a kid in a candy store. It’s a little silly, you know, but, you don’t care right now about that.
‘So is this what dogs are actually saying?’ you wonder aloud. ‘Or is it because I’m a wolf that I can understand this dog so well in the first place?’
“A little of both,” Akam replies, and he hovers about your shoulder. “Animals speak their own languages - normally, you would recognize the tenor of what it is this pup is trying to communicate. But as I said, magic is helping you better translate its words to your own ears, as your words are translated to its.”
The Golden Retriever turns to face the direction it came from, then turns back to look at you quizzically. You think you hear its owner call for it, but you can’t be certain since your focus is namely on the dog in front of you and what it might do or say to you next.
“Do you want to come play?” the Golden Retriever asks with a slight whimper. It paws the ground and boofs a happy noise. “Master is fun. I like playing with new friends, wolf dog.” It cocks its head to the side and studies you. “Yes? No?”
You are touched that the dog wants to play with you, and, you think it might be an interesting - and fun - experience. But as you think, you catch wind of something: a scent. Yet this scent is different than the dogs, then the grass and the humans. It is strong, and potent, and its scent burns at your nostrils in a way that leaves them tingling. It’s carried on the wind, and you turn your head to follow the scent. It’s not far from you.
‘What… what is that?’ you ask Akam. ‘That scent is… it’s different.’
Akam responds with another smile in his voice. “That, Master, is one like you… a human in the form of an animal. You are smelling the flavor of magic. They aren’t far from you right now, should you wish to have another attempt at speaking to someone whose world has changed as yours has.”
You turn toward the curious Golden Retriever, then back toward the new scent. What do you do now, you wonder? You can stop to play with this rather sweet dog - and you can tell you would not regret choosing this option, as the dog eyes you patiently and wisely. You like dogs, after all, so you imagine it would be very fun. And yet… your curiosity is also tugging at you to go the other way and to find this person…
To find someone that is like you, and to see what they are, and what they’re doing with their wishes; this would be equally fascinating and fun, you know it in your gut. You can’t decide, though! You want to do both, but you can’t.
Both ideas sound good… but which do you want to choose?
Written by Hollowpages on 18 July 2020
Wolf: On the Hunt