Like Cats & Dogs

You came, I thought as my heart raced.
The silver wolves sliced the velvet of the night. There were only three of them. My breath crystallized as I exhaled in relief. They froze. The smallest wolf growled. Slowly I shifted from my mountain lion form to human form. I slipped from the shelter of the slender pines and stood bare in the clearing. Now all three wolves growled.
Typical, I thought. Legs akimbo, hands on my hips, I stared down the biggest wolf, the shifter at the front of in pack, the top dog. I smiled. That smallest wolf bared his canines. My smile widen.
From fox shifters in the South to the bear shifters of the Far North, all of the tribes from around the globe had been been meeting and talking. It began in the sands of Namibia among the lion shifters. The word was wildfire spreading throughout the big cat prides. The word was consolidation, a coming together of all animal shifters to combine their resources, to protect our community. First hatchets had to be buried and alliances formed. It had been a long, hard slog. Big cat ambassadors criss crossed every continent.
The last holdouts, in the midst of the great conversation, were the wolves. For months the wisdom of shifters tried to enter into parley with the wolves. Finally the pack leader of the wolves reached out to my elisi. She is level headed and considerate everything I’m not. Despite all that, Grandma selected me to make first contact. Now I was here in this circle of scrub pine and darkness naked surrounded by wolves.
Their paws made no sound as they edged closer. I never dropped my gaze from the leader.
“Heel!” I growled back.
The three wolves shifted. They loomed over me.
“What did you—“ the leader said.
I brushed past him mid sentence and began to walk away.
The words, “little bitch,” landed behind me.
I stopped and spoke without turning around, “Technically the only bitch in this situation is your mom. We all know the only reason you haven’t joined in the plan to save our kind is because you’re not alpha. Call me when you’re ready to play ball.”
In a blur two of wolf shifters leapt towards me. Twirling I extended my claws drawing first blood. The leader barked and his subordinates instantly dropped to one knee. Dismissive I sniffed and turned.
“Gee and I thought dogs liked playing ball,” I said before shifting into my mountain lion. I headed back into the forest dark. The woods erupted into howls. I could scent the leader of the pack, smell his anxiety, and I knew he was eager to save his sliver of forest. He was following me. I walked on.

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