In this month’s Panther Post series, we’re excited to bring you a thriller written by student Rebecca Holcomb. We’re splitting her story into two parts. The first part is featured below.

“In English class, I saw the way authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving carefully wove messages into the stories they wrote through the actions and roles of their characters.  I realized that by completing this English assignment, I could create characters who expressed a message that has always been important to me: respect nature.”- Rebecca Holcomb

Pete Baker and the Wolves: Part 1

At the edge of an old forest, a man bought several acres of land. The man’s name was Pete Baker and on his newly acquired land, he built a farm. To build his farm he had to clear away several trees. As he did so, a pair of solemn green eyes watched him from some distant foliage as tree after tree fell to the ground. He used the wood from fallen trees to build a farmhouse, a barn and some fences.

Not long after the farm was built, Pete bought a few head of cattle to start a herd. He also bought some horses, a couple goats and a flock of chickens. At last, his farm was up and running.

 A number of years went by and during that time, Pete got married and he and his wife had three children. The eldest was a son and the younger two were daughters. Pete’s farm had seen much success and as the success grew so did their farm. The growth of the farm meant that more trees had to be cut down.

These days, Pete had several farm hands as well as his son, Robert, to help him. The green eyes continued to glare from far away as the beautiful trees fell to the earth. The animals who lived where the men were cutting had retreated farther back into the forest and the green eyes were full of grief and anger.

One warm and sunny day, Robert was riding his horse up to the far pasture to check on the cattle. Pete was back at the house helping his daughters take care of the chickens. Robert’s gaze swept across the large expanse of green grass. Everything seemed fine until, out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of some strange un-cow-like movement. He focused his attention in that direction and with a sudden urgency, he wheeled his horse around to tell his father that there was a wolf in the pasture.

Robert galloped his horse back to the house. Pete and his daughters were still tending to the chickens but, the urgent sound of hoofbeats made the farmer lookup. When Robert to ld his father about the wolf Pete told his son to saddle up another horse while he grabbed his rifle. A moment later, Pete returned, mounted the second horse and rode back to the far pasture.

The wolf had yet to make a kill when Pete arrived. The large canine was still deciding which member of the herd would be best to go after. Pete dismounted the horse and tied it to a fence a ways behind him. Then he loaded his gun. The wolf had made a decision and just as the animal launched off his haunches a thunderous “BOOM! shook the air and the wolf lay dead. The cattle, who had been huddled together farther away not because they were aware of the wolf but because it was the nature of herd animals, looked up from their grazing, wondering what had just happened.

 The horse was a bit startled but had heard guns before and did not protest to Pete remounting him and they trotted up to the dead wolf. The carcass’s tongue lolled from its slackened jaws. Once again, Pete dismounted his horse to better inspect his kill.

“How dare you!” an angry voice exclaimed, causing Pete to  look up.

A slim figure stood a few yards off. Her ghostly blonde hair was adorned with wildflowers and she had eyes that were such an unearthly green that Pete found himself strangely intrigued. The farmer was puzzled by the stranger. Her features were like a young girl’s but something about her gave Pete the sense that she had been alive a very long time.

 “He came after my cattle,” Pete explained, seeing the hurt and angry look on the person’s face.

“You’ve shot my wolf,” she shot back. Her hands were in tight fists but her pale arms stayed at her sides where they outlined her even paler green slip of a dress that only went over one shoulder.

“Your wolf?” Pete laughed. She looked sort of fragile and Pete could not imagine her with a pet wolf.

“You’ve shot my wolf, cut down my trees and now you’re laughing at me!” she exclaimed, clearly insulted.

Pete scoffed not to be rude but because he found the girl amusing. She must be a child if she thinks the trees belong to her, he concluded.

“The wolf shouldn’t have been on my land,” he told her gently in case she really had lost a pet.

 “IT IS NOT YOURS!” The wind had instantly picked up a great deal of speed and Pete was suddenly so dizzy that he fell to the ground. When the Earth felt stable to him again, he stood up but the world suddenly felt much bigger and it certainly looked it.

He cast his gaze to the ground and felt his eyes widen. In place of his hands were two massive paws and Pete realized that he could feel the Earth on his feet instead of the confines of his boots.

When Pete turned his attention back to the the girl, he saw that a pack of fierce looking wolves had gathered on either side of her.  She no longer looked like a child, she was something dangerous and ancient.

“You need to learn some respect,” the power in her voice was overwhelming and Pete felt himself whimper like a–well–puppy.

She began to dissipate as though she were a cloud of mist. In seconds, the stranger was gone.

Pete felt panic in the pit of his stomach.

Part Two is now released! Read it HERE.

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