The prompt from Master Class I chose this week was justified jury. Poor Jen is really in the thick of things now as a wolf fight breaks out. Be sure to stop by Master Class via the button below to check out other great authors’ responses to this week’s Master Class.
Jen woke to the throbbing in her leg and snarling in her head. Teeth snapped. Yelps echoed. She pried her eyes open as a thick coppery smell wafted into her. She jerked herself upright and regretted it. Stars swamped her vision. She held herself still, cursing under her breath as she realized the fighting was not just in her head.
As Jen’s vision cleared, she wondered if she was awake at all. A roiling mass of fur, teeth, and blood tumbled along the cliff’s edge like a demented child’s toy in fast-forward. Soft footsteps interrupted her morbid fascination with the battle playing out almost at her feet.
“Fear not. You are safe,” a woman said, her soft words tinged with a faint Irish brogue.
“What’s going on? Why are they gaging up on that one poor wolf?”
The woman sat down, still watching the fight, “My name is Kieara. They are not ganging up on the one. This is a sort of trial. Jordan committed a grievous crime against the pack. This is the jury’s deliberation.”
“That makes them judge, jury, and executioner?”
“A justified jury. He was involved in the disappearance of your son.”
Jen tried to stand. Kieara half pulled and half caught Jen as she collapsed.
“Please. Do not try to stand. Rhys only bandaged your leg enough to stop the bleeding. It is not strong enough for you to move around much without causing the bleeding to start again.”
“I don’t care about my leg. I care about my son.”
A sharp yelp interrupted the conversation. Three of the wolves had the fourth backed part way over the cliff. His front claws gripped as his back legs dug at the cliff face. One of the wolves, Jen now recognized as Rhys, shifted to his human form.
“You were exiled, Jordan. Never to return to these woods.”
The wolf whined as he scraped at the cliff face with his back legs in growing desperation for purchase and safety. Blood oozed from various punctures and cuts around his head and shoulders.
Jen tensed, about to call out. Kieara put one hand on her arm and shook her head. Jen subsided, gritting her teeth and balling her fists.
Rhys loomed over the dangling wolf. The other two crouched on either side of Rhys. Seconds ticked by; the silence broken by the occasional whimper or scrabble from the wounded wolf. Then, Rhys reached down and hauled the wolf back up the cliff. The wolf dropped at Rhys’s feet panting.
“Kieara will make sure you don’t bleed to death. Then you leave. You show your face again; it will be death.”
Rhys turned and froze as his eyes met Jen’s. The look on her face registered in his anger fogged mind. Terror, anger, revulsion. Rhys cursed to himself.
There’s still time to take a stab at this week’s Don’t Panic Picture Prompt!