Flea Bag let out a howl and one of the two humans on the cart stood up and drew a claw. It threw the other human onto the horse’s back and slashed the tether attaching it to the cart. Their cover blown, the rest of the hunters joined in the chorus as well. Before he leapt into the fray himself Sharp Teeth snarled at Runt.
“Stay hidden and guard the path, take down any runaways.”
The blood lust rose in her to the point that it all but drowned out her status lessons. However, she winced and checked her charge. So close to being able to partake in the death and destruction she yearned for, only to be shut down again.
Pack Leader’s jaws grabbed the human they had been tracking by the head and threw him to the ground. Half his face was shredded and he lay unmoving in a growing pool of blood. Gray One charged the horse and caused it to rear, its rider clinging desperately to its harness. Flea Bag and Foul Breath were the first to the cart. Flea Bag bounded up, ripped through the wooden poles on the side of a cage and was lost from sight amid a flurry of feathers. Foul Breath on the other hand hamstrung the goat tied to the back and ripped out its throat.
Then the armed human charged. Running the length of the cart, he swung his claw through the remnants of the chicken cage and along Flea Bag’s neck. Flea Bag’s scream of rage drowned in a gurgle as the human sawed his claw deep enough to sever the windpipe. This unexpected development caused the pack to falter and stare but only for a second. Then Foul Breath leaped and the human launched itself at him claw first. They collided in the air with such force that the human’s claw pushed through Foul Breath’s hide and deep into his chest, emerging from the other side red and sticky.
Pack Leader roared and leapt, his rear legs landing on the horses shoulder and then leaving tearing gashed as he launched himself again. He soared over the cart and directly onto the human who was struggling to remove his claw from Foul Breath’s bulk. Pack Leader flung his prey into the bushes, far away from its deadly claw, and bounded after it.
Gray One barely managed to keep the spooked horse at bay, nipping at it every time it tried to take a step. Sharp Teeth stalked the rider from behind. It was total chaos, and Runt wasn’t allowed to participate, wasn’t even able to voice her frustration due to Sharp Teeth’s orders. It was almost worse than the hunger.
Something moved in the chicken cage and Runt refocused her attention. A rooster pushed its way through the wreckage and leapt from the rear of the cart. Wings fluttering, it landed on the goat’s carcass and limped away from the ruckus behind it. Towards Runt. She was going to get to ambush a run away after all. She waited until it had covered half the distance, all of her attention on the helpless foul, then sprinted the remaining distance and took it’s head off with a snap. She swung her claws at the feathered body still attempting it’s escape and pinned the bloody mess to the ground. Grabbing it in her jaws, she shook it, breaking it’s spine.
The next thing she knew she was rolling in the dirt and watching a cloud of dust disappearing down the trail. Sharp Teeth’s voice roared in her shredded ear.
“You stupid Runt! You had to charge the bird and let the real feast get away!”
Pack Leader emerged from the trees.
“One got away?”
“Just the horse that matters, I got a good piece of the rider first. He’ll come back once he’s turned. Runt just cost us a feast on horse flesh is all.”
Pack Leader sniffed in disgust and turned toward the corpses of Foul Breath and Flee Bag.
“Count yourself lucky Runt. If I didn’t have two other failures to satiate me, I’d be taking my feast out of your hide.”
Pack Leader eyes wandered to the bushes he had just exited.
“I’d be more angry if I didn’t expect my new Thrall to more then make up for their loss.”
Runt felt her pulse quicken as Pack Leader ripped up pieces of Foul Breath and swallowed them. Gray One and Sharp Teeth cackled and joined him at the feast. Runt didn’t dare approach but she did slink to the side of the road and bolt down the remains of her rooster. Bottom of the pack was at least better then dead.
She kept to the outskirts until their gorging had ended, her belly making it clear the rooster had not nearly been enough.
“Runt, stay here. Bring the new pack members to the hibernating grounds after they wake.”
Runt yipped an affirmative and dashed in to gnaw whatever she could off of the carcasses the others had left behind.