Three wolves are loping through woods. The three the wolves were on the urgent matter of hunting for food. The group of wolves was made up of two males and a female. Greta’s primary concern is getting enough food for her three pups back at the den. One of the males was Lucifer, Greta’s mate. Lucifer’s muzzle and face were white. The rest of him was black ears, forehead, and body. Greta’s fur was gray except for brown on the edge of her ears and the top of her muzzle. The other wolf was known as Gus had found some rabbit burrows in a small meadow about ten miles from their den. That is where the threesome was heading. Near the knoll, they stop.
Greta and Lucifer circle around the meadow to find a spot where they can spring their trap. Gus with nose to the ground searches for a promising burrow. Gus stops for the third time and frantically starts digging. Seconds later a large rabbit pops out the ground and starts to run. Gus tries to herd the rabbit in the direction of Greta and Lucifer, but then it happens.
The three wolves were so intent on their kill that they did hear the thump, thump approach of helicopter rotor blades. Greta and Lucifer watch as Gus crashes into the turf. His nose hits the ground at the same time the ground was being chewed up chasing the rabbit until it too stops running. The Alpha couple doesn’t understand what is happening, but they know they are in danger. They turn and run toward the woods, running side by side searching for safety. Greta running for her life driven by a combination of rat-tat-tat and the thumping of chopper blades then red liquid spurts out of Lucifer and he goes down.
Greta plunges into the woods, but her fear keeps driving. She runs for another mile crashing through the forest, her heart beating faster and faster, until she trips. After Greta rested awhile, she returned to the meadow where she last saw Lucifer. However, the only thing that is left of Lucifer and Gus is the scent of their life blood. She sets off on the trot back to the den and her three pups.
An hour later Greta is getting close to her lair when she picks up the scent of death again. There were areas where the smell was strong and getting stronger. As she approached the entrance to her den, she spots the lifeless body of one of her seven pups, just outside the entrance. She enters the hole only to find the remains of her other two pups. A female member of her litter no longer has a face. Greta returns to the forest which has always been a safe haven for her. That night Greta casts her voice on the wind mourning Lucifer, her pups, and the rest of the pack.
For the next week, Greta survives on carrion and berries, staying deep in the forest. Then the wolf spots a rabbit. Greta gives chase until she feels an explosive burning pain. It is harder for her to breathe or run and then she falls to the ground. Her life blood flows out her.
Jack a veteran park ranger had been listening to wolve howls for decades. He bragged that he could distinguish the difference between wolf howls. A man in his forties, broad shouldered, red flyaway hair, jade eyes, sat on his back deck listening intently for his beloved wolves for the second night. For three nights he had only heard a single wolf howl, and that was Greta’s. Tonight she was silent.
The next morning as soon as he pulls up to the main office he knocks on his boss’s door.
“Doug, I think the Tioga Pass Scoundrels have been wiped out,” Jack said.
“That will make the cattlemen outside of the park, happy,” Doug said. After taking a deep cleansing breath, he continued, “I’ll have dispatch put out a cautionary call for all Rangers to keep a watch out for them.” Doug’s physique had suffered from sitting behind a desk for a few years. His brown, thin, hair was graying at the temples.
“Thank you,” Jack gave his boss a gracious smile.
For the next few days, Jack jumps as he receives each radio notice. Then on the fourth day, he finally receives a call to him from the dispatcher. He races to the site the dispatcher told him about.
“What did they find,” Jack asked Doug as he got out of his jeep?
“Jack, some young kids found a body and told the local sheriff,” Doug said. “They thought it was a big dog.”
“She’s over there,” Jacks boss to a group of uniformed men. “She’s a female wolf. Unless you’ve seen her up close, I doubt you’re going to be able to identify her.”
“I saw her through my field glasses. I’ll know,” Jack said.
Jack and Doug trooped over to the group of lawmen. As soon as Jack broke through the circle, he saw the ravages of mother nature. He knelt down next to the body. Jack touches the head, “Sorry girl, you deserved better than this.”
“Why are so emotional over a wild animal,” the sheriff asked with a sneer.
“She is one of God’s creatures,” Doug’s voice bellowed.
“Can we take her back and bury her in the park,” Jack asked.
At the park office, they wrapped her remains in old blankets and then put the body in a pine box. Then a group of Rangers carried the box to a whole which had already been dug.
Later that night, Doug pulled up to Jack’s house. Before he got to the front door, Jack stepped out, “What do you want,” Jack asked.
“Well if you have some beer and CD player I have something to play for you,” Doug grinned.
A few minutes later Jack came back out, and each of the men leaned up against a porch post. After a few moments, Jack cleared his throat, “You said you had something to share.”
“I recorded a wolf howling a few days before you came into my office. I copied it to a CD.”
Jack placed the proffered CD into his player. The sound of a lone wolf howling started Jack to tear up.
“Oh no,” I didn’t want to get you all weep eye,” Doug said.
“That’s Greta howl.”