That is what we were. Perhaps, in many ways, we’d become complacent and comfortable. Happiness can do that to you, can it not? It’d been many moons since they last attacked our drove and there was no reason to think they’d return.
One beautifully warm day, there was a knock at the door. In my youth and infancy, I answered it without permission. Stood there was a nightmare – a usually fiendish and terrible creature; only his claws were cut and his teeth blunt. He was a wolf, but despite his furry exterior and beady brown eyes, he didn’t look like a wolf.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, little piggy,” he huffed at me. “But do you mind if I come in and rest my weary bones?”
I immediately called for my father. He rushed down the stairs grunting and snorting at my panic. The wolf ran away as quickly as he could with my father in tow, chasing him away. When papa came back, he was angry with me.
“How could you answer the door to wolf, Broog!?” He bellowed furiously. “That wolf could’ve eaten you, your mother, your brothers, and your sister.”
“But papa,” I protested. “He just wanted help. He didn’t look much like a wolf, did he?”
That night, I eased my conscience in bed. I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong. So, when I heard a pitter patter at my bedroom window – I looked outside to see the wolf, throwing stones up at it.
Carefully I opened the window and leaned out.
“My papa says I shouldn’t talk to you,” I whispered.
The wolf shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“He’s probably right, little piggy,” the wolf replied sadly. “But look, my name is Winston and I’m not with them. They cut my claws and blunt my teeth when I refused to hunt droves just like yours. You can see it, can’t you? I’m not really a wolf anymore. Please, little piggy, let me in.”
I knew it. I rushed downstairs and opened the front door, letting Winston inside so that he could rest by the warmth of the fire. He thanked me, hugged me, and promised to be gone before my father awoke in the morning. I went to back to bed that night with a smile on my little innocent face.
Within hours, I’d awoken to screams.
Not just any screams – bellows, horrifying, agonizing bellows. I rushed out of my bed to see Winston eating. There was blood everywhere. My father had been killed first, as he was the strongest. My mother followed. By the time I awoke, he was finishing my brothers and sisters, with a grin upon his face.
“What a tasty treat your drove was,” he sneered. “Thanks for letting me in, little piggy.”
I remember what it felt like to have his teeth sink into my flesh and rip at it. I remember him laughing because his blunt teeth made it hurt so much worse – he liked it like that.
And I remember the moment I took my fathers club and beat that wolf to death with my flesh and blood in his gaping maw. I remembered surviving. That’s what I do now.
My family taught me how to do that. It’s their sacrifice that made it so.