Torak flinched. Without warning, the sound had brought a startling vision to his mind. Black fur. Warm darkness. Rich, fatty milk. The Mother licking him clean. The scratch of tiny claws and nudge of small, cold noses; fluffy cubs clambering over him: the newest cub in the litter.
The vision was as vivid as a lightning flash. What did it mean?
His hand tightened on his father's knife. It doesn't matter what it means, he told himself. Visions won't keep you alive. If you don't eat that cub, you'll be too weak to hunt. And you're allowed to kill your clan-creature to keep from starving. You know that.
The cub raised its head and gave a bewildered yowl.
Torak listened to itand understood.
In some strange way that he couldn't begin to fathom, he recognized the high, wavering sounds. His mind knew their shapes. He remembered them.
This isn't possible, he thought.
He listened to the cub's yowls. He felt them drop into his mind.
Why won't you play with me? the cub was asking its dead pack. What have I done now?
On and on it went. As Torak listened, something awakened in him. His neck muscles tensed. Deep in his throat he felt a response beginning. He fought the urge to put back his head and howl.
What was happening? He didn't feel like Torak anymore. Not boy, not son, not member of the Wolf Clanor not only those things. Some part of him was wolf.
A breeze sprang up, chilling his skin.
At the same moment, the wolf cub stopped yowling and jerked round to face him. Its eyes were unfocused, but its large ears were pricked, and it was snuffing the air. It had smelled him.
Torak looked down at the small anxious cub and hardened his heart.
He drew the knife from his belt and started down the slope.
Wolf Brother © 2005 by Michelle Paver. All rights reserved. HarperCollins Children's Books
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