The chase. The scent of your prey as it winds and twines in a shimmering road before you, around you, in you. The world lays bare beneath your nose as first it seeks the scent, and then bursts into life in a blast of excitement.
The horn blows! The scent is caught. The hunt… the hunt… everything is the hunt.
You know in the deepest part of you, the part you have to deny and deny in this life of running in a two-legged pack, that this is what you were made for, this! To run with packmates with four legs, to feel their baying in your chest and answer it with a gleeful call. To belong. To be. To not care about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and to simply belong, existing as you were formed to exist.
The horn tugs at your gut and for a moment you too catch the scent. The hounds look to you with deepest pity – you, the tamed thing who must follow strange orders that you don’t quite understand. You, whose master doesn’t realize that you should be chasing and catching and running before the two-legs. You, the good dog who will never be allowed to dance with their wild song.
You stand there staring at them, and a longing kindles as you dimly remember your own brother. You had a litter once. You slept in a pile after a day of playing and never once worried…
No. No, you remember other things too. Even then they beat you and kicked you. They made you cringe, not knowing whether there would be a boot or a treat. You were never good enough for them. You raise your muzzle and join your howl to the hunt.
Her hand rests firm on your head. She, who holds you at night. She, who needs you or she won’t hear the monsters coming to kill her. She, who always feeds you and never hits you. She, whose hands and face makes you want to heel, because it is she you have chosen. She is your alpha. She and her pack, with whom you run.
Your heart rushes on, swept up in the hunstman’s call. And again, again you tell your heart to heel. You stay at your alpha’s feet because without her running beside you, the Hunt will be no hunt at all. She looks into your eyes and sees you and your need and your struggle. And she says not “Good Dog” today but her hands move in a new way. “That’ll do, Huan.” You recognize the motions as her rarest praise, the sort always given before the best food and the tenderest petting. You love her.
You watch your brothers disappear into the sky and you shiver as the horn gives your gut and your nose one last, seductive pull.