The Fall of the North

They had been walking for only a couple hours when they attacked. They came from behind, and it was apparent that they had been stalking them for some time. They seemed to know exactly when to strike. The North group had just started out when they heard the growls. They turned, but it was too late. The animals were a breed that the boys comprising the North group had only heard about in stories they thought were meant to scare them. They were common stories, most boys had heard about them. When asked directly if they were real or not, the adults merely shrugged. Some boys would say they were only made up creatures to keep the boys from wandering out into the forbidden territories.

They’d first heard about them in separation school. Separation school is where they boy are taken away from their families for a large part of the day, and put into groups with as diverse characteristics as possible. Those that live in a village such as these boys do recognize the importance ot losing your dependence on your family at a very early age. Because they boys formed such strong friendships, the adults thought it might be wise to keep them from becoming too independent in their own right. So they devised various methods to strike a precariosu balance between encouraging an independent spirit in them with a sense of obedience.

One of these methods, or so it had always been thought, was the creation a mythical animal that lived outside of the safe territories. Depedning on who was telling the story, the characteristics of these forbidden animals ranged from alow intellignece scavanger to a highly sophisticated group of planning, scheming carnivores that employed a number of almost unbeatable strategies to herd their prey to an area that would maximize their take, and minimize the damage suffered to their number.

Some say the creatures could survive for several months without food, althought their hunger would never cease. In most other predators, as their hunger increased, so did their desperation and consequently their mistakes in tracking and eating game. Not these creatures, though. Something about them, at least according to some that told their story, made them more and more conniving and treachurous as they became more and more hungry.

They had been tracking the boys for a few days now. They knew, they sensed that the boys would separate at a certain time of day, and then reconvene at night. The collective senses that the best time to attack would be just before separation. They would have their guard down the most at this point. They crouched, and crept silentl behind them, until it was time.

“Did you hear that?” Eldest said.
Youngest spun, reaching for his weapon.
“Spread out!” Elder said, pulling his knife quickly from his boot. He quickly scanned the oncoming attackers. They were hideous. They seemed to be part wolf, part human. At least in the eyes. Their eyes shown some kind of hideous intelligence.

Suddenly one feinted, and caused younger to raise his arm in defense, then as the attacking creature jumped left, another quickly sprant towards youngers throat, grabbing it with crushing deadliness. Younger fell, and two other of the animals converged and began ripping pieces of flesh from his still quivering body.

Eldest and Elder had instinctively stood back to back, both their knives out, slowly turning. They had immediately given up on Younger, as he was quickly,and obvioulsy dead.

They crouched, and before long, all creatures, six in number, were slowly circling the two boys, the sun slowly rising in the sky.

To be continued…