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“Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.”
― Emma Smith

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TᕼE ᗪIᔕᑕOᐯEᖇY Oᖴ ᔕᑌᑎᗩKI
By: Sunaki, Nyota, and Usiku
Sunaki and Kaguro trudged through the swampy land. They had been travelling away from their home for a near moon, and they seemed to have come quite far by now. The usual landscape of pine trees and snow had become more of a marshy oak forest. While the thick, sludge-like ground was rather tedious for travel, it was beginning to grow more of a muddy, solid ground. The two young wolves were exhausted, and couldn’t remember the last time they’d eat or slept. They sighed, and continued to move forward. They didn’t know where they were going, nor where they were trying to. They simply kept moving forward. At this point in time, they didn’t talk much, or they didn’t have the strength to at all. They usually would communicate through gestures and notions. They had ended up on this little journey of theirs through pure unluck. They had been learning to hunt with their father, Isamu, but were attacked by hunters in the process. While they had made it to safety, their father had not been so lucky, and with Isamu’s death, were to afraid to return to their Mother, Ashiko, with the horrifying news. As they knew, Ashiko had a bit of a temper, and didn’t want to see her reaction. Not knowing what else to do, they ran, and left their home, with nothing but each other. But finally, one day, the two had found some easy prey and a half-decent den, and with the long-needed food and sleep, and were full of energy. Sunaki and Kaguro laughed and tumbled around taking friendly swats at each other. They happily decided to have a small spar, which was more like a play-fight, and could never be considered as anything serious. But in their short-lived state of bliss, they failed to notice how close they had drawn to the river. Sunaki was unfortunate enough to fall into the river after a well-executed tackle from Kaguro. She had never felt anything so cold and constraining. But while she was freezing, her lungs felt as though they were burning, shouting to her for air. She tried to swim, but never learned, therefore she couldn’t. She only managed to breach the water and half-stay afloat as the river swept her beneath it and away without haste. Her eyes were wide and frantic as she watched a terrified Kaguro yowling her name quickly disappear. His calls drowned out her hearing as she was embraced by the inhumane waves. However, this wasn’t enough, and she quickly lost consciousness, spiraling into darkness, not sure if she would ever wake up again. _________________________________________________________________________________

Nyota traipsed along the edge of the river, closely followed by Usiku, who looked quite wary of the raging waters that were tossed about in the river. A slate colored appendage bobbed above the crashing tides, a dire expression etched onto the face of the wolf. Her body was thrown mercilessly in the waves, but she could do nothing, which paralyzed her in fear. Her mind was  blank, and all it could process was the pain. The horrid, inevitable pain. But Nyota and Usiku could never have sensed the pain she was enduring, but no one ever could have. Only the victims of such a similar fate could have. The two siblings observed the adolescent, mercy reflected in their almost identical optics. Nyota submerged herself easily into the water, paddling frantically to get to the small wolf enveloped in thrashing waves. The current died down mildly, but the young canine still could not surpass the barbarous waves. Usiku fathomed the wolf’s injuries while watching her sister rescue her. Nyota quickly grabbed the juvenile’s scruff, heaving her desperately towards mainland. Usiku, being vigorously afraid of water, stepped into the shallow part. It didn’t crash into the bank or anything, so she waited to embrace Nyota and the unknown wolf. Nyota came swimming through the waves, her pelt repelling minor amounts of heavy water waiting to drag her farther into their depths. Her paws cut through the water, pushing off with exhales. The water furiously collided against her pelt, while the wolf hung seemingly lifeless in her jaws, exhausted from fighting the ruthless currents of the raging river. Nyota anchored her paws onto the bank while Usiku took the atramentous wolf’s scruff carefully and pulled her up to examine her briskly. The wolf didn’t look particularly different from normal wolves. In fact, she almost looked similar to them. But the resemblance seemed rather vague, and it was most likely another one of her imagination’s escapades. Suddenly, the young she-wolf shook, and she began to cough up water and what looked like some blood. Her coughs were strained and breathless, she must have been rather mottled from her little river plunge. She grunted and began to shakily rise to her paws, muttering unfamiliar names and muffled words she couldn’t make out. Nyota turned around and carefully rushed her back down. That was when the strange adolescent opened her eyes. Their optics full of mercy matched hers of fear, and like an uncanny puzzle, the pieces finally fit together. Life would never be the same after that day.

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