This is the seventh and the last part of my short story, The Lonely Wolf. Please would you correct my mistakes.
During my wanderings, I encountered various animals. I saw squirrels running up and down the trees, just in front of me. Foxes came up from the undergrowth many a time. They stood watching me without showing any fear. They were so close to me that, if I stretched my arm fully, I could have touched them. Sometimes I saw a hare a few meters in front of me. I expected it to run away, but it simply stood calmly for a while and then left, but not running and jumping as hares use to do but walking slowly. One afternoon I walked to the edge of a clearing. On the other side, I noticed a group of deer. It must have been six or seven of them. They were grazing peacefully. They lifted their heads, but they were not nervous. They watched me with their large, dark eyes for a moment and then turned to their grazing. I did not want to upset them and turned back.
Later in the night, I sat reading a book in my bedroom. Suddenly I heard a strange sound on the fence of my patio. I thought it was a cat, but cats do not have such strength. They are very subtle creatures, who do not make much noise. I switched off the light, and carefully lifted venetian blinds. I could not believe my eyes. Outside, just two, three meters from my patio there was a doe with her fawn. They were looking at my direction. A feeling of warmth and love spread through my body. This was not a coincidence. The doe and her fawn must have followed me. She wanted to show her baby where that strange man lived. She probably explained to it that the strange man, for some reasons, did not feel well among his fellow humans and chose forest and animals instead. “They are some humans who have souls and characters of us animals,” she probably told her baby. “They suffer because they will always remain torn between these two worlds.
We looked at each other for some time, and then the doe turned her head in another direction and walked away, the fawn closely following her. They made a few steps, stopped, watched in my direction, and walked on until they disappeared into darkness. I opened the door and breathed in the fresh air. I have to return this visit, I told myself. I will bring them some salt and leave it on the edge of the clearing. I am going to celebrate and cultivate this beautiful friendship until one day the deer are going to eat from my hand and let my love flood into them.
I had a very unpleasant neighbour. For some reasons, he did not like me. He would sit on his balcony and whenever I passed by he would always shout something insulting like, “Parasite,” “Idiot”, “Loser”, and “Eunuch”. One day when I was dressed in a brown jacket and trousers he called me “Bear”. “Look at bear!” he shouted repeatedly when he noticed that I did not react. Of course, I was boiling inside. I could have smashed his teeth or even caused him more damage, but I knew what the consequences of my reaction would be. I would lose my freedom, my friends and the forest, which meant so much to me.
My neighbour was dissatisfied with his own life and he projected his dissatisfaction on me, the only foreigner around. Although it felt like a stabbing whenever I heard his words I did not hate him, rather pitied him. He may have succeeded in his professional career and other aspects of live, but as a human being, he was a failure. I mostly pitied his wife, a little, frail woman who had to live in the same house with him and certainly share bed.
They lived in the flat opposite mine, and I could see them almost every day, especially when the weather was pleasant. My neighbour would sit on his balcony, open his daily paper, and then, his wife would bring him a bottle of beer and a glass. He was bolding, large and overweight. In his company, she was almost invisible, like a tag. In the summer he would sit there almost naked but for a pair of shorts. Already in the morning, he would come to the railing, hold it with his two hairy arms, and then puff up his bare chest and stare at my window. He looked like a fattened turkey, and I had to laugh whenever I saw him in such a pose. Maybe he is just jealous of my slim body, I thought. He is only frustrated with himself and does not know how to vent that frustration..
I have to admit that I am not a saint. I am not a person who will accept insults and attacks and remain silent. I will always hit back, if the opportunity arises. I carefully observed the habits of my neighbour. Two, three times a week he and his wife used to put on their hiking boots, dress in waterproof jackets, strap their rucksacks and wander in the forest for a few hours. When they returned home, my neighbour would always order pizzas, which were delivered by a car. Probably, this was his way of rewarding himself for the exertion and effort he put in the forest.
I followed them from distance to learn their favourite tracks. I knew where they like to stop, eat their refreshments and drink coffee or tea. Sometimes I was so close and was able to listen to their conversations. I understood that my neighbour was overbearing. He was know-it-all and arrogant. If his wife disagreed with him, his face would become crimson, his fat jaw quiver and he would silence her with the words, “Don’t talk nonsense!” I imagined him in school as a typical bully who had made many people cry. My resolve to teach him a lesson grew only stronger.
I waited for the autumn and steady rains that would make paths and tracks difficult to negotiate. One afternoon I saw my neighbours leaving their flat, dressed in their yellow jackets, which would be easy to recognise and pursue from distance. I did not bother to rush. I knew all the paths, tracks, and short cuts. This was like a child game I enjoyed to fulfil to the end. Soon I overtook them without them noticing anything. I decided to wait for them close to their favourite bench. When they finally arrived, they were exhausted; their boots covered in thick mud. They plumped down on the bench and started opening their respective rucksacks. They took out their thermoses, and I used that moment to let out my first howl. My neighbour and his wife became petrified. They had forgotten their exhaustion and thirst. They stared at each other asking the question, which none of them dared to utter. I gave another howl, this time changing the pitch. I ran through the forest, intentionally making the noise by trampling and crushing undergrowth. I howled again.
“They’ll attack us!” I heard my neighbour shouting. “They’re a whole pack!”
He and his wife reacted like hunted animals. They jumped up and in their panic they had forgotten their bottles and rucksacks. They ran down the path, but their boots stuck in the mud all the time. I was behind them, following them, and using the tracks and paths known only by me. I howled all the time. I did not want to give them any respite. In one moment he stumbled and fell down like a heavy stone. Splash, it said. His sweaty crimson face dived into the wet mud. He shrieked and cursed. His caring wife went to her knees to help him.
“I’m blind. I see nothing!” he screamed. “I’m hurt. I’ve broken my leg.”
She helped him to his feet. He was hobbling supported on his right side by her fragile body. They reminded me of the soldiers of a defeated army, forced to retreat. He was muttering something I could not understand. She comforted him, telling him that soon they will be at home. Wolves would never dare to come close to human habitations.
“They should all be killed,” he shouted again. “Wolves, bears, sharks...” He never finished his sentence because the pain in his leg gave him another thought. He cursed instead.
They finally reached their flat in the evening. At least the darkness spared my neighbour more embarrassment. I saw their lights switching on and expected a pizza delivery car arriving at their entrance door. However, instead of it, a yellow and green ambulance arrived, and two paramedics, who went to his flat and carried him on the stretcher into the car.
Two weeks later, they suddenly sold their flat and moved out, probably to some safer place, away from forests, animals, howling wolves and other strange creatures.
- For Teachers