The country side was beautiful, yet dull. Kip had been a shepherd since he was a boy. He sat with his back to a tree and watched the flock quietly grazing. He took a deep breath the clear mountain air filling his lungs. A close by spring gargled and whispered. He was fighting to keep his eyes open.
He briefly considered taking a nap, but thought against it. Although wolves hadn’t been seen in the lowlands in years; you never knew what sort of predator could attack. A couple of sheep walked over to him and lied next to him. He placed his hand on one of the ewes. Without meaning too he found his eyes closing. He opened them again and yawned. Eventually he stopped fighting and allowed himself to doze off.
He wasn’t sure how long he had been sleeping, but when he opened his eyes it was dark out. He could hardly make anything out and only had the light of the full moon to see by. He couldn’t see well, but he could see one thing, or rather a lack thereof. His sheep we’re all gone, except for the two next to him.
He jumped up and his head started to spin. If he had lost the sheep his family wouldn’t be able to sell their wool or meat at the market. He called out and listened for any reply. He was greeted with silence every time he repeated his cry. Panic welled up in his chest and tears started to flow down his cheeks.
The sheep stood up and walked over to Kip. One of them batted her head against Kip’s leg. In his distress he hardly noticed. She kept batting until finally she pushed him over and sent him rolling down the hill. The sheep exchanged glances and ran down to Kip. He stood up and brushed off his legs. He muttered to himself, “Guess their not all gone. I suppose I should take these two back home and go searching for the others.”
One of the sheep looked up at him and spoke, “You know, we have an idea of where they went.”
Kip’s looked at the sheep carefully. He could have sworn he heard the sheep speak. He shook his head to remove the cobwebs. He patted the sheep on the head, “Alright let’s get you two home before I have a break down.
The sheep glanced at each other before it spoke again, “Didn’t you hear me?” Kip looked at the sheep in alarm. This time he was sure it spoke. He felt his heart jump into his chest and he found he couldn’t speak. His head swooned and his legs buckled as he fainted.
The sheep starred at him for a bit. “This one’s not very useful is he?”
“Come now Martha, we need his help.”
“I’m pretty sure we can find another human. Ooh what about a tall strapping, muscular lumberjack? I hear they’re great at killing wolves.”
The sheep shook his head, “No, I’m pretty sure that’s just a story. Humans seem far to, er soft.” To prove his point he prodded Kip in the stomach with a hoof. Kip groaned and sat up. “Better now?”
Kip blinked in disbelief, “You can speak?”
“Well of course we can, you dunce!” Martha said indignantly.
“I think what Martha means is…”
“Don’t tell me what I mean George! I know perfectly well what it is I meant to say!”
“How long have you been able to talk?”
George thought it over for a second, “Always I suppose.”
“And you never thought to mention this to me?”
Martha took a step back, “Well you never asked!”
George glanced at Martha, “Hush now you glib ewe. We don’t have time for this.”
Martha snorted and rolled her eyes. “Quite right dear, if we don’t hurry our family will be eaten.”
“Eaten? That’s right you said you know where the sheep are.”
“Well look who’s suddenly interested in hearing what we have to say.” Martha ranted on and on about how dumb humans were. Kip waited for her to finish, and eventually she returned to the point. “How are you with wolves?”
“Well I’ve never seen one they’re not exactly common in this part of the country.”
George bleated loudly, “We don’t have time for this. A wolf, of sorts, came and lad the sheep away. We know where to find the wolf. Can you kill it if we lead you to it’s den?”
Kip reached into his pocked and pulled out a sling and some stones. Martha blinked at them in disbelief, “Your joking right?”
“It’s all I got.” Kip said shrugging his shoulders.
“It’ll have to do. Follow us.” George said walking away. Martha followed closely behind with Kip at the rear. George and Martha led him straight into the forest on the edge of the pasture. Without pausing they walked into the tree line. Kip fitted a stone in the sling as his heart raced in his chest.
Martha turned her head and looked at Kip, “Calm down will you? You reek of fear.” Kip was so frightened all he could do was nod dumbly. Martha rolled her eyes again and they continued to walk in silence.
Suddenly George stopped walking. From the tree line they could see a plain wooden cabin. It was surrounded by a high fence and in the yard we’re all Kip’s sheep. Smoke rose from the chimney and the smell of roast mutton was in the air.
George prodded Kip forward, “Well go on human go kill the wolf.” Kip crept slowly over to the fence unlatching it silently he opened it wide. All the sheep bleated and ran over to George and Martha. Some of them called out their thanks as they ran.
Once they we’re all gone Kip walked up to the door. Peeking in the window he saw a furry creature bent over a pot. He took a deep breath and kicked the door open. The wolf flung its head and glared at Kip. It let out a fierce howl and pounced on Kip pinning him down.
Kip fought it off desperately. It was strong and heave but Kip was able to throw it off. He jumped up and launched a stone at the wolfs head. The wold gave a yelp as it crumpled dead. As Kip stood there over the corpse he felt a burning sensation in his side. Looking down he noticed a large tear in his shirt and a deep bight mark in his side. The pain overwhelmed him and he blacked out falling to the floor.
Kip’s eyes fluttered open. The sun was shining and he was leaning up against a tree. His sheep we’re grazing in the field quietly. He vaguely recalled a dream about a wolf but dismissed it. He smiled and relaxed closing his eyes he drifted into a deep sleep. He dreampt of more pleasant things this time. He hardly noticed the blood soaked grass and drag marks leading to the tree. And he definitely didn’t notice the torn shirt and the scar on his right side.