Emmett was hungry. No, no just hungry – starving
. There had been a time years before when Emmett could have found prey anywhere in these woods and he could afford to be somewhat picky with what he hunted. Being as large as he was, he required a lot of meat to sustain him, which either meant taking down a larger animal or several small ones, and in times of plenty he would always opt for a single kill over tracking, chasing, and killing multiple times just to fill his belly once. His size was a source of pride for him, something that set him apart from other wolves at a glance, never mind its’ benefit in fighting, traveling long distances, and even maintaining the element of surprise when he needed it. There were few who wouldn’t be afraid of an enormous wolf, and those who weren’t were the sorts of creatures that Emmett would rather keep away from anyway, monsters from the darkness or carnivores even larger than him. In his own forest home, his pack had been at the top of the food chain – that is, until the treaty had been broken and they had fallen under the axes and swords of the townsfolk – so being so cautious during the hunt was still foreign to Emmett, but in a time like this when evil ran rampant, he couldn’t be too careful. Winter made everything even worse, as the cold drove what little prey had remained out of the woods or into hiding in places he could not find, even with his great sense of smell, and he often went hungry.
It was not a good thing for Emmett to be hungry. He was not known for being nice even when his belly was full, and he did not wear starvation well. He was on edge, walking the line of frustration and anger, ears pricked and nose twitching as he searched for any movement in the woods. He’d take anything now – anything except human. One taste of little red ridinghood and her grandmother had been quite enough for him, and though, even now, he couldn’t deny that they’d tasted sweet on his tongue as they’d slid down his throat, he couldn’t easily forget what had come after that. The knife dragging through the sensitive flesh of his stomach, his blood pouring onto the floor, the jagged rocks that stabbed into his organs as he stumbled to the portal…no, he wouldn’t risk such a fate twice. Anything else, however, was fair game, he supposed. So long as he could safely take it down, he couldn’t think of anything that would really deter him from digging into whatever would become his next meal.
The creature he tracked sounded small, but small was better than nothing. It was clumsy, too – he could hear it rustling around in the underbrush, and even before he set eyes on it he sank down into the grass, tucking his feet carefully beneath him so he could take off running at any moment. Quietly as he could, he stalked forward, sniffing the breeze. What was that thing? Whatever it was, it smelled…strange. He couldn’t place what it may be, nor could he even find some approximation of this smell among the stores of other things he’d sniffed in the past. Perhaps some would have taken this as a sign to give up the hunt, not knowing what the mysterious creature would bring with it. Perhaps on a better day, Emmett would have done the same – his pack was known for their logic, and he could easily have put this thought together in his mind, were it not for the pangs of hunger that made his belly ache. He needed this kill, whatever it was. At least it would hold him over til he found his next prey, then he could never hunt this sort of creature again, if he so chose. He pressed forward, inching along toward the sounds of the small creature, and then, when he believed he was close enough to catch it, he let out a loud, rumbling growl and burst to his feet. The thing took off running, and Emmett realized perhaps he had miscalculated a little – it had been a bit farther away than he’d thought, but he soon found that that didn’t matter all that much. The thing was slow and had stumpy legs where his were long and quick, but in the end he didn’t even need to rely on his speed to take it down. It tripped. Planting his feet, Emmett skidded to a stop over it and -
Well, he took his first good look at it, and, truth be told, he still didn’t have a clue what it was. It was round and bright yellow, and it wore overalls and goggles and little black gloves on its tiny hands. Emmett didn’t usually hesitate, but he came to a full stop now, staring down at the creature. He thought of how his mother had told him not to eat strangely colored things for they could be poisonous, but letting it go wouldn’t satisfy the curiosity that now sparked in his mind, nor would it quell the annoyance that came with his empty belly. Nose still drawn in a snarl, he leaned down toward it and sniffed. “What are you?” he asked, his voice still rough with a growl, as though to still threaten that he could consume the thing at any time. “You do not belong to these woods.” Truth be told, he had no idea where this thing would belong, but he didn’t say that. Instead he just waited to hear it speak.