The BALTO Reunion

Rambler's Top100
с февраля 2002


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Не смотрел(а), но посмотрю
Не смотрел(а), и не хочу

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Tricksy's new life
by Cyberwulfe

The gray female wolf/malamute/shepherd stood on the outskirts of the small Inuit village and howled. A pack of wolves had been moving through the woods for the past half-hour, and Tricksy had come out to pay her respects. Although she was domesticated and lived her life as a working dog for the natives, Tricksy was still part wolf and loved to howl. Her soft voice turned into a beautiful sound when she titled her head back and looked at the stars. Then a sealskin moccasin flew through the air and hit Tricksy on the head. She turned to see her owner, a large man dressed in seal and beaver skins," Shut up, you!" he shouted. Tricksy just obeyed and followed him back to their pit house. Tricksy liked their little dwelling; a hole dug in the ground with sticks bent over each other that were covered with various animal skins. It made a little dome, and their semi-subterranean home resembled a wolf's den. Tricksy had lived her entire life in the village, but she would have loved to run wild with the local wolf packs. Her genetically inherited instincts were often very helpful to her and the village, especially when winter came and food was more difficult to find. Tricksy could outdistance any of the other dogs. Her wider, wolf-like paws allowed her to move quickly and easily over deep snow. Her hearing and keen sense of smell could pick up a deer as far away as one and a half kilometers. She was everyone's favorite dog, although Tricksy would always walk off angry after being petted," I'm no dog! I'm a wolf!" Tricksy had two friends, both Siberian Huskies. The male, Flash, was black, and the leader of the sled team Tricksy was on. Flash was Tricksy's ex-flame. She thought him as nice at first, but then that time of year came along and all he had on his mind was mating. They broke up and now are just friends. She never lets him get too close, though. The other was a red and gray female named Raine. She was often very shy, but was a good worker and her strength allowed the team to pull out sleds that were frozen to the ground. Tricksy had known her since they were pups, and their friendship was stronger than steel. Tricksy often went to Raine for advice about things, and Raine was the one responsible for Tricksy's breakup with Flash. I'd give him something else to think about, Raine had said. The trio were always seen together (when they weren't inside or tied up). They were three in a row on the dogsled team and respected each other's mushing ability. Tricksy would never tell them that she went out by herself to live like a wolf sometimes. She just told them that she was going hunting alone and would be back in a few days. They accepted this and she trusted them not to go around telling everyone about it. She had great trust in her friends, but not as much with other dogs she didn't know very well. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The winter was harsh that year. Blizzards lasted for days at a time, and the small windows of opportunity were spent hunting for food. Tricksy was very excited. This meant more time in the woods doing the thing she loved most in the world, next to pulling sleds with her friends. She and her master huddled in their hut as the winds whipped at the sides of the fur-covered dome. He chewed on a piece of meat and would sometimes offer her a piece. The next day it died down a little. The wind still blew, but not with it's full fury, and the snow still fell. Tricksy barked excitedly and wagged her tail as her master reached for her hunting collar. With it he could keep her on a short leash and be able to release her quickly if she caught the slightest whiff of something. With her collar around her neck Tricksy pranced out of the dome house and waited for her master to get her leash as well as a few other hunting essentials. Flash was out and about and saw Tricksy sitting by her house. He decided to walk over and talk with her," Hey, Trix! What's up?" Tricksy leaned her head back to give Flash a good view of her collar," Well... I think you can figure it out for yourself, Flash." "Hmm... well it is a nice day for hunting," he said, looking up at the gray sky. A gust of wind ruffled the two dogs' fur. Tricksy's master came out of the dome with his spear, hunting knife, and Tricksy's leash. He clipped it to her collar then noticed Flash," Hey there, Flash. Why don't you two get together and make me some nice strong working dogs, huh? It's almost season for that, eh?" Tricksy got a witty look from Flash. She sighed, disgusted, and allowed herself to be led out of town. "See ya in a coupla' hours, Trix!" shouted Flash. If I never see you again it'll be too soon! thought Tricksy. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The wind was blowing again. Tricksy thought that she sniffed something on the wind, but decided it was nothing. She looked back at her master who was struggling in the deep snow. She pulled at her leash. He was slowing her down and she just wanted to run free. Then she smelled it: a nice big deer. She cocked her head and pricked her black ears straight up. She barked and pulled harder. "You got something, girl?" asked her master," Well... go get 'em!" He pulled the collar off from around her neck. Tricksy darted forward towards the source of the scent. After a few moments she saw it: a nice big healthy buck. But he had seen her too. He made a run for it. Tricksy barked again and chased after it. She caught up after a wild chase through the woods. Just as she was about to leap on its back the deer lashed out with its hind hooves and struck Tricksy in the chest. She went flying and slammed into a tree. She groaned and then slumped in the snow. Meanwhile her master was trying to follow her trail, but it had begun to blizzard again and he would have to head back. Crazy dog, he thought, But she's been out before. She'll be back. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tricksy raised her tired eyelids. The world was white and fuzzy. She ached all over. She tried to get up but was too sore to even sit up. Her chest hurt most of all and it had a bit of red showing on her fine gray coat. She groaned; it even hurt to breathe. After about half an hour laying beside the tree she decided to try to get up and make her way back home. She stumbled to her feet, but felt as useless as a newborn fawn. She stumbled and fell in the snow, a sharp pain ran through her entire body. She yelped out loud. She lay there for another half hour before trying again. This time she made a full twenty feet before collapsing. "This is pointless!" she gasped out loud. She wanted to stay where she was, but instinct told her to keep moving, possibly find some sort of shelter. She scanned as far ahead of her as she could, trying to see some possible refuge, but the wind was blowing badly and visibility was barely seven feet. Tricksy slowly stood up, wincing with pain, and began limping on an angle with the wind. If she were sailing she would have been "tacking"; constantly turning and moving against the wind on an angle. After another ten minutes she collapsed, too tired to even stand. The pain had drained her strength, and she had no breath left in her lungs. She wanted to lay there and let the snow cover her frozen body, but she was a fighter; she would stay alive somehow. She reached out with her foreleg and began to dig at the deep snow. She soon had her own little pit-house and burrowed deep into it to get away from the frigid wind. As her ancestors had learned: dig a hole to sleep in, then let the snow cover and insulate you from the cold. She felt slightly warmer as her own body heat radiated inside the small hole. Within minutes there was nothing but a small mound of snow. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Balto, the wolf/dog of Nome, Alaska, was on a walk in the woods. He loved being alone in the woods. His wolf heritage often drew him away from his mate and two pups, but his kind and gentle heart always brought him home again. He was once the item of ridicule, teased by the other dogs and rejected by the humans. But then the children became sick and the medicine sled was lost in an arctic storm. Balto had braved the cold to find and rescue the sled team. Now he was the town hero, loved by everyone, and was a proud father. Balto was exploring a part of the woods that he had never seen before. It was far from Nome and covered with tall pine trees. He often sniffed around and watched his back. He had been ambushed by a grizzly bear during his quest to rescue the team, and he wasn't about to take any chances. He picked up the scent of something weird. He followed the smell to a small pile of snow. Balto began to dig. His paw struck something warm and fuzzy. It was Tricksy. "Oh my gosh!" gasped Balto as he uncovered the unconscious wolf/dog. He grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and began to drag her to a hideaway that he knew of: an old grizzly bear cave that was about a dozen miles from Nome. It took over an hour to get there, but once inside Balto laid Tricksy down on the floor. She moaned and moved her legs. Balto could see that she was hurt, the small red stain on her chest a testimony to some unknown accident... or attack! Tricksy awoke a few minutes later. Balto had been laying against her to keep her warm, and when she got up, surprised at her new surroundings, she startled Balto as well. "Where am I?" she stammered," Who are you?" Balto smiled one of his gentle smiles," My name's Balto, and I found you out in the woods. I thought you were injured and cold so I brought you here." "Well... thank you. But I really must find my way home," insisted Tricksy. She tried to turn and leave but the pain returned and she collapsed. "Woah there, you'd better not move until you're well enough. You'll have to stay here until I can take care of you," said Balto. "You can take care of me?" asked Tricksy. "Sure," replied Balto," I did it for my wolf pal, Kemo. I found him frozen and half dead. Then I took him to this cave and brought him food and stuff." "A wolf? Are you a wolf too?" asked Tricksy, her eyes widened with excited anticipation. "Well... yes and no," replied Balto, smiling again," I'm part husky." Tricksy's ears drooped," Oh. I was kinda hoping..." her voice trailed off. "I'd better find us some food," said Balto, noticing her disappointment. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Balto returned after a few hours. He had several small dead animals hanging from his jaws. He dropped three out of the five kills in front of Tricksy and took two for himself," You can have the bigger share," said Balto. "Thanks," smiled Tricksy. She took a rabbit in her mouth and hungrily bit its head off. The two wolf/dog hybrids ate all the food and then decided to sleep. It was getting dark outside and the wind was still blowing. Tricksy snuggled against Balto and smiled. "This is great, I feel like a real wolf," she said. "You mean you're not a wolf?" asked Balto, again surprised," But I thought..." "No, I was hoping that you were the wolf. My mother was wolf and my father was a malamute/shepherd mix. So I guess I'm a hybrid of a hybrid? My biggest dream is to live with a wolf pack. If only I could. I'd give anything," sighed Tricksy. "Well I hope you someday get your wish," said Balto. The two closed their eyes and soon fell asleep. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Their life together went on for three days. Balto would go out and hunt while Tricksy ate and tried to do small exercises to get her strength back and ease her sore legs. Balto was very helpful, either encouraging her or helping her physically. She could soon walk around the cave with less of a limp, and she had gotten her strength back. "I guess nothing's broken," said Balto," Otherwise you wouldn't have healed so quickly." "I guess it's the wolf in me," giggled Tricksy," I'm a fast healer." Balto had decided that she was strong enough to take her back to Nome. But he hadn't told her that he lived in a town with men. "I'm going to take you to my home now," he said. "I thought this was your home?" said Tricksy, confused. "No. I live in a town, not too far from here. And I have a..." "I can't believe it! I thought that you were wild. That we could live together like this; like wolves!" "But I'm..." "I know. Part wolf," interrupted Tricksy. Balto just sighed," Do you want to come home with me or what?" "Sure. Anything you want," she smiled at him. Balto didn't like the way she did it; so seductive. He gulped and turned towards the entrance to the cave," We'd better go. It's a bit of a trip." "I think I'm ready. But you'll help me if I get tired, right?" "Of course," replied Balto. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It took a few hours but they made it to Nome, safe and sound. The first stop was Balto old home, a wooden fishing trawler that had been beached after ripping its hull open on a large rock near shore. Balto had lived there with his best friend Boris, the Russian Snow Goose. Boris always had something negative to say and often ruined everyone's good day, but he was still a trustworthy person. Boris had tried to fly south that year and Balto hoped to see him next spring, but he knew that his friend would get homesick or worry about Balto and return ahead of time. The trawler was vacant of anyone, even Balto's polar bear pals, Muk and Luk, were gone. They had been accepted into a nearby group of polar bears and lived with them, but they did visit frequently. Balto climbed aboard the familiar deck and organized his things for Tricksy's use: a thick blanket, also referred to as a rug, a water bowl, and an old bone. "These are my things, but you can use them," said Balto. "This is your home?" asked Tricksy, looking around the cabin," Cool!" "Well... actually I live in town. But this was my old home. You can stay here until I get you properly settled up in town." "Okay, sounds cool!" "I'll be back tomorrow after the race," said Balto as he turned to leave. "Race?" asked Tricksy. "Yes. In memory of the race that ran to find the fastest dog for the sled team that took the medicine from another town back here. I won it but after a nasty trick by Steele, an old enemy of mine, I was rejected. We're buddies now, but he still has a nasty streak in him. "Oh, I see," said Tricksy. She got a bad feeling about this Steele character, and distrusted him. Anyone who would pull a nasty trick to ruin such a good chance as to pull a sled for such an important cause was someone to be wary of. Tricksy plotted her first meeting with Steele. Perhaps she would hit him with a snowball or something. "Good night," said Balto. Tricksy hummed "good night," still deep in thought. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The next day Tricksy woke up. It took her a few moments to remember everything but once she did she stretched and sat on the edge of the boat's deck. Not far away was the town: Nome. Balto lived there. She wanted to go and see him, but wasn't sure where to look. She was also nervous about meeting other strange dogs; she didn't trust anyone, except Balto. She decided to go and try to find him anyway. It took a few minutes to get inside Nome, but once there she made her way along the streets until she found a large group of people. She wasn't looking where she was going and bumped into a husky dog. "Hey," she said," Be careful!" "Sorry," apologized Tricksy. "Hey, are you new here? Lemme show you around," said the husky. "Leave me alone!" barked Tricksy. She ran down the street away from the husky. Tricksy was afraid. She didn't know where to go, and all of these strange people and dogs were making her more nervous. Then she picked up a familiar scent. It was Balto's. She followed it and saw him lined up with several other dogs. The race was about to begin. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "On your mark... get set... GO!" the gun was fired. The group of dogs, twelve in all, shot from the starting line like the bullet from the starting pistol. Balto soon took the lead and rounded the first corner. He made his way along the rows of ships that were out of the water for the winter and prepared to make another turn that would take him around the end of a building and onto the home stretch. As he rounded the corner he spotted a gray blur jump in front of her. It was Tricksy! "Come on Balto!" she shouted," I can beat you!" "Tricksy! Get out of the race!" he shouted. She just laughed and pulled ahead. Balto rolled his eyes and picked up speed himself. They were neck and neck until about forty feet from the finish line. Tricksy would have to use her tricky brain to win this one," Look!" she shouted," It's gonna fall out that window!" Balto took the bait. When he looked she flashed in front of him. He stumbled a bit but caught himself. She was too far ahead by then. She crossed the finish line, followed closely by Balto. The rest of the dogs came just seconds after. "What were you doing?" asked Balto as he met Tricksy. "I won the race. Does that make me the fastest dog?" she smiled. "No, it makes you the sneakiest dog. Besides, you need to be registered by your owner. Mine's over there," said Balto. He nodded towards a man with his young daughter. "I don't care. I still beat you!" "With a dirty trick!" said Balto. "Hey, tricks are my thing. That explains my name," Tricksy's smile stretched ear to ear. She pranced about with her tail in the air as the puzzled crowd wondered who the new dog was. Since she was conversing with Balto they weren't afraid. At least she wasn't a wild dog. Some of the other dogs approached Balto and Tricksy. Tricksy stopped prancing and immediately became nervous. She didn't trust the four strangers. "Oh, hi guys," said Balto. "Hey 'dere Balto. Who's your friend?" asked a fat brown chow who was named Nikki. "Yeah?" said a skinny gray dog; Star. "This is Tricksy. I found her buried in snow while I was away," replied Balto, then he changed the subject for a moment," See. I told you I'd be back in time!" "Yeah well... you didn't need to beat the pants of us again!" said a tan husky who had a brown patch over his left eye; he was named Kaltag. "I should have won, but I tripped over Star at the start!" grumbled a large malamute. Balto smiled. Steele was trying to maintain his sense of pride," Well at least you made the top five, dogs." "I'm the dog who won," said Tricksy, annoyed that she was being denied her victory. "You need to run the whole race there, eh!" said the malamute, puffing out his chest and trying to intimidate Tricksy. "You must be Steele. I'd recognize arrogance anywhere!" replied Tricksy. "What have you told her about me, Balto?" asked Steele, trying to act hurt from Tricksy's comment. "I just told her about the nasty tricks you used to play, Steele," said Balto. "Ah, so the word still gets around. I remain the nastiest dog in Alaska." You wish! thought Tricksy. She'd get Steele, one way or another. Then a rust and cream coloured husky approached Balto. Oh brother, thought Tricksy, Who's this? One of Balto's female admirers? "Good race Balto," said the husky. She licked Balto's face. He nuzzled her neck. Tricksy's jaw nearly dropped to the ground. "You mean you're... you're...?" she gasped, trying to say the word that she couldn't believe. "Yes, and I also have two children," replied Balto. Tricksy was breathing faster now, or so it seemed. She was trying to hide her sobs," Oh... my legs are starting to hurt again. I'm... going back to... the boat. Goodbye." Tricksy ran off, her head hung low. Jenna moved right in front of Balto's face," The boat?!" "Uh... yeah," said Balto, smiling. Jenna's face went red," You've been gone for a while, Balto. I'd wondered where you'd gone off to. Found a young dog have you? I may have expected something like this from Steele, but not you!" "Jenna, it's not like that!" started Balto. "I'm going home. See you in the doghouse... sweetie!" Jenna ran off. Balto took a few steps but decided to let her simmer down and talk to her later. The other dogs were talking with each other so Balto decided to wander around and think of a way to explain the past four days to Jenna. He looked around at the other dogs," See you guys later." "Bye!" they said. Except Kaltag... he was missing. He must have gone home, thought Balto. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tricksy made a beeline for the small mountains behind Nome. Her latest crush had been crushed. She was lost, far from home, and surrounded by strange dogs, except Balto; but he was already married. She had nothing. No home. No friends. Nothing. She found a sharp edge that dropped off to about two-hundred feet. A thought crossed her mind. Why not jump and end it all. No one would miss a small, gray, attractive-looking wolf/dog. She stood at the edge, peering down at the ground so far below. The treeline was a few feet from the edge so with luck her body would fall among the branches and get caught. They would never find her. She crouched down, ready to jump. She flexed her hind legs. "Don't do it!" came a familiar voice from behind her. She turned to see Kaltag standing just a few feet behind her. "Stop right there!" she said," Or I'll jump!" "I don't think that a pretty dog like you would want to ruin such a perfect body," said Kaltag. "Who me? No, nobody likes me. I'm just a stupid mutt." "Do you know what those trees down there would do to that fine coat of yours?" asked Kaltag, slowly approaching the edge and peering down. He winced. Tricksy shook her head and looked down for the second time. "Well... first the top branches would rip through you, killing you instantly. But then by the time you fell through and landed in a bloody mass on the ground, those branches and pine needles would tear you apart. They wouldn't even be able to recognize you." Tricksy gulped. "Yeah, I'd gulp too. I'd hate to end my life like that." Tricksy turned to look at him," I don't care! Now get back to where you were!" Kaltag slowly back stepped to where he had first spoken and watched for her next move. "Now, don't move and let me get this over with," she said. She took a deep breath and... "I can't just sit here!" said Kaltag. "What the heck do you mean?" shouted Tricksy. "I mean... how do you think I'd feel if I just allowed myself to let you jump. I'd feel rotten." Tricksy just faced the abyss again," I don't care what you'd think. Now shut up, I'm gonna jump." "No you're not," said Kaltag. "Excuse me?" said Tricksy, she tuned to face him again. "Well... you would have just jumped instead of admiring the view." "Augh! You are so annoying. You're crazy too!" Kaltag laughed to himself," Well, you can say that about me, but I'm not the one about to jump to my death." Tricksy looked at him, then down at the ground, then over the edge. She rethought her whole idea. Maybe she could find her way home and get back together with her friends, even Flash. "Well... maybe I'll just leave and go back home then," she said. She turned to leave but a that moment the snow at the edge crumbled away and fell. All Kaltag could hear was Tricksy's scream. She was hanging over the edge by her forelegs . "Help me! It hurts!" she screamed, the pain growing in her legs. She couldn't hold on for much longer. "I'll grab you and pull you up!" shouted Kaltag. He ran up and grabbed Tricksy by the scruff of her neck and pulled with all of his sled-pulling strength. He groaned and strained. She was almost to the top. Then with one final pull the two of them toppled away from the edge. Tricksy landed on top of Kaltag. She looked into his eyes and smiled. They were both out of breath, and Tricksy was scared stiff. She gripped Kaltag's body. She felt safe with him; he had saved her life. She blushed slightly and slid off of him. The two stared into each other's eyes and immediately something struck the both of them. Her female instincts took over and the rubbed her head against Kaltag's neck. He rubbed the top of her head and soon they were nuzzling and licking each other. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Balto was sweating (or he would have been if dogs could sweat!). Jenna still wouldn't believe his story. Tricksy had disappeared and that meant that his only witness was gone. Just as he was about to lose hope in rekindling his relationship he saw Kaltag and Tricksy walking down the street. "Look! There she is, Jenna," said Balto," She'll tell you." Balto ran up to the pair and panted," Tricksy! I need you to tell Jenna that I found you injured and helped you. She thinks that we were trying to make puppies or something!" "Of course," she replied. Tricksy approached Jenna and began chatting with her. Meanwhile, Balto talked to Kaltag," Where was she?" he asked. "I found her about to jump off a cliff," replied Kaltag. "What!" gasped Balto. "Well, after I saved her and she nearly licked my face off, she told me that she was lost and that she had no friends here. She didn't seem to have the will to live so she wanted to end it all. Luckily I followed her and stopped her from falling." "Well I'm glad you did. She's just patching up things between Jenna and I." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "And then he tried to take advantage of me! Ooh! He makes me so mad. I can't believe I actually liked that guy!" said Tricksy, up to her old games again. She decided to tell Jenna a false story and get her mad at Balto; a sort of revenge for breaking her heart. She promised herself to tell Jenna the truth later... perhaps. "Argh! That slimy rat!" growled Jenna. She stormed over to where Balto and Kaltag were talking. "So, did she tell you everything?" asked Balto. "Yeah," replied Jenna," She told me everything. You tramp!" With that she slapped Balto across the face and stormed towards their house again. "What did you tell her?" shouted Balto. "I told her that you tried to take advantage of me. Just a little gag, I didn't mean any real harm," replied Tricksy. "Up to your tricks again, eh? Well now I'll never get in Jenna's good graces." Balto drooped his ears. Tricksy flicked him with her tail," Hey, brighten up. I'll tell her the truth then she'll be all over you again." "Well... thanks. I guess." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kaltag and Tricksy were walking near the edge of town. They had their tails touching each other and they looked into each others eyes. Kaltag shared stories about his career so far as a sled dog, and Tricksy shared hers as well. They found that they had a lot in common. For the next week they were inseparable. Kaltag and Tricksy were always seen together, whether walking down the street or just hanging out with the other dogs. They didn't mind kissing in front of the others. They loved each other and didn't care who knew it. Steele, who couldn't get a girlfriend if his life depended on it, was very jealous. When he first set eyes on Tricksy he got a feeling in the pit of his stomach, a feeling that he got a long time ago the first time he met Jenna. He knew that she was the dog for him, but now she was in love with Kaltag. He stuck his tongue out in disgust whenever they snuggled, and winced in imaginary pain when they kissed. Steele imagined what it would be like. He had never gotten that before, most likely because he was so downright mean to everyone. He would need to really shape up before anyone would like him. But Steele let this little fire burn itself out, and by the end of the week he had totally lost interest in Tricksy. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The next day there was a crowd of people around the butcher's store. The butcher had caught Tricksy stealing meat from his back room and he had grabbed her (after a fight that resulted in a few bites) and locked her up. After the doctor fixed up his wounds he checked Tricksy for rabies and other dangerous diseases. She was clean. Then the problem arose as what to do with Tricksy. They decided to let her go for now; but any more trouble would result in her being run out of town. Kaltag pleaded with Tricksy, asking her to be good, but she couldn't resist her sly nature. A week went by before another piece of meat was missing from the butcher's meat locker. He saw paw prints in the snow that lead to the woods. They were large and wolf-like. He immediately called the people together and had Tricksy run out of town. Kaltag was heartbroken. He ran out to Balto's boat to see Tricksy. She was sobbing, dampening Balto's rug. Ice formed on her face where the tears had soaked her fur. He walked up and licked her nose. "I... told you that I... couldn't change," she said between sobs," It's just the way I am." "But I don't believe you did it! I just can't!" said Kaltag. Tricksy seemed to have something else on her mind, but allowed Kaltag to caress her. She was quiet, the sobbing had subsided for now. She was calming. Kaltag thought that he wouldn't mind living out here, just to be with her. But there must have been something else behind the missing meat. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tricksy met the large gray figure at the edge of the woods. He had spoken with her a few days earlier, and when he stole the meat from the butcher he was sure to get Tricksy run out of town. "Now you can join our pack," he said," But you must do one more thing." "What is it? I'll do anything to join the pack!" said Tricksy. "You must lead that dog that you call a boyfriend to where the trees separate and make a large open space. There the pack will attack and kill him." Tricksy gasped," No! I couldn't! I love Kaltag." "You must prove that you are willing to do everything the pack orders you to do. If not you are of no use to us," the gray figure said sternly. He stood in front of her for a few moments, awaiting a decision, then left her alone with her thoughts. If that's what it would take, then so be it! thought Tricksy. No! I love Kaltag! I can't do it! But the wolf in her was trying to take over her gentle dog-like nature and force her to harm the one that she loved. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kaltag grinned as Tricksy walked up to him. He nuzzled her and she smiled up at him. "I've got a nice spot where we can go tonight," she said. "Sure, where is it?" asked Kaltag. "Do you know about the place where the trees separate and there is a large open spot?" "Yep, I've been there many times." "Well I think that that would be a nice place to sleep overnight. You know... get away from town for a while," suggested Tricksy. She added to her scheme by leaning lovingly against Kaltag. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That evening Tricksy and Kaltag walked through the woods. The sun was just disappearing behind the horizon and the sky was a brilliant orange. The few clouds in the sky were lined with red. Tricksy was quiet, still thinking about the price she was about to pay for her own personal happiness. As soon as the pack killed Kaltag she would be allowed into the pack and begin her life as a wolf. The clearing opened up only a few meters away. Tricksy stopped and looked at Kaltag, her green eyes hiding the truth," Kaltag?" "Yes, Tricksy?" said Kaltag. He stopped as well and looked at her most beautiful feature: her eyes. "Do you love me, for real?" "Of course. Why would you ask?" "I just..." Then there was a growl from in front of them. They looked ahead and saw a pair of bright yellow eyes shining in the twilight, surrounded by a dark shadow. Those were joined by another pair, and another. Soon there were eight pairs of eyes, each one seemed to emit a threatening growl. "Kaltag!" shouted Tricksy. "Look out!" cried Kaltag," These are feral wolves!" He turned to run, hoping that Tricksy would follow, but instead she tripped him and grabbed him with her teeth. The wolves approached, led by the gray one," Good job, Tricksy. You've earned yourself a place in the pack." "What!" gasped Kaltag," I loved you and you betrayed me!" "I'm sorry Kaltag, but I..." Kaltag kicked at her and she fell to the ground. He then got up and ran as fast as he could. The wolves took off after him. Tricksy sadly watched as they all disappeared, except for the gray wolf who had stayed behind. "I am proud of you. You have showed that you are more wolf than dog. Too bad your boyfriend won't be able to say goodbye, but we'll bring his head back for you to chew on," he said. Tricksy flew into a rage," No! I haven't earned anything here, just shame! I was selfish, and just murdered my best friend! It's your fault!" She leapt at the gray wolf, but he dodged out of the way and struck her with his head," I knew you were too weak-hearted to join the pack. You still have feelings for him don't you?" "Yes! And as soon as I kill you I'm going to go and help him escape." "Well... you're welcome to try!" The fight began. Tricksy used her speed and agility against his size, strength, and bulk. For every damaging bite or scratch that she received he got three. She would dart towards him, bite, then quickly retreat to a safe distance. They were both bleeding from cuts and Tricksy was panting. She didn't have the gray wolf's endurance which was a deciding factor in this fight. He jumped at her, his full body weight slamming her to the snowy ground. He tried to get his jaws around her throat, but she quickly rolled over and ended up on top of him. She went for the kill. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kaltag managed to escape to Nome. Lucky for him that long distance running was what he did most often. The wolves gave up and returned to the clearing. All they found was the blood stained ground and the body of their leader. The gray Alpha wolf was dead. Tricksy had disappeared and they could find no trace of her. They argued and fought over who would be the new leader. It would be another long night in the wolf pack. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tricksy cautiously moved towards Nome. She reached Balto's boat and snuggled in the warm rug. She had to tell Kaltag the truth, otherwise he would never trust her again. That would leave her friendless, and friends were what she needed now most of all. A shuffling sound startled her. She pricked up her ears and then looked over the edge of the boat. There was Balto. She gasped and ducked away from the edge, not wanting to be seen. She looked for a place to hide, but it was too late. Balto walked up the piece of wood that served as a boarding ramp and saw her, scared stiff. "Tricksy! What are you doing here?" he asked. He was very surprised to see her. "Is Kaltag here? Is he okay" was what she really wanted to know. She had hoped that he had made it back safely. "Yes. He was a little spooked but he told us everything." "Everything?" asked Tricksy. She sighed," I guess it's time for another trip up the mountain." Balto smiled. He realized that she was a kind and loving soul, locked in a wolf's body with her conflicting wolf instinct. She had no real control over her instincts and therefore could not make good decisions regarding her heritage, but Balto knew how to get back on the path and he would help her. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The next day Tricksy asked Balto to bring Kaltag that evening to talk with her. Balto agreed, and as the sun set he and Kaltag walked out to the old trawler. Tricksy saw them coming but didn't hide this time. Instead she leapt over the side of the ship and trotted over to the two other dogs. Kaltag looked nervous and a bit worried, but stepped forward and once again stared into the pair of bright green fireballs," You wanted to talk to me?" he asked. "Yes, Kaltag," she began," I'm really really really sorry for what happened last night. The offer was too tempting. You see, they said that in order to prove myself that I would have to lead you here to be killed. That way they would know that I was trustworthy and would obey the packs' demands. I was selfish, and never really thought about what would happen to me if you died. I love you!" Kaltag blinked, small tears appeared on the edges of his eyes," I love you too, Trix. But I don't know if I can forgive you for that. You tried to murder me!" "I know! I can't stop thinking about it! But I'm really sorry. I even killed that awful wolf who manipulated me. I'm getting help, to learn how to suppress my lupine urges," continued Tricksy. "I don't know. How can I trust you?" "You didn't trust me before," said Balto," Then you changed. If you can change then maybe it's possible for others. Heck, maybe even Steele." "Maybe," said Tricksy. The trio laughed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The next day Balto, Kaltag, and Tricksy walked down Front Street; in full view of everyone. There was some whispering," What's she doing back here?!" but they said nothing. The butcher caught them and shouted out, but he was shut up up by the carpenter. Apparently he saw that she was still in the good graces of the other dogs, and with Balto around he knew that she would stay out of mischief. "So, no more dirty tricks?" asked Tricksy, smiling weakly. "Yes. That's the first thing," said Balto. Kaltag rubbed Tricksy's neck," I'll watch after her, Balto," he said. Tricksy knew that she was still part wolf and would always be one. Her strong feelings about her half-wolf heritage would remain no matter how hard she tried to behave. She wouldn't be Tricksy without the "tricks". She hoped that Kaltag would help her, he was so kind. The two dogs smiled at each other. They were happily in love again. Balto was glad for them. After seeing Nikki heartbroken at the loss of his four day crush on another chow named Minski, the last thing Balto wanted was seeing Kaltag upset. Then there was Star, who had a crush on Dixie. Everyone knew about it, possibly Dixie as well, but Star was too shy to tell her how he felt. Balto felt that he spent half of his time as matchmaker for the other dogs in Nome. At least the pair in front of him had come together on their own and found a love that is as rare as flowers in midwinter.



Based on the movie "Balto" by Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment.

Characters copyrighted to Universal & Amblin (except Balto who really existed!). Tricksy and Raine are copyrighted to Yvie Schroeder, and Minski is copyrighted to Bankrose. Kemo and Flash are copyrighted to Cyberwulfe. Special thanks to Yvie Schroeder for sending me the picture of Tricksy and requesting that I write a story about her and Kaltag falling in love. I hope it meets your expectations, Yvie! Story written by Cyberwulfe Story idea by Yvie Schroeder & Cyberwulfe © Cyberwulfe (CW Inc.) ©Yvie Schroeder

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