He was loping at the edge of the Presidio Golf Course when he caught a familiar smell on the breeze. At first he thought it was prey, but he had no interest in prey, having eaten a rather large hare not half an hour before.
She was maybe half a mile away as humans measure distance, but he could hear her and the other one very clearly.
However, it was her scent that attracted him. Not prey but something else, but not wolf, so not safe. Human, so not safe. But then why did he want to get closer?
It was after midnight so not many humans were on the street, either walking or driving. One or two appeared at a distance, but if they noticed him, they did nothing about it. He felt confident that the humans farther away were no threat.
She was no threat but she was human. Part of him identified her scent as mate, but she was human and he was wolf, so she could not be mate.
Nevertheless, he trotted at roughly eight miles an hour south on 6th Avenue, the Presidio at his back, approaching California Street.
He encountered some traffic crossing in front of him at California Street, so he hid in the shadow of a doorway until the light changed. Then he ran across the street, startling those few drivers waiting to proceed east and west.
Finally he was within a block of them, of her. He might as well have been standing right next to them. Even the softest sounds the two women made were amplified in his ears. He could see exquisitely by the street lights. He studied her every detail, especially the enlargement around her middle.
It didn’t make sense, but her every sight, sound, and smell cried out that they were mated.
“You really need to get inside now, Gwen. This night air can’t be good for your health.” Maleva spoke with a slight mid-European accent, which was a natural consequence of having emigrated to the United States as a child.
“Mom, I’m pregnant, not dying. Why don’t you come inside for a while. We could keep talking. I’ll make some tea.”
“No, dear. Have to get up early for class, and it’s already gotten very late. Thank you for the wonderful time. I really enjoyed the play. A shame Larry couldn’t join us.”
“I know, Mom. He has to work a few nights each month and this is one of them.” Gwen looked up at the full moon wistfully.
“Well, give him my love when he gets home.” Maleva hugged her daughter and kissed her on the cheek. Then pulling away, she placed her hand on Gwen’s tummy. “And give this one my love, too. Can’t wait to spoil her.”
“I told you, Mom. We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter. I’ll spoil a grandson or granddaughter.” She was playfully chuckling.
Maleva kissed Gwen’s cheek again, then walked around the car and opened the driver’s side door. “See you next week, darling.”
“Be safe driving back home.”
“Always, darling. Always.” Maleva waved at her daughter with dramatic flourish, then got in and started her car. With a final wave, she hastily pulled out onto 6th Avenue, all too casually navigated a u-turn, and then headed south toward Geary.
Gwen looked in the opposite direction and saw him emerging from the shadows.
“You can come here now. She’s gone.”
With remarkable obedience for a full-grown male gray wolf, he trotted forward. She held out her hand and he buried his nose in it.
“I know you have to go now. Just come back to me safe, darling.”
The wolf whined, stepped back for one last look, one last inhalation of her scent being this close to her, turned, and headed back toward the Presidio.
Gwen already had her keys out and turned to the front door of their flat. She opened the locks, entered and flipped on the lights. Closing and locking the door behind her, she walked into the middle of the living room. Looking down and rubbing her pregnant belly, she murmured, “Come back to both of us, Larry…to me, and the child who will soon be ours.”
When I read that story, I expected there to be some sort of connection between the wolf and the woman besides predator and prey. There wasn’t, so I wrote this story creating that linkage.
Oh, I named my characters after some of those who originally appeared in the 1941 film The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr as Larry Talbot/The Wolf Man.
I haven’t gone crazy. To the best of my knowledge, there are no wolves roaming the streets of San Francisco, but there are a non-trivial number of coyotes, so what I’m suggesting is not entirely beyond possibility.
Finally, I got my information about the senses and average speed of a wolf from WolfCountry.net.
Let me know what you think.