The light was fading and sending long shadows under the towering pine trees.
A cool breeze wafted up the smell of earth and decomposing leaves. His old body was already shivering. But just as he was about to turn around and go home, he heard a deep, rumbling growl. He stood frozen.
William sat on the freshly-painted porch, staring out at the vast, lush woodland that butted his property.
It was far from town and quite isolated – just how he preferred it. The only company he really enjoyed was the animals. There was one in particular he was very fond of and looked forward to seeing.
A few years ago, he had stumbled upon an injured wolf pup.
The emaciated baby lay on a soggy bed of soaking grass, trembling and alone. It might have been “nature’s way”, but it still broke his heart. William carefully picked him up and took him home, having no idea the events he was setting in motion.
William had brought him home, set the leg, and let it heal before releasing him back into the forest.
But once in a while, “Lucky” would pop over for a social call. It was quiet, pleasant company and usually accompanied by dried meat snacks. However, the old man was about to get a very different visit.
Instead of the usual white fluff hiding behind some green foliage, William saw a streak of bright blue.
Was it a bird? He slowly hobbled over to inspect. Whatever it was, it moved fast and erratic. He felt a mix of excitement and nervousness. Was this a new friend or wild foe?
He was only a few meters away when the blue creature sprinted over a ridge.
William shrugged and turned away, but then he caught another blur of movement out of the corner of his eye. It stood on the ridge, staring at him. Something was off. He could feel it in his gut. He also hadn’t seen his wolf in ages.
He squinted. It seemed to be a dog. But the color and coat were all wrong.
How could a canine be that bright blue? But it wasn’t just the hue, it was how it behaved. It wasn’t like any normal wild creature he had come in contact with. It was almost as if it was asking him to follow.
It was as good a day as any for an adventure or solving a mystery. So William grabbed his walking stick and ventured into the forest, where the blue creature was waiting for him.
Each time he got closer, it would move further away and pace anxiously.
The sun was setting, and he was further in than any of his previous meanderings when it finally stopped running.
Only then could he get a good look. It wasn’t a dog. It was Lucky! However, instead of the pure white coat, the poor wolf was matted and covered in the same paint as the porch! But that wasn’t the only surprise.
Not that far away, he noticed a blotch of bright yellow. What was happening?
Was it another oddly colored wolf? Whatever it was, it was important to Lucky. William edged closer. The yellow lump turned over. What he saw next nearly gave him a heart attack. A little hand appeared and reached out to him.
It was a boy! William shook off the shock and rushed over.
The boy was clearly alone – just like William had discovered Lucky when he was just a baby. He picked the boy up in his old arms and slowly brought him back to his cabin. There were so many unanswered questions.
The ambulance was the first to arrive. The sheriff pulled in only minutes later with two very worried parents.
William listened in awe as the officer explained they had been searching for the four-year-old, Ben, for two days. Somehow, he had wandered off well past their search perimeter. But what about Lucky?
As the weeks passed and William saw the wolf come and go, he noticed the bright blue slowly fade away into the normal white.
There was no way a vet could get close, so all they could do was hope the paint wasn’t harmful. There was also a new, regular visitor to the cabin.
Ben wanted to see the wolf that had saved his life, so they sat together on the back porch, talking and snacking.
It turned out both of them loved animals. It was wonderful – like having a grandson. And, when Lucky showed up, it was clear they had a special bond as well.
It was unbelievable – a chain of events taking place over years. His young pup had found his own tiny “cub” in the same state and had rescued him.
As the months turned to years, and Ben become a regular guest, William decided to leave him the cabin. So, when he was long gone, Lucky would still have a friend.