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"Scent of a Child" -- This Week's Flash Fiction

This week's Fiction Writers Group flash fiction prompt is:

Here is my story (yes, I know it has a bad anachronism):

Scent of a Child

The scent drew me in. That delicious scent in the air—clearly human, but sweeter and somehow fresher than the humans I had encountered before. I admit I thought about how proud I would be when I dragged this prize back to our den. I would eat my fill first, of course. I needed to build my strength if I was ever going to challenge Gwurlf for Alpha of our pack.

Daylight was fading as I stalked the prey through the brush alongside the human path, tongue licking the slobber from my jaws. That is when I first saw the flickering glow. In the gathering dark, I could track this prey by its spoor, and my sight would be unaffected. But fire changed everything. Our lore told us how humans had used fire to keep us at bay since they invaded our lands uncounted generations ago.

The flickering glow stopped me in my tracks. I started to turn away, which would have surprised none of my den mates. But, thinking of how I would have to grovel before Gwurlf stiffened my resolve. That, and the enticing, tempting scent in the air, so I crept close enough to plan my attack. What I saw, though, again brought me up short.

Curled up in the middle of the path and sound asleep lay a human pup. The fire she had was not one of flaming tree branches that could burn fir and flesh. Instead, it was flickering inside a clear box, offering light but no threat. A few steps brought me to her, but her scent, which had inflamed my hunger before, instead calmed me and drove all thoughts of Gwurlf and the pack from my mind. When she opened her eyes and reached out to scratch behind my ears, the world changed forever.

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