Black beast in a wolf pack

The unseen form of a panther crept through the snowy heather, under a pine tree, stalking a roe deer. Just then, he heard the howls and yelps of wolves coming from the bushes. Surely nothing could escape a wolf pack, not even a stag! He ran quickly through the gleaming snow, back to the safety of the bushes. But of course the wolves, with their amazing speed and stamina, caught him up with ease. The alpha male, a tower of strength, was nearly as big as the panther itself. Night passed.

The panther crept sneakily out at dawn when the wolves were asleep. He was absolutely starving as he hadn’t eaten in weeks. The winter sun shone as bright as fire over the pine forest, making his black fur gleam brown. As he crept out of the forest and padded across the trickling stream, he spotted a roe deer nibbling heather in the early morning light. The panther layer flat on the ground and came into a stalk. Even a sharp eyed golden eagle feasting on a hare didn’t spot the powerful beast. As fast as a bullet, he shot out of his hiding place and pounced on the deer’s back. He pinned the struggling animal to the ground and bit its neck. The deer was dead…

The wolves had awoken back in the forest, and with cries of joy, they came running up to the panting, exhausted cat. BANG!!! BANG!!! Gun shots came from a nearby farm. It wasn’t very far away. The starving black panther and the wolves had to leave the kill. They ran like the wind down the mountain, the farmer’s hounds running swiftly after them. The hounds were determined and barked and wailed. Some of the wolves at the back attacked the hounds viciously, badly wounding some. Lots of the hounds sped back. “Why are the wolves here again?” The farmer’s voice echoed across the mountains, making the wolves scatter with fear. They crossed the stream and into the now white forest.

The wolves and the panther had luckily escaped the hounds and were joyful together. But one of the determined dogs hadn’t lost the scent and came into the wood. The panther growled and bared his four centimetre long fangs. The beast chased the hound at a lightning bolt speed out through the forest. He was exhausted when he came up to the wolves.

A panther befriending a pack of wolves? Surely not. But this one had achieved that, incredibly. At last they had the time till the dead of winter to relish the illusive prey items: wild boar and deer.

This story is set in the Cairngorms mountains, where there used to be wolves, and maybe even panthers. And even today people claim to have seen panthers there and in other places in Scotland. Panthers the size of large dogs. No one is sure what they are, some people even think they are cougars that didn’t die out in these remote, hostile mountains.

I have submitted this story to the Radio 2 ‘500 word’ competition.