Jul 22, 2005

HR, 20

"The Pack's grown now. We've got seven of us. The General's established residence at Packard Park up to the north a few blocks. The Pack marks up the whole neighborhood: the General says its his territory. He offered protection to the native animals, in return for obedience to the Pack."

"The general doesn't eat human-made food. He just eats what he can hunt. The rest of the Pack aren't especially good hunters. Scavenging got real hard, though. So the Pack put the squeeze on the crows to bring us the best they could find. Even then, no one was happy with just what the crows brought. Then the General met Attila. Hunts for the thrill, that cat. Skilled, too. Killed enough to feed the whole Pack. As long as he gave them a few treats from time to time, the General let him roam this field as he pleased."

Harlequin recoiled in horror. Hubert offered up a conciliatory paw and explained himself.

"Mind you, I'm strictly a dog food and pre-cooked meat dog myself. Never harm an innocent creature, such as yourself. Sickens me what the Pack does."

"But aren't you a member of the Pack?" Harlequin asked.

"In name only, little chipmunk. The General mostly leaves me be, and I stay clear of him. Never like to get involved in his business. Usually means trouble."

Harlequin was confused. "Then why did you take such an interest in me, and why are you telling me all this?"

Hubert was a little slow in responding. He scratched behind his drape-like ears, apparently mulling the question.

"I don't know exactly," he said, finally. "Does go against my philosophy a bit. I suppose it was seeing that claw in your hand. Certainly, a strange sight. No beast I'd ever known had gotten the best of Atilla. Once I got to talking to you, I found you a good and trustworthy sort, and I just got to talking and the whole story came out. Now that I think about it, I should probably stop talking and get going. It's going to get bad here, once the General comes, or if Attila shows up again."

"Why? What's going to happen?" Harlequin spluttered.

"Why don't you know?" said Hubert a little dumbfoundedly. "Why don't you come with me, little buddy? Leave that claw with the crows and lay low for awhile. I know a good spot."

Hubert bobbed his head in a northern direction, away from the field and towards a busy street.

Harlequin was so mixed up trying to digest the story, and trying to figure out what had happened to Attila that he didn't know what to say for a moment.

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