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(222) Raktavarṇaḥ

There are wolves around the cave, at the cave entrance. You have forgotten what wolves are like—you have forgotten how a wolf can drag a big dog off and eat it, how it happens in 1 1/2 minutes. The wolves go in one at a time—well, at first, anyway. There is an exploratory bite—a nip. Then another and another—quicker and quicker, deeper and deeper. Then, when you’ve fallen to the ground, the pack is on you, shaking you by the throat. I suppose the movement is practiced on their pups—they take them by the scruff of the neck, but now they have your neck…

There’s a baby in the cave—he has been laid down on brambles and twigs, he’s swaddled; it’s basic, primitive. The wolves have been at the entrance for a while, they look down at the baby—inquisitive. These could be domestic dogs—friendly, despite their size. Cute. The inquisitiveness is only preparation to kill, though—there will be more soon, they cross-cross in on the pack (they lope as they do so). The baby doesn’t cry, he’s peaceful—he has unnatural peacefulness, really. He looks up at the lead wolf at the cave’s lip—he gurgles…

It’s then that a lamb threads its way right past the lead wolf and down into the cave—it’s a female and it goes straight to the baby and offers it a primitive teat. There’s milk, apparently. The wolves aren’t much interested in the lamb but they come down now, down into the cave. Just the lead at first, he sniffs the air as he comes down. They come pretty close to the baby and the lamb but they never quite touch either. They’re just there, they sniff about—there are some small bones in the cave, perhaps from a mongoose. It’s not enough to interest the wolves. The baby moans a little and the alpha—he was at the cave entrance, I suppose—pricks up his ears…


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