Skyshaker shifted, slowly switching his tail. His head lifted and he inhaled deeply, sifting odors from the cavern air. Moonsinger tilted her head, silently asking what was wrong. He shook his, unable to determine why he was uneasy. The fire was warm, the sand was soft, his belly was full. Why did he feel he needed to be up and hunting?
Moonsinger began to tense up, reading his body language. She jerked, looking over at the opening to the nursery cave. Skyshaker caught his breath as a small weight settled on his front paws. He glanced down to see the two rescued kits. The older had brought his little brother in.
The pack leader bent his head to the little ones. The older stretched up and put his mouth to Skyshaker’s ear. “Watch my brother. Bad ones come. I need to gather our sisters.”
The two adults stared at each other. “Wait with your brother. I’ll go alert the others.” Skyshaker motioned for Moonsinger to protect the little males. She curled herself around them as Skyshaker moved silently to the nursery opening.
He took a deep breath and realized a new scent was on the breeze blowing into the cave through the opening on the outside wall. Bad ones indeed were coming. The air stank of the rogue he had killed his first day and the killers of the boys’ mother and pack. He slid across the room next to the opening and vibrated his throat in the inaudible signal he had trained the females to react to.
The females remembered their training well. Shadows moved without sound, plucking up their assigned kits and climbing the nets on the walls to the ledges above. The nets rose with them, leaving them out of reach of attackers. Skyshaker set himself ready, his fangs covered so they would not shine in the dark.