Warning: This story is rated mature for later chapters.
Note: Welcome to my story. I hope you like it and please leave me a review saying what you think. (I have now edited this chapter for the second time. Hope this is better)
It was the middle of winter and the threat of snow had finally stopped being a threat and was real. Overnight the village had experienced an unusually large amount of snow fall and the road which lead out into the country side and off to the next major town was unusable. They were stuck within their little village and no one knew for how long.
Emma had just turned 13 and this was the first time in her life that she had seen so much snow in England. Of course it had snowed in previous years, but back then it had been more of a light sprinkle then a full-scale covering. Now the land around her house was a blanket of white, masking any signs of the small country track which lead down the hill and towards the high street.
There came a tapping at her bedroom door, before it slowly started to creep open. Her mother poked her head around the door frame and smiled brightly at Emma who was still sitting within her bed, staring out of the window at the scene outside.
"You know you could go out and enjoy the snow instead of just waiting for it to melt." Her mother's voice was light and airy as usual, her green eyes shining brightly as she pushed the door fully open and walked into the room. Emma forced herself to smile as she looked at her mother. She may have lost her husband and was struggling to look after herself and her daughter on a teacher's wage, but she never let any of it get her down.
Sitting down on the edge of Emma's bed, her mother leaned forwards slightly in order to brush a strand of dark brown hair out of Emma's face and tuck it neatly behind her ear.
"How about we make a deal Emma? You go down to the shop for me before everything runs out and I'll try to make you whatever you want for lunch. How's about that?" Striking deals was her mother's way for getting things done around the house. It was a tactic she used while she was working and couldn't seem to shake the habit when she got home. Emma wanted to tell her mother this, but things always seemed to work out better when a deal was made. It normally resulted in something good for the pair of them.
"What do you want mum?" Emma asked as she threw her legs over the side of her bed in order to be sat next to her mother. The woman stared up at the ceiling for a few seconds, an over-the-top thinking expression plastered to her face before she turned her head towards Emma and smiled.
"You get dressed and I'll make a list, okay?" She once again tucked some of Emma's hair behind her ear before getting up from the bed. "You really should style your hair out of your face, you have nothing to hide darling." With that, Emma's mother wandered out of the room and down the hall, humming to herself as she went.
Emma couldn't help the fake growl she made as her mother left, ruffling up her hair in protest to what her mother had said. She didn't like how she looked and so kept as much of her hair in her face as possible in order to hide it. Getting up from her bed, Emma dug around in her wardrobe for a little while, before dragging herself and her clothes into the bathroom to get ready.
"Do you think you can remember all of that Emma?" Her mother was sitting across from Emma at the kitchen table, looking over at her as she stood by the back door. She had already given Emma a list of everything they needed if Emma could get it, but she felt she had to go over it once more to make sure that she didn't forget.
"Yes mum. I've got the list remember." Emma sighed slightly as she turned the handle to the back door and pushed the door open. The cold wind from outside blew in straight away and sent a chill down her spine. She was wrapped in the thickest coat she owned, as well as a couple of layers of tops and jumpers. Her mother had then wrapped one of her own scarf around Emma's neck and forced a pair of gloves onto her hands. 'Just in case' she had said.
"I'm just making sure. Don't want you having to make two trips just because you forget something. Stick to the roads and don't go wandering off into the snow. I don't want to come looking for you because you got lost. Okay?" Her mother called all of this after Emma as she walked out of the door and pushed it closed with her foot.
Looking around herself, Emma sighed low before wrapping her arms around her middle and walking down the steps which lead into her back garden. The garden was in fact a large open field which appeared to disappear off into the distance. Normally, there was a low white fence which ran around the perimeter of their land, however it had disappeared under the layer of snow.
Heading around the side of the house, Emma stopped for a moment to look down on the village below. Their house sat upon a hill to the west of the village and on clear days they were able to see for miles around the countryside. But today everything looked the same. All of the fields were white and merged into one, every rooftop had a blanket of snow and small mounds of snow were the only evidence of cars in the village.
Taking large steps, Emma tried to make her foot-steps as visible as possible in the snow, knowing they would be her only sign back up to the house again. She had her fingers crossed that no more snow would fall between her leaving the house and her returning, as it would easily remove any signs of herself. Trekking down the hill took a lot longer then Emma was expecting, seeing as she lost her way a number of times and found herself heading in the direction of a open field instead of following the road which she was so used to walking down.
The village was completely quiet when Emma finally reached it, half an hour after setting off from her house. She was shaking from the cold and snow had managed to work it's way into her Wellington boots, making her socks damp and her toes freezing. The roads running through the village were easier to follow, as people had already made their way from their homes to the shop and so had dug pathways with their feet.
The village shop sat on the corner of the high street and was the smallest building you could possibly build a shop in. The aisles were only wide enough for one person to walk down at a time and even then some people felt it was acceptable to push their way past. Luckily when Emma entered the shop there wasn't too many people floating around inside and so she found she was able to grab a basket and start shopping without having to say 'excuse me' a couple of times to get to the products she wanted.
Wandering around to the chiller section of the shop, Emma pulled her shopping list out of her pocket and started looking over the products which were left on the shelves. It was only then that she recognized the lady who was doing the same thing as her.
"Did you know the wolves are back?" Ms Bakes said in her rough voice as she saw Emma out of the corner of her eye. She was leaning up to reach for some milk off of the top shelf of the chillers and Emma was quick to step in and take down the product for her. Ms Bakes was an elderly woman who lived on her own in the village. She was kind and always happy to see people, but not everything she said could be taken to be the truth. Only last summer had the woman been talking about fairies being spotted in the woods, now wolves.
"Who told you that Ms Bakes?" Emma had to raise her voice slightly as she knew that woman was going deaf and this caused some of the other customers of the shop to look around at her and stare. Smiling slightly, Emma turned her face back to Ms Bakes before her eyes drifted up to the shelves in front of her.
"Well, John who lives next to me said that his friend who works on Blueberry Farm told him. You know the one out of the way of the village?" The woman paused for a moment as if she was going to wait for Emma to reply, but didn't. Instead she carried on with her reply. "Well he said that he saw this animal running across the fields just before the snow came. It was big. Bigger then anything he had ever seen before. And it was a good job that he had his gun with him, because later that day the animal came back and went for the sheep. He showed the animal who was boss." Ms Bakes smiled brightly, showing off her teeth which looked too perfect to be real.
Emma couldn't help rolling her eyes as she had listened to Ms Bakes story. The poor animal had most likely been trying to find shelter before the snow came and some man takes it upon himself to shot it. Taking a deep breath, Emma changed the hand in which was she holding her basket before moving herself around Ms Bakes to stand the other side of her and grab a packet of eggs from the shelf.
"Did he kill it?" She hadn't wanted to ask the question, but the words had tumbled out of Emma's mouth before she was able to stop them. It was only fuel to the fire which was Ms Bakes wild story and she didn't know how long she could act interested for. Her eyes moved to the floor as she waited for the reply of the elderly woman.
"Course he didn't kill it. People on Blueberry Farm couldn't shoot a tin can, let alone a wolf." The laugh which came from Ms Bakes sent a shiver down the spine of Emma, but she felt herself smiling slightly at the thought of the men on the farm not being able to shoot anything. "You just be careful girl. Wouldn't want the big bad wolf getting you." Placing a hand of Emma's back, Ms Bakes laughed once more before moving away from her.
"I'll see you later then." These were the last words that Emma heard form Ms Bakes before she moved across the shop and onto the next person who might listen to her story about wolves.
Sighing to herself, Emma walked around the shop. She had been able to find at least half of the things on her mother's list, but it seemed that people had been in early and panicked over what to get, because half of the shelves were bare already. She did her best to find alternatives to what her mother wanted and by the time she got to the till to pay, she kind of had everything on the list.
The woman who stood at the till have a half smile on her face as Emma placed her basket up. She took a look about the store for a second, before her eyes met with Emma's and she started to put things through the till.
"How is your mum then?" The woman asked after a while, startling Emma and causing her to jump on the spot. It took a moment for Emma's brain to register what had been said and when it had, she started to stumble over her words.
"She's...good?" Emma knew this wasn't a great answer to the question and so shaking her head, she tried again.
"She's fine, enjoying the snow more then I am." Emma wasn't sure who the woman was, but she clearly knew who she was and so who her mum was.
"Oh that's good. Tell her I'm sorry we don't have her magazine in yet because of the weather but I'll give her a ring when we have it in. Okay, that's £9.56." The woman watched Emma as she fumbled about in her pocket for the money her mother had given her, before handing over a £10 note. The woman was quick to hand over the change and usher Emma along in order to speak to the man who was stood behind her in the queue.
Grabbing the bags off of the counter, Emma said a quiet 'Thank you' before hurrying out of the shop and back out into the cold winter air. She stood for a moment staring down the street, watching the back of Ms Bakes disappearing down the road and considered whether she should shout a 'goodbye', when she remembered that her mother was expecting her back and so got on her way.
The climb back up the hill was even slower then the walk down, as Emma was trying to place her feet into the same spots she had stepped earlier. She could see her house in the distance, and thankfully every time she looked down at her feet and then back up to the house, it seemed to inch closer.
The house stood a little way back from the crest of the hill and so even when Emma reached it, she knew she had some walking left to do before she could deposit the bags with her mother. Stopping to catch her breath, Emma looked about the snow and her eyes fixed upon something which she knew was out of place.
A large animal was stood facing her house, standing out against the white snow all around it. At once, Emma's mind went back over the conversation she had had with Ms Bakes in the shop and she couldn't help jumping straight to the idea that the creature was a wolf. But slowly the logically part of her brain started to take over by telling Emma facts such as 'Wolves have been extinct in England for the pass 400 years'. She took a number of large breaths before starting to walk towards her house and the animal.
The creature turned it's head to the side in order to look back onto Emma. A pair of amber eyes seemed to glow slightly, but the girl took it to be the reflection of the pale sun. Her whole body shook and it wasn't from the cold which was now whipping around her. 'Danger' screamed within her mind, but she found herself unable to move from the spot she was now in.
Seconds ticked by and the creature slowly started to pad towards Emma. It's fur was stood up on ends, ears pulled back as it started to lower it's body to the ground. Her mind was working in over-drive as she was quick to process the signs. This was one unhappy puppy and she was now standing in it's line of fire. Her mouth opened once, twice, but nothing came out. Her throat felt dry and closed up, as if her body didn't want her to make a sound.
A low growled tumbled out of the creature's mouth as it neared Emma's feet. Up close she could really see how large the animal was. It was clearly not a house-hold dog, because of the way it's fur seemed to be completely matted and the feral look in it's eyes. When stood by Emma's legs it came to her thighs in height. But at the same time it was too small to be a wolf in her mind. It's ribs were visible through it's fur, it's body appearing to be made up of skin and bones.
Emma could only watch as the animal moved closer, heard it sniff the ground a couple of times before it inched towards her. It pressed it's nose against one of her boots and sniffed loudly before backing away quickly. It's eyes had narrowed as it looked up to the face of Emma before giving a low growl.
Up close Emma was able to get a good look at the creature. It had a broad muzzle which appeared to be covered in mud, it's fangs showing every time it growled towards her. It's eyes were almond in shape and continued to shine even when the sun was hiding behind the clouds. The animal's coat was mainly reddish in colour, with the tip of it's tail and paws being white. She supposed it could have been a wolf, judging by how it looked and what she knew of the species, but something in her heart told her it wasn't.
She could only watch as the creature once again padded towards her and sniffed at her shoes. The growling had stopped now and instead a whimpering sound rose out of the creature. It's tail was tucked between it's hind legs as it eyed Emma before it laid down onto the snow at her feet. Rolling onto it's back the creature continued to whimper as it looked up at Emma.
"You must be a dog. No wolf would lie at the feet of a human." Emma finally found her voice again after what seemed to be an eternity and she slowly started to lower herself down to the ground. The bags had been dropped onto the snow and she held out one of her hands towards the nose of the dog, having removed her gloves and stuffed them into her pockets.. For a moment it appeared that the dog wasn't going to sniff her hand, but slowly it pulled it's muzzle forward and pressed it's cold nose onto her skin.
"You're not so bad are you. And I thought you were going to eat me." Emma laughed lightly to herself as she ran her hand over the dog's muzzle. It's whimpering had faded away, as if comforted by the contact between itself and Emma. She stayed crouched down for a couple of minutes longer before removing her hand from the dog, grabbing the bag handles and standing up straight. The dog was quick to get off of it's back and stand as well, it's tail wagging ever so slightly as it looked up to Emma's face.
"Can't stay out here. Come on." She didn't know what she was going to do when she got into the house but Emma's heart was telling her that this dog was special and not to be left outside. Putting one foot in front of the other, she walked towards the side of the house and around to the back door, praying her mother was still in her happy 'it's a snow day and so no work' mood.
"What the hell is that?" Her mother nearly screamed the words as Emma walked into the kitchen, the dog following close to her heels. Emma didn't answer straight away, instead she placed the bags down onto the kitchen table before starting on the buttons to her coat. After a few minutes in silence, she looked her mother straight in the eyes and spoke.
"It's a dog. I found it outside of our house and I didn't think it was right to send it away when it's so cold. It looked lost. Can we keep it?" Emma put on her best whiny 'Please let me keep it' voice as she reached down to stroke the dog's head. It's fur felt wet under her hands, and she guessed it must have been from when the dog rolled over in the snow. Emma had never had a pet before and so she didn't know how well her mum was going to react to her wanting to keep a strange dog she had just found.
Her mother huffed a few times as she started to sort things out of the bags and away into cupboards, before she turned to face her daughter completely and placed her hands on her hips.
"And who is going to look after it when I'm at work and your at school? Who is going to walk it? Who is going to feed it?" Emma could tell by the tone her mother was using that she wasn't very happy with the idea at all but the girl wasn't going to give up so easily.
"The dog can look after itself while we are out and I'll walk and feed it. Come on mum, please. It doesn't have a collar or anything. You can't put it back outside in the cold." By this point, Emma was sitting on the floor with her arms wrapped around the neck of the dog. It's tail was wagging happily and banging into a chair leg. "Please!"
Growling, Emma's mother walked out of the room and off into the house, leaving Emma alone with the dog in the kitchen. She didn't know if she had won or not, but at that moment she didn't care. The dog was in the house and that was all that mattered.
Pulling herself off of the floor, Emma found a towel which didn't seem that dirty in the laundry basket and set herself back down by the dog. Wrapping the towel around the dog, she slowly started to rub it's fur in an attempt to dry it. The dog seemed to love the attention and picked up one of it's paw for Emma to dry. It repeated the action when Emma held out her hand for it's other paw and this brought a smile to the girl's face.
"Clever dog." She said quietly as she scratched the top of it's head. She felt herself connecting to the dog more quickly then she had ever connected with a human being before. Going to dump the towel back in the laundry basket, Emma also hung her coat back up onto it's peg and kicked off her Wellington boots before walking back into the kitchen.
The dog was no longer in the kitchen and suddenly Emma felt herself panicking. Her eyes scanned the room to see if the creature was hiding anywhere and when her eyes whipped around to beside her, she instantly saw the dog stood at her side, tail wagging with it's ears standing up. She released a breath she hadn't realized she was holding and smiled brightly at the dog.
"What am I going to do with you?" Emma said to herself.
For the rest of the day, Emma sat in the kitchen with her new found friend as she listened to her mother making a series of phone call. In the beginning she sounded angry as she spoke to different people, but slowly her tone calmed down and after a while she went silent. It sounded as if she had phoned everyone she knew in the village to see if they had lost a dog, before phoning up the police station in the next town to find out if anyone had reported a missing dog. At one point, Emma assumed that her mother had been asked if she wanted the dog taking off of her hands, as her reply had been 'No, my daughter will be looking after the dog from now on' and this brought a smile to Emma's face.
Emma heard the living room clock chime twice before the sound of foot steps heading towards the kitchen came to her ears. The dog had clearly heard this too as it quickly went from lying at Emma's feet to sitting at her side. She turned her head towards the kitchen door to watch her mother walk slowly into the room and over to the sink. At all times she kept her back to Emma before giving a great sigh and turning around.
"Your father always wanted to get a dog. Said it was his life long dream to have a pet. Granddad wouldn't let him have one see, said that they left their hairs everywhere and always got in the way. I used to believe he was right you know. Granddad. But then one day your dad saw this dog down at the village shop, waiting for it owner and he couldn't help fussing over it. He was so happy. It made me happy to see him like that. I said we could get a dog once you were born and had grown up a bit. But then your dad..." Emma's mother didn't finish the sentence, she just smiled the way she always did when talking about her husband before carrying on the conversation.
"And I never really wanted to look after a baby and a dog, so I never got one. But seeing you with that dog just reminds me of the promise I made to your dad and well. Here is the deal Emma. If no one claims that dog within a week, you can keep it." As soon as Emma's mother got her words out, Emma was on her feet running towards her. She backed away slightly and put her hand, stopping Emma in her tracks.
"If Emma. If. It's a lot of responsibility to look after a dog and you can't just get rid of it when it starts getting tough. You want this dog, you look after it. Deal?" Her mother held out her hand for a handshake, but Emma had other ideas. Throwing herself at her mother, Emma squealed slightly as she wrapped her arms around her mother's neck.
"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." She nearly screamed the words as she hugged her mother, before letting go and bounding over to the dog. "Did you hear that? I get to keep you." The dog barked happily, it's tail wagging madly as if it understood what was going on. Jumping up onto it's hind legs, the dog knocked Emma down onto the floor before licking at her face. Laughter filled the room, from both Emma and her mother as the girl pushed the dog away.
Sitting up, Emma smiled at her mother before looking at the dog. She could only hope now that the week passed without anyone turning up.
By the time a week passed, the snow had started to melt away. The village was slowly returning to normal and Emma's mother had been back to work for the last 3 days of the school week. Eating dinner on the 7th day, Emma suddenly put down her knife and fork and stared over at her mother.
"Can I keep him then?" Emma asked as she watched her mother shovel a spoon full of peas into her mouth for the second time. The day after the dog had turned up, Emma's mother had taken it down to the local vets to find out if it might have a micro chip under it fur. While there hadn't been one, the vet was able to tell Emma and her mother a few things about their new pet. The dog was male, under-nourished and bordering on starvation, he was most likely a cross breed but the vet wasn't sure of what seeing as she had never seen such a dog before. And 7 days had passed without a single person coming to claim the dog as their own.
"Well, a deal is a deal and I did say you could keep him if no one came to get him. So yes Emma, you can keep him." Emma's mother spoke with a slight smile on her face. While she wasn't about to admit it out loud, she was clearly starting to come around to the idea of having a pet dog. Only yesterday Emma had caught her mother fussing over the animal while she thought her daughter wasn't looking. It didn't bother Emma in the slightest. If anything, it made her even happier that her mother liked the dog just as much as she did. "What are you going to call him then?"
Emma looked from her mother to the dog for a moment, before her eyes travelled up to the ceiling and she put her thinking face on. She had spent a lot of time thinking about what would be a suitable name for a dog but she hadn't been able to come up with anything so far. Now that she knew he was male, she was limited to only the male names she had come up with.
Turning her head down to the dog, Emma smiled lightly as she studied him. He had bright amber eyes and his coat was a bold red, no longer matted from most likely living wild. Every time she looked at the colour of his fur, all she could think about was fire. That was when the name came to her. Looking back to her mother, Emma smiled before speaking
"Blaze. I'm going to call him Blaze."