Sutani led him into the wolves’ house. The animals were still behind a division and could not attack, but really, there was no chance of them doing that unless Ace had attacked them first and they’d have nowhere to run and hide. They were terribly shy creatures and only one snarled from afar when he took a step closer to Sutani.
“They are protective over you,” he said.
“Yes, this one is Dingo. He loves me to abandon and is rather possessive.” She laughed.
“That one over there is Victoria. She’s very old, but so sweet. Quite confused, actually,” she said. “I suppose, wolves get dementia, too.”
She opened the door and led Ace into the cage, explaining that Vicky was being kept apart from the others overnight. Vicky wasn’t scared. She was wagging her tail, sniffing and licking him. He caressed her, played with the full fur at her neck and even gave her a hug. The old wolf lady used this opportunity to lick his face excitedly, making him laugh with her tickly tongue. But suddenly, her body flinched with a strange sound from her belly.
“Get back,” Sutani shrieked, but it was too late already.
Vicky the wolf had just vomited into Ace’s collar.
“Oh my God, I am so sorry! Don’t move, I’ll get a towel and clean you up. I’m so sorry!”
In her haste, Sutani hadn’t closed the gate properly after passing through and Vicky bounded off after her.
“Is it okay that the wolf is out of the cage?” Ace called, keeping his head unnaturally twisted and tilted to be as far away from the wolf vomit staining his neck as possible.
“What do you mean out?” Sutani called from outside.
“She’s run after you,” he called back.
“Oh shit! Double shit!” she yelled and ran off, past the cage and out of the wolf house, leaving Ace standing with wolf vomit dripping from his neck and slowly running deeper inside his shirt.
He thought he could go into the kitchen area and clean himself up, but there was a wolf on the loose and if Vicky got out, someone might shoot her. Biting his teeth and thinking of the countless times in his career that had been equally smelly or worse because of body functions that were never mentioned when Seals were celebrated as the nation’s heroes, as the best elite force in the entire world, he ran after Vicky and Sutani.
“A bear tear, wolf vomit, at least it makes for some great stories out in the field,” he muttered as he ran.
Tirza's Christmas Tales are a series of standalone romance novellas with a seasonal theme and can be read in any order.