Read an Excerpt
Power Animal: The Fire
Lashika, the she-wolf, her eyes glittering like amber flames in the darkness, curled up around her pups. They slept in a dark cave dug out of the side of a mountain by slow-moving glaciers centuries ago. Her belly was full and normally she would sleep through the long night and the day following, but carried on the high north wind was an unfamiliar sound. She raised her head, suddenly alert, listening for danger, anything that would harm the life of her small family. She was the female alpha wolf, strongest, blackest, most powerful of her kind. The rest of her pack and her mate were sleeping, curled and quiet in their dreams, but Lashika sensed something exciting in the air, something that stirred her heart and the life force of the Great Spirit that ran through every cell in her body.
Slowly, trying not to disturb her pups, she crept to the entrance of the cave. She looked up at the night sky. The waning moon was at its zenith. She sniffed the air and tasted the scent of cedar smoke. She listened. Now she was fully awake. There was singing. Every once in a while, the high north wind would bring the sounds to her of she-human voices, and then the wind would shift. She could sense a drumbeat far in the distance. Her curiosity got the best of her. She looked around in all of the four directions. Not a leaf was stirring. Occasionally, a west wind would move along the ground and ruffle the thick fur that was growing black and tinged with white around her neck, preparing her for the long winter months ahead. Stealthily, she reached out with her paws and stretched. Then she moved down the trail leading into an aspen forest where thevoices seemed to be coming from. She moved in silence at a strong gallop down a deer trail leading directly into the center of the trees. The sound of music, drums beating, and the voices of women high in song, came closer and closer as she galloped through the night under the protection of the towering trees. It was late fall and there was an unusual warmth in the air. She was excited and happy to be moving down a trail in darkness, her favorite time to hunt, to move into the unknown.
Soon the singing became quite loud and the earth pulsated with the beat of a great life drum. She moved off the deer track and into the underbrush, squatting down, still moving quickly and stealthily through the underbrush, her belly touching the ground as she moved, hardly creating a sound. She was fascinated. Her ears pricked forward, listening to every sound that came her way. She could smell the pungent scent of cedar smoke and sweetgrass. There was a light at the center of the forest, glowing like a giant sun in a midnight sky. Now she crept along underneath the brush and chokecherry bushes, the pads of her paws feeling the damp leaves beneath them, cushioning any sound that she could have made.