Chapter 1: The Nightmare
Humphrey was running as fast as his legs could carry him. I have to find Kate, I have to find Kate, Humphrey kept telling himself in his mind. She's gonna get herself killed, I just know it.
Humphrey ran up a long hill, and was starting to get tired. The pounding rain wasn't helping much either, as Humphrey slipped back down the hill,. He panted heavily, his aching chest called for him to rest, but he daren't stop, for fear that it might cost Kate her life. Humphrey sprinted back up the hill.
At the top of the hill, Humphrey stopped and looked across the long field in front of him, and managed to make out a figure in the distance. It's Kate! Humphrey thought in relief. Thank God I found her or…BANG! Humphrey's thought was interrupted by a loud shot that ripped through the air. Humphrey's relief soon turned to fear as he saw the figure of Kate fall to the ground. Humphrey sprinted across the field to where Kate was. Humphrey saw her, laying backside down with a pool of blood seeping out from underneath her, she had her paw held over her stomach.
"Kate! No!" Humphrey cried as he fell to Kate's side, panting heavily. "What happened?" Humphrey asked, concerned.
"Hunter…shot me. I managed to bite his hand…scare him away."
"Where are you hurt?" Humphrey asked.
"My…stomach." Kate weakly managed to say.
Humphrey lifted up Kate's paw which was covering her stomach and saw a massive gunshot wound, blood leaking out of it.
"Let me get help." Humphrey told her.
"No…it's too late for that now. I won't make it." Kate told him.
"I can't just let you die like this!" Humphrey said, feeling completely helpless.
"There's nothing you can do. Humphrey, you were right, I shouldn't have come out here, it was a stupid thing to do. I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry, don't ever be sorry. You haven't done anything wrong." Humphrey told her, as he held her paw in his paws.
Kate coughed. "Humphrey...I love you."
"I love you too." Humphrey declared. "Kate, please don't go. I need you. I can't live without you."
"Humphrey…Goodbye…" Kate said, and with that, Kate had died. Humphrey let her paw fall to the ground, and cried uncontrollably into her fur.
Humphrey awoke with a gasp. He quickly looked around, and saw the familiar surroundings of his and Kate's den. Humphrey looked to his side, and saw Kate curled up in a ball, sleeping peacefully. It was just a nightmare, a horrible, horrible nightmare. Humphrey thought. That felt so real though. Humphrey put his paw to his eyes, he had indeed been crying. Yeah... very real. Humphrey thought. After a few minutes, Humphrey managed to calm down, and tried to get back to sleep.
Chapter 2: There's A Hunter About
Humphrey couldn't sleep that night. That graphic image of Kate dying was burned into his mind, and he just couldn't shake it off. It seemed so real. Humphrey kept thinking. Humphrey looked over at Kate, who was waking up, she yawned and stretched out.
"Morning Humphrey." Kate greeted him.
"Morning Kate." Humphrey greeted back.
"It's rare that you're up this early, normally it's me who wakes you up." Kate said.
Should I tell her about that nightmare? Nah, it might upset her. I don't want to do that.
"Well, I had a bad dream." Humphrey told her.
"What happened?" Kate asked.
"Well," Humphrey began, trying to make something up, "I dreamt that Balto hypnotised you again and made you rip my head off." Humphrey lied. That sounded…good. Humphrey thought.
"Oh Humphrey, that Balto business is behind us now. You don't need to worry about that happening again." Kate told him.
I hope not, Humphrey shuddered at the thought of what Balto could do if he came back.
"You're right, I've been worrying too much, the whole thing just shook me up a little bit." Humphrey said.
"Oh you poor thing." Kate said sympathetically. She hugged him, and Humphrey smiled for the first time today.
"Thanks Kate, it helps." Humphrey told the truth this time. Some love from Kate was always enough to cheer him up whenever he was feeling down.
"So Kate, what are you doing today?" Humphrey asked.
"Nothing much, just this Alpha meeting I have to go to this morning." Kate said.
"Mind if I tag along?" Humphrey asked.
"Not at all. I could use the company." Kate said. "You ready to go now?" Kate asked.
"Yeah, let's go." Humphrey said.
Humphrey and Kate walked out of their den, the glowing sun disoriented Humphrey for a second, him having being staring at the dark most of the night. Humphrey turned to Kate.
"Kate, you know I love you more than anything else right?"
"Of course Humphrey, and I feel exactly the same way." Kate told him.
For some reason Humphrey felt he had to let Kate know that. That nightmare's starting to have an effect on me. Come on it was only just a nightmare, it's not like Kate's really going to die or anything like that. I'm just being stupid. Everything's going to be fine. Humphrey tried to reassure himself.
As Humphrey and Kate came into the field where the meeting was being held, they could see Kate's father, Winston, talking to several other Alpha wolves.
"Looks like we're a little late." Kate said.
"Looks like it." Humphrey said.
"…there has also been a reporting of a hunter in the area…" Winston was saying to the Alpha wolves.
Humphrey eyes widened at the word "hunter". He remembered back to the nightmare.
"Hunter…shot me." Humphrey remembered Kate saying in that vivid nightmare.
"I would like to remind you all not to approach this hunter, as they are extremely dangerous." Winston told the wolves.
No, no, no. It's just a coincidence, a big coincidence. Humphrey thought worriedly.
Humphrey heard Kate scoff. "I could take on a hunter any day, I'm not scared of them." Kate declared to no one in particular.
"Well I don't know Kate, hunters are quite dangerous, so I think it's best to just stay out of their way." Humphrey told her.
"Oh come on Humphrey, they can't do anything to the top Alpha in the pack." Kate cockily said, pointing to herself.
Did that nightmare mean something? Humphrey asked himself. Is it something that's actually going to happen?
"Well I guess you could take a hunter on, but I wouldn't go out attacking one if I were you." Humphrey cautioned her.
"Oh Humphrey, I wouldn't do anything like that. I'm just saying I could defend myself from one, if the eventuality arose." Kate told him.
Thank God, Humphrey thought. Maybe this nightmare won't come true after all. But Humphrey still felt very uncertain, maybe I'll stay with Kate for a while so she doesn't make any rash decisions.
Chapter 3: Deja Vu
Humphrey awoke again. He'd been having the same nightmare for a few nights now, and it was really getting to him. What does that nightmare mean? Could Kate actually...die?
Humphrey turned to see Kate looking at him.
"Kate? What are you doing up?" Humphrey asked.
"You were talking in your sleep." Kate said. "It woke me up."
"Oh, sorry." Humphrey said apologetically.
"No, no, it's okay." Kate said. "Humphrey, what were you dreaming about?" Kate asked.
"Oh, nothing important." Humphrey lied.
"Don't lie to me Humphrey. It sounded really horrible. What was it about?" Kate asked.
Looks like I have to tell her now, Humphrey thought.
"Well," Humphrey began, "I had this nightmare where, I found you lying in the middle of a field, you had been shot by a hunter, and you said you shouldn't have gone out there, and I was right, and you were wrong about something. And then you, died." Humphrey finished.
Kate looked shocked. "Is this the first time this nightmare has happened? Kate asked.
"Yeah." Humphrey lied.
"Well maybe it's linked to the whole hunter thing that's been going on lately, maybe the thought about the hunter being around just got its way into your dreams. It's probably nothing to worry about." Kate told him.
Nothing to worry about? You have to be kidding me. Humphrey thought.
"Yeah, you're probably right." Humphrey falsely agreed.
"Hey, cheer up Humphrey, you've not been acting like your usual self lately." Kate said.
Kate was right, Humphrey hadn't been his usual self lately. He never cracked any jokes, and just spent the days quietly watching Kate everywhere she went, making sure she didn't get into any trouble.
"I don't know what's gotten into me, I've just been feeling a little down lately." Humphrey said.
"Why don't you get some sleep, maybe that'll help." Kate suggested.
"Yeah." Humphrey said. He closed his eyes. "Goodnight Kate." Humphrey said.
"Goodnight Humphrey" Kate said.
"I love you." Humphrey said.
"I love you too." Kate said.
Humphrey finally managed to fall asleep, where exactly the same grisly scene presented itself yet again.
Chapter 4: Knight In Shining Armor
Chapter Four: Knight In Shining Armour
Humphrey was beginning to get tired of it now. Every time he slept, he suffered that grisly nightmare. Humphrey awoke, and looked around like he always did. Only this time, where Kate would usually be sleeping, there was an empty space.
"Kate?" Humphrey called. "Kate, where are you?" Humphrey shouted as he walked out of their den. He saw Kate, just a few metres away from the den talking to a brown wolf who he recognised as Garth. Humphrey ran over to them. "Kate, what's going on?" Humphrey asked.
"You mean you don't know?" Garth asked.
"No Garth, opposed to what you may think, I can't read minds." Humphrey replied in annoyance. Humphrey never really took much of a liking to Garth, Humphrey found him to be full of himself, and a show-off. Humphrey found it difficult to believe that Kate was originally supposed to actually marry him. Lucky for Humphrey that fell through.
"Well, that hunter was sighted nearby your den, you're very lucky I managed to scare him away, otherwise you and Kate would have ended up dead." Garth informed him.
"My knight in shining armor." Humphrey remarked. Kate laughed.
"That's more like the Humphrey I know." Kate said, pleased to see that Humphrey had appeared to be back to his old, happy, care-free self. But Humphrey was far from happy and care-free at the moment. Even though Humphrey was cracking a joke at the incident that had just happened, deep down he was grateful that Garth had stepped in and stopped those hunters from killing them both.
Thinking about it…me and Kate could have died if it weren't for Garth. Thanks Garth. Humphrey silently thanked him. I owe you one, well, half of one.
"Where'd the hunter go?" Humphrey asked Garth.
"I'm not sure, he's still somewhere in the area though." Garth informed him.
Humphrey remembered the nightmare again. If they're still around, then that nightmare could still become a reality. Humphrey thought fearfully.
"Thanks for the extremely specific information, "Barf"." Humphrey called Garth by his little nickname he had made up for him.
"You know I don't like it when you call me that. It makes me very angry." Garth said threateningly.
"Oh I'm really scared, Kate, protect me from the big, mean Alpha." Humphrey said, cowering behind Kate, pretending to be scared of Garth.
"I don't have time for this, I'll see you round Kate." Garth said, and he walked off.
"Yeah, see you later, "Barf"!" Humphrey called after him. No matter how troubled Humphrey was, he could always find time to make fun of Garth.
"Maybe you were a little too harsh on him Humphrey." Kate said.
"Oh come on Kate, it's Garth, he wouldn't get upset if his own mate got shot." Humphrey said.
BANG! A loud shot ripped through the air. Humphrey yelped in fright.
"Where'd that come from?" Humphrey asked.
Kate tried to determine where the noise came from. "It sounded like it came from…" Kate realised something horrible, "Lilly and Garth's den." Kate finished. She sprinted off.
"Kate, wait for me!" Humphrey called after her. He ran off to catch up with her.
Humphrey had a very bad feeling about this.
Chapter 5: Hunter Attack
When Humphrey and Kate arrived at Lilly and Garth's den, they could already tell what had happened. "Oh no." Kate cried as she saw Garth stood over the body of Kate's younger sister Lilly, who was unconscious. The side of Lilly's body, normally covered with snow-white fur had been dyed red with blood. Garth saw Kate approaching. "Is she dead?" Kate asked, looking extremely concerned.
"No." Garth replied. "She hasn't been hit anywhere serious, the bullet cut through her side. She'll be alright."
Humphrey joined Kate by her side. "Oh my God. Let me guess…hunter, right?" Humphrey asked Garth.
"Yes. He just took off when I showed up, looks like he remembered me from earlier." Garth told him. "I'll kill him for this." Garth said coldly.
"Not if I get to him first." Kate said vengefully.
"Kate, you shouldn't go up against that hunter. Something bad is gonna happen." Humphrey told her.
"Shut up Humphrey. I could take on a whole of group of hunters right now." Kate said.
Humphrey finally knew for certain, the nightmare was turning into a reality. She's going to go out there, and get herself killed.
"You can't! It's too dangerous!" Humphrey tried to convince her.
"I can take care of myself Humphrey! I don't need you!" Kate shouted at him.
That comment stung. But Humphrey knew deep down she didn't mean it, she was angry, and Humphrey couldn't blame her, given the circumstances.
"You know you don't mean that." Humphrey said.
"I know what exactly what I mean, and I know exactly what I'm going to do! I'm going to kill that hunter!" Kate shouted.
"You can't!" Humphrey argued.
"And why not?" Kate asked, challenging him.
"Because I know for a fact that if you go out there, you're going to get yourself killed!" Humphrey said.
Kate didn't listen, and turned away from Humphrey and started walking away from him.
"How do you think I'd feel if you died?" Humphrey asked. Kate turned around and faced him.
"Humphrey, I'm not going to die! Get that through your thick skull!" Kate shouted at him.
"How do you know?" Humphrey was shouting now.
"Watch me." And with that, Kate sprinted off in search of the hunters.
She's dead, she's going to die. And there's nothing I can do about it. Humphrey thought helplessly. Garth approached Humphrey.
"She needs you." Garth said, and for once, Garth had said something that made sense to him.
"More than you know." Humphrey said.
"Not that much." Garth replied.
Humphrey smiled, and took off in search of Kate, and as he sprinted across fields and through the forest, he knew one thing, Kate was going to die.
But not today. Humphrey thought.
Chapter 6: Reality
The weather had taken a turn for the worse, grey clouds had formed in the sky, and rain started to pound the ground, just like in Humphrey's nightmare. Humphrey approached the field that he recognised too well from his nightmare. I have to find Kate. I have to find Kate, Humphrey kept telling himself, just like in the nightmare. She's gonna get herself killed, I just know it. I have to get there before it happens. Humphrey thought. Humphrey ran up the hill, although this time, he was careful, and didn't slip down the hill, giving him precious time to save Kate from her demise. He'd learnt a lot from his nightmare.
Humphrey didn't stop at the top of the hill like in his nightmare, and kept sprinting across the long field. His chest ached horribly. I'm not cut out for this. Humphrey thought tiredly.
He could see Kate's figure in the distance, he saw the figure of a hunter, aiming his shotgun at Kate, he saw Kate getting ready to pounce and attack the hunter, Humphrey finally reached Kate and jumped into the air, and pushed Kate out of the way while she was in midair. The shotgun fired, and Humphrey fell to the ground, unconscious, he had got hit instead of Kate.
Kate landed on the ground, and saw Humphrey lying backside down with a pool of blood seeping out from underneath him. Her eyes widened in shock, she attacked the hunter, and bit down on his hand as hard as she could, the hunter screamed in pain and dropped his shotgun, he then turned and ran away, clutching his hand.
Kate immediately came to Humphrey's side, and stared in disbelief at Humphrey's motionless body. He…saved me. If it weren't for Humphrey I would have died. Kate realised.
"Humphrey!" Kate cried, shaking him. "Come on Humphrey, wake up! You were right. I shouldn't have come out here. It was a stupid thing to do. I'm sorry." Kate apologised. "Please Humphrey, I need you!" Kate declared.
This is all my fault. If only I'd listened to him, he'd be alive. Kate thought. She looked at Humphrey, she let out a sob, and started crying uncontrollably into his fur, heartbroken.
"It's not fair! It's not fair!" Kate repeated, as she continued to cry into Humphrey's fur.
Kate had no idea how long she cried for. But she finally stopped, and after one long last look at Humphrey's body, Kate walked away, her tail brushed past Humphrey's nose as she walked away.
Kate's eyes widened in disbelief, and she turned around. She saw Humphrey, eyes open, staring at her.
"Hey." Humphrey greeted her.
"Humphrey…you're…you're…alive!" Kate screamed with delight. Kate ran back to his side.
"Are you okay?" Kate asked.
"I've felt better." Humphrey replied.
"I thought I'd lost you." Kate told him.
"I've thought the same thing about you a few times now." Humphrey told her.
"Humphrey, I'm sorry for saying I didn't need you. I didn't mean it. Of course I need you." Kate said.
"I know you didn't mean it, I can't blame you either, you were in a rage, what with Lilly being attacked and all." Humphrey said.
"Oh my God, Lilly!" Kate said. "I almost forgot about her."
"Let's go check on her then." Humphrey said.
"Are you sure?" Kate asked.
"Yeah, you know I'm fine." Humphrey told her.
"Can you get up? You look pretty hurt." Kate asked, looking at the pool of blood around Humphrey's body.
"I'll try." Humphrey said. Humphrey rolled over slowly, and tried to get up with difficulty. Kate saw a massive wound across the middle of his back, blood all around it.
"Looks like it only cut through you." Kate observed.
"Yeah." Humphrey said, wincing slightly in pain. "Wow, those hunters really have lousy aims." Humphrey said with a smile.
Kate laughed. "You look a little more cheery." Kate observed.
"Well, there's a reason for that." Humphrey told her.
"What?" Kate asked.
"It's a bit of a long story." Humphrey said.
"How about you tell it to me on the way back?" Kate suggested.
"Okay." Humphrey said.
They started walking, and Humphrey told her the whole story about his nightmare.
Chapter 7: Peace At Last
Humphrey and Kate had reached Lilly and Garth's den. Humphrey had just finished explaining to Kate the story behind his nightmare.
"So that's why you were so fixed on stopping me from going up against the hunter." Kate said.
"Yep, sounds pretty far fetched doesn't it?" Humphrey asked.
"A little bit, but all dreams have a meaning don't they? Perhaps the meaning of yours was to save me from being killed by the hunter." Kate said.
"Maybe it was." Humphrey agreed. It made sense to him, that's for sure, after what he'd been through.
Humphrey and Kate entered Lilly and Garth's den. A concerned Garth was looking over Lilly, who was curled up in a ball, no longer unconscious.
"Are you sure there's nothing you need?" Garth asked her.
"Yes Garth, I'm fine, for the fifth time." Lilly told him.
"Okay, but anything you need you just ask me." Garth told her.
"I know Garth, you've told me that about five times too." Lilly said. Lilly noticed Humphrey and Kate coming into the den.
"Hi Kate!" Lilly greeted her.
"Hi Lilly, how are you?" Kate asked.
As Lilly and Kate talked, Humphrey turned to Garth.
"Well, well, well, who knew? Garth has a sweet side." Humphrey said.
"Humphrey, one more joke out of you and I'll..." Garth stopped mid-sentence when he noticed Humphrey's wound on his back. "What happened to you?" Garth asked.
"I'd say it's pretty obvious." Humphrey replied.
"You were shot by a hunter, weren't you?" Garth asked.
"Well done Garth!" Humphrey clapped his paws together. "Your psychic abilities never fail to amaze me!" Humphrey said sarcastically. Humphrey turned to Lily. "Hey Lily, how you holding up?" Humphrey asked.
"Hi Humphrey, I'm okay, just a bit sore. I should be fine in a day or two. What happened to you though?" Lilly asked.
"Pretty much the same as you, shot by a hunter, what are the odds?" Humphrey joked. Humphrey winced in pain.
"Looks painful." Lilly observed.
"Yeah, it is, just a little bit." Humphrey said.
"Is it?" Garth asked, looking genuinely concerned.
"Yes." Humphrey replied.
"I'm sure it'll be fine in a few days." Garth assured him, then he slapped Humphrey hard on his back. Humphrey screamed in agony.
"What was that for?" Humphrey asked, still recovering from the pain.
"For being annoying." Garth replied.
"I'll kill you Garth!" Humphrey threatened.
"I'd like to see you try." Garth replied.
Humphrey growled at Garth.
"Oh leave him alone Garth." Lilly said.
"Thank you Lilly." Humphrey said. "Well, I should be going now, because I feel like my back is going to explode. So that tells me I should be getting some rest. I'll see you round Lilly, oh and Garth?" Humphrey said.
"What?" Garth asked.
"I hate you." Humphrey said with a smile.
"I know." Garth said.
"You coming Kate?" Humphrey asked as he walked out of the den.
"Yeah." Kate turned to Lilly. "I'll come see you tomorrow Lilly." Kate told her.
"Okay. See you tomorrow then." Lilly said.
Humphrey and Kate had exited the den. "Lilly seems okay." Humphrey said.
"Yeah, I'm more worried about you though." Kate said, as she stared at Humphrey's wound.
"Oh I'm fine. This thing will be gone in a few days." Humphrey pointed to his wound.
"I hope so." Kate said. "Hopefully you'll get a good night's sleep too."
"I doubt it, I have a bad feeling I'll have another nightmare just as horrifying as the last one." Humphrey said.
"You're not staying very optimistic." Kate said.
"Well it's hard to stay optimistic, I've had a lot of stress the last few days. You almost kill me after getting hypnotised by some freak, then you almost get killed by a hunter, and I take the bullet. Who knows what's next?" Humphrey said.
"You know it always works out in the end." Kate said.
"I guess so." Humphrey said. "Perhaps things will start looking up." Humphrey said optimistically.
Later that night, Humphrey slept snuggled up close to Kate, when he had another dream.
He and Kate ran through a field on a warm day, the sun shone in the bright blue sky. They playfully chased each other through the field.
"You'll never catch me Humphrey!" Kate shouted playfully.
"Oh really?" Humphrey teased.
Humphrey pounced at Kate and he landed right on top of her. They both laughed and gazed into each other's eyes.
"I love you Kate." Humphrey said.
"I love you too Humphrey." Kate said.
They nuzzled each other's noses, and for the first time in a long while, Humphrey slept with a smile on his face.