“It's Fang!” Timothy could see now that the wolf was one of Villain's meanest bullies. Fang bared his teeth and snarled as he slunk towards Skipper. Timothy was sure that Skipper would turn and run, but he refused and bravely stood his ground. Ewellen still hadn't been able to make it back into the fold with the baby lamb. It was clear the way Skipper flashed a look back behind him at the two, he wished they would hurry. Timothy could see Skipper was confronting Fang totally alone. The ewes were all busy with other wolves. Fang stalked closer to Skipper.
“Come on,” Timothy cried as he suddenly burst forward.
“What are you doing? You’ll get yourself killed!” Johnny warned.
“Skipper needs help.” He called over his shoulder as he sprinted towards his friend.
Johnny hesitated. “Oh, man. I can’t believe him.” He shook his head and mumbled, “I gotta go help,” as he rushed after Timothy. “I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid,” he kept chanting trying to convince himself. Ahead he could see that Timothy was already half way there.
Fang crouched lower as he neared Skipper, his feral grin showing blood from another sheep. Skipper paled. “Ewellen! Hurry with that lamb. I won’t be able to hold him long.” He yelled. He looked back at them again desperately, but Ewellen had sunk down onto the ground next to the now unmoving lamb. He swallowed sickly. They weren’t going to make it. It looked like this was it. Behind the monster in front of him, he could see two more wolves bearing down on him at a full run.
“Yeah, guess this is it,” he said to himself. “Hah!” he yelled at the wolf as he pawed the ground. He lowered his head to charge. “This really is it,” he thought. Fang began to lope forward and Skipper steeled himself. As the wolf broke into a run and bounded near, Skipper charged.
Timothy could hear the “Ooof” forced out of his friend as he collided with Fang. But Fang was big and solid. The collision brought them both to a halt, but Fang lost no time in sinking his teeth into Skipper’s shoulder. “Owww!” Skipper cried in pain as the scarlet spread over his wool.
Timothy howled and redoubled his speed. Everything seemed to be happening too slowly. He was running hard, but he felt like he was in deep sand. He was still too far from Skipper and Fang to help. He watched the wolf jerk Skipper off his feet with his jaws. Skipper fell onto his side kicking wildly to stay upright, his head falling back. Fang let go of his hold on Skipper’s shoulder so he could lunge at the exposed throat.
“Nooooo!” Timothy screamed in horror. I'm almost there. Come on. Come on. Panting he tried again to run harder. He lowered his head, the wolf-skin flapping around him. I'm only going to get one chance at this. It is going to have to be right. But Fang’s jaws closed onto Skipper’s throat. There was a ripping sound and red spurted out, just as Timothy hit Fang at full speed hard on the right side of his stretched out neck.
There was a snapping sound and Timothy saw stars and a momentary darkness. He fell to his knees from the impact and toppled onto something soft. Get up. Get up, he shrieked to himself. “Ohhhh,” escaped his lips as he struggled to his feet. He blinked trying to clear his eyes. He saw a bleary red. Oh heck. I’m hurt, he thought. Where’s Fang? He’ll be on me.
He whirled at the first noise he heard. It was just Johnny bouncing to a ragged stop beside him. The look on Johnny’s face was one of shock and dismay. He whirled again to face the other direction. Fang! But there was Fang lying on the ground. His head was at an odd angle from his body. His tongue was out and he was trying to gasp for air. As Timothy watched, he stopped trying and grew still. “Oh, my Gosh! I did that. I killed him,” he exclaimed in wonder. He began to feel ill. I guess I have grown, and my new horns must really help, even under my skin, he thought dazedly.
“Timothy,” Johnny called.
He turned to Johnny with his head still ringing. “I did it,” he began elated. But Johnny was looking solemnly behind him on the ground. Turning around, he saw Skipper. Skipper was kicking. It looked like he was trying weakly to run. His throat was ripped out. Timothy had never seen so much blood before. He could see terror in Skipper’s eyes. Skipper thinks I’m a wolf, he realized. “Skipper,” he called softly. “Skipper. It’s me. It’s Timmy.” He blinked back tears. Red tears. He had blood all over him, Skipper’s blood. The soft thing he’d fell on after hitting Fang had been Skipper.
Skipper was in shock and was struggling mentally. “Timmy?” he asked confusedly.
“Yeah, remember? It’s me. I found the wolf-skin, remember? I got in trouble for wearing it. It’s me, Skipper.” He began to blubber, “I tried to help you. Oh, Skipper, I’m so sorry I couldn’t get here sooner.”
“Timothy.” Skipper’s eyes lit up. “We thought... you were... gone for good.” He gasped and blood began to bubble around his lips.
“Oh, no. No. Skipper, don’t die.” Timothy begged.
“It’s Ok, Timmy... It doesn’t hurt anymore.” He sucked air making a ghastly whistling sound. “You came back.” Skipper coughed red foam. “You’re OK. I’m glad, Timmy....I’m.... glad.”
“No! Skipper, No!” But he was gone. Timothy’s tears half blinded him.
“Timmy. We gotta go. Now!” Johnny pulled at him. “Look, the Flock is winning. The wolves are running off.” Timmy looked around the battlefield. Sure enough, only a few tussles were still going on. The wolves were running for the trees from what he could see. A couple of the rams were chasing stragglers, but for the most part, the battlefield was strangely still.
“Timmy!” Johnny shook Timothy out of his stupor. “We gotta go! The ewes are coming and Old Wilbur is with them.” Timothy looked up. At first he was glad to see them. Then he realized they were coming to drive off a couple of wolves.
“OK. I’m coming,” he said as Johnny lit out in the direction of the wolves. He looked back a little wistfully. Ewellen was where she had stopped with the fallen lamb. She’d overheard everything and was staring at Timothy with a perplexed look.
I can hardly believe it. Ewellen refused to leave that little lamb, even when the wolves came. Half blinded in his grief, Timothy felt strangely proud of his old Flock. They are so much braver than I ever expected they could be. I'm proud of them. He looked one last time at Skipper, hesitating. But the sound of the approaching sheep pulled him away. He’d seen how effective they were against wolves. He took several steps and stopped again. He didn't want to leave, but at the same time he wanted to run away from Skipper’s still form until he dropped.
At that moment, Old Wilbur came up ahead of the rest. Odd to see the old boy in the lead, he’s usually struggling to keep up, Timothy thought distracted. Wilbur was bloody in several places and had a wild look in his eyes. A loose patch of his wool and skin was hanging where it had been torn. He stopped and pawed the ground on the other side of Skipper from Timothy. Wilbur is waiting for me to turn to go, so he can charge me.
Timothy surprised himself, and Wilbur. He snarled at Wilbur with all his pent up anguish and grief. Wilbur froze just long enough for Timothy to turn and lope after Johnny. He heard Old Wilbur yelling after him.
“Bah on you. Bah, you foul thing. If I see you again, I’ll kill you.” His voice rose shriller, “You hear me? Bah on you. I’ll kill you.” With that Old Wilbur began to paw and tear the ground in his rage.
Sickened that he had been with the wolves in this and not with his Flock, Timothy continued to trot away, hurrying after Johnny and the safety of the trees ahead. He looked back to make sure that no other sheep had decided to charge him after all. Skipper’s mother had come up. He could hear her wailing and bleating her grief to the sky. Somehow, that was worse than anything else today. It was worse than the Flock’s hatred. Worse than the look he’d seen in Ewellen’s eyes. Worse even than all Skipper’s blood. Timothy began to really run. He ran as hard as he could. As he passed Johnny, his friend joined him.
"Wait up," Johnny gasped. "We're not being chased." But Timothy disagreed to himself. That horror was going to chase him the rest of his life.
And the worst thing of all, Timothy moaned to himself, is the Shepherd never appeared to stop it. He never showed at all. How could he let this happen? Timothy’s tears streamed down his face, mixing with Skipper’s blood.