The cub sat silently, watching the strange thing in the field.
It had been there for two days, not moving. The cub watched, sniffing the air for the scent of danger, as his sire had taught. Two days and no movement, yet the cub waited.
A soft breeze ran through the field and the tall grass bent down around the strange form. The cub saw a small movement then, a limb raised slightly, then dropped.
Creeping forward, the cub approached the strange thing, ready to run away at the first sign of danger. Drawing near, the cub saw clearly the strange thing, an animal with no fur. A green light flickered in the animal’s torso, and a dark liquid dripped from its mouth.
The cub, about three paces from the creature, tensed as its eyes opened and fixed upon his own. Soft words escaped the bleeding mouth as its hand stretched toward the cub.
“Come, little one.”
An unfamiliar feeling gripped the cub’s mind, a pull toward the strange thing. His paws moved of their own volition as the outstretched hand beckoned. As his nose came close, the thing’s hand reached toward the flickering green light in its chest. Clenching around the light, the hand pulled what seemed to the cub to be a large leaf from its chest, then extended it to the cub.
“Eat, little one,” the thing said. “You are Curiosity.”
Compelled beyond resistance, the cub leaned forward and bit into the glowing leaf. As his teeth closed on the light, it pulsed violently, and became mist. The cub inhaled sharply and the mist disappeared into his throat.
Warmth spread through the cub’s body as he stood motionless. His skin tingled under his fur as the warmth spread to his extremities.
A movement caught his attention and his eyes focused on the strange thing. It was changing, its flesh becoming wood-like and stiff. Its arms and legs became branches and within a few seconds, a fallen tree lay where the animal had been.
The cub turned and ran away from the field, suddenly afraid of what had occurred. Darting through the forest toward home, he leapt over a small pond, then stopped in his tracks.
Turning back to the water, he saw the sky reflected in the water, and something unusual. A small wolf peered out of the still water at him, blue eyes shining. The cub reached toward the wolf in the water, then recoiled as the other reached toward him at the same time.
Jumping toward the other wolf, the cub opened his jaws to bite. Suddenly wet, the other wolf was gone, and the cub had a mouthful of stale water. The surface of the pond rippled as the cub pondered this event.
“It’s me,” the cub thought. “It was me in the water. The sky and me in the water, and not in the water.”
A sharp yelp from behind the cub startled him, and he turned quickly.
“What do you do, here?” The great black wolf growled at the cub. “Come, now.”
A small bark of compliance came from the cub as he started walking behind his sire. He thought to tell what he had experienced in the field, but something held his words close. Walking through the woods to home, the cub started laughing in his mind.
“It was me, in the water. I wonder what else is in there?”