Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe
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Wolf Slave 25 – Alex Ankarr
He noses his way through the thronging blue-blood wolves, through the servants and slaves, and both groups are eager to get out of his way, to make way and give him passage to-. To find Penn, just coming up to the lodge main door, and they meet head-on in the doorway.
He’s ready with a hot glass, a plate, a robe, and all set to be of service, the very model of a good manservant, appropriately deferential, not in the least taking advantage or presuming upon previously bestowed favours. He knows better, much better.
And what he expects, is for Ree to go through the change, to proffer him a few terse instructions, to dress and drink and eat. And then for them to return to their own estate (for this is merely an associate branch) and their own quarters. It is only another monthly pack meet. It’s nothing to get excited about.
But Ree doesn’t change: seems disinclined to alter from his wolf state, and uninterested in food and drink, in clothing, in anything much besides Penn himself. What he does is to sniff at Penn, feet and crotch and hands and pits and hair, and finally face. He takes good long highly audible wolf inhales and exhales, so that not only Penn, but all those surrounding them, know, can’t help but know, exactly what it is that he’s at when he does it.
Ree does not change, then, unlike all the rest of the wolf class assembled. He bears them company and bids them farewell in wolf form: and from their stillness and careful attention, Penn knows full well this isn’t usual. All the rest of the slaves and servants he sends home, too, including the chauffeur who’d been scheduled to take himself and Penn back to the mansion. His mother is one of the first to leave: and Penn thinks that what he gets from her is a glance he can’t codify except as displeased.
In the end it’s just Penn and Ree, alone in the cabin, after all the running and the changing and the fare-thee-wells are over. And Ree has not yet changed from his wolf form: remains prowling and befurred, restless until the last reveller and runner has bid him good-bye – with a side-eye for his refusal to return to two legs – and exited the building. He’s still restless once they’re gone: does not return to Penn’s side, but circles the main hall, barges into benches and tables, glares out the window and will not acknowledge Penn’s presence in any way.