Spring came, and with it, warmer days. Most days, the sun hung yellow in pale blue skies, wisps of clouds slipping by on a mild breeze. Here and there, outcrops of snow and ice still clung onto winter, in the shadow of buildings and trees. In the forest, new growth began to poke through the browns of the last season, green shoots of grass, and fresh buds on the trees. Animals moved in the relative quiet, and now and then, a deer or a skunk would wander through the empty land the men had tried to claim, buildings and machinery standing silent watch.
The wolves moved through the shadows. They wanted for nothing. Here, the food was plentiful, and the shelter always warm when they needed it. The pack ran through the dense underbrush, and left almost no passage in its wake, occasionally stopping to nip or bark at one another.
As they passed the empty camp, two of the wolves split off, and approached the main gate, its steel starting to rust from disuse. They made a slow circle of the road, noses to the ground, and then tested the air. After a moment, they had come to the same conclusion. Men were coming. They ran to rejoin the pack.
Let them come.