Walter mulled over what Alden had said by looking out into the Black Forest. He could see the swirl of smoke rising from above the trees as it had previously. He wondered if Alden could see it too. Then suddenly it dawned on him. He remembered that Jacobi had spoken to him about a creature he was following he called it… he called it… The crocotta a creature nobody really knew what it looked like with the appearance of a wolf or hyena. Could it be possible it was the same animal? It had to be. Jacobi had also told him it was a hard to catch and nobody was able to catch this wolf. Up in the north there were sheep herders because the mountains were filled with green pastures for the sheep to graze on. It had to be the same animal. He had to tell Jacobi, he had to tell someone, just like he wanted to tell someone about the smoke he saw rising from the Black Forest. Both boys had not noticed the raven that nestled on the branch above them.
“Some say it’s not a wolf but something more,” Alden said.
“What?” Walters’ attention shifted back to Alden.
“They say it’s enchanted,” Alden said. “That maybe it’s from the Black Forest. It is unusually big and strong. That maybe it was not an ordinary wolf.”
“Not an ordinary wolf,” Walter murmured back. That was exactly it! Walter thought. A crocotta was anything but ordinary. Would Jacobi know what to do? Walter realized that Jacobi had been absent for a couple of days. The buttermilk and pastries had been left untouched. Where was he anyway? Was the smoke he saw coming from the witch’s shanty? Is that were Jacobi went? He had been meaning to ask Jacobi if that is where she lived. Now he felt he would never get that chance. Without thinking he blurted out to Alden, “Can you see smoke coming from over there?” He pointed in a distant.
“What smoke?” Alden looked in the direction. “You see smoke? I don’t see anything.”
Was it possible that Alden could not see it? Maybe he was imagining it. “Oh, nothing,” Walter said. “I thought I saw something.” He did not want Alden to think he was crazy or even worse bewitched. Alden had told him once that people who had seen imaginary things were bewitched. It was best to just drop the matter before Alden speculated things. “Do you think we are safe being here,” Walter said. “Do you think the wolf is stalking us?”
“I don’t think so,” Alden thought for a moment. “It has only been seen at night—“
At least for now, Walter thought. “I think we better leave,” Walter said. Alden without hesitation agreed and both boys climbed down quickly from the tree. They tried to not run towards the town in case the wolf was stalking them. It was said that if the prey runs it will only attract the predator to chase the prey even more. For both boys, the urge to run was great but they walked with haste. The wolf could be anywhere out there.