Dry cream hills stood against the blue horizon, silent in the howling wind coming from the East. A red-tailed hawk twirled in the air, drawing circles of unforgiving hunger, and its shade on the land was marking the way to a lanky wolf, who was wandering restlessly in the desert, dragging his paws among scorching rocks, and lingering at the view of a distant whirlwind with his tail swinging between creosote bushes. This would be his most epic journey, the greatest pilgrimage leading him from the Sonora desert up to north, to the kingdom of fresh creeks and generous prey.
A vibrating haze shook the solitary hills, vulnerable in the open sky, and when the wolf had no more the shade of the hawk guiding him through the yellow grass, he looked up in search of the sturdy predator, but a lonely blue was dominating the roof of the world. The gray wolf suddenly stopped, unsure of what to do. The wilderness was howling his name, and a wind full of promises was blowing onto the plain from the horizon. That moment, the wolf knew he had to resume his pilgrimage to the North without the hawk.
A distant hollow in the plain traced a line of darker dirt, marked by the passage of vehicles. The wolf did not notice it until the vegetation thinned out, and the whistle of the wind faded out as there was no leaf to vibrate through. The ground now was paler and warmer than the southern plains. The hiss of a defensive rattlesnake emerging from the beige grassland drew the attention of the lanky wolf, as the hunger grew bigger in his stomach. The lust for a bigger prey, though, dissuaded him from chasing the snake, so he continued to drag his paws forward.
A couple of feet beyond the stripe of scraped land, a silent, sturdy, and shiny fence was standing against the horizon, stretching out left and right in an endless line. Confused and frightened, the wolf approached it very prudently, straightening his hair, and sniffing it from a distance. The sky looked yellow beyond the wrought-iron bars, as though the dust of the desert were thrown up, but no wind was there to sweep it away. Electric and still, the quietness on the other side of the wall made the craved kingdom a place lost in time, where none could enter from this part of the continent. The wolf put his snout through the bars and smelled a bunny hidden in a buzzing shrub. His ravenous appetite suddenly leaped like a spasm from his stomach down to his bony paws, he desperately began to dig under the fence, but the brown bar kept emerging out of the sand, and the deeper he dug the more forlorn he looked. The wolf stopped only when a ray of sunshine seeped through the wall, a clear sign that the day was fading out over the rim of the world.
Beyond the wall, a creak emerged from the haze of the warmth, and the feeble sound of rushing water reached the wolf’s ears. Lizards and bunnies were probably gathering around the muddy bank and under the blue shade of bushes, but there was nothing the wolf could do to climb over the fence and chase those appetizing prey. Not even his wildest instincts would have been enough to succeed in such a challenge. So, in that bare, chalky, and ancient spot of the universe, the wolf began to howl. His was a desperate call, a hopeless cry, and none responded to his primitive echo.
Some steps were heard moving by his side, when the wolf recognized a human-shaped shadow stretching on the ground. A man was moving away from the wild animal, and his sweaty face looked scared yet courageous. Suddenly, he stopped and looked straight at the wolf, who was too hungry and exhausted to react to the presence of a human. A gust of cool air seeped in the bars of the wall, ruffling the fur of the wolf and making him look helpless to the eyes of the human. The man put his hand in his pocket, grabbed some food, and slowly went closer to the wild animal. Twenty feet away, he left his food on the ground, which was a cold folded flour tortilla with stiff meat and a dry cream of beans. The man turned around, walked away, and when the distant haze had swallowed his figure, the wolf suddenly knew that the human was over the fence.
As the wolf was voraciously eating the food, a strident call from the sky poured onto the land. It was the red-tailed hawk, clapping his magnificent wings in the dark sky, and pointing south where warmer places were to be conquered by his savage beak. The wolf looked up at the hawk, which looked like a moving dot in the sea of rising stars, and began to follow him to go back to where they both came from. Glancing back at the wall, the human was nowhere to be seen. The wilderness became purple, the shrubs shook as the twilight wind had started to howl again, and the wide sky was now flushing at the sunset, saying goodbye to a world of silence, and welcoming the darkness of another night alone in the desert. The wolf knew that a mate was beyond the wall waiting impatiently, with whom he would create a pack to then become the undisputed king of the desert. But barbed wire and bars would forever keep them apart. Trapped on this side of the continent, the lanky wolf decided to keep following the hawk, free up in the sky, and he was now ready to survive South of Paradise.