Greasy lights, casting dully from hanging oil lamps, smudged the sparkling fog while glints of teeth and flashes of eyes marked the coyotes’ path. The time for calling to the heavens had come and gone and the pack slunk to their den to shelter from the heat of the coming day. It had been a hard night, as most were when the moon was hiding in the sky, and their songs had been low and passive, more from a sense of obligation than of celebration. They didn’t worry, though, because they knew there would be nights again when they could raise their voices in a beautiful cacophony and boldly remind the world of their presence.
It was only a matter of time and, despite the ever encroaching advances of men, the pack knew they had plenty of time. They had ruled the deserts and hills long before the apes had learned to use tools and the coyotes instinctively knew they would regain their crowns once man had built tools they couldn’t control. The fools would wipe themselves out. They had forgotten their place in the world and the coyotes laughed in the fog, the snarls and grunts bouncing awkwardly against the pre-dawn. Oh yes, they would rule again.
The comforts of their dens welcomed them in and cradled them together in snuggled and nuzzled slumber. They dreamed of skies filled with the fire stars their ancestors had known. They dreamed of the giant moon beaming with returned joy. They dreamed of running through scrub brush dotted deserts reclaiming ghost towns faded to dust. Their invisible crowns rattled but the earth swallowed the sound.
One by one the oil lamps were extinguished as the sun stretched over the horizon and the lights were no longer needed to battle the dark. A slight morning breeze running down from the creases in the high plateaus sent them creaking on their stands but their minders didn’t care. Tools had blunted their senses. Neglect had dulled their instincts. They could no longer feel their doom squeaking from the wrought-iron chains. Even if they could, as the coyotes already knew, it was far too late. Man might hang on for a few more generations but the tools of their destruction had already been created and unleashed.