It had been quite the argument, really. Corey had declared emphatically to Brett that there was no way in hell he was consigning Leigh to the truck bed just because the elder Coleman wanted to hang his furry head out the window like a common farm dog. He could either ride in the back seat, with his nose stuck out the little triangle of glass behind the main window, or he could ride in the bed. Brett had sulked, to be sure, but his manners wouldn't let him put a lady out, either — a fact Corey used to his advantage. The result was that the trip to Prairie Dog Town wasn't quite what anyone had expected. But, there were no hard feelings, and Corey made sure that everyone made it in one piece. More than that, he made sure there were private places to change — for those that didn't come already sporting fur. A pup tent just off behind the back bumper, once he'd parked, and a make shift tent fashioned of a tarp thrown across the work scaffolding sticking up out of the truck bed did just the trick.

Despite the minor "argument" — which was really more just a loud declaration accompanied with a bit of sulking — the ride to the location was uneventful. Leigh would have offered to bring everyone out in one of her faster vehicles, but they're really not well suited for going off-road in the flatlands.
Once arriving at the destination, she took the pup tent. After all, she's the only non-shifted canine, who better to take a pup tent, right? Clothing neatly folded, the shift comes easily. She lingers for a moment or two, sniffing the air before peeking her dark snout from beneath the tent. Looks like the wolf is ready to go.

Like a common farm dog?!
Brett bristled and sulked to be sure. One of the best parts of the ride out of town is to stick his head waaaaay out of the window and let the wind blow through his muzzle, making his little floppy cheeks billow in the wind. Then, of course, there are the bugs. When he gets to sneeze on his brother…
Okay, that is the best part.
Consigned to the truck bed, though he won the argument regarding the placement of blankets back there for the bumpy ride— the bumps made it hard to keep his footing at times. Even with four legs.
When it comes to the Coleman boys, there is almost never hard feelings after arguments. They learned at an early age that in this world, they are all they truly have. And when you've got family?
The moment the truck stops, Brett leaps out and spins around, offering a bright 'yip!' of encouragement..
Let's get this show on the road!
Of course, his being near the truck serves a secondary purpose. His brother is a lynx. A cat. With three canids. While he knows the girls won't do anything.. untoward to the feline, he's got that sense of family and duty.
No offense, certainly.

Summer has no qualms about being treated like a 'common farm dog'. She's used to riding in the bed of the truck, and generally did so on camping trips when he was younger. Never as a coyote, so that's quite a new experience for her.
Unlike Brett, who seems to like the wind whooshing through his fur, or being pelted with bugs and sneezing them out, Summer is a dainty little coyote. Sitting neatly on her haunches near the cab — the one location she knows that won't toss her side to side and have her rolling all over the place.
Once they've stopped, she leaps out of the bed of the truck onto the ground.
Then she bolts about ten feet out into the flatlands, pawing at the ground twice before eyeing the surroundings to get her bearings.

In a fight between an equally-sized cat and dog, it's usually the cat that come out on top. But, things do get a whole lot trickier if the dog has packmates at his side. Even so, Corey's not really worried about either Summer or Leigh. In the first place, both know his scent. In the second… he did make sure to tell each of them what he was and what to expect. He's not that stupid, bro.
In any case, having used the truckbed as a change room after the coyotes have vacated it, a russet lynx lands with a soft thump just off the right end of the bumper, taking just a moment to smooth the fur on his shoulders with a quick stroke of his tongue. As the black snout shoves its way out of the pup tent, his feline head cants, yellow eyes gleaming, and he stands aside to watch the wolf emerge.

Knowing what a shifter is, and seeing it are two entirely different things. Coyotes, Leigh has had to deal with often, and while the others have all seen that she's in essence a black wolf, there's still a bit of trepidation as she finally emerges.
The wolf appears to be in no hurry, but that is much her nature when shifted. Completely opposite of her human-side's need for speed. Only when she has a sense for where everyone else is do her movements become all the more lively. These may not be her packmates, and they may not be her family, but she can trust them.

Brett's head turns to follow the path Summer travels with his eyes, and a second 'yip!' comes forth. With Corey now down, and Leigh's slow appearance from the tent with her fur coat on, he is ready.
Jumping straight-legged into the air, he twists and takes off in the direction where the 'town' lies. It's only a couple of steps, however, before he pauses and digs into the earth— one, two, three paw swipes at the dirt, sending it flying everywhere before he starts again in the direction that he and Summer had plotted.

No need for burrows this evening! There are tents, and tarps, and truck cabs. Everyone is good, provided they all take turns, right? If not, Summer can make a nice burrow later on, since burrowing is one of her favorite activities!
The female coyote stays put until Brett catches up, then she bolts again. Another ten feet or so out. There, she paces in a circle once, yipping happily. This time, she paws the ground three times and sits to wait for everyone else. The prairie dogs aren't too much further in, but the nicer 'course' is quite a ways.

The lynx spends a moment or two with his nose in the air, testing scents. As the male coyote bounds after the female, the cat's ears swivel and he eyes the wolf for a moment before starting to pad forward after the noisy, yippy thing. His tail is high, indicating his contentment with the entire situation, and his movements are smooth and easy. He turns his head, glancing back over his shoulder once or twice to make sure the wolf comes to, but otherwise follows the two coyotes as they show the way to their goal.

The wolf will come in her own sweet time. Unlike the shifters, there's a lot less playfulness in the werewolf and a lot more thinking of 'hunt, maim, kill'. Leigh has to push past all of that before joining the others, but given a few minutes she's running off after the trio. There's a bit of lagging behind, but it's on purpose rather than her being loppy and slow.

Silly shifters and their 'devil may care' attitude!
Burrowing.. burrowing is fun, but now isn't the time. Oh no.. Brett-coyote is beginning to get a whiff of the prairie dog town, and as much as his attention is on the other three, more of the coyote-brain is processing the little burrowing creatures.
Now where was that grand entrance again?
Barking happily at the delicate little coyote waiting for everyone, he cuts off into a side direction where they'd discovered the best concentration of the 'dogs. It is just before the threshold they'd discovered that he stops in his tracks and swings around, yip-yipping happily. This is going to be great! Good weather, which means they'll be out, and it's coming into mid spring, which means— young prairie dogs! More to pounce!

Content to wait until the others catch up now, Summer circles around again, then yips for them to hurry the heck up. Soon as she can see the lynx within five feet of her, she veers off to the side to chase after Brett.
When he swings around to yip-yip-yip, she suddenly leaps into the air and makes a valiant attempt to pounce down on his back. Sure, they're out here for the prairie dog pouncing but she needed to get a practice leap in.
At least, that's what she'll tell him later.

Coyotes are crazy. Corey knows this. Much crazier than lynxes — no matter what Brett may try to insist later.
As Summer bounds away from him, Corey shifts defensively. Were it Brett, see, he could have expected the 'yote to try circling around to pounce him instead. As it is, the female moves to tackle Brett, and Corey's whiskers sweep forward, eyes gleaming. He breaks off right and begins to circle upwind, ears swivelling and nostrils quivering as he begins to catch signs of the rodents they hunt.
Oh, yeah. It's a hunt. Maybe not for food, but still. The lynx begins slinking forward, looking back to see just where his companions are.

Hunts for play are new for Leigh, not that she's a cold-blooded killer. Taking down a deer with the Pack on a full moon, though? Entirely different.
With the coyotes bounding off, and the lynx moving upwind, the were has no issues stopping in the middle of the three. Her nostrils flare as she sniffs around, trying to scent out what it is they seek. Chuffing, she starts to circle around the area so that she can get to the other side of the little prairie dog holes, and they can come at them from all directions.

Summer's pounce manages to ground out Brett's hind end. A yelp of surprise springs from the coyote which is followed by his swinging around and attempting to place a foreleg up and over her shoulders from the side for a side take-down.
Prairie dogs? What prairie dogs?
Corey's passing brings his attention away, however.. and to see how Leigh is moving? That wolf needs to.. needs to.. she really needs to dig some burrows!
But— not before he pulls the little coyote down, if he can.

The pounce was meant to take the other 'yote down fully, not just surprise him! So Brett honestly has no trouble taking her down from the side, or pulling her down to the ground. Summer doesn't put up a whole lot of struggling either, not wanting to terrify the little critters by making too much extraneous noise.
Snapping her teeth together in a playful nip, she twists and squirms until she's free of the potential 'yote-pin, then she's running off into the 'play area', waiting for a little critter to poke it's head up so she can pounce and bop it back under.

Corey's ears swivel as he catches sound of a burrower beneath the earth. His ears focus forward on that sound as he turns towards it. Edging closer, he settles down into a prone position, head low and watching. His whiskers quiver as his nose works. He watches the mouth of the burrow.
Hard to see how, with all the yipping that's been going on, the prairie dogs wouldn't know something was up. But, even if their little alarm systems are calling out, "Danger! Danger! Coyotes!" in prairie-dog-ese, they're not likely to expect both a lynx and a wolf along for the ride.
So, let Summer and Brett play. As the first of the rodents pokes its head to play sentry, it's broad, fluffy lynx pads that are most likely to come down on its head.

Leigh's eyes shift to each member of her makeshift 'pack'. The two that are playing are given a bit of a huffle. Ruining the hunt! Giving away their location!
When the lynx makes his move, the wolf circles in a little closer. The distance is slowly growing smaller, and the ability for the prairie dogs to run with a wolf circling the perimeter of their 'safety zone' is going to be nil. As a second peeks it's head out of the hole and tries to make a run for it, the wolf is there to easily stomp on it's head, trapping it beneath a large paw. There is no killing, just a bit of pinning it down before she starts to bat it back toward the holes.

With Summer squirming free, complete with little playful nips given for good measure, Brett is back on all four paws and bearing down into the play area again. The prairie dogs have indeed started their warning barkings, and as the Coleman boys described it, it looks very much like a 'whack a mole' board.. the prairie dogs duck underground, only to reappear in a different location to see who and what the danger is..
Look! There's on just a couple of yards away pulling its head out of the burrow to look around!
Bearing down on it like a giant puppy, Brett leaps straight-legged into the air to come down with both paws and a nose into the burrow, but—
It's a miss. The prairie dog was able to dive for cover again before the coyote got to him…

The Veterinarian in the female 'yote feels genuinely bad for the creatures who are not only being disturbed in their habitat, but who are being abused for their enjoyment.
Probably a good thing that the animal instincts have taken over then, allowing Summer to pounce at the hole she was eyeing. She misses as well, but it doesn't stop her from pouncing at another hole, and catching a prairie dog on the noggin, forcing it back under the surface.
A gentle yip-yip is issued as she gets it, then she's bounding back over toward the male 'yote to see if she can help him get one.

The lynx leeeeaaaaans back on its hind quarters as the prairie dog squirms. With a deft flip of his paws, he pulls the rodent away from its safety chute and lifts its paw. The rodent tries to run. The lynx's tail twitches and he lunges forward, catching it again and bat-batting it between two soft paws. Flipping it with his other paw, Corey watches as the prairie dog bounces against the earth and then scuttles away on the double with a barking cheep, rolling back down the hole.
For a moment, animal instincts foremost in his mind, the lynx digs after it, throwing up a clod of dirt or two. Then, however, movement to his right catches his periphery, and he turns to see another prairie dog emerging a tail's length away from the black wolf.

Several more bats of the paw force the prairie dog back into one of the holes. Leigh can be content with that, the prey is too small to enjoy tearing it apart. Hardly enough meat or fleshy bits. Her tail moves slightly, and she catches sight of the animal that's not far behind her.
At first she makes no move toward it. Then she's suddenly spinning and snapping her teeth at it. It barks and ducks back under the ground rather quickly at that.
The werewolf may not really have the hang of the whole whack-a-mole game, but at least she's keeping the prey in the playing field in her own way.

This is only the first trip for the werewolf. The lady shifter has a little more experience under her proverbial belt simply by virtue of armadillo soccer. The first introduction of using lesser animals as play-things.
Brett is buried up to his elbows and he has to kick up some dirt in order to backpedal out of the hole he finds himself in. At the same time, that self-same prairie dog pokes its nose up in a hole a couple of yards away, yipping and yelling in prairie-dog-ese about some fool varmint in his front yard!
Brett frees himself within seconds and rears up onto back paws only for the length of time that it takes him to twist and give a bounding jump in the direction of that next hole where the head popped up..

Hearing the prairie dog equivalent of 'get off mah lawn' would normally make Summer giggle. Since she obviously can't do that, she yips again, then swings about and pounces down on the yelling rodents head. Take that prairi—
Critter moved too swiftly, and now the female 'yote's paw is stuck down in one of the tiny little burrow holes. Try as she might, she can't get it up quick enough to her liking. Which is why Brett ends up bouncing on her snout, and smooshing it into the earth.

Corey's airborne nearly before Leigh has spun around. As her teeth snap at the prairie dog, he's twisting in the air, trying to avoid actually landing on top of her snout. (The wolf is, after all, bigger than any of the other three, just by virtue of species. And Corey doesn't want her mad at him.) Thus, he ends up perpendicular to her, inches away, in fact, as the prairie dog darts back down its hole, free and clear. He lets out a feline 'rrrreckt!' in surprise, back peddling some in surprise.
In his back peddling, he runs over another prairie dog who'd popped up to see just what all the chaos was. The rodent is rolled per force away from its burrow at an angle that takes it away from its safety zone. Squawking, it starts to take off at a run, tangentially across Corey's peripheral vision. Recognizing the movement, the lynx springs again, letting out another feline squawk, this time racing after it in an out-and-out chase.

The change in the landing is a good thing, as it helps Leigh avoid biting Corey. That would be a shame, since while he's feline, he's far from being prey. The cat noise gets her hackles raised a bit, but rather than snarling at him she makes another snap for a prairie dog. Just a warning for it to get back in the hole. Further toward the middle, away from the perimeter.
The perimeter is hers.
With the lynx taking off, the wolf follows behind. Trying to run forward so they can make a game of prairie dog in the middle.

And he's up… and.. down! But.. but.. he's landed on something a little larger and fuzzier than a prairie dog!
The coyote that is Brett Coleman tries to leap away and off of the smaller coyote, and makes something of a mess of things. The dirt is flying in the attempt, and his ears flatten as he backs up quickly, adding yet another high-pitched yelp for good measure.
Darn little prairie dogs! Making this hard on him! Brett has no idea why he's having such a hard time scoring a hit, unless it's for the sheer pleasure of having the girls along to play. Normally, the boys are a little quieter.
Just a little.
Okay.. Corey is.
Once he's pulled out, the sneezing fits begin to get the dirt and dust out of his snout.

Snout-crushed, but Summer isn't in the least bit angry. Once the male 'yote is off of her face, she finally yanks herself free of the hole. Granted, this makes things a little comical, as the force of it all sends her rolling backward in a ball.
Thankfully there are no cacti or lamp posts to bowl into out here, and after a good few feet she's back up on all fours and bounding back toward the play area. She's leaping and bouncing now, trying to keep her paws free of the holes.
Pouncing toward Brett again, she sails over his head to land just beyond a hole. She misses the prairie dog as she lands but winds up accidentally swatting it with her tail, which creates a series of mad little barks.

Prairie dog in the middle! Yehaw! That's something the lynx can get on board with.
As the wolf races past him, he momentarily takes his eyes off the target to track her. Once he realizes she's heading for the 'block', however, he redoubles his speed after the little critter, who's veered off with a squeak upon realizing there's a wolf after it too. (It definitely sucks to be a prairie dog, today.)
Corey skis around, leaping across the prairie dog's path. One fluffy paw comes up in a 'slapshot' that sends the poor critter reeling backward, right toward the wolf.

There is no pity for the prairie dogs with Leigh. As the critter gets flung reeling toward her she snaps her teeth at it. While she doesn't outright chomp it, she does lift it up by the scruff of its neck and tosses it up into the air, directing it back toward Corey.
She manages to do it without making a bloody mess — nothing more than a little pinch to the prairie dog's neck is all. Even canines can be gentle when they're careful.
After tossing the prey at the lynx, she twists about to race back a little in the opposite direction and wait for it to be sent back to her.

With a final sneeze that causes his snout to smack on the ground, Brett looks up and takes stock of how everything is going. The cat and the wolf are playing 'catch' without opposable thumbs, and the other 'yote?
She sails over his head to land in front of a disappearing prairie dog, smacking it in the face with her tail. Okay.. now that is funny.. and watching the mad little badger (okay, prairie dog) disappear brings Brett's attention around. Perking ears, his gaze searches intently for one to call his own. With each head that pops up, he's a fraction to late to do anything but bop one or two on the head. (No teeth were used in the filming of this documentary!) Tonight just isn't his night for grabbing one to use as a ball.
Still, as a whack a mole game? It's great!

Summer would prefer armadillo bowling, but her little roll not long ago? Made her think of a new game: Armadillo bowling with prairie dogs for pins.
Definitely something she'll have to bring up before another outing occurs.
Bringing a paw up to wipe some dust from her snout, she gives a full body shake as she watches Brett miss nearly all the critters that he's trying to pounce on. As he bops a second one on the head, she blasts through the playing field again, then spies two that are peeking up at the same time not far from each other. With a yip, she's on the move again racing toward them. A leap, and then a double-paw pounce sees her hitting not one, but… zero prairie dogs, as both drop back into the hole mere seconds before she can land atop them.

The cat skids around again, claws acting as both pivot points and anchors to control his spin. As the hapless rodent comes flying through the air, back towards him, he pulls up on his hind quarters to bat at it with both forepaws in the air. Catching it between them, he squishes it some. It barks out a high pitched alarm, trying to escape. As his paws come down to earth, the rodent still between them, the thing is stunned senseless by the blow. It rolls an inch or two, enough that Corey can hook a paw under it expertly once more and send it flying forward toward Leigh again. As it becomes airborne, he's up off his hindquarters, bobbed tail high and twitching, on the move forward once again.

The high pitched squeak causes Leigh to growl a little, but she quickly realizes that the 'toy' isn't dead, just potentially unconscious. Better for the prairie dog, but not so fun for batting it around. With it flying toward her again, she doesn't bite it, or smash it to the ground with a paw. She waits until it's close enough, and then she bats it back at the lynx with her snout. Her head follows through, giving it quite a bit of force as it flies through the air.
If it were a smart critter, as soon as it snaps out of its stupor it'd find a way to drop itself to the ground and then into it as quickly as possible.

The bopped prairie dogs bark angrily from under ground before an entire cacophany of mad 'dogs erupts with Brett's attempts of digging at one hole before leaping to another as a head pops out.
There! He can feel his jaws closing around one.. and digging furiously at the hole, the prairie dog wriggles and 'screams', managing to wiggle loose out of the coyote's mouth. He doesn't want to eat it.. just annoy it a whole lot.
Peering directly into the hole, his ears up and quirked, he's.. puzzled. Where'd it go?
Digging for a couple more strokes of his front paws doesn't get him any closer, and so it's on to the next burrow!

Suddenly, there's digging! Digging is fun! It's more fun than pouncing, and chasing, and bopping!
Summer rushes over and immediately starts digging into the burrows with Brett. Looks like the game of whack-a-prairie-dog is over for her, now that she's so very focused on tearing apart their home.
The 'yote paws at the earth, kicking up a bit of dust behind her. Every so often she dips her head into the hole to try and nudge a critter out of the way so she doesn't hurt it too much. Then it's back to the digging.

Coyotes are so darn messy!
As dirt flies into the air, spraying everywhere and sprinkling everything, Corey side-jumps away from the epicenter of the exploding soil. By this point, prairie dogs are running helter-skelter all over the place in their bid to escape the invaded tunnels in favor of safety chutes some distance hence. The poor toy that's flipped towards the cat gets lost in the confusion, Corey spinning first one way and then another in an effort to catch those that dart past him. Pounce left with the front paws. Pounce right with the front paws. Catch a prairie dog by its tail and watch its claws circle like a Roadrunner cartoon.
New toy! Excellent!
Corey batbats at it, hindquarters high, tail twitching, and sends it skittering back towards the big black wolf.

The perimeter is breached by one (make that two) of their own! Leigh snarls at the pair of 'yotes, and forgetting all about the airborne prairie dog, she tries to scare any creature that comes her way back to the center. Not a lot of luck is going on with that, but she's still going to try and secure her perimeter!
Paws lash forward at one that stops in front of her, just in time for her to get a skittering prairie dog on her nosepad. Peering at it cross-eyed, she releases her newly caught toy, and makes a paw-grab for the offender instead.

Digging. Digging is fun!
When Summer joins him with his hole, his efforts redouble, though every few seconds, he pauses and quirks an ear to see if he can't hear what it is they're doing down there.
It's not looking as if they're going to evict the current resident, and so Brett moves to another hole, bounce-bounding in a stiff-legged jump before the paws make contact with earth again.. and the digging resumes, the dirt flying in the air. This is great fun!
Leave it to Summer to show him how he can incorporate digging into almost any activity.. while shifted, that is.

Digging is fun!
It creates pretty burrows, and it makes for good shelter in a pinch.
Though nothing comes of their little digging venture, Summer is happy enough to continue on. Just so she can roll in the dirt. She has a few quirks, this one. She's about to do so when something in the distance causes her head to snap up quickly.
Suddenly, the female coyote is on alert. Ears press back against her head, and she gives a warning-yip. Running forward, she nudges at Brett's side with her nose then immediately starts to run back toward the truck and tents.
Another shot, closer than the first can be heard ringing out over the flatlands. No telling exactly where it's coming from and while it doesn't sound like they're in immediate danger, it does mean that someone could soon be finding two coyotes playing with a lynx and a wolf — ergo, not a good predicament.

Pounce. Paw. Paw. Pounce…
Corey's head snaps up and his ears swivel at just about the same time as Summer's. He stands there, eyes wide, watching, listening for a long moment… until the second shot rings out.
That's all the prompting he needs. He waits for half a heartbeat, regardless, until he sees the others moving as well. The lucky prairie dogs are forgotten, now, as something human in the back of his feline brain reminds him just where shelter and safety are, away from shotguns and shooters. Automatically, he starts heading for the truck with the others.
Guess playtime's over.

Shots are nothing new to Leigh, so her attention doesn't immediately settle onto the danger. She's just started to actually play!
It actually takes the lynx heading off toward the direction that they came from to pry her away from the sandy mess of a ruined prairie dog field to get her moving. If a cat is getting out of there, and she's standing in a wide open space — a black wolf — she's likely in more danger than the rest.
When that realization strikes her, it doesn't take her long at all to start back at a full out run, which will soon have her taking over the others.
On the upside of that? She'll get to the pup tent first, and be able to get the clothing ready for anyone else that wants to shift back before they return to the city.

Brett's head comes up the same moment that Summer's warning yips reach his ears. Then.. it's the second shot that really brings his feet under him. Wheeling around, he yips a response to the departure, and begins to haul tail back to the truck.
Playtime is definitely over. Until, of course, his brother gets changed, he jumps into the bed of the truck, and they dig deeply into the dirt to get back to Dallas…
Prairie dogs are forgotten in the face of the new developments as they all now make for the safety of the vehicle.

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