by Alex Knight
Cursing, I look at the blank
screen. After two hours I still have no story for next week’s edition of “The Redwoods Drifter”. Between
my headache, blank screen, and the interminable howling of the wind, I’m ready to throw my hands up and scream ‘uncle.’
The weather forecast called
for winds up to 110 MPH. It seems worse than that. Tonight the howling frightens me. I hear another sound now, high-pitched,
like someone or something is wounded. As I fling the door open, I’m halted by a shuddering crash. A tree has fallen
across the roof. Rushing upstairs I snatch my daughter from her crib.
Again I hear a heart-rending
cry coming from the old stable. Did an injured animal find its way inside? I pull on the open door and freeze.
Moonlight exposes four sets
of bloodied fangs. Petrified, I ease backward. One makes eye contact. The sweep of his tongue across bloodied jowls galvanizes
Dust makes my eyes water and
I blink hard. A cabin sits where my garage should be. Tripping on the hem of my gown, I’m up in seconds.
Am I losing my mind? I was
wearing sweats and Nikes a moment ago.
There’s a wolf on the
porch, blocking our entrance. The others are closing in. My prayer for a quick death is interrupted by thundering hoof beats.
A strong arm encircles my waist and we are up in front of the rider in an instant.
The immediate danger over,
I wonder about our buckskinned rescuer and his timely arrival. Glancing back, I glimpse long, black hair as my mind registers
the paint on his face.
He dismounts and pulls us
down. Amid ghostly shadows I see the pack approaching. When I turn to run, the warrior pushes us to the ground. Speechless,
I point at the advancing wolves. Ignoring them, he leans close, nuzzling my neck. The bite is swift and sharp.
Everything is fuzzy and the
pain pounding in my head intensifies.
My baby is flailing, her blanket
falls away and I scream. Instead of innocent azure eyes, golden ones stare up at me. She snarls flashing pointed canine teeth.
I hear howling all around me and in a terrifying moment I realize I’m howling as well. My mate beckons. We join him
and the others; it’s time to hunt.
I groan; it’s been three
hours, time to call it quits. I click on the ‘X’ in the upper right hand corner and a window pops up. Do I want
to save the document?
I scroll up and see "Howling"
by Alex Knight. Everything that happened is there. When? How?
I reach up to massage my throbbing
temples and notice my fingernails. They’re chipped, dirty, and have traces of blood underneath.
My scream turns into a howl
that is immediately answered by six others.