michael

Excerpt from Wolf:

Hands poked at her body. Her tail was lifted in the air and then dropped. The same thing done with a paw. Then the hands picked her up and carried her. She could smell the tooth-spitters they carried. The burnt stone smell mingled with the scent of men, musky, like the sweat of a badger. The crisp smell of urine flowed from one of the men.

She knew that man. He was the one she had warned away from Michael and the not-cub. He hadn’t put his hands on her. She knew that too. From the smell of him, he was two metres in front of her. The crunch of the snow under his boots had a nervous quality to it, as if the sound itself shivered.

After a time, the motion of the men stopped and she felt herself placed on a cold surface.

 

 

“Get in the chopper, Harris.”

Sergeant Thomas Jenkins didn’t understand. His men weren’t cowards. But four of them had died in less than three minutes. That didn’t seem possible. Nothing he had fought had ever been that fast, nor that deadly, not unless it was missile based. True, two of the deaths had been from a rifle. The poor sod using it had been taken out by a wolf bigger than the one on the chopper floor. But the thing that had attacked Michael Scott was dead. Without a brainpan, it was just an oddity for the taxidermist. Gerund had mentioned a woman or a wolf that travelled with Michael Scott. A wolf was in the chopper. Jenkins didn’t know anything about a second animal. Or what Harris was ranting about . . . the man was tech support, not recon. Why did the company let people cross train without the skills? Jenkins just shook his head.

excerpt from Wolf

“Easy girl. Shhhh,” Michael said. Even though gun trained, the horse was skittish.

Michael felt a pang of guilt low in his belly. He was supposed to protect these animals; they weren’t friends, but he understood them, cared for them in ways that went beyond any kind of pet-human relationship. His horses were an extension of the survival they met together, here in the Rockies. They needed each other. Depended on the other for so much more than just companionship.

He took a kit bag from the wall, some bandages and ointments, and then walked slowly forwards, talking all the way. It wasn’t the words that were important, it was the tone of voice he used. Soothing calm that flowed from him to his riding horse. It took a long time for peace to settle into place in the confines of the cave. At least it felt that way. When he opened the stall gate, his horse shied away.

“Easy. It’s okay.”

Finally, Chaka let him touch her throat, and run a hand over her hide to find the damage the wolf had left. Besides the bite on the neck, there were claw marks high up on both flanks and shoulders. The horse had bucked the wolf off. Michael had been far enough into the cave to put the first shot into the wolf’s side when it landed. And then Faelon had attacked.

Michael took a med dispenser from the kit and filled it with painkillers from a Sealpak. The soft hiss of air almost startled the animal again, but the lessening of pain it had been feeling was soothing. Michael moved the local anesthesia to the area around the other wounds. Chaka barely noticed the hiss. Next, he took an antiseptic and cloth and cleaned the wounds. He took his time, again, glad he could do something other than be anxious. He didn’t bother to look behind, knowing Chaka was a better alarm than any other right now. But he wanted to look, to see Faelon standing there, alive.