Pile of Bones

A man out on a lonely walk encounters troubles he hadn't foreseen.

A boy child goes out to play and discovers something that could solve a twenty year old mystery.

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1. Chapter 1

 

*Winter, 1989*

The bitter cold bit at his ankles as he trudged through the frozen snowbank. He shivered in his parka, his breath steaming in front of his face, freezing his eyelashes. His boots were encrusted with snow, his parka almost frozen stiff.

A lone wolf howled.

The man peered behind him, his expression startled.

The wolf howled again, closer. 

The man's expression turned to one of horror. He could see a stealthy shadow slinking through the trees. The man turned around and continued to walk. He was too far away from his house to turn back to it, and the wolf was between him and his house.

He started to run.

The wolf followed, her eyes fixed on her prey. Her breath came in short pants, anticipation for a long-awaited meal keeping her eager. Her cubs would feast tonight. She would be patient and wait.

The man was getting tired, and the wolf was still on his trail. He glanced back, and paused, getting exasperated as he saw the wolf calmly sitting on the snow-packed ground, tongue lolling out of the side of its mouth.

The man continued on, his exhausted legs stumbling, his body shivering violently as rain started to fall heavily, immediately soaking through his protective layers.

The sky steadily grew darker, and the frigid cold caused the man's eyes to water incessantly, blurring his vision. His stumbling became more pronounced as he tripped over hidden roots from the endless forest of trees.

The man stumbled, and couldn't regain his balance, falling to the ground, fatigued.

The wolf lunged forward, then stopped short. It wasn't yet time, as she could see the prone figure on the ground stirring vaguely. She sat back on her haunches, watching the man slowly stand up.

He stood, watching the wolf as it seemingly laughed at him. He stood there, shivering, watching as the wolf's rain-soaked fur suddenly stood on end. The wolf stood and growled menacingly, raising its hackles. The man's blood froze, his fear intensified, sure that his end was near.

But the wolf wasn't looking at him.

The she-wolf had spotted the figure of another wolf stalking her meal. She growled again, satisfaction flooding through her as the smaller male turned away. But her content was short-lived. The other wolf leapt forward, enraging the she-wolf. She stalked forward, alarming the man as he stepped to the side to avoid her advance.

The man was startled to see a twisting, russet-colored body fly just by him, brushing his arm aside. He stood in shock, his trembling body held rigid. The two wolves tackled each other in a tumbling mass.

The man slowly turned away from the snapping, whirling carnivores, hearing the occasional whimper of pain. He determinedly crept through the forest in hope that the wolves wouldn't hear him.

But the she-wolf knew her prey was escaping, and she knew this thieving male wolf was the cause of that. She grew angrier as she heard the man step farther away. She spun around, her fierce jaws parted in a terrifying snarl as she observed the smaller, slightly cowering wolf growling back at her.

His fur was soaked in the dark crimson stream of life, wounds covering his quivering body. The rain ran down his sides, and into his mouth locked into its silent, threatening grimace.

The she-wolf stepped forward raising herself to her full height, and then crouched, preparing to leap for the final kill. The male wolf mimicked her, then jumped on her before she could make a move.

The she-wolf quickly twisted around, effectively knocking the male off her back. He started to circle her, looking for any weaknesses, as she calmly spun to keep an eye on him. He lunged forward slightly, then backed away, testing her awareness and agility. The wise she-wolf didn't move, having seen this tactic used before.

The man could hear continuous snarling and growling of the battling wolves. Hearing a sudden lull in the sounds, he stopped and turned around, then sighed in relief when the growling started again. He turned around too quickly and tripped, making a large crashing noise as he broke several branches.

The male wolf glanced in the direction of the noise, distracted.

The man looked back, frightened.

The she-wolf lunged.

The man cried out in fear at the absence of sound, and struggled to get up.

The wolf left the bloody, unconscious form of the other wolf lying on the ground as it followed the man's trail.

The man could hear the wolf bounding after him. Which one, he didn't know. He could feel tears run down his face as the fear and exhaustion overwhelmed him. He felt the hot breath bearing down the nape of his neck.

He rolled over and looked straight into the bloody jaws of the panting wolf.

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