Wolf Mountain


He heard the howling every night like clockwork. It seemed to start up soon after sun down and as he was settling down to sleep. At first there’d only be one voice, a lone call into the night. He’d go to his shuttered windows, open one and look out. Of course, there was nothing to see or be seen in the pitch blackness. He’d wait and listen to that mournful singing.

Another howl would start up soon afterwards, answering the first and more would join. When the whole pack finally joined, the sound would send chills up his spine. He would cover up the window once more and go to sit before his small fire, knowing he’d just naturally reacting to the call of wild animals. He would do a bit of sewing; mending a fishing net or sock. If he felt awake enough he would do a wood carving; making little animals and people.

He’d get ready for bed and the wolves’ song would follow him still. It always caused him to think about them gathered in the small mountain range on the hunt. He’d never actually seen a wolf. His cabin was too far down the river and they never strayed that far. A few times he thought he’d come across where they had been, but with some many other predators in the forest he could never be sure.

Settling into bed, he pulled out a battered old, Bible and read from his marked page. The light from a gas lamp flickered next to him and he traced the words with his fingers. He also had to speak aloud because he had never learned to read probably. He’d had some schooling, but there’d always been so much else to do. The words he said mingled with the wolves’ song and made him think that maybe they were praying too.

He closed the book and placed it back on the stool next to his bed He turned out the gas lamp and lay in the glowing firelight from the dying fire. He watched shadows crowded across his ceiling and he listened to the sad howling song.