The Boy and the Wolf | By: J Marshall | | Category: Short Story - Surreal Bookmark and Share

The Boy and the Wolf

June 13:  The Day of the Wolf

         The morning paper was spread open on the kitchen counter, with two recently browsed sections folded neatly and placed to the side.  It was just past midday, and the sunlight hit the dining room gently, falling on the counter where the paper lay, and into the living room.
         The sun did not shine in all its glory, and for that both Carl and Sasha were infinitely thankful.  It seemed that the weather always attempted to break its previous records, the next day usually seeming hotter than the day before.  Considering that they resided in a mountainous area, Carl thought the weather should be cooler.  Wasn’t it always snowing near the mountains?
         A local news story was on the TV and played to an empty room as Carl and Sasha tended to their weekly session of gardening, one of the few chores assigned on a set schedule for them by their mother Tina.  She had left the TV on when she left to take care of errands for the next couple of hours.  The TV was barely a muffle from where Carl and Sasha gardened, but inside it was more than clear, the beloved surround sound activated (Sasha had forgotten to take it off after watching music videos most of the morning and Tina hadn’t bothered to do it herself) giving the expensive theatrical sounds found at the cinemas. 
         A young black woman with plenty of fresh make-up and a white business jacket looked into the camera, and with a sober expression recited the story of the day.  It went as follows:

         It is believed that these bodies that have been found in various spots in the Timberland Forest are connected to one killer.  Fourteen bodies have been found so far, and police believe there may be many more.  The first body was spotted by a local hunter just last week who claimed to see a foot sticking out from behind a bush quite a few miles from the once popular Timberland Trail.  He thought it might’ve just been a doll or mannequin at first, but upon further inspection realized it was a young girl.  The young female has been identified as fourteen year old Patricia Richards who disappeared during a walk home almost three weeks ago.  The most recent of the thirteen bodies, officials believe there may be bodies as old as three decades waiting to be found.
         Police are organizing a neighborhood search team of one hundred for a thorough search of the Timberland Forest leading up to the mountains within the next two weeks.  If you would like to volunteer you can call the number shown at the bottom of the screen.
         Few have forgotten the string of disappearances that ran along the outskirts of the Timberland Mountains, since early 1975.  The Timberland Trail, which was once very popular among the residents of Timberland Heights—a neighborhood connected to the trail—slowly lost its appeal as bodies continued to show up.
         Though today it is still hiked by the residents there has been a curfew put in place for the trail for all ages, and kids under the age of sixteen are not allowed to walk on the trail without someone at least the age of twenty one.  What garnered nothing but protests in the beginning was soon accepted as the level of disappearances dropped dramatically.
         Though the law is strictly adhered to by most there are a few residents—mostly local high school students—that use the trail for drug use, and other prohibited activities.  A sign placed just outside the path states that anyone found on the trail illegally can face fines up to two thousand dollars and possible jail time.
         More to come at six o’clock.


         “I think they should call it Timberland,” Sasha was saying, on her knees and in her gardening clothes, breaking up dirt with a garden shovel near the fence bordering the backyard from the field.  “It’s so confusing.  You have the Timberland Trail, the Timberland Forest, and the Timberland Mountains.  Aren’t they are basically the same thing Carl?”
         “No.  The trail is a trail, the forest is a forest, and the mountains are mountains.  And besides, I don’t think the names were made by anyone official.  The names were come up with by the people.”
         “But you have Timberland Heights too, the neighborhood we live in.  All of it…all of it just doesn’t make sense.”
         Carl tore open a package of strawberry seeds, knelt down over the soil just a few feet from Sasha, with gardening clothes of his own (just a white T-shirt and jeans).  He began to lay the seeds.
         “It makes perfect sense,” Carl said.  “I don’t get what you don’t understand about it.  If we just called it Timberland how is one person going to know what the other is talking about when that person wants to go somewhere?  For example:  hey Sash, let’s go to Timberland.”
         Sasha stood up and wiped her gloved hands together, sweat on the brow of her brown skin, and a half amused, half trivial look on her face.
         “Whatever,” she said, and got back down on her knees, proceeding to break up the soil with her shovel.  “Maybe we can’t just call it Timberland, but there has to be an easier way.”
         “No, I don’t think that there does.  I just think that’s you’re being lazy.”
         “No, because it takes time and energy to think about things like this.”
         “It’s not like you had to think very hard to come up with that idea though Sash.  You probably came up with the idea in the time it takes to snap your fingers and you know what you failed to do?”
         “What did I fail to do Carl,” Sasha said, a bit of exasperation in her voice, like this conversation had been going on for some time.
         “You failed to come up with any real ideas to make it less confusing.  So really you’re just saying nothing.  Just wasting time.  Even though, I never found it that confusing in the first place.  I think it’s a good thing.”
         “Soon it’s going to be the Timberland grocery, and the Timberland Police, and Timberland St, and Timberland Junior High.”
         “So, what if it is?  There’s nothing wrong with that.”
         “Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with it to you because you just accept what everyone tells you.  You’re gullible brother.”
         “Gullible? How?”
         “Well, you believe everything is fine.  That nothing is wrong with this neighborhood.”
         “I see the news Sash, I know there’s something wrong.  How are you going to call be gullible just because I don’t make a big deal about the way that things get named.  Who cares?  If you want to call these things something else be my guest and do so.”
         “But you agree?”
         Carl looked at her.  “Huh?”
         “Do you agree?”
         “With what?”
         “That there’s something wrong with this neighborhood.”
         “You heard what I said.  Yeah, I agree.”  He paused.  “But, don’t try to make what’s happening seem like more than it is.  Don’t get into that whole conspiracy nonsense crap.”
         “Even mom thinks the police aren’t trying hard enough.  You know that’s there’s more they can do Carl.  Come on, just admit it.”
         “Those woods are huge.  It’s a lot harder than it looks.”
         The sun had been bearable up to this point, but Carl wondered how long it was going to stay like that.  Colorado was popular for its ever-changing weather, and he wondered when he would have to go inside to get away from the heat.
         “I take mom’s word over yours Carl.”
         When Sasha said things such as this, things such as ‘I’m taking mom’s word over yours’, it irritated Carl.  Because she said things such as this once or twice a week.
         If you’re taking mom’s opinion over mine why even ask for my insight, he wanted to scream at her.  Their mother may have been the oldest, and handled all the bills in the house, but Carl knew she didn’t know everything.  And he partly believed her being a female inhibited her ability to be as rational as he considered himself.  If Tina suffered from it, Sasha suffered from it as well.
         Carl began to work faster, wanting to get back inside before the sun wasn’t so gentle anymore.  He also wanted to get away from Sasha, maybe spend some time alone in his room and draw or read or something.


         That night Carl dreamed deeply.  It was as vivid as a dream as he had ever remembered having.  The dream didn’t last long, and Carl shot awake with a few fading images, only able to remember a corpse in the end.  He couldn’t tell much about the corpse, didn’t know if it was a girl or boy.  Only knew that it was a corpse that was in a forest.
         Likely the forest not far from where you live, a voice in the back of his mind spoke. 
         The thought of the forest sickened him.  To him it was just a worse version of the Timberland Trail.  It was an area that was more frightening, and even farther away from home.  Ever since his friend’s suicide all those years ago an unsettling feeling had stuck with him.  It was the same feeling that he had felt when thinking about or looking at the Timberland trail, but multiplied tenfold.  The thought of the forest only increased his unease even more.

         Another body was found in the Timberland forest; the body of a young girl with half her face torn off.  It was discovered by a mother during her morning jog with her golden retriever.
         It was a sight that gave her the shakes, Carl observing this as he watched the story unfold on the evening news.
         That’s a horrible place to go jogging, Carl couldn’t help but think.  You’ll be the next victim of whoever this is if you keep pulling stunts like that.
         The body that was discovered was the newest so far, police still speculating that there were bodies far older yet to be found.  Carl didn’t keep the news on for long and turned the channel three minutes in.  Tina and Sasha were out and the sun was nearly gone, and Carl didn’t want to watch the news alone.
         He turned it to something more lighthearted, and began to sketch in his notepad, in the wide space of the living room. 


         Carl and Sasha were gardening again their mother out just like last time.  It was the 13 of June, and Carl believed it became any hotter than today he’d have to go find an ocean to live it.  He wasn’t sure what the temperature was, but he knew it had to at least be in the nineties. 
         Tina liked to keep a garden and that’s why he and his sister were out here, but he wondered why Tina wasn’t.  Why was she always out doing something else when they were gardening?  Carl thought half the fun was supposed to be the act of breaking up the soil and placing the seeds.  How was his mother getting any enjoyment from this if her kids were doing all the work for her?  It infuriated him.  And he supposed it only did because of how hot it was, but he didn’t care.  He didn’t want to garden anymore.
         “This is crap,” Carl said, on his knees by the fence.  “I can’t do this anymore.”
         “Don’t complain,” Sasha told him, several feet away, tending to her section.  “You’re supposed to keep me going and you’re complaining.  Do you have any idea how much harder that makes it for me?”
         “I could care less Sasha, just do your work and let me do what I want to do.”
         “We won’t be out here that long big brother.  Just relax.”
         “Don’t tell me to relax Sash.  You’re going to frustrate me anymore.”
         Carl didn’t look at her, but he was certain that she had rolled her eyes at this statement.  The thought of her doing so made him want to throw his shovel at her, though he knew it wasn’t a big deal.  Something else was getting to him besides his little sister and the temperature, and he wasn’t sure what it was.  He hadn’t taken much time to consider it.
         “Hey big bro,” Sasha said.
         “What,” Carl said, wiping his brow.
         “Tell me a story.”
         “Only after you go to hell,” he told her.
         Out the corner of his eye he saw her gawking at him, but didn’t bother to turn in her direction.  It pleased him though.  Instantly alleviated a substantial amount of built up stress.  Now he felt he could think more clearly.
         “I’m not going to get all mad at what you said because I’m not a little girl like you,” Sasha said, stabbing her shovel into the Earth.  “Go ahead and be that way if it makes you feel good about yourself.”
         “You have no idea how good that just made me feel.”  Carl stopped digging and inhaled then exhaled.  “God, did that feel good.  Man did I need that.”
         “Well since you’re feeling better tell me a story.”
         “What?  Are you serious?”
         “Not like a children’s story.  You know a lot of stories.  Tell me one.”
         “Sasha, don’t think because I told you that story last week that I’m going to keep doing it.  That annoys me.  You want to talk about stories so much than why don’t you tell me one.”
         “Because if I tell you one you’re just going to start calling me a conspiracy theorist again.”                              “Yep.  You’re probably right.  You just implied that you’re going to tell me a story about some stupid theory you heard from someone.  So why don’t you do yourself a big favor and not say it.  Well you’ll be doing me a favor way more than yourself to be honest with you.”
         “Do you think being a jerk makes you cool or something, big bro?  Really, I want to know.”
         Carl sighed.  “Man, Sasha, what is it you want from me?”
         “I want you to stop being an ass, that’s what.”
         “I’m not being an ass, I’m only stating facts.  What’s wrong with that?”
         Sasha shook her head slowly.  “I’m going to act like you—just like you—for a whole day and then you’ll see what the problem is.”
         Carl took time to consider everything that Sasha had said before speaking again.  The sun made it more difficult than usual to be nice, be he decided that he may as well put in the extra effort.
         “Fine, Sasha.  You go ahead and tell me a story.  Or tell me something that’s on your mind.”  If Carl had paused to think he would have realized that what he said next sounded eerily similar to something his friend Tim had once said to him.  “Tell you what.  To show you how grateful I will actually be for a relevant story I’ll sweeten the deal.  I’ll talk about anything or answer any question without sarcasm—well I’ll try to do it without sarcasm—but your story has to be good.  Or your theory.  Or whatever it is you want to tell me.  If it’s interesting you’ll actually make my day easier.”
         Sasha stood up and wiped dirt from her gloved hands.  “Fine,” she said.  “But let me go get a drink first, want one?”


         She was back in roughly forty seconds and handed Carl a Gatorade.  She pulled up a lawn chair and sat by the gardening section, while Carl continued to place seeds.
         “Sorry to do this,” Sasha said.  “I know it annoying, but I want to sit to tell this story.  Or at least what’s been going around class.”
         Carl shifted off his knees and sat on the grass, the Gatorade in one hand.  Normally he would have complained, but he wanted a break too. 
         “So what’s this story about,” Carl asked.
         “About what’s been going on in the woods,” Sasha said.  “Everyone talks in class.  Sometimes I think that we know more than the adults do.  You must get that feeling too Carl, you know, when you’re in class.  The teachers and staff think they know so much but they really don’t and—”
         “Sasha, what does this have to do with anything?”
         “Shh.  Shut up and let me talk.  I’m getting there.”
         “Fine,” Carl said, regretting having given her the opportunity to tell her story in the first place. 
         “You know how they’re connecting all those murders to killings that have started years ago.  Like a lot of years ago.  The last I heard I think it was fifty.”
         “All right.”
         “Most of the new killings are brutal.  Like disgustingly brutal.”
         Sasha paused, looking unfocused toward the mountains.
         “Go ahead Sash,” Carl told her.  “I’m listening.”
         “It’s either more than one person out there, or something else,” Sasha said.
         “You mean more than one person doing this.”
         “It could be more than one person doing this or something else.  Something else like…something else like…well I don’t know.  I don’t want to say it—and I’m not saying I really believe in them either—but maybe a monster or something.”
         Carl exhaled heavily.  “You had me until the word monster.”
         “Well the killings don’t all match up.  So you could have a second person who’s killing who’s more brutal, or a monster.”
         “Sasha, why would you even begin to even think that it had something to do with a monster?”
         Sasha took a sip of her Gatorade and replaced the cap. 
         “There are a lot more killings than the news and cops are letting on.”
         “Wait, you didn’t even answer the monster question.  And what would make you think that the media and law enforcement are keeping information from the public?”
           “Those are big woods big bro and maybe this neighborhood has been here a while, but the forest has been here even longer.”
         “If you want to be technical it’s probably been there forever Sash.  Go back long enough and everything was forest.  At least most of everything.  And—”
         “Carl shut up and let me talk.  I said that to make a point, not to have you take over.  God!  Anyway, before I was so rudely interrupted…”
         Carl said nothing and drank some Gatorade.
         “If it wasn’t for those woods, the trail, the forest, the mountains, all of it, I would love this neighborhood so much more.”
         “There’s a story in everything.  The mountains, the forest, the trail, I’m telling yah.”
         Sasha looked coldly at Carl and when Carl noticed this he drank more Gatorade and looked away.
         “A girl in my class has gone missing, but so far nothing has been found.  There hasn’t been a news story or anything Carl.  The word is that she just ran away. 
         “There’s another rumor going around that her and her parents weren’t getting along.  Like fighting every night is what I heard.  Then one day she wasn’t in class.  Just wasn’t there.  No one really said anything except may she moved with her grandparents or something.  Oh yeah, forgot to tell you.  Her dad is really her stepdad.  We all think that partly had to do with all the fights.  Her real Dad died three years ago or something.
         “Back to the main point though, she was gone.  And soon a rumor that she had tried to run away by going into the woods—which is freaking retarded if you ask me—and disappeared.  But nothing official was being said about it or anything.  Like, no police made any announcements over the intercom and nothing showed up on TV.  But when something did become official no one really seemed to care anymore.  Like the fun was taken all out of it.  Weird if you ask me.  Isn’t that when something would get the most interesting.  But new bodies had shown up and I think that’s where all the interest.  I guess the fact that the body hasn’t been found with all those police around lead everyone to believe she was nothing more than a runaway.  And you know what that equals Carl?”
         “Boring.  She wouldn’t have been the first to run away.  There’s another girl that has run away and she’s back in the school now.  If you look at everything that way I guess it makes it easier to see why the girl seems to have been forgotten about.
         “So it’s sad.  It’s like she’s been mostly forgotten about.  Everyone believes that it’s not even important to the police anymore, like they found something out that they wish they hadn’t.  There are girls that have disappeared either at or school or another and it’s the center of attention for a while but then it’s just forgotten about.”          
         “And you’re saying this has been happening a lot,” Carl asked.  “Is that what you’re saying?”
         “The police have more than they can handle because the murderer or murderers have never been found.  And they’re just getting worse and the level is growing.”
         “Okay, well thanks for the information, but what is the message of all of this Sash.  You’re telling me what I already know.  I’m aware the police are having a pain in the ass time with this case.”          
         “What I’m saying is that it is never going to get better Carl.  I’m saying that the police will never find anything because they don’t want to.  Maybe because it is too overwhelming or they’re in on it or something.”
         “I don’t believe that for a second Sasha, sorry,” Carl said.  “You shouldn’t even fix your lips to say something like that.  You’d drive yourself crazy.”
         Carl didn’t like to think of himself as being a critic, because he was open to many possibilities in an endless level of scenarios.  But the whole idea that the Timberland police department was covering up the murders or just giving up on them was beyond belief.  They were not shrouded in corruption. 
         It could be bigger than that, a voice in the back of his head spoke.  At least something that is beyond comprehension.  Maybe that last thing that you would ever think about.  Not the police.  They are not involved.  Only involved with trying to solve the crime.  And they probably keep hitting snags and the officers and detectives proceed to lose morale.  Something is happening and Sasha’s assumptions are barely skirting against it.
         “So you think the police department isn’t involved,” Sasha asked.
         “No.  They may be keeping some information from the public, but I don’t think that they’re involved.  I say this kindly Sash: don’t believe all the bullshit theories that kids in your class throw around.”
         “No one gives me my beliefs.  I just listen and decide what makes the most sense.”
         “Okay.  Just make sure that you keep doing that.”
         “Carl, this is big.  I’m not kidding.  I heard mom talking on the phone the other day—I was kind of standing out in the hall—and she was talking to someone about different places that she doing research on and what she thought of the neighborhood.  I’m not kidding when I say that I think she wants to move.  She doesn’t feel safe in this neighborhood.”
         “Can’t blame her.  One way or another it seems someone is always disappearing or dying.  Has to be exhausting hearing so much about it.”
         “But think about it,” Sasha said.  “They’re just finding out about all of this now.  This was going on decades before.  Decades and decades.  And you know how the disappearances went down dramatically with the curfew put in place about twenty years ago?
         “What about?”
         “Well the disappearances are back up again.  What were the police doing all this time that no killer has been found and the disappearances up again, even with the curfew in place?”
         “I don’t know Sash,” Carl said simply, giving a shrug.
         “How do you have person after person die in the woods without someone being found?”
         “Because not all the bodies are from this city.  So there are people that have disappeared from other places that the police are looking for.  They’re probably not even close, the police in a lot of these places.  Makes it harder to find a killer when people are dying from so many different areas.”
         “Sasha, I thought this was important.  It’s not like we’re involved in this.  So why bring it up.”
         “Just wait, wait, wait,” Carl said, holding his hand out to her.  “This is interesting and all but I just want to get this work done and go read or take a nap or something.  Talk to me about it later.  When you have something that connects us to this.  That really should give us a reason to care.”
         “It’s our neighborhood Carl.  We’re one of the areas people disappear from.  That connects us to it.  Why shouldn’t we care?”
         “Well I’m not saying we shouldn’t care.  But I don’t feel like thinking of this right now.  It’s freaking depressing.  And it doesn’t seem like there’s a point to it.  Look.  We’ll talk about this some other time.  Maybe when I have some more energy.  The conclusion is there’s big shit going on.  Am I right?  I listen to more later.  But not now.”
         “But Carl—”
         “Not now Sasha.  Seriously.”
         Carl leaned toward where he’d been seeding and picked up the shovel and continued.  What Sasha had talked about hadn’t been boring, but he felt that the conversation was going to go on forever.  And he desperately wanted to get inside and relax.  Perhaps if it had been a little cooler he would have taken more time to hear Sasha out.  But, this wasn’t one of those times. 
         The sun must have grown hotter since she had started her story.  The day would probably hit one hundred before it was through.  At least it felt like it.  It was absolutely blazing.
         “Thanks for listening,” Sasha said, proceeding to garden five minutes after him.  “Even though you didn’t let me finish I appreciate it.”
         “Get me on a different day and I promise it’ll be a different story,” Carl said.  “Come on Sash, don’t act like you don’t feel this heat.  It’s ridiculous.”
         “It’s okay, I’m not trippin’.”
         Carl looked over at Sasha, one hand on the shovel, and smiled.  It may have been a hot day.  Too hot to consider a good day at the moment.  But he could at least say he had a decent sister.  At least sometimes.


         An hour later Sasha and Carl were finished with their gardening for the day.  They’d each gone through another Gatorade in the process.  It was just past two o’clock, and the Weather Channel revealed that the temperature was, in fact, about one hundred.
         “Why does mom have me doing such a girlie thing,” Carl said, plopping down on the living room couch, his head tilted toward the ceiling.
         “Don’t say things like that,” Sasha said grinning.  “You leave too many good jokes open.”
         “Ha ha, you’re very funny Sash.”
         Carl closed his eyes.  It hadn’t been his intention to doze on the living room couch—though it was something that he found himself doing more and more often—he’d wanted to head upstairs to his room.  But it had been too comfortable.  The air generated from the ceiling fan didn’t do much to help either.
         This sleep, Carl thought as he drifted away, was going to be a good one.  And if Sasha hadn’t called his name from the backyard near the top of her lungs it would have been.
         “Hey Carl,” she repeated, when Carl didn’t show up to where she called his name.  The first time Carl had thought she was calling his name from the kitchen, but she’d actually headed back outside into the backyard.  She’d left the sliding glass door open, not even bothering to close the screen to keep bugs from buzzing inside.  When he noticed this he’d already had his lips fixed to chastise her.
         But the thought of doing so was fleeting, having been completely forgotten when he laid eyes on what stood behind the backyard fence.
         Staring at Carl, seeming to be completely oblivious to Sasha’s presence though she stood just a couple feet away from it, was a large black wolf.  It was the first wolf Carl had ever seen that wasn’t on TV or in the zoo; it was the only wolf he’d seen that looked like it could wipe out a whole family with ease if angered or distressed.  And it was one of the creature’s Carl’s deceased friend Tim had spoken about coming back to the world as in his next life.
         Wolves are no joke, Carl could remember Tim saying. 


         “Sasha, step back.  You don’t want it to jump over the fence.”
         “This is so weird,” Sasha said.  “I could remember mom saying we don’t even get wolves around here.”
         “All the more reason why you should step back,” Carl told her.  “There’s obviously something very wrong with this picture.”
         “Oh, is my big brother being a little girl again?”
         “Shut up Sash,” he said, and thundered over to her and pulled her back.  “You won’t be laughing if that thing tears out your heart and eats it for lunch.  Bet it found a way to come all the way out here because it’s hungry.”
         Sasha yanked her arm away from him.  “Carl, please tell me I’m not the only one who notices this.”
         “Notices what,” he said, but he was completely aware.  Before the words came out of her mouth he knew just what she was going to say.
         “You said your friend wanted to come back as a wolf or a shark, remember?  What are the chances we see just one wolf here when wolves don’t even live in the area?”
         “Sasha, stop being a stupid kid.  You know damn well it has nothing to do with that.  This isn’t a freaking fairy tale.”
         “Well you see it just like I do big bro, come on.  Admit that something strange is going on.”
         “Yeah, definitely something strange, but your idea’s retarded.  Come on, let’s go inside and call animal control.”
         “God Carl!  Could you please just stop being in denial!”  She wheeled around and faced him.  “First thing, the wolf isn’t even bothering us.  It’s on the other side of the fence.  And before you call animal control you should at least see if there’s a chance.  If I see it I know you do.  Come on, let’s just look for a sign.”
         “Uh…I have a better idea.  How about not?”
         “You’re like a politician that doesn’t want to hear the truth.  You’re trying to keep it so I can’t even prove that I’m right.  I know that’s what you’re doing big bro and it’s not going to work.  Absolutely not!  No way!”
         Carl said nothing, just looked at her.
         “I’m going to get it some food,” Sasha said, and tried to make a move to bypass Carl and go in the house.
         Carl stepped in her way.  “No you’re not.  We’re going to stay in and call animal control.”
         “Oh come on Carl, this is so cool.  Even if it’s not Tim it’s still cool.  You can’t be serious.”
         “I’m dead serious.”
         Carl grabbed her arm just above the wrist and pulled her toward the door.
         “Let go of me!”
         “No!  You’re not feeding the wolf.  Period.  I’m not going to have mom disown me as a son because you get mauled.  You’re twelve and you think you’re going to pull one over on me.  Hell no!  You’re coming in the house and you’re staying.  That’s it!  The end of it!  Now you can go inside!”
         Carl yanked Sasha toward the door, let go and used both hands to shove her inside and into the dining room.
         “I’m going to tell mom you hit me,” Sasha shouted, turning back to face him.  In her anger she showed an increased resemblance to their mother, who though a very pretty woman, was never hesitant to express her anger when Carl or Sasha was in the wrong.
         “Oh please!” Carl protested.  “I didn’t hit you!”          
         “Yes, you did!  And that’s exactly what I’m going to tell mom you asshole!”
         She shoved him suddenly and he stumbled backward, stopped by the dining room table which jittered as it connected with Carl’s lower back.  He grimaced.
         He could see that he had really upset Sasha, could see her eyes watering up.  Perhaps he had yanked her a little hard.  He decided he would let her little shove (a sucker-shove if there was such a term, he thought) slide this time.
         “Sasha, come on.  See it from my point of view.”
         Sasha looked angrily up from the arm she now rubbed.  “I already do,” she said, and turned and stormed toward the stairs.
         “I’m sorry,” Carl called to her, sliding the glass door closed behind him.
         He wondered what Sasha had meant when she’d said she already saw it from his point of view.  He tried to put the thought out of his mind, and a muffled bark helped him to do so. 
         It was the wolf.  It was still standing on the other side of the fence, its tongue now hanging out, its small eyes still fixed steadily on Carl.  As menacing as it had looked when he’d first seen it with its mouth closed, as intimating as its size had been, its demeanor now made it look like nothing more than a happy, playful, attention-seeking dog. 
         The wolf then leapt up onto its hind legs, and rested its front paws on the white picket fence.  The fence now looked weak with the wolf’s weight against it.  The wolf’s eyes had brightened.  It moved off the fence and began jumping around, aiming toward nothing, just trying to look cute like all dogs do.
         Carl frowned.  He reached up and clenched the string that drew the blinds, and pulled them closed.
         There, Carl thought, now enclosed in the newly dimmed light of the dining room.  Out of sight out of mind. 
         He picked up the kitchen phone, pulled the yellow pages from a nearby counter, and rifled through them for animal control.

Second Chapter of the Serial Ebook-The Boy and the Wolf
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