The Saga of Miles Forrest

Brrr, it got colder during the night. I got up from the comfort of the bed and went over to stoke the embers in the fireplace. I tossed on a couple of pieces of kindling to get a flame, then added a couple of logs. It wasn’t long ’til I could feel the warmth begin to permeate our little cabin.
I don’t know what it was, but something caught my attention outside. It sounded like it was coming from the stalls. It was too cold to be going outside, but I better go check. I sat on the edge of the bed to pull on my boots. As I was pulling on my britches, Molly woke.
“Miles, what’s wrong?”
“Probably nothin’, but I could hear some commotion out by the horses,” I paused as I finished buttoning my britches. “Thought I better go check. I won’t be but a few minutes.” I put on my holster and grabbed the Greener.
As I stepped outside the cold hit me like a knife. It was snowing a little when we went to bed, but it had stopped and the skies were clear. Looking up I could see the thousands and thousands of stars, twinkling. The moon was full and the light it gave against the pure white snow was almost eerie. Pulling the collar of my sheepskin coat around my neck, I pushed my hat down a little tighter and walked toward the stalls.
Going into the stalls I could tell the horses were agitated, especially Hawk. I went over to him and spoke softly to him asking what the problem was. Maybe I just don’t know horse talk, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. Out of the corner of my eye I picked up some movement. Or maybe it was just the shadows.
The horses started acting up more. There was definitely something out there. Wolves? Grizz had killed two, but the tracks we saw a week ago showed that there may have been up to six or so. Since he had trapped the two it seemed like the others took off for other places.
I stepped out from the stalls to the door. There was a snarl. I turned and something was leaping in the air at me. I didn’t have time to fire so I fell to the ground and as I did I thrust the Greener at the object. I felt it connect but I don’t know if I did any damage to the animal. I must have surprised it when I fell for it overshot me.
Rolling to my right the object stood and looked at me. From the brightness of the moon I could see the eyes and then as it snarled its fanged reflected in the moonlight. It was a wolf. I couldn’t fire the Greener for Star and Two-Bits were behind the wolf and the buckshot would hit them too.
Slowly I walked to my right and out into the open hoping that it would follow me out. The snarling continued, and I held the Greener now as a club.
There was a loud yelp and the wolf thudded at my feet. I immediately jabbed down with the Greener cracking the skull of the wolf. It had moved close enough to Hawk to receive a good kick from Hawk’s back legs.
Glancing up I turned and saw three more run toward the timber. Pulling my pistol, I took my time and fired. I heard a high-pitched yelp. I wasn’t sure I made a killing shot. The moonlight was pulling tricks with shadows and my depth perception seemed off.
“Miles!” came the voice from the cabin.
“It’s all right, Molly. Shut the cabin door.”
Reaching down I grabbed the wolf by the tail and drug it away from the horses and stalls. I moved it a good forty yards up to the edge of the timber. I thought about looking for the one I may have shot, but going into that timber, in the dark, after wolves would be some kind of stupid. I’m not quite that foolish.
Going back to the cabin I checked on the horses one more time. I made sure that they had sufficient room to move if they needed. Walking back to the cabin I heard that howl that over the years has sent shivers down my spine.
As I walked through the doorway, Molly was sitting at the table with a rifle in hand. I pulled off my coat and hung it on the rack and went to the fire to warm my hands. “Wolves,” I said. “Molly, light the lamp, I want to check the stock of the Greener. I sure hope I didn’t crack it when I clubbed that wolf.”
“You clubbed a wolf? I thought I heard you shoot?
“There was one up by the horses. I thought for a minute it had me, but Hawk gave it a good kick and it landed at my feet. I clubbed it with the Greener. Then I saw three others up by the tree-line and I fired at one.”
“Will the horses be all right the rest of the night?” she asked.
“I don’t reckon those wolves will be back tonight, but I’ll stay awake for a while. We need to get rid of them, Molly.”
“I’m awake, I’ll stay up with you.” She stood up, grabbed the coffeepot and opened the door to fill it with snow. “I’ll make us some coffee.”