Arooooooooooooo!” came the sound not one hundred feet from our small cabin. It was answered by another howl, and then another. In the clear shiny moonlight, my wife and two daughters peered out the window. It was the fourth time this month. The chickens were clucking in panic and the horses were whinnying in fright as one of them stalked around close to our home, looking for something, sniffing, yes audible sniffing, smelling the air, the disgusting sound of a large wolf licking its chops at the thought of what could be. The sniffing got louder until it reached our door. Briefly I could see part of a nose and thick shaggy fur from under the door. Sniff, sniff, sniff. It was just a dirt floor. We had no clue this would happen, or we would have installed wood paneling. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch-scratch-scratch. It was digging, furiously digging. I had never seen a wolf dig so fast. Nor had I ever seen a wolf so big before. Something needed to be done.
“Honey,” I said as calmly as I could, “Go get Ole Victor.”
Ole Victor was our tame skunk. My wife ran and found him curled up by the fire. She fetched him and put him next to the door. The wolf had already gotten his muzzle inside. Immediately Ole Victor hissed, bared his fangs, turned around, and put his black and white tail up. A hissing, strongly fermented urine was skillfully aimed and willfully streamed into the now visible nose under the door. YOOOWL! We covered our ears as shrieking erupted that broke the windows. The nose disappeared, followed by panicked scurrying and whining which faded fast. Then it was quiet. Ole Victor went back to sleep by the fire.
The next day I went outside to survey the damage of the farm. On a farm in the wilderness, wolf attacks were common. Previous attacks had cost us the lives of several chickens and we even had lost our beloved dairy cow, Ida. This time, however, found the livestock were left unharmed. The alpha wolf had made a direct line for the homestead. Never before had they gone after my family. It was unnatural.
I checked the ground. Paw prints were everywhere. Then I checked around the house. Compared to the others, these prints were far bigger, twice the size of my hand. He must have been every bit of five feet at the shoulders. How did he get so big? I continued to think on this while taking notes to make repairs on the cabin. I would need to order new windows anyway. Maybe someone in town knows about the wolves?
excerpt from “Farm in the Taiga” from the book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?