The Rusted Chain .........

.....Short Story........

How long it had lain there , no one could know for sure , but the iron still held its own against the pulling , , the straining and all the power that could be mustered in the vain attempts to pull it free , and then as well ,the oxidation of time . Old iron is interesting isn't it? , we collect it and hang it on walls , we put it on shelves or in boxes and in barns. We place it there among other things , all cherished , old pictures , antique furniture , and photos of long ago times and people . Wrought irons , cast irons or flat irons , man has left it behind somewhere .

But it is this piece steel that interests me , the steel that man has honed into a flawless and awesome tool , he has forged , hammered and tempered it , saturated it with oil and fired it in a flame hotter than hell itself, and he has turned it into a tool to be used for a thousand uses . This particular use though says alot about the steel , but , more so , its says so much more about the man himself. For man is ingenious isn't he . He has combined steel and chain , he has melded together the thought ,the tools and the devious mind and in the end , he has invented the steel trap.


I reach for the iron chain and the weight of the stone that connects to the other end , tucked up against the stone wall not too near to the opening of must have been the old wolf den , The stone heavy enough to hold down a wolf and as I do the chain on the trap still rattles , and in the echo that stuns the silence I wonder , how long has it been since it last rattled..........how long ago did the she wolf pull against the wieght of the stone , how long ago did the pups in the nearby den yelp for something to eat , or cry for the return of their hunter gatherer father , and yet , he may have returned to find her here . I wonder if it was far too late , was she already dead ? My fingers run delicately over the chain and the rust flakes away from it as if in itself it can't wait to hide what really happened here .

I close my eyes for a few moments and the vision begins...........I see the hole as the little heads peek up over the edge at the mouth of the den........the muffled wimpering that flows on the breeeze . The little ears that direct themselves towards the howl of the trapped wolf. But as the fine fur of their ears fluffs in the breeze the howl dies slowly and painfully away to silence. And later ,as dusk approaches I see the dark outline of him , the male wolf , as he slowly approaches the den , careful not to approach too quickly...........He senses danger , he lifts his nose to the wind that rustles against the aspen leaves as they quake in protest , eager to explain what the trees themselves have witnessed.

He makes his way into the den and as the terse cries of the pups raise in pitch and pain , he regurgetates his prize of the fresh killed rabbit and then the pups begin their feeding frenzy. but the big male knows she should have been their too as he rises out of the den his eye's adjust to the light . He knows he should wait until dark but he cannot . He makes his way to the scent on the breeze , I wonder what he smells , panic , danger , death?............But what did he find here when he came ? Did his nose touch the chain that I now hold ? Was his head this close to where my hand now lies , and what did he find ? I think I know...........as I release the load of the trap spring , surprised that it still moves ............and a partial leg bone falls at my feet , inside me something twists in agony ..........I know , I know!

Do you know that wolves mate for life ?.

Comments 29 comments

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I hope I understand this story well.....is it about about a wolf caught in a trap? Those traps that poachers set?

I feel the pain as that left came off in your hand...by the way was this real? I feel the reality of it. You are a true savior, first that dog who you scared to death and now the wolf. The difference is that sometimes animals of the wild are more grateful than those that are domesticated.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Cardisa , Yes , this is just a story about the steel spring traps that are used to catch and then kill an animal. The story is not true in the sense of actally happening , Although something like this happened a million times I'm sure. I , being little haunted by the trapping of wolves ,black bears , grizzlies or of any animal find it cruel and unnessesary. I have more than once found old rusted traps in the woods and wondered how many animals have been left to die alone and scared out of thier minds. I have never saved one though....Thank you for reading Cardisa ....:-}


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California

The way you describe the iron in the beginning really drew me in. An interesting story


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Alladream , thank you so much for stopping by!....:-}


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

I loved your concern for wildlife. Your description is interesting. You have clarity in writing. Nice work.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Vinaya , Thank you so much , that means a lot! .....:-}


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

This literally gives me goose bumps - chills up and down my legs, as the picture you've painted with words hits my consciousness and flows through it.

I didn't know that wolves mate for life. But how much more tragic is this vivid picture, knowing that.

Oh my.

Each picture you paint of the steel itself, the den, the trap - - is clear and chilling.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Nellieanna , so many times I think of things to write and stop, wondering if I am being readable! Thank you for reading and understanding......:-}


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

Hi ahorseback - A story very short but very complete. What is of interest to me here is that the trap not only caught the mama wolf, it obviously caught the daddy and the kids as well - much as traps have ever done for all of life.

Gus :-)))


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Ahorseback, I like Nelliana had no idea wolves mate for life, makes it even sadder to think of the torture of a steel trap. This was very moving and beautifully written.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Aha, This is a vivid reminder, why must we be cruel? Why must we trap an innocent animal? I love your poetry. Time spent in the wild unearths many things, like a broken bone in a cage, how sad. thank you....


Kavita Trivedi profile image

Kavita Trivedi 5 years ago from London

After i read the first couple of sentences, I knew instantly i was hooked! I was really drawn in. You write with such ease and the imagery depicted in this jumps right out at you! it was almost as if I could see the wolf in front of me

Love it!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Oh, ahorseback...yes, I know thay...and I know the pain you are feeling as you wrote this hub. The absolute tragedy of what we do to others in this world. Because we can; because we have might and 'intelligence,' because we think it is our right....it is NOT! And, in poetic fashion; you have described a hell about which words cannot describe...a hellish experience that beautiful wild animals feel at our hands...bless you a thousand times for putting this before readers in such a way as to make this reality not 'offensive' to the reader because of your beautiful ability to say it without bringing anger up in the reader...I wish I had your gift...I, too often, am far too angry to say it as artfully as you have done here...and about the mustang round up, too. Kathy


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

Wonderful poignant Story of Survival among the Wolves and the steel traps that can do such destruction. When I lived in Conn. we used to also find a lot of them (the traps) in the woods. Another animal that also mates for life is the Swan. Well written Ahorseback.


funmontrealgirl profile image

funmontrealgirl 5 years ago from Montreal

Wow, so well done. Simply amazing.


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

There is such a great contrast here between our attachment to these relics of old, crafted by blacksmiths who took so much pride in their work. This trap that evokes wonder of its history, it's blacksmith creator, the trapper who relied on it for his livelihood of selling the pelts or maybe a farmer who set traps to protect his livestock contrasted with the wolf family who also strove to survive, who were no match against the steel jaws of the human made trap. It's so hard to know where my sympathy lies - probably with both, as this is life. A great story, Ahorseback.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Violet Sun , Thank you , just one more example of mankinds misuse of the natural world and the world of science and biologies as well!! Nice to see you!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Always exploring , We all have to awaken ourselves to the problems of expansion and sprawl in our towns and cities . We keep pushing the animal world to the edges , like we did with the native Americans, the buffalo, the wolf , .......Thank you for caring.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Kavita , thank you for that , I love the thought of communing somehow with the wolf ! .....:-}


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Lucky Cats , I love giving a twist to readers in story , poetry or in commenting occasionally! Thank you for being so kind!.....:-}


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

B, Malin , Yes , I have to admit that I came from a long line of hunter gatherers and probably somewhere in that bunch is a trapper , many of us did .But we can learn by our pasts , yes ? thank you for sharing....:-}


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Funmontrealgirl, Thank you for reading and taking time with this , I appreciate it .......:-}


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Fennelseed , I too understand the contradictions , I have seen the need for trappers , hunters , fishermen , and I have witnessed the waste of them too! There is a compromise and , in general , it works.....Thank you for coming by....:-}


jami l. pereira 5 years ago

Trapping , poaching , so sad and tragic for the wolf family , beautifully written in its travesty , yet ohh soo sad , great story ...voted up and awesome and beautiful as always !:)Now i have to go read something happy :(......


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Yikes Jami ! you are voting me right off the page , But I like it ...thank you my dear friend!....:-}


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

ahorseback...I lose words. It makes me so sad. I knew from the beginning where you would go with this story. Perhaps it was the beautiful photo of the wolf. It just breaks my heart. I know people have to eat -- they have to live, but at what price! You are an excellent writer, you move me beyond words.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Maralexa Thank you kindly . I read your poetry and its no news to me that you knew where this would go! Thanks again ,nice to make new friends......:-}


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

ahorseback. During the past year I have thought about this story many times. It is so heartrending. Your writing is so luminous in its ability to express the essence - the very heart and soul - of this sad but brilliant portrayal of the significance of life and mankind’s insensitive intrusion into its otherwise natural flow.

This short story deserves the same attention that a National Geographic "photo of the year" would receive.

It is a privilege to read your work.

Sincerely, Marilyn (Maralexa)


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Marilyn , Now thats a beautiful thing to say ! Thank you . Nice to see !

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