The Wolves of Willoughby Bay... Chapter one .
A short story of one man's nature.
I have always basked in the solitude of these snowy winter storms , there's something definitely sobering about standing on twelve inches of ice and thinking about the three hundred feet of water depth lurking just inches below your feet . If you've never stood on a frozen lake you should . Ice makes some amazing sounds as in goes through the changes of nature , expanding like the sounds of softly moaning rolling thunder. And then gun-shot cracks of an echo as the crevices spread across the lake like spider webs on the corner of an old broken window pane .
And yet ........ there are the wolves .......an awesome surprise , turning towards the low notes in the draw and then the distant echoing howl of the alpha wolf .....I think it's him , anyway !, He begins in a low and vibrant moan , almost indistinguishable at first , and yet morphing into a howl so easily relaxed and yet so instinctively dominant . What I get from this haunting sound is something as yet so strong it will curl the hairs on the back of my neck and yet so lonesome as well. As if the howl from the wolves themselves were nothing more than a spoken yearning , perhaps some begging for a response. Maybe just ,a "tell me you're really out there too ". A pleading to the others perhaps ? .
Today though , I'm here for another reason . in my travels around the edge of the lake yesterday I came onto another three sets of snowshoe tracks . Tracks that circled and swerved in and out of the little bays and inlets along the shore , I knew right away what I was seeing too ........just in the path ahead of me , I found the first of the signs ....the first ! The wolfers are a different breed of hunter altogether , I understand every hunters dilema , he has to eat ! From the beginning of time too , that's the way it's always been .
My problem is with these fur trappers , the ones that move through an area taking only the prime animal furs , often leaving the actual meat to rot by the side of the trail , or still there hanging in the tree where it was skinned of its value and left there , as if to say . " Here you can have the rest , I only want the money "!........No , these are the men that truely tear something away from the my insides . There is plenty of room for the wolf here and for mankind , we can exist together where the wilderness meets the" civilized " world . And just as yesterday .......I was standing at the base of a pine tree where the trapeers left the body of a she wolf hanging , naked .......free of even her life ! Her beautiful hide and all of her tomorrows gone . Anger took over something inside then , I couldn't stop myself from what I was about to do ............
I'm listening to the wimpering of a grown man ! One of the trappers ......I have seen him here before , Or at least at a distance.........It wasn't all that hard to catch him either.......... All I had to do though was to turn the tides , you might say .............Last night I had braved the dark and cold to reverse the situation just one small way ,............and right now I stand here as he hangs upside down from a strapping birch tree , I used his own tools too , to put him where he is right at this moment . The snare is a magnificent tool for a trap . A circle of wire or rope tied to an object that won't move , This one however was modified , tied to a white birch sapling tree bent over and tied down with trigger that when touched would spring up to its full height ,lifting with it anything or anybody walking or stepping into the snare.
"I can't feel my legs ", he says in anger .......
I look at him with no sympathy showing what so ever , and yet even I feel some remorse .
" Maybe now you'll know how the wolves feel "........
is about all I can muster . I 'm thinking he's been here in this upside down state for three maybe four hours .
"You've got to cut me down , I caint' feel my foot no more !"
And with that he twirled once, reaching up and trying to break the wire that held his leg.
and then screaming in agony . He moaned at me and then his eye's grew wide with fear as I slip the Bowie knife out of my sheath.
" Oh .....I'm going to cut you down all right " I said ,"but only when I've punished you for setting the traps . I think that the best thing to do is leave that one leg just hanging there , don't you ?" That's when I reached up and slit his pant legs from his crotch all the way to the feet. I then cut off the legs of his pants and through them into the fire And just then , he growled at me and kicked for just a single second until he stopped in another scream of agony . Thats when I reached up and sliced the rope that held him suspended ...........and just then ,as he dropped three feet and crumbled into a pile at my feet I took the bowie knife and slipped it across his throat ................., with the blade backwards !
" Well now Mr trapper man , thats what it would have felt like to be the wolf now , wouldn't you say ?...... A slice across the neck and to peel away your hide ."
He was shaken and shaking now ! , The temperature hovered around twenty degrees and it would not be long before a man died of exposure out here , especially a man with no pants ! I looked past him out across the frozen lake at the distant specs of two or three men walking this way , no doult atracted by the smoke from the fire . I figured I had about a half an hour before they got here .
I began to pick up my belongings and put away the bowie knife , the wolf trapper had not seen his partners coming yet . He had his back to the fire and his hands were still tied , ............" Are you just going to leave me here tied up like this with no clothes on ?" He pleaded . ...."Please Mr. ..... I won't ever be seen around here no more , just cut me loose and help me back to the river and I'll be on my way back to town !".
I dropped what I was doing and gave him a cold hard stare and said .....
"If I were a wolf trapper like you , I would go as far away from the Willoughby bay as I could , the next time I see you here I will skin you alive , just like that she wolf you left hanging over in the draw two days ago "..............And with that , I grabbed my pack and all of the traps that they had spent days setting out and walked away as he pleaded out loud ............
"Please Mr. please don't leave me tied up , I'll die out here before morning !" and as I cleared the ridge I looked back just once , at the trapper still pleading in cries to me and across the way I saw the others making there way closer now , I turned and walked away without looking back again and kept walking until I could no longer hear the wolfer screaming . I don't think they will be trapping here anymore , Boy , I sure hope one of them boys has got some extra pants for thier buddy