The Wolf Inside

It was the worst kind of day to be lost and alone on a mountain, thought the human side of Schuyler. The wolf inside him stirred in its sleep. He inhaled. The air smelt sweet and crisp as a fresh apple. The girl was sweet too. Sweet and sweaty, the girl had been walking in circles for hours trying to find the switchback trail. Schuyler could tell she was an inexperienced hiker despite her large backpack. The weather was cool and growing colder but the girl wore a light jacket and carried no phone. Schuyler inhaled again, deeply with his mouth slightly open curved into the Flehman response. When the wolf was near Schuyler’s eyes went colorblind seeing only black, white, and red but his sense of smell mushroomed.
His brain exploded with scents: tangy clumps of wild onions, the spiciness of mountain laurel, the wintergreen of yellow birches and most refreshing the absence of other people. There were no other humans on the mountain except the girl, she smelled of warmth and weakness, of lavender vanilla body wash, and she was . . . ovulating. So not a girl, she was just a petite woman. Human Schuyler felt a tug in his brain, something was missing. The wolf inside licked its lips.
Noiselessly, Schuyler climbed down from his treetop lookout. He leant against a tree trunk, rested his cap over his eyes and waited for night. He wondered what brought her to his mountain, his hunting grounds. It had been hard for him at first when the familial curse came upon him. As a kid he loved reading gothic horror Poe and Sheridan LeFanu. But when he changed Schuyler didn’t fret over his lost of humanity like a gothic hero. He didn’t question or cry. He accepted himself, itself fully. The wolf had to be fed.
Schuyler used his wits to feed his wolf. He stalked the red district and homeless encampments taking prey that no one missed. Empty streets and isolation, the pandemic had been a blessing. He could work remotely and hunt at his leisure. Schuyler bought a cabin nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains and expanded his territory. He transformed in a apex hunter in city and country, across jurisdictions, with multiple victim profiles. No one would connect the dots. Another tug in his brain, why was she here? Why was she alone? Was she an artist seeking a muse? Soothing a broken heart? Schuyler listened to the girl setting up a tent; he scented her peanut butter carob granola bar; he imagined the taste of her skin. In his dreams Schuyler bumped into the pretty women at a coffeehouse; her auburn locs pulled into a ponytail; her smile as she laughed at his jokes.
At the first cricket’s chirp, Schuyler awoke. The sun was setting. Schuyler stripped. He didn’t want to ruin his Adidas. The wolf inside surged outside. It ran. It was triumphant. The wolf felt her heat, smelled her flesh, heard the steady calm beating of the female’s heart. It charged through the shrub jaws open. And there she was standing in a long red cloak with a taser and a long handled axe.
The pain was excruciating. The human inside of Schuyler realized at last what had been missing was fear. She was alone, apparently lost, and cut off from the world but the woman had never not once reeked of fear. Human Schuyler wrestled with the thought that the woman had tracked him, had hunted him, had set a trap using herself as bait. As the axe rained down, the wolf/man howled.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I love this one!

    1. Thank you so much. I had fun with Schuyler.

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