The gray wolves of Virginia were made extinct over a hundred years ago. According to the regular surveys by the National Forestry service, no sign of any such animal has been found since 1900. The occasional reports of large predators, just after dusk or late at night, usually by the occasional hiker or party of campers in the Stillwood (residents of Lower Alethia, nearest the woods like myself, know better than to try), receive the same tired reply from Animal Control.
"There are no wolves in the Stillwood.”
When a pet gets lost in the dark of the Stillwood and never returns… or worse is found, mauled, the blame falls on the usual suspects: foxes, wild dogs or teenagers with too much time and too little compassion. A few years back, when the Bradleys, a little family brand new to the Falls, had their boy David go missing from their own backyard, never finding more than scraps of his jacket and a little blood at the edge of the forest, the official response was adamant: this was a kidnapping, not an animal attack. Old-timers like me just shook our heads and muttered to ourselves:
“There are no wolves in the Stillwood.”
So, if you want to sleep at night this close to the forest, keep your doors locked tight and your shutters closed fast, if just to buy some peace of mind, to stop you from catching a glimpse of the Stillwood late at night. And should you somehow find yourself walking near, or God forbid through, the woods some evening, head home as quick as you can. Try to ignore the sounds of the night wind, howling as it does… it will only make your imagination run wild, after all. And should you see what cannot be polychrome eyes, shining through the mists from the underbrush or somehow in the branches above, should you be blessed enough to make it safely home, take what comfort you can in this thought.
There are no wolves in the Stillwood.