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  • This is an unpublished story I wrote a couple of years ago. Considering maybe rewriting it in a kind of gothic style.

    The Wolves of Saskatchewan

     

    I can hear the wolves. Howling… howling incessantly outside the cabin. Those howls… they’re long and mournful…. But hungry, too, almost begging this cold, unforgiving world for sustenance of any kind. And it’s cold. So cold that, despite having on layer upon layer of clothes, I can still feel the air creeping in and gnawing at my bones. And it’s been like this for the past four nights: me sitting in cold solitude while I listen as the wolves slowly move in closer from the black skeletal forests that surround this place for miles in every hopeless direction.

    We’d come here—Pranav, Clayton, and I—from a small college town in Manitoba called Andary, where we attended the college there. Pranav was my roommate on campus, and also my childhood friend. It was almost winter break, and as neither of us could afford taking on the day-long drive into the US to see our families in our hometown of Maysburg, Tennessee, we decided instead to rent a rural cabin in Saskatchewan from an old man who occasionally summered there with his wife. A few days before we left, Pranav asked his friend Clayton if he wanted to come as well, since he wasn’t doing anything for the break, either. I didn’t really know Clayton all that well, but I didn’t see any harm in it. Besides, Clayton had a rifle that we could use to hunt with. And so, when the day came, we packed our things and left, driving about five hours into the woods until we reached the cabin.

    It was old-fashioned, just like the old man had said, with no electricity or phone service. It was cozy, though, and it was a pleasant break from the stress of college life. That was ten days ago.

    After our first day, which was mostly spent with us getting settled in, we spent the days and shooting various small game. About six days ago, Clayton found some wolf tracks, and for the next two days we spent our time tracking them down and hunting them using Clayton’s rifle as well as one we found in the bedroom closet. We killed a fair number of them, too, probably about seven or eight of them.

    I’d come with two of my friends, Paul and Kareem, from a city in Manitoba called Andary, where we attended college. It was Christmas vacation, and as all of our families were at least a few days south into the US, we decided to instead spend our two weeks of freedom away from the city and. So, we rented a cabin up in Saskatchewan from an old man who occasionally summered there with his wife. We packed our things and left, driving about five hours into the woods until we reached the old cabin. It was old fashioned, just as the old man had said, with no electricity or modern technology of any kind and out of reach of any Wi-Fi. It was cozy, though, and it was a pleasant break from the normal hustle and bustle of life back home in Andary. That was eleven days ago that we arrived.

    Due to the fact that the cabin had no electricity, much less any modern system of heating, we had to rely on firewood to keep warm. When we arrived, we had enough firewood to use comfortably for a few days. When we started to get low on wood, Paul went out to get some firewood one morning. That was four days ago. After Paul never came back that day, Kareem went searching for him that afternoon, but he never came back, either.

    That night was the first night that I heard the wolves. They wailed and howled mournfully the whole night far in the distance. I tried to ignore it, but their mornings chilled me to the core. There was something foreboding about it; unnatural, even. I can't quite pinpoint what it is that’s so chilling about the howling, but it is not like the normal bemoaning of wolves. I’ve heard wolves plenty of times before, I’m no stranger to hiking and camping. Like I said, I don't know what it is about them, but there's something wrong about these creatures.

    The morning after Kareem left and never came back, I set out to look for him, grabbing an extra rifle I found in one of the cabin’s many closets (Kareem had taken the one we brought). It hadn't been long after dawn when I’d first set out, but it wasn't until about midday that I came across a pile of human bones in a hollow several miles away from the cabin. I immediately hurried back, alternating between running and jogging the entire way, sometimes even flat-out sprinting. When I finally made it back in one piece, I ran inside and packed all of my things as quickly as I could, not even stopping to rest or catch my breath. I knew that those bones had to be my two friends, because I saw two sets of skeletons, and we’re at least a hundred miles from any known civilization, so they couldn't possibly have been anybody else. But when I ran out to the car, I found it completely ripped to shreds, as if it had been through a can-opener.

    It hadn't been that way when I first came back.

    With night soon approaching, I quickly locked and barricaded all the doors and windows. I’ve been in here for three days now, not daring to go out for firewood, even though I’m completely out and it's well below zero. Currently I’m trapped in this constricted cabin with a raging blizzard outside and those damned wolves only a few dozen yards away from the cabin, snarling and howling incessantly. I peeked through a window a few minutes ago, but all I could see was darkness and snow. The wind is rattling the shutters, and every now and then I’ll hear a particularly loud thump against the walls, and I’m not sure that it's the wind making that noise.

    •• • ••

    Every now and then I’ll take a quick glance outside, just to see what these monsters of the snow are up to. They're getting closer, now, and I can just barely make out enormous black shapes the size of minivans, some bigger, prowling around in the snow. It's the first time I've been able to get a look at them since they started their hunt against us, and now I know for sure that there is something seriously wrong with these wolves. It's hard to be sure, but they seem to be talking to each other in some way. It's not like human speech, but there's a quality in their snarled and howls that suggests intelligence far beyond that of normal wolves… like some sort of language. Their movements are eerily synchronized, even more so than you usually see with pack animals. It's not like the individual cooperation that you usually see, it's as if they wove with a single mind… as if they moved like a river… choreographed perfectly with one another as they race back and forth around the house in slowly but steadily tighter circles as they close in for the kill.



    •• • ••

    I’ve tried shooting at them, and I’ve hit every time because they're so close, but these bullets seem to have no effect on them whatsoever. It's as if I’m shooting air. But to conserve ammunition for when they do make it inside, I’ve stopped shooting and am now holed up in my bedroom. As I write this, I can hear them just outside these dry wooden walls, scratching and bellowing. I don't know why they don't just break their way through, I know they easily could after seeing what they did to the car in the few minutes it took me to pack. It's as if they're waiting for something. Or maybe they're just toying with me before they come to finish me off. I have my gun pointed at the barricaded bedroom door, waiting for that inevitable moment they finally break through my feeble attempts to keep them out. But I don't think this gun will help me very much.

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    • "Kill them," I thought as I read it. "They're a bunch of dicks who are getting what they deserve!" I was thinking of the protagonist and his friends in the cabin.

      A Saskatchewan wolf hunting license is $50 and is available for Saskatchewan residents ONLY. Unlawful hunting carries a $1,000 fine.

      As a predator, there just aren't that many wolves. While there is limited hunting in livestock production areas near provincial forests, it wouldn't be allowed in a rural area without any mobile phone traffic.

      So, these guys go out and start killing small game animals for shits and giggles. Then they find some wolf tracks and graduate to them. With no logical reason, they kill seven or eight wolves.

      Any self respecting wolf would feel completely justified in defending their family against these American yokels from Tennessee who go out and shoot them for no reason.

      The only thing missing is the description of how many cases of Labatt Blue they've drunk first.

      A large male wolf is normally about 100 lbs, the size of a really large German Shepherd. Ones that are 200 lbs have been recorded in Alberta and in Alaska. The height at the shoulder is about 32 inches for a large male and the length from nose to tail is perhaps 6.5 feet (https://www.wolf.org). I assume you are using the wolves being the size of a minivan to say that they are werewolves. I looked up the size of the current generation Ford Transit. (I like my Ford truck so I chose Ford) The short wheelbase model is 18 feet long and six feet tall in its shortest configuration. If eighteen feet from nose tip to end of the tail were accurate, this would be a one-ton werewolf.

      Even if this is some very famous Native American legend, as an American I would be thinking werewolf and would be searching for anything made of silver and for rye and mistletoe. Would that be in character?

      Oh, your English and composition were generally quite good. Not perfect but not worth spending time correcting if you're going to be rewriting the story anyway.

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    • Ugh... this does need some work. First, your first few paragraphs contradict the rest of your story. Because you have Pranav and Clayton with you at the beginning and then you switch to Kareem and Paul. Also, the first part notes that the trip is ten days long until the beginning of the story, while it is later stated that it's eleven days long up to the beginning of the story. 

      The story is really kind of rushed, but then again, you wrote it a while ago and your suspension and story building has improved since. Obviously. Anyway, Maybe the hunt should be more focused on other animals, rather than wolves, I mean, you have a bunch of elk and deer and what not in that part of the world. Assuming the hunting is done as some activity to have an adrenaline rush and perhaps for food as well, your local deer would suffice. This, in turn, would piss off the wolves who feed on these herbivores and cause them to go after your boys. (Because killing the competition would only do good to your antagonists).

      Also, the realization that his buddies have been eaten should include more build, make the search longer, have him get someone with him from the local area like a policeman or a relative, perhaps even that old man who rented them the shack. You could also go the alternative way where one of his friends disappears and the narrator and the remaining guy go out looking for him only to find one his skeleton, first they don't suspect it's him because well, people can go missing or whatever, they are being optimistic, and at first glance there are none of his belongs around the body. They keep looking for this missing guy and find some of his belongs scattered around, away from the body. 

      That sends them into an angry phase more than a scared one, mistaking the killers for a typical pack of Wolves, they decide to track them down and kill them. As they are doing it, the remaining friend of the narrator, or any other second person you choose to write as going on the expedition with him, gets caught by the creatures and is killed. 

      The narrator runs away back to the shack, hoping to escape, but he ends up being surrounded by the creatures. 

      Now, the problem with the wolves you've presented is that they are simply too big. The ones you write about here are larger than a Giant Short-Faced Bear, a beast that on average stood 5 - 6 feet in height at the shoulder, we have claw marks inside a cave 14 feet high on one of its walls indicating the Beast that left them must've been taller than twelve feet when standing on hind legs. 

      That's the size of an Elephant... it's a monstrosity in its own right.

      Your dogs are simply too big, so either crop them at the legs, make them smaller, gigantic dogs just short of a Brown Bear would still be huge and terrifying. Or you could go for some unidentified creature that looks like a cross between a dog and a giant bear (that could serve as the basis for the Bigfoot/Yeti/Giant hairy monster thing you have over there in North America. 

      Also, wolves are extremely coordinated when hunting, if you know what they're doing it looks far more impressive than simply chasing their prey. 

      Also, they howl to communicate their location, there's no sadness in there. 

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    • Dr. Bob, glad you picked up on the themes of the story, and gla dyou gave some of the licensing information. I'll have to try to weve that in somehow to make it more clear that they're a bunch of assholes. And nah, it wasn't based on any folktale nor are they werewolves, just based on a recurring nightmare I used to have about being holed up in my house with wolves slowly circling in trying to get inside to rip me to shreds.

      Bloody, like the criticism on the suspense aspect, and I definitely agree with you there. Though the wolves here are supposed to have a nightmareish supernatural mystery to them, though I'll probably not choose to compare them to minivans, as it kind of breaks the "nature" aesthetic. But the descriptions with them are supposed to convey the idea that something isn't right with them, with size as well as intelligence, which was inspired by 19th-century gothic horror, which I think is why it would be interesting to be written in that style

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    • Banned in CP, Even if they aren't werewolves, the question has to at least come up in the guy's mind. The guy sounds really cracker white so he probably doesn't know more about werewolves than what's on TV, but a brief "there's no silver for silver bullets" or "these monsters are hunting me night and day" thought ... would be logical. Also,the audience will think werewolf so you might want to dispel that notion.

      A pack of wolves the size of grizzly bears would be terrifying indeed. (perhaps a half ton). Even the size of black bears (quarter ton) would be horrible. Those would be more logical animals to compare them to. Also, you could compare them to the size of a large lion or a Siberian tiger. Yet there is also the additional horror of them being intelligent pack animals.

      How do you demonstrate their intelligence? How do you show that they understand man and now are hunting man?

      Dr. Bob

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    • Uhh I see... well then, sure. Though I'd use "dogs" or "hounds" and "canines" rather than Wolves for the beasts. I mean we have Hellhounds and not "Hellwolves" for a reason. Have you thought of going full blown Lovecraft with your descriptions? Something along the lines of what you did with Wyrm-verse stories. A lot of almost psychadelic imagery can work here, be it because the fear makes your narrator slightly lose touch with reality or something for a moment. 

      Or make the creatures less obvious as dogs are more "large dog looking beasts with shadows pouring out of them" or something along these lines. 

      I'm guessing you'll figure out something, mate. 

      You get my point too... make it a little crazier with the visuals. 

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    • All great suggestions and ways to expand upon the story. And also I am thrilled that my creative universe has been dubbed the Wyrm-verse. Has a nice ring to it. Rest assured, this also takes place within the Wyrm-verse. (Maysburg is a completely fictional town, as is Andary, you'd be hard pressed to find it on Google Maps.)

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    • Banned in CP,

      Something that bothers me is the destruction of the car. A grizzly bear couldn't do that. Oh he might make a horrible mess of the insides. He might break the glass. But he couldn't pull the body apart and him destroying the functioning of the steering wheel and ignition are incredibly implausible.

      What a bear could do is destroy the tires. Two tires destroyed so you have no hope of changing them leaves you 100% stranded. It also is even more horrible because these animals then clearly understand the concept of the wheel on a car.

      Are the wolves trying to starve the guy? Is this the one that a simple bite to the neck is too good - he needs the slow, agonizing death of starvation? Does he know he fired the first shot and therefore is responsible for the death of his friends?

      Dr. Bob

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    • Banned In CP wrote:
      All great suggestions and ways to expand upon the story. And also I am thrilled that my creative universe has been dubbed the Wyrm-verse. Has a nice ring to it. Rest assured, this also takes place within the Wyrm-verse. (Maysburg is a completely fictional town, as is Andary, you'd be hard pressed to find it on Google Maps.)

      Glad to help. 

      You've also given me an idea for something... I did take up on making something Lovecraftian in the past but I want to get to do more, even closer to the source... and now I have a setting in mind. ;)

      We could definitely set you up with a different name, like a place name, if you come up with a central town or region, or a topographic desciption for the major events of your stories. 

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    • Dr. Bob- great idea! Definitely adds a layer of suspense that would make the wolves appear more sinister and highlight the unnatural intelligence (though let's be real, they're the real heroes.)

      Bloody- Go for it, dude go for it. And what was the story you wrote before, if it's online at all? And nah, Wyrm-verse is great- it slant rhymes and is pretty accurate, as the Wyrm is pretty much always lurking in the background, whether the reader knows it or not. The best I'd come up with was Erikson-verse, as he's gonna be a pretty big player in the Wyrm-verse, but that sounds dumb as fuck

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    • Banned In CP wrote:
      Dr. Bob- great idea! Definitely adds a layer of suspense that would make the wolves appear more sinister and highlight the unnatural intelligence (though let's be real, they're the real heroes.)

      Bloody- Go for it, dude go for it. And what was the story you wrote before, if it's online at all? And nah, Wyrm-verse is great- it slant rhymes and is pretty accurate, as the Wyrm is pretty much always lurking in the background, whether the reader knows it or not. The best I'd come up with was Erikson-verse, as he's gonna be a pretty big player in the Wyrm-verse, but that sounds dumb as fuck

      Click on the "Lovecraftian" in my previous comment ;)

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    • About to start working on the rewrite, and these suggestions are making me really excited to get to work on it. Know it's been a while, but thanks!

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    • Banned in CP,

      I look forward to it. Will you have it out in time for Christmas? College idiots on Christmas break. Toss a Christmas tree they chop down, an over-abundance of eggnog and some tinsel in there and it could make a good Christmas narration entry.

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    • Hmm, good idea. And I expect to have the rough draft finished in a couple of days, after which I'll work on something else for a short while before coming back to polish it up

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    • Got the rewrite up

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    • it looks the same, Banned.  Same weird re-start at the middle with the two different sets of friends D=

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    • Banned In CP,

      Bloody Spaghetti is correct. It looks the same and History says there hasn't been a change to Message #1 since October.

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    • I accidentally posted it to Writer's Showcase and had to take it down, and I haven't had the chance yet to repost it to the workshop (on my phone atm)

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    • Okay, posted it in the right forum now haha

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    • A FANDOM user
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