The wolves ran free that sunburst evening emerging from the fog like ghosts with razor teeth. Emboldened for some reason, the canines set upon us as though having to have waited to do so for far too long; they hurried to make amends. Those wild dogs of legend, larger than ponies, more dangerous than a fistful of vipers, set upon the villagers without fear nor compassion. They were indiscriminate in their slaughter not even dallying to feast. Like the wolves of Norse legend, they tore into men, women and children alike, as I watched from our smallholding on the hillside before the fog took all but the screams.
I prayed they’d gone though knew they hadn’t. When ice-blue and amber eyes emerged from the pitch night to glisten in the light from my profligate candles, enough to light a city, I panicked. We owned no guns, no real weapons of any kind and the beasts did not fear the light. Yet, I did what I could. I ushered my wife and our child, Luna, she of the golden tresses, up into the rafters, withdrew the ladder and smashed it to pieces to my wife’s screamed protests. I did not care, they would not kill my family. And like a man possessed, I took my axe from behind the door, blunt from chopping winter kindling, a candle for false security, and stepped outside.
There were hundreds of them crimson-mouthed and rabid-eyed, waiting, just waiting. I snarled and roared like the maniac I felt; they licked their fangs unimpressed. I would never know if God or the Devil smiled upon me then as the clouds withdrew and the fog melted away. The moon came out full and bristling with silvered intent. It affected me. The wolves lowered their heads as though expecting it.
I awoke days later in a land I did not recognise surrounded by the grey ones. There was no malice in their eyes, no menace to their maws, only love. They and I were one before nature and would be forever. I knew it the moment the moonlight struck the first falling snowflakes of the season. They had taken me as one of them and I was glad much to my shame. If it had saved my family, then eternity was a small price to pay for being alone. The long, golden hair wrapped like a tendril around my fingers suggested it hadn’t.