What to do when you’re a teenage girl with an overprotective werewolf for a father
The following is a sample of my book, Dark Earth. If you like it, follow the links below to check out more of it, leave a comment, or send me email. If not, well, thanks for trying!
On all sides of the garden the earth was shredded and broken. In some places piles of dirt had amassed, in others trenches. Jessica gasped and I came to her side in time to see the bloody carcass of a deer laying in a shallow rut. It was one of the spotted fawns she’d mentioned. Elsewhere we saw other bodies of animals, all of them not only dead, but torn apart as though they had been set upon by a malevolent piece of farm machinery.
“Jess, back to the house,” I told her, even as she bent down to pick up the body of a squirrel that seemed physically unharmed, yet was still stiff as a board. “Now!”
She hurried back with me, my eyes still searching everywhere. The sun, almost on cue, dipped below the trees just as we left the clearing behind. We had enough light to get back but I was more paranoid than ever as I tried to pierce the deepening gloom of the forest looking for shadowy attackers. We made it to the house without a problem.
I set the drill and the screws on the kitchen counter and took a deep breath. Jessica was huddled over the squirrel, her shoulder shaking as she sobbed and her tears running down her face to drop on the dead animal. I shook my head and wondered what I had done to deserve whatever punishment was being given to her.
I checked the pistol at my side, making sure it was where it should be. It had felt awkward earlier, having it holstered there, but now I was accustomed to its weight. I glanced outside and, on an impulse, locked the door.
A gasp made me spin back to Jess. I looked around, seeing her not staring outside but rather into the dead critter in her hands. I looked up just in time to see a dark shape hurtling towards the door. It slammed into it, making Jessica scream and me jump a little in surprise. The door held, but whatever was out there hit it again. I heard the cracking of wood and I knew the door wouldn’t hold.
“Upstairs!” I shouted at her, backing up some but stepping in front of the door and drawing my pistol. She ran to the stairs and flew up them. I heard her dive under my bed once she got there. The sound of her hitting the floor coincided with the third, decisive strike against the door. The deadbolt tore free of the jamb, taking a chunk of wood with it, and the door slammed open to reveal the largest wolf I had ever seen.
I pulled the trigger but felt it resist. The safety! I’d forgotten to take the safety off in my excitement. I flicked it and squeezed the trigger again as the wolf lunged at me. Not only was it huge but, just as Jessica had told me, it was clearly very angry. Its fur was mottled silver and black, and it had a blue eye and a brown one. Half-unconsciously I noticed these things-those and how large its jaw was and sharp its teeth looked. I pulled the trigger two more times.
Each firing of the cannon in my hands was like hitting my eardrums with a sledgehammer. In the house the sound the .50 caliber handgun made was on the other side of deafening. The pistol leapt in my hands with each shot, guaranteeing I would have trouble hitting the broadside of a barn even if I had been inside it.
The first bullet missed and tore up a large chunk of my hardwood floor. The second one I thought hit the wolf; hair flew off its flank. It seemed the bullet only grazed it though, causing it to duck under the third one before it slammed into me.
I could hear nothing but a dull ringing, so I had no idea what noise I made as I crashed to the ground with a wolf atop me. The handgun fell out of my hand as I tried to fend the wolf off, but I managed to lodge my forearm in the back of its mouth to keep the jaws from snapping on my neck. My other arm I wrapped around it, keeping it close to me to prevent it from getting its mouth free and snapping it shut on my head. As it was the pain in my arm was excruciating, but my sturdy denim Carhartt jacket kept the teeth from piercing my skin. Instead the wolf crushed my arm with its teeth.
I knew I was a dead man when I felt one of the wolf’s hind legs kick up and try to rip my belly as it thrust backwards. My belt and jeans saved me the first time, but I knew I would tire out long before the wolf did. I let go of him even as he tried again and managed to tear some great furrows on the inside of my right thigh all the way to the knee. I felt it, but the pain was a distant thing. Adrenaline was doing its job again. My hand grabbed the pistol and I shoved the barrel into the side of the wolf’s thick chest and pulled the trigger.
One handed, the gun kicked even worse and made me wonder if my wrist had just been broken. The wolf yelped and jumped away from me, yanking me off balance and spinning me on the floor until it whipped its head back and forth and tore its jaw free of my arm. It backed away even as I struggled to bring the gun around to aim at it again. I saw it turn its head, nostrils flaring as it sniffed, and it looked up to the loft. It turned back to look at me and licked its lips, then, with a final growl, it turned and bolted through the door. I tried to rise up and go after it, or at least get another shot off at it, but my leg made its injury known to me as I attempted to use the shredded muscle in my thigh.
I managed to crawl over and shut the door at least, and I rested there against it, breathing heavily and staring around dazed. I set the pistol down beside me and put a hand on my leg, putting pressure against the surprisingly little blood that seeped from it.
Before my hearing had returned and before I could even really begin to try and think straight, I saw Jessica enter my field of vision. She was there, in front of me. I reached out for her with my other hand, happy to see her and wanting to hold her close to me at the same time I wanted to hide her away from whatever was after her. She came to me and hugged me, wetting my chest with her tears. I tucked one arm around her, holding her closely. I could still hear nothing but the ringing noise, though it was slowly fading and I thought I might be able to hear something muffled in the distance.
She pulled away from me and pulled her ponytail back away from her face. With a look of serious concentration, she reached over to my leg and pulled my hand away. I resisted at first, but she insisted, and eventually I let her win. I did not want her to see me hurt. Anybody, really, but especially not her own father. I was supposed to be invincible; the man all other men would be judged against.
I grinned at my own stupid thoughts and then realized I was probably going into shock. Why else would I be so lethargic and disoriented?
My hearing came back with a sudden clarity that was every bit as deafening as the pistol shots had been. I heard her sniffing, my own labored breathing, the wind blowing against the trees and the house, the fire crackling in my wood stove, and even my own heart beating. For a second I thought I could hear her heart beating too.
“Daddy, get up, you need to rest,” she told me, circles under her eyes as she turned to look at me.
I nodded, even though I knew sleep was the last thing I could afford. If I slept the wolf might return. It wanted her, I knew that now. It was crazy and impossible, but I knew it beyond any doubt. As surely as Johann had tried to claim her, so did the wolf. I was just an obstacle in the way.
“It wants you, honey. We have to get away. Far away,” I told her.
“Daddy, you shot it,” she reminded me.
I nodded. I had shot it. Shot it right in the chest with a really big gun. My hand slipped down to the gun and I lifted it up to look at it. “I did,” I said.
“Come on, you’re too big,” she said, pulling on my other hand.
I nodded again and used my good leg to rise to my feet. I was off balance and a little nauseous , but I found I could bear weight on my shredded leg as well. It was weak, but it worked. I was unable to think, so I just let her lead me to the stairs. The stairs were a challenge, but I tackled them with a single minded effort that seemed Herculean at the time. Jess squeaked and rushed past me right before I collapsed onto my bed. She grabbed something from it, then came to me and helped me get situated. She kissed me on the cheek and told me to rest, that she’d be right there. That was the last I knew.
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