The read along continues! Last week, Vivian Arend shared on her blog the first part of a scene where Tad, the hero of Wolf Flight, learns about wolves. We have the second part today! And it involves TJ, my favorite wolfie
“TJ, why are you hiding by the storage shed?” Tad had wandered the entire camp to find the boy.
“Because I can’t hide in the cabin and if I hide on the dock, well, duh, people will see me.”
Tad shook his head in disbelief. “Are you insane? Are you going out of your way to piss your brother off? I thought you had to make lunch or something.”
TJ leant on the barrels stacked behind him. Large plastic containers with a tight seal to keep bears out of the supplies stood in a neat line along the side wall of the storage shed. “Oh, I already made lunch. It’s on the table.” He took a cautious look around before he confided, “Actually, Mom made lunch at home and I just unwrapped it. Don’t tell Keil, I hope to gain some brownie points here.”
“You’re a menace to yourself, aren’t you?”
“Klutz of the first water, that’s me. Only I do have my redeeming qualities. I’m very well read, I have excellent dental hygiene, and I never fart in public unless I mean it.”
Tad stared around the mountainside with delight as TJ rambled on. What a beautiful place to bring clients to canoe and fish and—
Tad glanced back to see the boy nudge one of the barrels out of line with its partners.
TJ shifted his body weight to the side to avoid the barrel on his right. That put him into contact with the one on the left, and it slid off its base, wiggled a few times and fell in a direct path toward TJ. The entire wall of barrels collapsed in chaotic fashion, coming to land in a haphazard pile, the loud crash echoing through the air.
Frantic with concern, Tad raced to where TJ was buried to pull him out. “Keil, Erik, help!” He spotted TJ’s boot emerging from under the mess. Several of the barrels landed propped on each other, forming a pocket of space. With some luck TJ wouldn’t be crushed beneath the heavy load. “Hang on, TJ, we’ll get you out of there.”
Tad gave a gentle tug on the boot, to see if it might be possible…and then he wasn’t sure what he had planned to do. Because the boot came loose in his hand, a plain white sock clinging to the inside.
The barrels rocked, and Tad stepped back for a second. Heavy footsteps approached, and he had just turned back to the pile when he heard it.
A long drawn out wolf call that came from under the barrels.
Tad spun as Keil rushed up behind him.
“Where’s TJ, as if I don’t already know the answer?” Tad pointed, and Keil cursed. “Shoot. I guess you’re in for a little surprise.”
Another howl rose on the air, and Tad shivered. “Keil, if we pull the top barrel—”
“It’s okay, Tad, give me a minute here.” Keil stomped around to the backside of the pile and shoved hard. The rest of the pile shifted, and Tad tripped over his own feet in an attempt to reach safety and still keep his gaze on Keil.
A large shape slipped past the barrel beside Keil.
It was a silver-grey timber wolf.
“Holy shit!” In a flash, Tad scrambled to his feet and fled from the wolf to the safety of the shed door.
Keil came toward him, slow and peaceful, hands up, open palms, “Hey, it’s okay, Tad. Relax.”
Tad fumbled with his belt, drew out his hunting blade and held it between them. “Relax? Shit, shit… no fucking way. What the hell is going on, Keil? Where’s TJ?”
“Tad. Put the knife away. TJ’s fine, he’s right there behind the shed.”
Tad flicked a glance sideways then aimed the knife straight at Keil.
“He’s a fucking wolf?”
Keil took a step back and crossed his arms. “Tad, will you put the damn knife away so I can talk to you?”
“Not bloody likely.”
“Tad, I’m warning you.”
Keil reached under his padded vest and pulled out a handgun. Without a word he adjusted his stance and aimed it at Tad.
They stood motionless, the sound of spring songbirds obscenely loud in the air around them, until Tad stood down and sheathed his knife.
“Damn American gun laws.”
Keil shrugged as he slipped away his pistol. “I’ve got a permit. I can’t help it if you Canadians are too polite to carry.”
“I have a shotgun in the plane.”
“And I’m sure it’ll come in real handy when the bears try to climb in for a free ride.” He turned back to the storage area. “TJ,” he called, “Get your furry ass out here now!”
The large silver grey wolf slunk around the corner, head dropped. Keil motioned for Tad to join him.
“I’d say all the usual things like he’s not going to hurt you and don’t panic, but saying it won’t make this any easier.” He pointed at the wolf where it sat on its haunches in front of them. “Tad, you’ve met TJ, otherwise known as Mr. Disaster. You may as well get a proper look.
Tad swung his head back to stare at, well, it had to be TJ. The wolf regarded him with bright eyes. Tad’s vision blurred, and instead of a large lupine the tall youth sat buck-naked on the ground.
“I don’t suppose you could have waited to ask me to shift until I was somewhere near clean clothes, hmmm?” TJ complained. Keil glared at him, and TJ shut his mouth tight, biting his bottom lip hard. Keil lifted one hand, pointed toward the cabin, and for the second time in an hour TJ sprinted away from them.
Of course, this time he was naked, but Tad was trying real hard not to notice.
“Well, sorry for the sudden introduction to our reality, but… hey, here we are.” Keil said in a calm, quiet voice.
“I’m actually in a coma somewhere, right? This is a dream, and I’ve got some freaky obsession with seeing TJ’s ass.”
Keil snorted. “I hope not. His ass is too young for you, even if you swing that way, which I don’t think you do. Come on, I think you could use a little shot of bracer. We’ll have some lunch, answer your questions, and it’ll work out fine.”
Tad looked back over the lake again. Sun was still shining, sky was still bright. Only in the past five minutes the whole world flipped upside down. Strange how quick life could change.
Remember, if you want to join the read along and be included for some cool prizes, click the wolfie graphic on our right sidebar. We’ll be back in a few days for a look at Wolf Games, book 3 in the Granite Lake Wolves series by Vivian Arend.