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He let the other two men fall well behind. Focused on the line of huge tracks, he narrated in his head: a scene of Frank tracking danger in the snow. No, a scene of Johnny on snowshoes, tracking. He was Johnny here.

The wolf Johnny shot was gigantic, the carcass of it a dragging weight in his arms. The stiff buff and grey fur surrounded his fingers. He imagined he could feel the texture through his gloves.

When he dropped the wolf's body by the two men who had come hunting with him there was a strange patch of silence.

Then, "Fuck!" Roar Lien's voice held disbelief rising to hysteria. "Oh, fuck. You killed a trellwolf."

That night in the cabin Johnny heard howls ghosting through the wind.

The chief of police's brother, his fur as black as her uniform, stood stiffly beside her with hackles raised. The wolf didn't move, but when the vehicle door opened the other officer's sister leaped down onto the snow with a quickness that defied her age.

That officer stayed in the vehicle, watching. The wolf padded to Johnny, slow as inescapable fate, and brought her nose close to his guilty hands.