Yoooper Wolf Management-Fiction

By Stephen King

 

It was Sunday morning on the farm. Ivan Miller sat down and looked at the plate full of eggs, bacon, and hotcakes. Across from him, his wife Deb was just sitting down. In their early 30’s, t they had settled in comfortably to farm life. Both had been raised on farms. And, both loved the life. True, they had little real money. But, they had each other, a couple of wonderful kids, and the farm.

That morning, as she sat down, Deb looked out, as the sun was just breaking. She told her husband, “Ravens.”  And, said no more. Neither said another word about it.

After he had finished breakfast, Ivan went out to do his chores. This morning, his flock of sheep was all in one corner of the pen. Acting a bit nervous. In a moment, Ivan saw why. Somebody from the city would never have noticed this. But, this was his back yard, his sheep, and these were his little friends.

Right away, he saw the signs. A wolf had been into the pen the night before. He saw the signs of the struggle. Where the wolf had caught the young sheep, then had dragged it out of the pen. He then looked across the field, to where Deb had noticed the ravens. In a hurry, he mounted his old horse bareback and rode out. In a few minutes, he saw the blood-stained ground and the bits of hair. Little else was left. With the stoic look of a man that had seen this before, he showed little emotion. When he got back to the house, Deb looked at him, and he just responded, “Emily.”

Two nights later, as the full moon started to rise, a lone wolf approached Ivan’s farm. He had been there before. Just a couple of nights earlier. That night, he had had no problem pulling down a sheep. They were locked in their pen. They could not get out. And, they were slow. An easy meal.  And, the wolf knew he had left a lot of them behind. This night, he was going after another.

This night, under the light of the full moon, the wolf again eased his way silently into the farmyard. Again, he spotted the sheep. Again, he saw the gate. And, again, he knew he could both get under it, and drag a sheep back out through it.

However, this night, he failed to notice a new pile of hay. Close to the gate. Thinking nothing of it, he moved into the pen. As he entered, the sheep all start crying out and moved to one corner. Intent on his quarry, he ignored everything else. He was looking for the easiest one. An easy meal.

Suddenly, there was a popping sound. And, a tremendous thump to his chest. Stunned, he fell down. In a second, he sprang back to his feet, in anger. Looking about for what had struck him. Then, before he even had any idea what had happened, there was another popping sound. And, again the pain. And, again, he went down.

This time, he rose. This time, instead of anger, now he felt fear. For maybe the first time in his adult life, he was afraid. Something was hurting him. And, he could not understand where it was, what it was, or how this was happening. But, he knew he was leaving. Right now.

With that, if full flight, he flew under the gate and out into the night.

Two days later. Tom and Starr Littlemoon, were having breakfast. This morning, it was Starr that noticed ravens. This time, it was Starr pointing out the ravens to her husband. And, again, about the same reaction. Both finished breakfast. Neither spoke of it.

After breakfast, Tom went out and started up his side by side. And, headed out towards where the ravens were circling. He was expecting to find a calf, maybe a sheep, or some other animal. But, this time, as he got there, he noticed the size and shape was not that of a farm animal. Here lay a dead wolf.

With nary any emotion, he went back to the barn, got his tractor, and returned. Within minutes, he had used the bucket on the tractor, dug a hole, buried the carcass, and was heading back home. Only a bit of newly turned earth marked the spot. And, on a farm, a small spot of newly turned earth would attract no attention, from anyone.

When he returned to the farmhouse, for a bit of coffee, Starr was more than a bit curious. With a concerned look, she asked, “What was it?”

Tom responded, “Just a deer. Must have got hit on the road and made it back here.”  Then, he winked at her.

The next day, Starr was at her Lady’s Sewing Circle. There, she and a few of the other farm wives would meet once a week. To sew. And, to visit. That morning, one of the ladies asked about seeing a few ravens about.

Deb noted right away, “Yeah, a couple of nights ago, we lost a sheep.”

Then, Starr added, “I thought something might be up. Yesterday, we had ravens. But, when Tom went to look, all he found was a dead deer. Figured it must have been hit on the highway.”  Then, she winked at the other ladies.

They all smiled and looked back. Starr then said, “Yeah, funny thing how the deer get hit and make it back to our place. You know, that was the tenth one this year.”  And, the ladies all just smiled.

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