Expanded Preview: Dreadful: Wolves in the Ice
I posted a preview for Wolves in the Ice a few months ago, but this has the missing first section plus a few paragraphs further into the story. Also this is the edited version, so it should read much smoother than it did before, but the story is more or less the same.
I don't have a specific release date yet, but hopefully, fingers crossed, I'll have pre-orders up in a couple of weeks. I'll keep everyone up to date the best that I can, but life kinda gets in the way of werewolf stories sometimes.
Dreadful: Wolves in the Ice (1)
by Jake dh
Text Copyright © 2018 by Jacob Harris (Jake dh)
All rights reserved. No part of this story can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or digital including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission of author/publisher.
Lynn sat at the bar in the dingy tavern, staring at the liquor selection. The bottles were lined up and sorted by type and quality. In this place, the quality wasn't spectacular, but it got the job done. She fought back tears as she drank her final mixed drink of the night. She needed to drive, and besides, she didn't fly back home to get drunk in this shit hole and cry.
It really hadn’t been home in over ten years. She didn’t realize how small Eleveson was until she left Alaska. The place didn’t have over three hundred people living within city limits. Lynn started to think about the hill down the street. Her brother used to take her there to ride down on that metal sled he loved. That thing was probably a hell of a lot more dangerous than they realized, but so were most toys back then. Made of metal, which begged for a sharp edge to form. Unintended cuts and tetanus would follow if they didn’t keep an eye on the wear and tear.
Lynn sipped on her Bloody Mary, which was normally a morning drink, but she really wanted one. The night hadn’t quite arrived yet. It was her guilty pleasure when she was upset. The tomato juice and vodka slid down her throat when she noticed the guy at the end of the bar smiling at her. Shit, she thought. This guy was going to hit on her. She really didn't want this right now, but she did come to a bar. She thought the parka would be enough to keep the locals from trying to get up on her. She was wrong.
The man came over and sat next to her. She expected him to smell like whiskey and smoke, but he actually smelled pleasant. What came out of his mouth was not. "Hey, pretty lady," he said, slurring his speech. “What brings you up here? You don't look like a native, honey,” he was uncomfortably close to her.
Lynn sighed but decided to humor this guy before she left. “Technically, neither of us are natives, big guy,” she motioned to his pale-skinned face, “but in the way you mean it, you would be wrong. I used to live about three miles from here.” She sipped her drink. “That was a long time ago.”
The man chuckled. “You sound sad, honey. I’mma goin' hunting tonight. You should go with me,” he said a lot louder than she thought he meant to. His hand moved to the small of her back. “We'll have some fun.”
Lynn guided his hand away from her. “I need to leave. Another drink, and I won't be able to drive.” She got up and moved toward the door. “You probably shouldn't drive at all. Maybe walk home or call someone?”
The man nodded. “Yeah, maybe I'll get a ride to my hunting spot near Elk's Clearing,” he basically yelled at her. Several of the patrons’ heads whipped around in reaction to his loud declaration. A few of them kept staring at him after the others had moved on to whatever drunken conversations they were having beforehand.
Lynn left the bar shaking her head. She opened the door to the outside. The wind howled. Snow swirled around through the air and into the bar. This probably wasn’t the worst of what was coming. Lynn needed to get to the cabin as quickly as possible.
The parka clad woman looked back into the bar. That guy was hitting on another woman. Sloppy and stumbling, he said basically what he had screamed at her. He took another long drink of… something brown and dark. She knew that guy was going to get himself killed. He was either going to wreck whatever shit-heap he drove or shoot himself accidentally. Hopefully he would only shoot himself. It wasn't her job to make sure he got home okay. She had her own problems. Lynn forced the door shut.
Lynn swore she would never come back to Alaska. She hated this place. The cold, it got to her. She had spent the last eleven years where the weather shifted and got used to semi-normal seasons. Her dad would have taken the term ‘normal’ personally. He loved Alaska and was heartbroken when she left to live her own life. She couldn't stay forever, Lynn told him. She didn't think that would be the last time she saw him. She couldn’t have known.
The storm was getting intense. These rural roads were hell on a good day, but this was not a good day… well, night at this point. She just wanted to get to her dad's cabin. He left it to her in his will. It was the only thing he left her. Lynn's brother got everything else. Of course, he did. Her brother never left. Derrick was perfect, and everyone in the family just loved him. His only sister, not so much.
Lynn needed to be alone after what happened in New York. After what Allun did, she just needed to be away from everyone. Just for a while. She started to cry again. “Goddammit,” she said out loud. “You're not going to let him hurt you anymore,” she said, wiping the moisture from her cheeks.
She was having a hard enough time seeing without crying her eyes out. The snow was really picking up. She slowed down below twenty miles per hour. Her headlights could barely cut through the white static in front of her.
THUD! Lynn heard it. She felt it. Her bumper collided something. Oh my god, she thought. Did she hit a person? Surely not. Who the hell would be out in this blizzard? No, she thought. Lynn exited her car. Snow and ice hit her in the face with a dozen little stings. She pushed her way through the blistering wind and sleet.
The figure on the ground looked like a person, “Oh shit. No, no, no,” she said frantically. "Mister?" She could tell it was a man as she crept closer, and she noticed he was breathing. She felt a bit relieved, but he could still be seriously injured.
She noticed something else as she was right on top of him. The man was naked. Completely buck-ass naked. "The hell?" She bent down to check his pulse. He isn't going to last long like this, she thought. Why the hell is he naked? Maybe this is like a mob hit or something. Alaska style. Throw someone out in a blizzard and let them freeze. That's silly, she dismissed the idea. It didn't matter. She needed to get him in the car and get him to a hospital.
The man's eyes sprang open, and he leapt up to his feet. The naked man grabbed Lynn and slammed her against the car. He was so strong. “What the hell happened? Who are you?” he said, shaking his head. He tried to clear his head from the car impact. “Did you hit me with your goddamn car?”
“It was an accident. I couldn't see. Are you okay?” she squeaked out. She was scared for a totally new reason now. This guy was crazy. She tried to wriggle out of his grasp, but his hands acted like vice grips. Not just for a naked skinny guy in the middle of a blizzard but strong for any person. She couldn’t budge an inch.
The man let go of her and grabbed his head. "It's too late," he said, whipping his head around. His eyes were bright yellow. "I put it off for too long. I can't control it." Lynn heard bones cracking in the man's body as he screamed in pain. "Guess you'll have to do, lady." He gave her a sinister stare as his incisors grew a few inches in front of her eyes. Blood started to pour out of the man's mouth as the bones and muscles in his body shifted in a grotesque manner. His grin split the side of his cheek as he let out an inhuman shriek. A distorted howl.
Lynn ran to her driver's side door. The contorted, naked man was distracted as he... whatever was happening to him. She put her foot on the accelerator as hard as she could but only spun out. Lynn forgot what it was like to drive in real snow. The young woman gently put her foot down and got traction. Lynn went around the man as she swore she saw his head was stretching. Every inch of change audibly fractured his bones and ripped at his tendons. His teeth were sharp and jagged. Those yellow eyes burned through her with insatiable hunger.
Whatever the hell was going on, Lynn was getting out of here. She was well on her way. Suddenly, she felt another impact. This time on the back of her car. Like something had slashed her rear left tire. She span 180 degrees. Lynn just held on as she had zero control over the spinning chaos. She closed her eyes until she heard the clatter of shattered glass and denting metal. Lynn swore she was screaming, but it didn’t seem to rise above the chaotic crashing around her.
Lynn felt blood flow down her face. Some of the glass hit her like a shotgun blast. She saw that the passenger side had hit a tree and shook the dizziness from her head. She needed to get the hell out of here. She reached for the door with her bleeding hand. Blood smeared on the handle as she fumbled the door open.
Lynn saw her rear tire as she fell into the snow, still off balance from the impact. It had been ripped open. Were those claw marks? She looked around. The snow was coming down even harder, but she somehow could feel that the contorted man could still be after her.
Her father's cabin couldn't be more than half a mile east into the woods. She could make it. She knew it. Lynn put one foot in front of the other, wrapping herself in the only blanket she had, and headed into the white nothingness.
Lynn was running now. As fast as her legs could propel her through the snowstorm. She knew these woods well enough. She spent a lot of time here as a kid, but a lot had changed. Lynn just needed to keep running. Her hand reached into the front pocket of her coat. Lynn searched for her cell phone. She hadn't even thought about calling someone. No one was going to be able to get to her soon, but it was worth a shot. She kept looking up at the path in front of her. Running face first into the frozen bark of a sturdy tree is the last thing she wanted. Lynn looked at her cracked screen. It must had been damaged in the crash. Hoping the smart phone would still work, she frantically tapped her call function.
Lynn brushed her red hair out of her face as she dialed 911. There was a voice on the other end. “Hello,” Lynn tried to yell over the wind, “I'm near Elk Clearing. There's been an accident.” She couldn't hear the person on the other end. It wasn't likely they could hear her. "Shit!" Whether it was the wind or the damage to the phone, help wasn’t coming.
Lynn shoved her slightly damaged phone into her coat. She remembered that the drunk asshole said he was going to be at Elk’s Clearing. "No," she said. It was worth a shot. The guy might have a gun. If that naked... thing was still after her, then a gun would come in handy.
Lynn made a slight detour to the right. She trudged through the two-foot deep snow. The crunching of the already freezing snow was all she could hear for a moment. She focused on pushing her way to Elk’s Clearing. It was the only thing that mattered.
That's when she heard snarling. Through the howling wind, she heard an animal growling. Lynn span around to see those yellow eyes. Even through the swirling dots of white, she could see those eyes. It was all she could see as she quickly turned around to sprint toward that clearing.
Lynn tripped over a downed tree as she stumbled through the woods into the clearing. The snow was starting to let up. She could hear herself think for a moment and shook the snow off of her head as she heard a voice further into the clearing.
“The bloody hell?” the voice called out. The man's accent was distinctively British. “What are you doing here?”
She made out the man's face. The asshole from the bar? It was indeed the man from the bar, but he wasn't disheveled and drunk. He was in an insulated trench coat with a sock hat wrapped around his head and ears. She shook off the disbelief and just rolled with it. “You were going to go hunting! You have a gun, right? There's a vampire or something chasing me!”
“No, love,” the man said. “Not a vampire,” he saw the yellow eyes peeking through the tree line. They were at least seven feet off of the ground. A white fur-covered hand grabbed the tree next to it as a massive creature stepped out from the forest. Black claws scratched into the bark. The deep trails were carved into the wood with almost no effort. Its foot wasn’t flat like a person’s but arched up, like an animal. Unlike an animal, it was standing up straight on two feet.
The man smirked, “That... is a werewolf.”
The British man pulled a silver sawed-off shotgun out of his dark blue trench coat. The single barrel wasn’t rounded like a normal shotgun but cut into a point on the top of the barrel. It was severely customized, specifically for the task at hand. The Brit pumped the weapon one time as he walked toward the over seven-foot werewolf that had revealed itself.
It snarled as it carefully analyzed its two prey. One was utterly defenseless and not worth one ounce of worry. The other it seemed to know from somewhere. It may have just known his kind. Armed and formidable. Clever and dangerous.
Lynn frightened mind couldn’t completely comprehend what was transpiring. She couldn’t scream. She froze in both absolute terror and, due to the fact, was literally freezing while sitting in the thick snow. The terrified bystander just watched the two figures squaring off in front of each other. Both used an equal amount of caution. Neither made a move for more than a few seconds.
The Briton stepped to the side while keeping his pointy shotgun aimed right at the creature. “So, you got my invitation. It has been said that part of you remembers what happens when you’re a wolf.” The monster just deeply growled at him but kept its distance. “Now you realize that when I ‘drunkenly’ and purposely brayed that I was going hunting; I meant I was hunting you. You just walked into a trap. You. Not the other way around.” The werewolf actually looked angry as the man taunted it. “Now you don’t have the smarts to fully understand how screwed you actually are. Do you, Fido?”
The werewolf called out with a rage that surprised Lynn. Was this thing still a person, she wondered, on the inside that is? Lynn crawled backward as the white monster couldn’t hold itself back anymore. The werewolf ran at the Englishman on all fours, instead of two feet as it had been using this whole time. The wolf had indeed taken over.
That’s when a metallic snapping sound cut through the blustery wind. A red spray of liquid jutted into the air. The white wolf rolled around as it lost footing. It yelped like an injured dog. Blood could be seen in the white snow. The man casually walked up to the creature. Its leg had been caught in a silver, shiny bear trap. The snapped shut apparatus almost cut the thing’s leg off. A burning scent accompanied smoke in the air. Silver was burning through the wolf’s leg. The monster clawed at the trap but only succeeded in burning its paws.
The man strolled along through the snow. “All it took was a little ridicule,” he aimed at the wolf’s face, “and you lost yourself to the animal.” He pulled the trigger. The monster’s face basically disintegrated in a blitz of blood, fur, and bone. Its snout was gone. Those yellow eyes burst like grapes. The faceless werewolf fell forward into the snow. Blood spread out onto the snow and quickly froze.