The wolves wait. Even though no one else has lived in the neighbourhood for many months and the streets are as empty as a balloon, they know that I am here. They know I have been feeding myself well from the supplies mother had horded. She had planned to be in this for the long haul. She only managed two weeks, but that’s a tale for another time.
The wolves whisper. Not sweet nothings, although to them they must be. Tales of what they are going to do when they see me outside for the first time. They joke to each other and say how well I am looking. And we all know that means ‘fat’.
The wolves watch. Their brown eyes look the same as mother’s on the day Dr Thomas came to visit: ‘fixed and dilated’, he’d said. Mother was a fine woman, who used to leave her milk out for the wolves and share stories with me about how they could eat twenty pounds of meat in a single sitting and how that was the same as a hundred burgers. Then, she’d take my unfinished plate of food and feed them gently, one by one as they waited in line.
The wolves wonder. As I sit and stare out of the window, I catch the eyes of their leader. They know about the traps on the doors and windows and the shotgun I keep by my side. But, says their leader: one day the larder will be empty, one day the traps will rust, one day the shotgun will fail.
The wolves wait. I heard mother’s voice this morning, in my dreams. She sounded tearful: ‘you promised you’d look after my babies’. And as a I step outside, I’m pretty sure I can smell her scent as her beautiful little children enjoy their first proper meal for a long time.
The wolves whimper. There was a shelf marked ‘Baby food’ in mother’s room. Canned elk, mostly. The wolves went straight to it. I just had to open the cans and tell them not to gulp it too fast. Then, the noise. The unbearable noise. I have never seen wolf tears, so I collect some in a jar for mother, which they don’t seem to mind. A couple of mine drip into the jar as I seal the lid, but I don’t think she will notice.
Lee D Thompson is a Nottingham writer, dad of 4 and an ex-cop.
He has had poetry published on Algebra of Owls, and writes for Memoir Mixtapes.
Twitter: @TomLeeski Web: ldthompsonwrites.wordpress.com