Man versus wolf in the wolf's
environment...who will win?!

"The first thing you do is never underestimate your prey.
A wolf can sleep through a blizzard at 30 below zero. He can run
over a hundred miles without a rest. He can go many days
without water. He can pick up the scent of a prey for over a
mile away. He is a relentless hunter who never gives up. A single
wolf can bring down a full grown moose."

Miles Coffin utters these words to a group of businessmen from
New York City on a hunting trip in Alaska. Their target prey, wolves.
Coffin, somewhat of an authority on wolves, is hired to guide
them into the wilderness. He is also a man with a purpose, to hunt and kill Midnight, a large black wolf, with whom he has a personal vendetta.


Below is Chapter one of ALPHA MALE for you to read.


Alpha Male may be purchased  from  Second Wind Publishing, Amazon.com,
Barnes&Noble.com, Borders.com or directly from Mike Walsh.

 
 
The early 1990s

PART ONE
 
Chapter 1

    The wolves were restless.
   A storm was coming. At dusk it snowed gently, the large flakes drifting down from a windless sky. Lucy watched from the kitchen window of the cabin. She was almost seventy miles north of Fairbanks, a stone’s throw by Alaska standards. The cabin was situated in a flat glen surrounded by dense woods. She could see the portion of the log lean-to where the wolves always gathered in bad weather. Her husband, Miles Coffin, had erected it just inside the perimeter of the wire fence enclosure that contained six fully grown timber wolves. The shelter was about one hundred yards from the cabin. As inadequate as it appeared, it served its purpose well.
    The wolves had already gathered inside the shelter even though the storm had hardly begun. It could be a bad one, Lucy thought; the wolves already knew. As the wind came with the bleak night the freezing rain settled heavily in layers of ice on the pines, bending and straining the limbs. Lucy began to worry. She had seen ice storms before. A fallen tree could do great damage especially if it hit the garage where the generator was housed. Miles Coffin had taken the precaution to make sure power was continuous during the long winter months. Without electricity they could not exist. The nearest neighbor was more than three miles away. The luxury of electric power had not yet reached their isolated world.
    Coffin had gone south to Fairbanks and wouldn’t return for at least another twenty-four hours. He was considered somewhat of an authority on wolves and had been hired for his valued input by the producers of a conservationist film about the mistreatment of wildlife, wolves in particular. Lucy and Miles Coffin raised a wolf pack in captivity and studied their habits and social order.
    The way the storm was building she wasn’t sure she’d see Coffin for a much longer time. The roads would be slick with ice by morning and would be almost impossible to travel. She worried more about his safety than her own predicament.
    She had been through lonely periods in adverse conditions before. Coffin was continually away on conservationist film trips, as a guide for hunting parties or hired by the Game and Fish Department to oversee the quota of wolves killed. It was the routine their lives had taken; he away and she at home. She had learned early in their relationship to cope with the long waits. There was plenty of food, water, and fuel to take her through the most difficult times. Once, she had been snowbound for weeks and had survived without any life-threatening incidents. She had cut a path through a foot of snow and brought food to the wolves, who, because they were penned in, depended totally on her. When Coffin showed up he was amazed that this small woman had accomplished so much in the face of adversity. 
    Lucy was startled by a loud crackling noise and a crash above the steady sound of the freezing rain. She saw where a large branch had come down across the driveway not more than sixty feet from the house. The jeep was parked in the garage which Coffin had the resourcefulness to heat; a dead battery could be as bad as the loss of power in the house. 
    She would have a difficult time getting the jeep past the limb to the road if she had to leave. The driveway was completely blocked. Coffin would also have trouble getting in.
She glanced at the fenced pen where the wolf pack hovered in the shelter. A large, old pine came crashing to the ground, broken off at the base, unable to bear the enormous weight of the frozen rain that clung to it. As it struck the frozen earth thousands of crystals of cracked ice flew through the air. The top of the old tree landed directly on the shelter where the wolves had gathered.  Through the noise she heard howls of pain and terror.
She watched to see if any wolves had been injured. Only three emerged from the crushed lean-to. She threw on a heavy jacket, slipped on her boots and grabbed a flashlight. She went out into the frightful night directly to the garage and climbed the stairs to the second-floor loft. She and Coffin had built an observation area in a corner with ample windows providing a view of the penned compound where the wolves were kept. Set on a tripod was a video camera aimed at the lean-to and the area surrounding it.
    Lucy could see the wolves moving in the pen but could not yet determine if any had been injured by the fallen tree. She would have to go into the area and check the animals personally. Out of habit, she clicked on the camera and let it run. Whatever the problem with the wolves, she would have it documented on tape.
    She went back outside and headed for the penned area, slipping a few times as she crossed the distance to the gate that locked the wolves inside the enclosure. The rain was freezing as it landed, the entire surface of the ground now one continuous sheet of ice. She walked through a glistening wonderland, wondering what Coffin was doing at that precise moment. Was he on his way home?  She knew he must be worried. He was a hundred or so miles away and certainly feeling the effects of the storm. 
    She shivered as icy water trickled down her neck, tightened the hood of her jacket, and braced herself for the task ahead. If one or more of the wolves were injured she would have to care for them. The animals were jittery from the storm, and the sudden shock of a tree crashing into their shelter must have totally unnerved them.
    Ice was already encrusting the latch that held the gate to the pen locked in place. Lucy chipped at it with the butt of the flashlight until she was able to unlock it. She swung the gate open slowly, stepped inside the enclosure and let the latch fall into place behind her. She didn’t want any of the wolves getting out in the brutal night. It would be impossible trying to locate a missing wolf in the storm.
    The beam of light from the flashlight cut raggedly through the falling rain. She crossed the enclosure to where the pine had fallen against the lean-to. Some of the logs from the walls and roof had been caved in and the entrance was blocked by branches of the huge, dead tree.
    She couldn’t see any wolves from her position.
    She moved closer to the shelter until she was at the entrance and swung the beam of light into the opening, letting it drift around the interior of the small space. Odd, she thought. She couldn’t find any wolves inside. It seemed that at least one of them might have been hurt. Where had they all gone?
    She turned, her ears picking up the sound of movement behind her. Aiming the flashlight at the source of the sound, Lucy saw Midnight, a large black wolf, the acknowledged leader of the pack. The huge animal was crouched on the icy surface, not ten feet from Lucy, his black lips curled in a vicious snarl as he growled.
    “Midnight,” Lucy called. “What’s wrong?”
    The flashlight beam picked up other wolves behind the black male. Rigidly in position, they watched and waited. Midnight barked suddenly and, lifting his head toward the sky, he began to howl. The other wolves joined in, crying out at the storm, their shrill wails sending shivers through her body.
    “Midnight,” Lucy shouted, her voice quivering. “Stop!”  She tried to sound firm but she knew she wasn’t.
    The wolf turned and faced her squarely, the light falling full on his face. His eyes glowed brightly, turning liquid green. He snarled again at Lucy and crouched, threatening, ready to spring.
    If only she had thought to bring with her the .45 automatic Coffin had left for emergencies.
    The wolf sprang.
    Oh, God!  No!
    He landed flush on Lucy, knocking the flashlight from her hand and driving her to the hard, cold ground. The wolf quickly mounted her body and ripped at her throat in one swift motion. The other wolves, behind him, became frenzied and charged the fallen human, tearing at her vulnerable flesh with savage ferocity.
    Lucy’s last thoughts were of Miles Coffin and how senseless it was for him to worry now.
 
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