Looking along the shoreline, he yelled, “Leo? You okay?”
There was no response to his hail.
“Leo? Come on, man. Don’t mess with me. Leo?”
His calls were met with silence. He looked around but saw no movement from where his friend had disappeared into the forest. A low growl from behind him caused him to swing around, rifle up and ready. Twenty feet in front of him was a large gray wolf, crouched low to the ground, teeth bared. Behind the wolf were several more canines—smaller, but just as menacing. The alpha didn’t move forward, but held his ground, continuing to growl his warning.
The man had no way of knowing he was too close to the pack’s den—that he was being warned away by the pack leader—and so he pointed the rifle at the threat in front of him and pulled the trigger.
There was a click, but nothing else happened.
He felt the panic starting to move up into his throat as he realized he hadn’t changed the magazine after emptying it into the canoe. Reflexively, he ejected the empty magazine, reaching for one of the loaded magazines he kept in his vest pocket. He fumbled trying to insert it because it was backward. There was movement in his peripheral vision, and he was hit hard by something big. A scream followed, echoing across the lake.
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