Chapter 17

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“Well, you got your wish.”

Daniel stared at the man who had met him at the door of the Fish and Game offices with a questioning look. His sole purpose for coming back to the offices today was to turn in borrowed keys and equipment before making the three hour drive back up to his own management unit in Pittsburg. His attempts to convince the local district wildlife manager to let him stay had failed. There just wasn’t enough evidence to support his theory of a potentially dangerous animal, or animals, in the area. Now here was one of the local officers meeting Daniel at the door with a grim look on his face.

“What are you talking about? I thought you said there wasn’t enough evidence to let me stick around? I was here to turn in the keys,” Daniel was genuinely confused, had something happened?

“Local hikers found what’s left of a kid in the woods just off one of the main trails on Chocoura. It won’t hit the papers till they notify his family and we’ll be working with the police on the investigation. Kid was torn up pretty badly I’m told, said his throat was completely torn out. Scene’s a mess, I’m told, so I hope you have a strong stomach. I’m on my way up there now and you’re coming, I’ve already made the calls to your office. You’re the only one I know of that’s had any experience with wolves so it’ll be a favor to me. At least that’s what I told them in Pittsburg.”

“What do they think did it?” Daniel asked, now he was really worried. This made no sense.

“That’s what we’re going to find out. I wish the snow had stuck around a bit longer, going to make tracking whatever did this a lot harder. Either way you better get ready for a lot of time in the woods.” He walked off towards the parking lot punching numbers into his cell phone. Before he got into his truck he looked back at Daniel and yelled, “get your stuff ready and call me in an hour, I’ll let you know where to meet us.” Then he put the phone to his ear and shut the door behind him.

Daniel watched him drive away, his heart starting to race. There’s only one thing in these woods that would be able to do that, except for maybe a rabid bear, but that would leave obvious signs…

“It can’t be…” he muttered to himself, then went into the building to get his stuff ready to go.

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