The girl ran. Heart pounding loudly in her chest, her hands scrambled at the walls of the living room. Knocking over a small stand she smashed the framed picture of herself and her mother. It didn’t matter. Only running mattered, running and never stopping. She knew it was behind her, how could it not be. To stop was to die. She flew into the large kitchen and down behind the island counter. Over the rushing of blood in her ears she heard it enter the room.
Five minutes earlier life had been a different experience. Her world had been normal, non life threatening. Evelyn had not lived in the house for very long, they had moved in last month. Mother found the two story cottage to be charming, not really a word Evelyn would have used. There was an initial uneasiness of living in a new place but once that had passed she had come to find there were things in this new place she didn’t mind so much, things she could even come to like, though she would never admit it to mother. She had taken a liking to tree in the long back garden. An old oak with low, wide branches seemingly designed for climbing. The old oak had become her favourite spot. Time spent on the tree was time she cherished, time away from her bustling mother and her constant clucking. Always she must question why Evelyn had mud covered clothes. They lived in the country, how was she to keep clean and entertain herself at the same time, did mother not understand that there was adventure and exploration waiting to be found. It was one or the other she had told mother one evening, and she firmly chose mud and joy over cleanliness.
None of that mattered now.
She had been sat upon the old oak daydreaming when something moved by the tree line. Something strange. A large black dog padded into the open down by the old tumbled wall. It sniffed at the air and returned to the trees. This was odd but it could not be a warning for what was to come. The dog after all could have belonged to one of the farmers who lived close by, probably Mr Hodges from down the lane. Evelyn shrugged and went back to her cloud gazing. A few moments later the large black dog wandered back into the open field. It was accompanied by a very short man in a red cap. The man started forward and the dog began to bay. Evelyn may have only been thirteen but she knew when to trust her gut, and her gut told her to get to the house. Slipping easily from the tree she made her way up the path, keeping an eye on the two newcomers. The dog broke into a loping run.
She slammed the patio doors closed. The large black dog easily closing the distance. The dog was huge, its fur was black but not glossy, sleek up to the neck where it became more of a wild mane. Its lupine face was long with a powerful maw of yellowed fangs. Its head was level with hers, the sheer size of it was startling. It’s not a dog, it’s a wolf. The thought came unbidden but she knew it to be true despite the impossibility of it. England did’t have wolves. The golden eyes watched her, an intelligence more than animal lay there, it tilted the huge head ever so slightly. Mother wasn’t here, she was out for the day at market. Lock the doors, lock the doors!. The thought hammered into her head to late. With care the wolf raised on front paw, as wide as a saucer, and placed it upon the handle. Without taking its eyes from her it pushed the handle down. She tripped backwards and scrambled into a run, fear wiping everything else from her mind. She had to get away.