Silence Of The Wolf Page 68

’’Sam is. And to ensure nothing goes wrong, Deputy Trevor is sticking close to him in case Bill sees a wolf and gets trigger happy.’’

’’We just got a jump start on the rest of the searchers.’’ Radcliff sounded proud of himself and his brother. ’’As soon as we learned you were missing and the storm had cleared, we put on our ski-patrol hats and were on our way.’’

’’Thanks, guys. You don\ know how welcome your arrival is.’’ Tom glanced at CJ, pinning him as the man who could still cause the most trouble if his brothers intercepted them on the way home.

***

Elizabeth couldn\ find enough warm clothes no boots, no parka or gloves, not even another ski hat so she opted to be a wolf for the run into town. Tom wasn\ happy about it, even though he had suggested she might have to do that, but it was the only thing she could do. The men had a devil of a time dressing CJ. His leg throbbed really badly, though he tried not to show it. When they pulled sweats over his injured leg, he passed out. They quickly wrapped him in blankets and strapped him onto the toboggan before he came to.

Eager to run, Elizabeth paced back and forth in the living area, out of the men\s way. She couldn\ contain her excitement.

’’You stay close to us, Elizabeth.’’ Tom crouched beside her and ran his hand over her head. ’’Don\ stray.’’

’’No rabbit chasing,’’ Radcliff said with a wink as he zipped up his parka.

’’No deer chasing.’’ Kemp smiled at her while he slipped on his gloves.

’’No chasing wolves down,’’ Tom said, ultraseriously.

She licked his mouth and the brothers chuckled.

Once they had bundled up, they carried the toboggan outside.

Tom shut the door to the cabin, then joined the men and Elizabeth in the snow. Wearing snowshoes, the men trudged through the drifts while Elizabeth ran ahead. She had to. Walking at a snail\s pace next to the men wasn\ an option, as far as she was concerned. Besides, she\d keep an eye out for CJ\s brothers, and if she smelled a whiff of anyone she didn\ know, she\d warn Tom and the others.

Tom slung the rifle over his back, while Kemp pulled the toboggan for the first part of the journey.

Tom and Radcliff hollered out every once in a while to let the searchers know they were all right, if any of the searchers could hear their voices. They\d have a fight if CJ\s brother came after them and meant to cause trouble.

Elizabeth was certain the brothers wouldn\ come for them, though. Too many people were out combing the area for Tom. And if the brothers did come upon Kemp pulling the toboggan and Radcliff and Tom, what could they do? If they wanted to take CJ with them, they\d still have to transport him to the doctor. So she felt the brothers would leave them alone.

She dashed ahead, jumping into the snow with exuberance and having the time of her life. She\d love to do this again when Tom was a wolf and could play with her.

’’Elizabeth!’’ Tom yelled at her.

She turned her head, snow clinging to her fur, a few flakes sitting on her nose, and woofed back. Then she bit at the snow, having wanted to play in it since that first time she visited Silver Town. Now she was finally able to do it.

She rolled around in the snow, then shook it off. When she looked back again at Tom, he was shaking his head as he and the others trudged after her. The brothers smiled.

Kemp said, ’’You sure are one lucky SOB.’’

’’I sure am,’’ Tom said.

Elizabeth smiled in her wolf way, right before she tore off again. She would laugh if she could.

’’Elizabeth!’’

She was quite a distance ahead of the men and hidden by spruce trees when she saw Sam, a rifle resting on his shoulder, staring straight at her. She did her best impression of a dog as she observed the two men with him. Deputy Trevor and the one who had to be the human farmer. Great.

The gray wolves wouldn\ recognize her in wolf form, and she could smell their scents, but she stood downwind of them.

She woofed and wagged her tail vigorously. Then she leaned down with her front legs, her butt up in the air, still wagging it in play, but didn\ move any closer.

’’It\s a wolf,’’ the farmer said, pulling his rifle off his shoulder.

Chapter 24

Sam grabbed for the farmer\s weapon, hurriedly saying, ’’It\s one of our dogs. Don\ shoot!’’

Trevor likewise hurried to disarm the man. Why in the world would they have allowed the farmer to be armed?

Elizabeth\s heart pounded like crazy as she went into pretend dog mode. Having a devil of a time not lifting her chin like a coyote or wolf that was about to howl, or even a coyote when it barked, Elizabeth woofed in response a nice dog-sounding bark.

’’Elizabeth!’’ Tom said, winded as he tried to run on top of the snow in the snowshoes.

She turned her head in his direction, though she could only hear his approach and not see him. She did a happy bark, then raced back for him like any loving dog would who wanted to please its master. Okay, so she could do this and make it convincing because she didn\ want to get shot. She\d been through enough already.

Tom came around the trees and saw Sam, Trevor, and Bill just as Elizabeth jumped on him and bit at his clothes like an unruly, overgrown puppy thrilled to see her master.

’’Good dog,’’ Tom said, his voice relieved but hard.

He tried to pet her, but she nipped at his gloves and woofed. She was good at this playacting, she thought.

Looking anxious, Radcliff quickly joined them, huffing and puffing, his warm breath mixing with the icy air and turning into wisps of vapor. ’’Oh good, you caught up with her,’’ he said, glancing in the farmer\s direction and then stating the obvious, ’’Hey, we found Tom.’’


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