She was sixteen and a runaway. Slightly built, but a heart the size of the mountains she had been born under. Her stepfather had abused her and her mother had allowed it to happen, so she decided to leave. A tragedy but it was beautiful. She was perfect.

There was only one way out of town. The mountain pass the locals called “The Warning of The Crows”. It was a vicious, winding road, a venomous snake determined to bite its own tail. After the pass, it was downhill to the harbor and the ferry, then south to warmer climes and a better life. But getting out would not be easy. The pass was full of serial killers, rapists and opportunistic murderers. Timber wolves would sometimes come down from the high cold places. And there were rumors of other things, supernatural things. She was doomed, that was certain. Every maniac wanted to be the first to find her. The hunt was on.

I had driven the pass in the hope of intercepting her where the terrain was too tough to climb and the road would be her only choice. I saw her as the sky began to darken on the second day.

I pulled over and wound my window down. ‘Hey, you shouldn’t be out here at this time of night. This is a dangerous place, young lady. ‘

She had the hunted look I had seen on other, similar young faces. And the same hope, hope that perhaps a stranger would offer help. She wanted to run from me, from everything, but she wanted to trust someone. Those that trusted the wrong person ended up disemboweled in a ditch.

“I’m OK Sir, I’m going to meet a friend,” she said. It was too soon to offer her a ride, I had to rope this one in gently or she would loosen the noose and run. I didn’t want to be chasing her all over the hills.

I heard breaking twigs, someone moving through the underbrush at the side of the road, someone moving fast. She heard it too. She bolted across the road, illuminated briefly in my headlights, and then a knife wielding lunatic murderer flashed past in pursuit. I got out and ran after them.

It was dark. I instinctively followed the sound of the pursuit up ahead. I had to get to her before he did. I heard a scream and my heart sank. I pulled my Bowie knife from its concealed sheathe, determined to murder the man who had murdered my girl.

It was not the girl who had screamed. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness. In a clearing, the man lying face down: a wolf tearing the flesh from his back. He screamed again. The wolf was enormous, bristling, frenzied. I almost fell over them, steadied myself and continued to run. The girl was gone, and I stopped. Howling. More wolves. I decided to abandon the pursuit or become a victim of these woods myself.

I shivered as I made my way back to my car. I soon saw the headlights through the trees, and I returned to the hellish road upon which so many had come to a violent end.

An unmarked police car, lights flashing a muted red and blue, was parked in front of my vehicle. A large bearlike officer stood beside his car. My hunting knife disappeared into its secret place.


He jumped. “Jeepers son, you startled me.”

“I apologize Officer. Can I help you?”

“We’re looking for a girl. Five foot five. Long fair hair.”

“I haven’t seen anyone fitting that description.”

My voice was steady.

“She’s about your daughter’s age”, he added.

I blinked. My daughter? I casually looked back at the car. She was sitting calmly in the front passenger seat.

“I’ll need to see your driver’s license.”

“Yes, of course.” I walked back to my car and got in. I opened the glove box.

She was toying with the trinkets hanging from the rear-view mirror.

“Did you make these?” she asked.


They bones?


“He’s not a real police officer, you know.”

I glanced sideways at her.

“The lights are all wrong”, she said, “and he isn’t talking to anyone on his CB. It’s silent. Should have dispatch on the other end.”

He was coming towards us, one hand behind his back. I opened the car door imperceptibly.

He approached my window and leaned his head down. I shouldered the door as hard as I could into his gut. A shotgun blast cracked into the door, not my head as intended. He cursed as buckshot blasted back off the door into his groin. He collapsed on the road. I was out and on top of him. I stabbed him twice, neither hit fatal. He grabbed both my wrists in his hands as I went for an arterial blow. He was inhumanly strong and began pulling me towards him. He smashed his forehead into my nose and I felt my nose splinter; one more shot and he would knock me out. I twisted my head backwards and took the next hit on my chin. It sent a shockwave into my head, but I stayed conscious.

His head exploded to the right, jawbone separating from skull. The girl had picked up the shotgun and fired at almost point-blank range.

“All the crazies are out tonight”, she said passing me a rag.

I almost laughed. ‘You have no idea’, I said dabbing at my broken nose and gently taking the gun from her small hands.

We returned to the car. This girl had something about her. Something that couldn’t be broken, or had already been broken, and healed back stronger, like bone.

“You’re one of them, aren’t you?” She said it as a statement, not a question.


“Are you gonna kill me?” She almost sounded resigned.

I didn’t answer.

She gently placed her fingertips on the bone jewelry dangling from the rear-view mirror.

“Just make something pretty from me.” she said.

“Get out,” I did not look at her as I spoke, “run as fast and as far as you can.”

She fled into the darkness.

She disappeared as so many others have. Just another little girl lost, but it was not I who took her. Not this one.

Not this time.