Into the Fray

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[align=center]Into the Fray[/align]


[align=center]Authors Note at Bottom of Page[/align]

[align=center]SYNOPSIS: "William Mackenzie has a job working as a pilot for his father's family owned shipping business, flying cargo across the vast Canadian wilderness. It's cold, brutal, and above all isolated. On a annual flight from Vancouver, the plane he flies which is the only taxi between civilization and the bush crashes into the barren, snowy, freezing wilderness of British Columbia. William Mackenzie will soon find himself fighting for his life against the force of nature, and he will eventually discover that there is more to the crash than first thought.[/align]

You go outside, and the air bites into you like knives, and the wind smacks you like your made out of nothing, then you don't feel the cold anymore, something else. Almost an eerie type of warm. Hard to explain. The company me and my father owns, "Mackenzie & Son Remote Air Transport", has a DeHavilland Beaver. It's wobbling more than it does most of the time on the airstrip. My clothes are hardly cut out for that type of weather, a light sweater with a t-shirt underneath, and a pair of jeans. But it doesn't concern me, seeing how I'd be back into the plane in no time where I'd be back at a comfortable room temperature. I'm practically half-running across the airstrip to the plane, slipping and sliding as the wind desperately tries to smack me to the ground. I haul myself into the plane, quickly slamming the door as I get into the cockpit. I buckle myself in and turn on the heater, melting the snow that had blew on me. I look across the tarmac, looking at the snow blow across it, waiting for the OK from the air control to go. I don't bother to look in the back at the cargo we're carrying. After decades of flying from middle of nowhere A to middle of nowhere B you tend to lose interest in the job. I usually have a weekend or so off during the month, generally spent staring at a bottle in an Vancouver bar, or sleeping in an motel the whole day. When your on it's easier, you're mind is already focused on a specific task, which is flying.

The air controller gives me the all clear, I bring the plane forward and hoist it into the air. It shoves it's way through the snow, and the wind, but it makes it like it has done in the past. Looking out the window you see the same thing you see every trip, snow and ice, going on forever. Little black, half frozen over lakes can be seen from here to there, until you just see the black trees and primarily the endless horizon of white. If you wanted civilization gone, this would be the place to be. I looked at the half crumpled up Polaroid photo of Anna, her and her children laughing and smiling by their car. I thought back to the time she knew me, when the kids looked up to me, knew who I was, not what I am. I think about her, the children, which I have tried not to do but there they are. I try to focus my mind on the things that need to get done, but they are there no matter how hard I try to block them out. I doubt they remember me now, let alone know me. I have a radio I never use, I hardly if at all turn it on. Instead of listening to music, or chatting with the other pilots like the others do, I just sit there, listening to the the plane hum, the wind outside. Most of the other pilots think I'm some paroled criminal, working for an airline company. They all laugh, joke, someone even made a joke about how I died in a plane crash. I don't run around correcting the others though, I just sit there quietly and listen. Sometimes they don't even know I'm right there with them at the bar when they're talking about me.

I shortly realize however the plane starts to dive down, I look at the instruments on my board go dark, a bright aurora lights up the sky which is unusual for this time of year. I try to use the radio to get in contact with help but that is dead as well. I'm trying to get a hold of the plane and bring her back up but it's like it just ran out of gasoline, getting it into a glide seemed impossible as the plane started to go faster and faster into a dive. The plane starts to drop faster and it feels as though my spine, along with all my blood just dropped to the bottom of my body. The plane starts banging, as I realize that we're going over the planes speed capacity, the crates in the back fall forward and hit my seat. There's not really a whole lot I can do from here, seeing all my equipment is dead. I sit there, shutting my eyes waiting for death to come. I have welcomed death many times before, flying the plane and thinking about just crashing it into the wilderness, sitting in a motel room with a gun to my head. If you think death is right behind you, ready to lay it's finger on your shoulder, it will occupy your mind. Now that death was actually coming to me I was scared, scared to die. It's a strange thing, how even if you welcome death, once it finally arrives you don't want it to, your scared of it. The plane get's closer to a treeline down on the ground, everything around it looks like a blur of white. Then the plane hits the trees, it feels like every bone in my body just breaks, head is pounding, spinning in circles, maybe I'm headless. Some glass pops and shatters into the cockpit, cold, ripping air bursts in which hurts even worse than the glass which is cutting and scraping my face. Metal and cord from the ceiling rip open and drop down on me, then eventually pretty much the whole roof rips off and I almost fall out. After a while of this it stops, and everything goes black.

I can't see where I am at first, everything is still buzzing, my ears are ringing, but I slowly start to make sense of the situation. I feel the cold, I see the debris, surprisingly the photo of Anna and the children is still intact and is on the floor, covered by glass. I'm feeling myself, making sure that all my body parts are still there, it doesn't feel like I am missing and arm, or leg, or head. It feels as though something broke, or got banged pretty bad, probably one of my ribs. The wind is blowing, which is a good sign that I am not dead, though I feel as though I should have died in that crash, instead of being alive now. I feel my head and some warm blood is coming from it, with some of it freezing on my forehead. I'm looking back, at the cargo to see most of it is gone, for there is a big gash in the plane. It all looks like scrambled eggs. I feel the pain coming from my ribs, and my head, and really all over, though this too is a good sign that I'm alive, and not in some aftermath after death. I'm waiting there, getting my head together, hoping the ringing stops which it does after a minute or so. I look down and see that I am actually much higher up in the trees than I first thought, a good thirty feet. I'm reaching into my emergency bag which I keep stored encase of a scenario like this, I try and turn on a radio but it won't work. I try to turn on a flashlight but it won't work. There's a mirror in it, I take a look at my face and see that my forehead is cut pretty badly, but there's noway I could do suture work by myself so I just get some closure strips on it and then wrap some gauze around it. There's also small cuts, and scraps all over my body, though nothing that really requires medical care besides that rib which may or may not be broken. The only items in the kit that actually seem to work are the matches, a flare, and a compass. I realize that I'm freezing as I'm doing this and that I need to get out of here and start a fire, or get warm somehow.

My father was in a crash similar to this around two decades ago, where his plane went down and it crashed into the Yukon tundra. He was stuck there for days, search parties were unable to find them and I eventually had to go out until I found him, half dead, freezing, eating bark of a tree in the middle of the snow. I couldn't help but find the irony in this, and even find it comical that the same exact thing has happened to me. I'm standing up now, putting the flare, matches, the energy bar, the compass, whats left of the medical equipment, and for some reason the photo of Anna and the children. I look down and see two wolves circling around, curiously looking at the wreckage and looking up at me. I figure that if I leave them alone, they'll leave me alone. I try to climb down the tree but I only got down a quarter of a way before I lost my footing, I fell off and my body slammed into the snow. It's hurting, it feels like my rib just got worse and that I had broken or badly bruised another.The snow is deep, it's maybe a foot or two deep and I can look up and see snow surrounding my preferential vision. The two wolves come closer to me and look at me, they smell me and look at me with curiosity. They just stare at me and trot off. I get up after a minute, look up at the wreckage of plane above me and then look at my surroundings which is all snow. I don't want to stick around in a wolf's den just so I can start a fire, I look at my compass, find west, then head out in that direction, looking for the coast.

Authors Note: I'm not sure if I'm going to continue this story, I might depending on feedback, that or I just get bored and decide to write some more. Also all thanks to Hinderland for coming up with the basis for this so I can have something to write about! So yes, I may continue this, maybe not. Anyway, hoped you enjoy/enjoyed reading this depending if you are reading this authors note first or after you read the story. Anyway, thank you to Hinterland for coming up with the basis for Will Mackenzie and have a good time reading!

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I've known wolves my whole life, especially when I was younger. I shot them, skinned them, gutted them, watched them, all of this while going out on hunts with my father. He hated them and above all he was scared of them, because of it he took it upon himself to go after as many of the things as he could around town. He took bets with our neighbors, went into contests with the local hunters into who can shoot the most of them. It was almost like a hobby for him, or a part-time job. I'm looking at my compass, unsure if it is even correctly working, after the crash. It's cold, freezing, and the wind is like how it was on the airstrip, trying to smack you down like your nothing. Maybe even a bit worse. Up ahead, through the trees is what looks like a small clearing leading uphill. Going up it takes longer than I first thought, but it's very easy to misjudge distance. In what looked like maybe a mile or so seems to end up turning into a few football fields worth. You can barely see the plane anymore, but even so the end of the clearing doesn't look any closer. I have hopes of encountering some magic tracks, or a magic road, a magic building, a magic river, something that would lead to civilization at the top of the hill. I do not know why I would expect something like this to happen, but it's a way to give myself hope. Though even if I do make my way back to civilization, what's the point? Sit in a cockpit all day, and then get drunk at night. That's my life, and it hardly seems like something worth saving.

I finally make it to the top of the hill, after trudging through snow and beating back wind for what seemed like hours. It's my magic train track, right there. I think I dreamed it into being, seeing how incredibly lucky it is to find a track this deep into the bush. But here it is, a magic track, and off in the distance I see a magic cabin, and a magic tunnel. I'm figuring that heading toward the cabin, which looks like some kind of camp office because of a wooden map in front of it and a flag pole with the Canadian flag on top of it, is my best option. I'm walking down the tracks, when I spot somebody moving it looks like, by the cabin. I start running toward him. "Hey!" I'm shouting. "Over here!" I shout and run as fast as I could toward the man who seems oblivious to me. I barely trip into the snow, before the man just looks like he splits in two, or something jump off him. It's some kind of animal, it jumps right back on him. "Hey, get the fuck off of him!" I yell as loud as I can, running even faster toward the man. Now I'm close, I'm roaring and the animal and it's head pops up and stares at me. It's a wolf, probably the same wolf I met at the plane. Another wolf pops it's head up and looks at me with curiosity, like the ones which stared me down at the plane. Now that I'm close, I realize the guy is dead, and that it was the wolves which were moving. Not the man. The wolves were ripping at the guy, there's no way he could be alive.

I charge at the two wolves, roaring as though I was an animal myself. I'm not 100% why I'm charging these two wolves right now, I think that he was alive and that these two fuckers killed him. Whatever reason it is, I'm charging, yelling at the top of my lungs. I expect the two wolves to twitch, run away, jump off him but they just stand there. Watching me. Then one of the two wolves starts charging me, after just staring me down, and hits me sideways and sends be plummeting to the ground before I can even make a move. I hear growling, these two wolves aren't the two curious little wolves I thought I knew back at the plane. One of the wolves are on my back, and I'm face down in the snow. It's trying to dig it's teeth into my back. I can't tell if it's teeth are actually getting into my back, or if it's just mostly eating the sweater. I'm trying to toss it off of me, which I manage to do and I stand up, but the second one hits me again, my leg this time. I kick at the wolf as hard as I can with my other leg before it actually gets deep into me. It starts hurting, I feel it's gash, though in the cold it's hard to tell. He's on my whole leg now and from what I could tell in the freezing cold I'm little more than bones now. For all I know I'm already dead, and this is just some aftermath. I kick the wolf in it falls down, but recovers and gets back up and growls at me. I can feel their hot breath, and their warm with feels nice in the cold, even though it's deadly. I try to make it to the door to the cabin, and just as I get onto the wooden patio the wolf slams into me and I topple face down onto the wooden floor. I kick, punch, but it feels as though all I'm hitting is water. I feel as though I'm going to die again, and this is it. I'm terrified, scared, afraid. It feels like another one of the instances where you feel like dying when death isn't staring you in the face, and where you don't feel like dying when death is staring you in the face. I'm thinking about Anna, her children. They are probably thousands of miles away from where I am right now but I want to protect them. It is probably dinner time for them right now, or they're going to bed. Children going to bed without a father, and better off without it. Without me. I'm thinking that if I get back alive from this, all that is going to do however is make it harder for them, knowing I am still around. The best thing I could do for them is just die out here. I'm trying to think that but it's hard. I try to remember my son and daughter's names after all these years and I do. I try to remember Anna's name in all this and I remember her name as well.

Instead of death, I hear yelling. Not wolves growling, men's yelling. The stomping of boots through the snow. I try to position my head away from the floor so I can see what is going on, and I see five guys charging with pieces of heavy wood in their arms, hatchets, knives, all coming toward me. They are all much better equipped with better clothing than I am, they're wearing parkas, wool hats, cargo pants, things I wish I had on me right now. One of the men in front of the group hit the wolf on top of me with a chunk of wood and it comes off of me. I stumble backward and try to get back up but just fall back on the hardwood again. The two wolves walk back into the snow and stare at us, then trot off into the woods like nothing happened. The man with the chunk of wood helped me up. "You OK?" He asks. "Yeah," I nod and get back up, trying to get a hold of myself on a wooden beam. My legs are throbbing, and I just feel like collapsing again but I don't. Every part of me hurts all over, but I don't think I'm gushing out blood. Despite this I look down at myself, my jeans are ripped and brown with blood. I feel it's warmness sticking to me, and some of the old blood freezing onto my skin. I feel okay though, it doesn't feel as though they got any deep bites into me. "Let's head inside," The man with the chunk of wood states. I recognize one of the men in back, Hansson. He's a pilot as well, I'm happy to see him. "Your Mackenzie right?" Asks Hannson, stepping forward as the other men looked into the woods, watching for the wolves. "Did your plane crash as well?" I ask him, which it must have. Seeing how there is no other way he was out here beside that. "You bet, you have any idea what the fuck is going on Mackenzie?" He asks. I shake my head, the man with the chunk of wood in front urges us to head inside the cabin, which I gladly oblige.

I know wolves, and what they just did to me is something that is as likely to happen as never.

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  • 2 weeks later...


[align=center]Authors Note at Bottom of Page[/align]

One day when I was about my sons age of twelve I was going sledding down this hill. It was my mistake for doing so because when you got to the bottom of the hill it led into the backyard of this one guy. When I sled down the hill and landed in his backyard, he opened the screen door and probably thought I was trying to rob or steal so he got out a baseball bat from his house. "You trying to steal from me you little piece of shit!?" He yelled. I left the sled there and started running away. But I fell in the snow and before I could get up his baseball bat slammed into my back and I was face-first in the snow. He started pounding on me with the baseball bat, cursing and swearing but then I heard a truck pull in. I looked and saw it was my fathers truck. When he saw what was going on he took out his rifle from the truck, the man saw this and dropped his baseball bat but it was too late, my father had already shot him in the stomach and he fell to the ground bleeding, but still alive. He walked over to me and helped me up. "You OK?" He asked. I silently nodded and looked at the man, now he was laying face first in the snow. My father aimed his rifle at him again and fired at his head. Killing him. "Help me trash up his place, make it look like a burglary," My father said to me, which I did. We turned his house inside and out and made it look like some robbery took place and that he tried to escape but ended up getting shot. My father called the police and the local sheriffs arrived and question my father. He said that me and him were sledding when we came into the dead mans backyard and found him laying dead. The sheriffs asked me if that is what happened and I told them nothing that he didn't tell them. I don't know why I did that, he was a murderer and I was a murderer for letting that happen. Though he shot that man because he wanted to protect me, but then again he murdered him.

We all walk into the camp office and we go walk upstairs. There's a stove there and the man with the piece of wood lights it, throwing the chunk of wood in there as well. Now that I'm starting to thaw out I start to feel just how deep they got into me, and the pain becomes much more apparent. I roll up my pants leg to see the jeans are shredded and soaked with blood. They are look at me and I can tell I don't look good. I take off me sweater and see that the back of it is also shredded and soaked with blood. It looks bad, but it doesn't feel like they got any fatal bites out of me. "You want me to get some peroxide and bandage that for you?" The man who had the wood asks. "Yeah, thanks," I tell him. He reaches into his backpack and pours all sorts of peroxide onto my wounds. I doubt any infection could even occur in this cold but it's better to be safe than sorry when you have to the supplies available. He then wraps my back and my leg in some gauze bandages. "I think we have some spare clothes you could have," Hansson says, taking out a beige parka, some cargo pants, and a new sweater from his bag. "Thanks," I say and I put the new clothing on. I feel better now, though it still hurts. "So what the fuck happened out there, they just came up and started to eat you or something?" Asks one of the men. "I was trying to charge them off a dead body, they were just defending themselves. Chances are that guy had a candy bar or something on him, we probably won't see those wolves again," I say. There's a brief pause. "So you have any idea what the fucks going on Mackenzie?" Asks Hanssons, who is sitting next to me on a carpet by the fire. I just shake my head and wrap my arms around myself. Even though it's probably ten times as warm in here than it is outside, it's still just a little bit above freezing, so it's still cold but the fire warms things up a lot. "I was flying to some shitty little tar mine or whatever further up north, and then all my instruments just died and I ended up crash landing. Luckily I found these guys in a local logging camp nearby," Hansson says. "Yeah, me and the other guys are lumber workers, we were just going to head back home for the Winter but then the phones went dead, lights went dead, heaters went dead, fuck even our phones went dead," The man who had the chunk of wood says. "Must have been some kind of regional solar flare or something, I don't know," I say. There's another pause, this one longer.

"I'm Hillard," The man who had the chunk of wood says. "Call me Inuit," Says another one of the loggers, sitting on the bed. He looks like he could be Inuit, he had the colored skin but not and accent to match it. "Otto," Says another one of the loggers sitting on an opposite bunk. "Reyes," Says the last logger, sitting with Otto. There's another pause. "Fuck, this feels good," Says Reyes, warming himself up against the fire, groaning and huffing. "It fucking does," Says Hillard. They are all groaning, and letting out small laughs here and there. "Well, we're not dead yet," Says Hillard. "Not yet," I say. There's another pause, this one longer. "We need to follow the tracks, maybe they'll lead to some sort of civilization, we'll leave in the morning," I say. Nobody says anything, they all just look down and look as though they are children, not knowing what to do. "But, it's safe here in the cabin. Plus somebody has to come looking for us right?" Otto says. "Your right, it is safe in here but we'll end up dying before anybody can find us. Besides, these days are going to get shorter and shorter, colder and colder, they might send out a plane or a helicopter but they are not going to be searching for us in the dark for weeks. The only way we're getting out of this is if we walk out of it," I say. I look at them all, they're all still looking down. "OK? We leave at dawn and take advantage of however much daylight we have before it starts getting dark almost the entire day," I say. Another pause goes by. "OK," Hillard says. My wounds are starting to hurt more now that I'm completely thawed out from the cold, but that's a good sign that I'm not dying. Now that I'm thawed I realize just how starving and dehydrated I am, I've been walking almost the entire day in the snow, and I got gashed by wolves. It's easy to forget about the simple things when you have the constant fear of dying.

"Do we have any food?" I ask, I wrap my arms around my stomach to help block the pain. Hansson reaches into his backpack. "I think we got some cans and some water bottles," He says and pulls out a few cans of pork and beans along with some water bottles. We cook the cans over the fire and heat it up, we all eat with our hands and pass the cans around to the next person. It feels nice to have warm food in you. I look at my watch and it's around 6:00 PM. Usually this would be around evening but since the days are getting shorter, it's night. I'm exhausted, and I can tell they are all exhausted. I head onto one of the lower bunks, everyone else is out cold but I'm still awake. My father used to call me an 'night owl'- someone who'd rather be awake than sleep. Despite my body aching and my mind being fuzzy, I just lay there in bed, letting sleep overcome myself. I look at the picture of Anna, my son, my daughter. I think about the same thing I think about when the plane crashed, back to the time which we were all together. But now I think about the same thing I thought about when the wolves were attacking me, they are better off without me. I frightened them, I knew that the whole time, never wanting to believe it but I knew. I didn't want to taint my son and daughter like my father did to me, turn them into the murderous mess that I am. After a while however, I'm asleep.

Authors Note: Sorry it took so long to come out with this, it's just I had the whole third chapter written and then I lost it and I then I had other stuff going on so yeah, sorry about that. But anyway, I hope you enjoyed/enjoy it depending on if your reading the authors note before or after you read the story. Anyway, enjoy!

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  • 1 month later...


[align=center]Authors Note at Bottom of Page[/align]

My fathers air company had this small office on the outskirts of Vancouver. He used to keep the room overheated, when you go in from the cold and the snow and ice that formed on you melts off almost instantly. However small the amount of people which go into our office are; they all boil. All expect my father, that is. If you looked at him while in the room, it doesn't seem to look like he minds the heat at all. If anything it looked as though he enjoyed it because everyone else around him got to suffer. Across the street from us is a strip club where this idiot crew of tar sand workers go; who always yell in the street at night and sometimes some cruisers come and issue a citation. Some other times my father comes out with a rifle and yells at them to disperse. They generally all run off in their van after that but they always come back the next Sunday. Ironically there is a Church with a neon cross right next to us. Sometimes the priest there comes out and speaks out against the strip club but he usually goes back into the Church after an hour or so because of the cold and mainly: there's just not that many people on our street. When I was a little younger than my sons age my father came home from flying some trip to the northern wilderness. My mother was cooking something at the stove, my father looked at me with bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol on him. I was sitting on our couch and I just stared up at him. "You two fucking piss me off," He said. My mother didn't even get a chance to turn around before he shot her. And there I was, sitting quietly on the couch, staring at my fallen mother wide eyed. Then he shot me twice in the chest, to this day I don't know why he gave me two and only gave my mother one. Maybe he just liked my mother more. Sheriffs showed up and brought me and my mother to the hospital but it was to late for her. I don't know how my ten year old self managed to survive two bullet wounds but I did, the doctor said no other kid could have survived those types of wounds and that I was a miracle. Hardly. My father came up with almost the same excuse he did when he shot our neighbor who was going to beat me up. He told the sheriffs that a robber came into the house, stole my fathers gun, and shot and killed my mom with his bullets, then proceeded to shoot me. Like at our neighbors house, the sheriffs asked me if that is what happened and I said yes, then that was the end of it. I stayed in the hospital for a few more weeks and then I returned to school. My father begged me to forgive him, and that it was the drink that did that to me and my mother though I never forgave him for what he did.

There's crackling and whistling going on. The cabin aches and I hear winds howling outside. I put on my coat. "Wake up," I say. They all toss and turn but eventually they get up. "What time is it?" Inuit asks. "No way of telling out here, probably eight or nine maybe," I say. "Better than the hours at the fucking lumber mill," Reyes says, huffing in the cold and proceeds to put on his coat. We go and finish the last of some energy bars, my wounds feel better than they did yesterday though they still ache. I look at myself through the window to the outside, I don't look pretty and I'm pretty cut up on my cheek though I'm alive. They're all blinking and rubbing their eyes as we walk down the stairs. We leave the cabin and outside the wind really is blowing this time, even more so than yesterday. It's particularly colder as well, even with the jacket and hat it still feels just as cold as it did yesterday with only a sweater. If push comes to shove at least I'll have more protection if another wolf decides to come back for round two. I look at the snow and I see wolf tracks, heading into the forest, it's hard to tell if they're fresh but I guess that they are from a few hours ago. Though I do kick myself in the back of my mind for accepting that as an answer, for coming up with that is just wishful thinking. I don't really know much about tracking besides the hunts me and my father used to go on. "Just follow the rail?" Hansson asks and all of us walk up the slope to the tracks. "Just follow the rail," I say. The train tracks are partially covered in snow, and look like they go on for a good few miles before it makes a turn. Nobody is looking forward to this trudge through the snow, and I'm not looking forward to it either but I know it is the only way to get back home.

It feels as though only an hour or so of walking across the tracks that the sun is going away. The days are getting shorter and shorter until we'll only have a few hours of daylight to walk. The tracks also seem to go on longer than I first thought, we've been walking for a long time now but the turn of the tracks doesn't look any closer than they did an hour or two ago. The wind is bleeding us dry, each minute feels like a battle of just standing up and I can see it in there eyes as well. It isn't blizzard conditions but it feels like it could be. It feels like we are stuck in the middle between the safety of the cabin and the unknown of the railroad tracks. Not to mention the ever present fear of those wolves which no matter how hard I try to block it out of my mind, it just won't go away. I can see it that they are still worried about the wolves as well and I can't blame them for it. "Should we stop here? Go make a fire by the trees?" Hillard asks. I scratch the back of my neck and honestly I don't know. It's really easy to misjudge the distance of things out here, like the hill. "We should try and keep going if we can, try to make it to the turn in the rails. The wolves might let us off the hook if we turn tail and get out of their area," I say. The only reason I bring up the wolves is because I want to give them motivation to keep going. Though I regret saying that as that thought gives me goosebumps. "Then how much longer is it until those trees then?" Asks Reyes, huffing in the cold and tucking his arms into his coat. We all stop. It sounds like by the way he asks it that once we get to the turn that there's going to be some magic town right there. Though then again, with the luck I've had of finding tracks, a cabin, Hansson, and four other men, I wouldn't be surprised. "I don't know, it's easy to misjudge distance," I say. Reyes just looks at me like I'm some tour guide that doesn't know where he's guiding. "Let's keep going then," Inuit says, he hunches his backpack over a bit and sets off down the tracks. I'm the next one to go and the rest follow me.

By the time we get to the turn it almost seems as though we've been walking for four hours, which we very well could have been. The sun is not quite going down yet but it's getting there, and fast. Surprisingly, at the turn we find a metal bridge, which leads to a mountain pass, with a big old waterfall coming down the mountain and a frozen creek at the bottom. "About fucking time," Inuit mutters as we close up on the bridge. "I swear to God there better be some sort of tropical paradise at the other side of that pass," Reyes says, almost yelling it. "Have some good looking women on the other side as well," Hansson says. We all laugh. "Don't talk about that shit out here, I got a girlfriend waiting for me to get back from my shitty ass vacation," Otto says, smiling a bit. "Say what you want man, but there better be a one way ticket to paradise at the end of that pass or I'm going to flip," Reyes says and we all laugh again. The bridge is a little icy but we walk over it okay without slipping. When we walk through the pass and out of it, instead of my magic town I was hoping for all we're greeted with is a ravine with a track that bridges across the whole ravine. "Fuck, fuck, fuck," I hear Otto say as he paces back and forth. "Not exactly what I hoping for," Inuit says, stepping toward the edge and looks at the drop. I do the same and it is at least a good two hundred or three hundred foot drop. If you fell from this height you'd either be dead or you wish you had. "Guys... Is this a bad time to say I'm not a big fan of heights?" Otto says, looking of the edge but quickly retreats. "Fucking great," Reyes mumbles. "Well, going back is not an option, and we're not going to go under it," Hillard says, shaking his head and swearing under his breath. Otto is swearing probably faster than I've heard anyone swear before; he's a nervous wreck. "I'll go first," I say. They all nod slowly, expecting me to fall to my death. "Be careful," Inuit says. I tiptoe across the iron railing which is very uncomfortable considering the heavy jacket I have on, the boots, and the backpack. I try not to look down, only looking down when I need to check my footing. Despite the fact that I'm walking across a five inch beam leading to a three hundred foot fall to my death, it does offer a great view of the wilderness. However I'm used to it, and all it leaves me with is wanting to get across this beam even faster. The track is particularly icy, as a matter of fact I can see icicles forming on the bottom of the beam when I look down to check my footing. Despite all this, I clear my mind and think about getting home. But to what? Just flying across the same wilderness day after day and thinking about how I blew my one and only chance with Anna and our kids? I consider throwing myself off this bridge right now but fear gets me. I also think that I need to help get these men home, back to their wives and their children. To a life that means something.

I manage to get across to the other side. "It's safe to cross, it's icy though so be careful!" I shout to them. I see Inuit give me the thumbs up and Hillard is the next one to go. Otto is still pacing around and from what I could tell it looks like Reyes is making fun of him or something. One by one they go, Hillard makes it across alright, then comes Inuit, then Reyes, and finally it's the nervous wreck Otto. "You can do it man!" Inuit shouts at him. I see Otto nod loathsomely and he begins to cross. He looks as though he's doing fine, he makes it half way across before he slips off the railing. He starts screaming and screaming until we hear a muffled little gunshot: Him hitting the ice. We don't hear any other screams after that. "Fuck..." I hear Inuit say. "Jesus," Reyes mutters. "Di... Did he just fucking die?" Hansson asks, looking off the edge of the cliff as do I. I don't see Otto's corpse smashed and exploded like in movies, just his body with some red coming out from under it. I wanted him to go home. "Shit," Hillard says. I stand there and don't say a word, and nobody else says a word either. We stand there for what seems like a few minutes, getting hammered by the wind. "Shouldn't we... You know, say a few words?" Hillard asks, shaking his head. "I don't really know any prayers," I say. "Me either," Hillard says. There's another long pause. "God bless the person who died here, and let him go to some place better than here," Hillard finally says. We all quietly say amen and then we starting trudging through the snow and against the wind to the next pass, not saying a word.

Authors Note: Sorry it took so long to come out with another chapter. I just didn't really think anyone was really reading it so I just stopped but now that I realize some of you guys are reading (Including you Mr. Ryan) I think I'll continue it. So thanks for the support! Also to add on to Northen_Light's comment: I'm trying to make ol' Mackenzie not as much of a force of nature, hero and more of a more troubled, less redeemable, less confident, more sorrowful :cry: , Mackenzie than the good folks at Hinterland are doing (Though I don't really know because story mode isn't released.) Anyway, this is just kind of an alternate Mackenzie, and a more... Interesting relationship with his father let's say ;) . Anyway, I think you're going to like what I'm doing with it and the little side-plot with him and his father. Anyway, again I don't know when I'm going to release the next one because I got quite a bit of work I got to do this week but now that I know you guys like it I'll probably get around to it more! Anyway, thanks again you guys, and later.

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[align=center]Authors Note at Bottom of Page[/align]

It's dark out now and the sun is barley hanging out in the sky by the time we get through the pass. Instead of seeing my magic town I quietly wished would be there, all we found was more track heading along a hill. We're all tired, and just now I find myself hungry and thirsty now that the sun is setting. "We should start a fire," I say. They all nod, we're all tired and nobody wants to say anything. We take out some tinder and some of those chunks of wood a few of us had slung on our backs. It's a small fire, and we all huddle around it trying to keep warm. It's practically pitch black out now, and you can't see more than a few feet in front of yourself if it wasn't for the fire. We lay out our sleeping bags and all of us huff and puff from the cold as we warm up. "We got any food left?" Inuit asks. Hillard reaches into his bag and pulls out two bags of jerky and some water. "This is all we got," Hillard says softly, as if he doesn't really want to accept the fact that the only food we have is two bags of beef jerky. They all look down into the fire. "Tomorrow we'll have to try and find some food then," I say. All of them are still looking down at the fire, Reyes looks up. "What, out there in fucking wolfville?" Reyes asks. "Yeah, out there," I say. "Do you think those wolves could have made it over the ravine?" Hansson asks. He looks like a child who just got stranded in some mall, he's scared. They're all scared. I'm scared. "I doubt it, unless there was some other route that we couldn't see I'm fairly certain that those wolves wouldn't be able to follow us," I say. I know that we don't have a hope in hell, in the state that we are in, of winning a fight against a pack of wolves though I try and convince myself that we're in the clear now. Everyone's quiet again, we're all tired. Otto's dead, we have hardly any food left, we got the possibility of a pack following us, and the train track just keeps going on. Hillard decides to rip open the bag of jerky and he passes it around, we all savor the bites and try to make it last. "We should try and sleep," I say. "Should we have somebody on watch?" Asks Inuit. "I'll go on, I don't sleep much anyway," I say. Everyone nods and agrees, it's going to be hard to sleep with everything going on, but then again we're all exhausted. Everyone get's in their rolls and they start slipping away after a while. I feel myself slipping away as well but I stay awake.

I look up from the fire and I think I may have fallen asleep. Everyone else is, I look at Inuit to my right and he's conked off. You'll sleep eventually, no matter how much you want to stay awake. I look to my left and I see Hansson twisting and turning a bit, he looks up at me and shakes his head. He gets out of his bag. "Gotta' go take a piss," He says. I nod at him and sigh, then continue to look out in the darkness. He walks over to some tree nearby and I hear him doing his thing, and don't think much of it. I look down at the fire for a brief minute and when I look back up I see green eyes staring right at me in the darkness. The wolves found themselves here. I expect them all to rush in and tear us apart but they don't, the one in front comes forward and the rest follow. Now that they are closer to the fire I can make them out better. The one in front is huge, much bigger than all the others although all the others still look fierce. He must be the Alpha of the pack. He's showing off his teeth for show, and like his body they're huge as well. I glance to my left and I see Hansson walking back toward the camp, oblivious to the wolves. I motion him with my hands to stand still. "Wha-," He barley manages to say before he sees the wolves. He stands still, terrified like myself. I kick Inuit, Reyes, and Hillard awake. They all twist and turn. "The hell was that for?" Reyes mumbles as he fumbles up. "Wolves," I say. They don't twist and turn anymore, they glance up at the wolves and jump right back up. Hansson stands there, and I can see the terror in his eyes of being all alone. I recognize two of the wolves, they have cuts and bruises on them. They're the wolves we attacked. They're showing off their teeth as well. "Wha-, what the fuck do we do?" Inuit asks. "If they get on one of us do to them what you did to the wolves that attacked me, look big and just start charging," I say. I know there is no way in hell we could win a battle against these wolves, there are twelve of them maybe and in the condition we are in, and with only our knives, it's a losing battle. Everyone is quiet and scared. I'm scared. "Listen guys, I'm feeling pretty fucking exposed over here!" Yells Hansson. I don't blame him for wanting to just make a run for over here. "Just stay there Hansson, don't make and sudden movements, and whatever you do don't run!" I yell. It's easy for me to say that because I'm not the one who is all alone and getting starred down by a pack of wolves. "Thanks for the fucking tip!" He yells back. The wolves don't seem focused on us more than they are on Hansson. The only ones that are looking at us are the two wolves we attacked and the Alpha, all he others are starring down Hansson. The Alpha howls once however and all of them go after Hansson. I can't make him out very well but I can see his terrified expression as he jumps around and starts running down the track. "Don't run!" I yell. "Don't fucking run!" But he doesn't listen.

In only a matter of seconds one of the wolves gets him in the heel and he falls to the ground and starts screaming. I'm the only one that charges like a mad man, roaring and yelling with my knife in hand. The others stay at the camp fire, too terrified to follow and I don't blame them. Hanssons screaming goes on and you can't even see him anymore, just one huge pile of wolves all clumped together. I know he's dead by know, even if his screaming continues. The Alpha looks back at me and starts charging and I stop dead in my tracks. I'm far from the campfire now, and I don't roar anymore. In my condition, I know I'm not going to survive another run in with a wolf, especially not the Alpha of the pack. He's charging at me and I'm to scared to run away and I'm to scared to charge it back, so I just stand there. I don't know what to do, he gets closer, twenty feet, fifteen feet, and then only ten feet away he stops and sits, and just looks at me. I've done staring contests with wolves before but this one looks like he hates me. Like he's telling me, "You don't fucking belong here, and if you don't get you and your ragtag group out of my territory soon all of you are going to end up like this guy," Hanssons screaming dies out and eventually stops. When the screaming stops all the wolves get off of him and the Alpha trots off and fades into the darkness with the other wolves. I can smell Hanssons dead body from here, his blood and the stench of his stomach. I just stand there and like an idiot I walk toward him to see if he's dead even though I know he is. Inuit follows and then so does Hillard and Reyes. I take out a lighter from my pocket and light it to see him and as I suspected, he's torn apart. Ribs showing, face torn, guts hanging out, blood everywhere. I say nothing and Inuit is the first one to arrive. "Jesus Christ..." He mutters as he looks down at Hansson. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!" I hear Reyes shout, he stomps around a bit and kicks some snow around once he sees Hansson. "They're fucking monsters!" I hear him yell. "We don't belong here," I say. Reyes turns around and looks at me and Hansson. "Are you justifying what those fucking things did to him!?" He yells and points at Hansson. I look down at the snow and don't say anything. Reyes just turns around and stomps around some more. Inuit and Hillard are just looking down at Hansson with terror. "You okay?" Hillard asks. I nod my head. "Yeah, I'm fine," I say, which I'm not. I'm shaking, and I'm terrified. "Shouldn't we... You know, bury him or something?" Inuit asks. "The snow will do that," I say. They look at me like I'm some kind of monster, like the wolves but they all realize quickly that just leaving him there is probably for the best and look back down. "We should head back," I say. "There is no chance in hell I'm sleeping after tonight," Reyes says, he calms down a bit but he's still shaking. He's angry, angry at the wolves for killing Hansson. "Then just watch," I say. Everyone is quiet and we head back to camp and sit back down by the fire. Hillard puts Hanssons belongings in his backpack.

None of us sleeps. We all stay awake and alert, not even tired anymore. We're all scared and constantly panning our heads at the darkness. Eventually after what seems like forever the sun starts to rise just enough that it is no longer absolute darkness. "We should head out," I say. Everyone nods and rushes to get their bags and belongings. I couldn't make out the end of the track yesterday because of the darkness but now I can. There's a tunnel at the end, a collapsed tunnel. We walk towards it, pass Hansson, and like what I saw, it's collapsed with rubble burying it. "The fu-, the fuck is this shit?!" Reyes yells. "Wheres the fucking track!?" Reyes stomps around and heads toward the rubble to see if there's anyway past it. "We're going to have to find another way," I say. "Another way? What, 'other way'? Open your eyes wolfman, look out there!" Reyes waves his arms at the hill to the right and the wilderness and mountains that follow. "That's fucking nowhere land!" He yells again. "This track was our ONLY shot!" He stomps around some more and drops to the ground. "Settle down Reyes, there's got to be something out there," Hillard says. He walks toward Reyes and puts his hand around his shoulder. "Our best bet is to find a river, that should lead us to some kind of civilization," I say. Inuits wondering off to look down the hill. I hear him mumble something and then he yells. "Guys, holy shit get over here!" I rush over and then Reyes trudges along with Hillard. I look down the hill and there's my magic road. It's a highway, with snow on it, but it's a road. "Holy fuck," Hillard says. We all look at it like our troubles are over. None of us even bother to say anything more and we rush down the hill. We get to the road, there's snow covering some parts of it. We look off in the distance and we see some buildings, house, a town. I fall back, and hit the asphalt with a thud. They all look down at me, we're all so beat and tired that for the first time I feel that we're about to go home. Reyes, Hillard, and Inuit all look at me and then fall down as well. For the first time here I find myself smiling, and they smile too, and Inuit starts to laugh. "The hell are we waiting for!?" Hillard says, we all get up and start half running toward the town.

We all get there, but instead of people we see some burnt down buildings, and snowed in buildings. Windows cracked, with some dead vines growing around the buildings. "The... The fuck is this!?" Reyes yells. Nobody is smiling anymore. "Wheres all the people!" Reyes yells again, he runs into town and we follow. "Hello!?" Inuit and Hillard start yelling. This town is abandoned, and it has been for a long time. "It's abandoned," I say. Reyes stops and drops, not because of joy like before but now in disrepair. "God damnit!" Hillard yells, he kicks some snow. "Fuck," Inuit mutters and he walks around the town a bit. "Is this damn road abandoned too?" Hillard asks. "I don't know," I say. I look back at the highway and the state of the town the snow on the highway. Nobody has ridden on this road for years. "What do we do now?" Inuit asks. "Follow the road, and if it stops we go out and try and find a river," I say. Reyes is still sitting down in the snow, he isn't yelling anymore. It feels like we just got punched in the gut, my stomach is twisting and turning and the thought of losing Otto and Hansson, only to find out the rail ends and this stupid highway leads to some abandoned town makes my stomach turn. "A river?" Inuit asks. "Rivers lead to the coast, and where there's the coast there's people," I say. The idea of following some magic river to civilization sounds a lot less ideal than following some tracks or a highway. "I bet that Camp Office was abandoned too, and that's why there was no electricity," Inuit mumbles. Hillard goes over to Reyes. "Come on man," He gives Reyes a hand and brings him up. I look at him and despite his whole swearing, with him and his tough guy attitude this whole trip and now that I look at him I see he just wants to go home. "Let's go follow the road," I say. "Everyone nods silently and doesn't say a word. Reyes is muttering something and Hillard is helping him out. Inuits walking next to me and we get back on the road and head off down it.

Authors Note: Yep, here's Chapter Five. Hope you guys like it. Not much to say in this Authors Note other than the next Chapter is gonna' come at whenever. Anywho, like I said hope all of you liked it, I dare say 'enjoy' because it is kind of a sad book :cry: but I think you are all going to like where it's headed. So thanks for the support as well, your guys support means a lot, so just wanted to say thanks to all the people who liked it as much as I enjoyed writing it. So yeah, thank you all for your support, means alot! ;)

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Nice to see you'll go on with this story! :) I like it a lot so far, and although I may seem a bit evil saying it, I do like the fact that you've already killed off a couple of characters. It just seems realistic that in such a situation only a few would survive, so kudos for realism (Y) I have to say that the scene with the wolves at the campfire vaguely reminded me of White Fang - which is very good, of course ;) It would be even cooler if the wolves actually stalk our heros, it would add a lot of tension to the story, but obviously it's all up to you!

Keep up the good work!

P.S. Hope you'll continue with your insights on Mckenzie's past in the next chapter...

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[align=center]Authors Note at Bottom of Page[/align]

Out in the world I met my wife, Anna. She was everything to me, she was happy, she was a human being. I guess she saw something in me that was worth marrying though I don't exactly know what. She saw something in me enough that she decided to have a son and daughter with me. I never told her what my father did to my mother and me and what I did about it, or what he did to our neighbor. I tried to hide it from her and our children, to give them a better life but soon it all just built up inside of me and then bled out. I asked myself everyday what I could do to give my son and daughter which wasn't counted as spoiled. The best I could give them was to tell them I loved them and that I would always love them no matter what. Though that was hardly something to give them, they looked at me like confused kids which they were, and they didn't understand what I meant, not more than a morsel of it anyway. Though I pray everyday that one day they'll remember that I always loved them and they eventually understand what I meant all those years ago, but the thing that scares me the most though is that they don't remember. I told Anna the same thing I told our kids, that I loved her and that I'd always love her but since I never told her about my father or mother, or my childhood she didn't understand either. None of them understood why I slowly became the ghost that trudged around the house and eventually I was no good to them. I became a ghost they couldn't remember. I remember looking into her eyes and seeing the brightness in it, my son and daughters innocent faces, and eventually I went away. They didn't need me, and I was just a giant storm cloud that trudged through the house and sucked the life out of the childhood our kids. I didn't want them to have the childhood I did, and I didn't want to ruin theirs by influencing them with mine.

The road ends rather soon after we left from the town. A huge avalanche with rocks covering the road which looked like it went through some kind of mountainside pass. Nobody says anything when we get there, we're all tired and discouraged. "There's still the other side of the road," Inuit says eventually. "Yeah," I say. We turn around and head back. We pass the abandoned town and the cliff we came down. We walk only two or three miles and the road stops again, with more rocks and snow covering it. This only proves that this road hasn't been used for years. It looks like they just want to collapse and die right here, and not fear getting killed by wolves. The real chance we had of getting out of here just got crumbled. "Fuck," Reyes says once. "Yeah," Inuit follows after. Nobody says anything for a few minutes, we all just stand there looking at the avalanche and expect it to just magically move itself and have there be a city on the other side. Maybe there is a city on the other side, or a search and rescue outpost but even if there was there is no way we could get over this cliff alive. We'd die just getting up it. Our only chance now is a river. "We should head back to the ravine, try and get down and follow the river there," I say. The river in the ravine was barley a river at all, it was more like a creek but it's our best bet. "Yeah," Hillard says. "Are you sure that the river leads to someplace," Inuit asks. Reyes is just pacing back and forth by the rubble. "No, but it's our best bet. It's not like we have much alternatives," I say, which is all true. I can't guarantee them that this river is going to lead to some magic city, and we don't really have any options in the matter. It's our only chance. "Okay, let's go then," Hillard says. "Fine, fine," Reyes mumbles and he follows us after his pacing. We go back to the cliff and we trudge our way back up it after a few minutes. We pass the corpse of Hansson, frozen solid now, and we go back to where the track passes over the ravine.

"Do you think we can get down there?" Inuit asks. I shrug, the best there is no real 'good' or 'safe' route to get down there. It isn't a straight drop off from what I could tell but it is a good slope down. "Just be slow and careful and you should be fine," I say. They nod slowly. I'm the first one to go down. I trudge my way down the slope, holding onto some trees and rocks along the way. The snow is rather icy, and I slip and slide a little but the trees give me good leverage. I can see Otto from here, he's frozen too. I eventually get down to the and it looks just as small as it did from the top but it's a source of water nonetheless. Inuit goes next and he comes down ago. Hillard and Reyes both go down at the same time, and they get down okay as well but Reyes Hillard and Reyes take a little while longer. We don't have a whole lot of time to spare, it's already getting dark out and we've only been out for a few hours. "Everyone okay?" I ask. They all nod their heads and huff and puff from the cold. "Yeah, yeah, I'm good," Inuit says. "We're fine," Hillard says, he laughs a little. "We're going to have one hell of a bar story to tell once we get back!" He yells, we all laugh. "Better get fucking medals after this," Reyes says. "I say we give the Company a fucking class action lawsuit right up their ass once we get back," Inuit says, laughing a bit. "I'll second that," I say, even though I'm not part of their logging company. "Ten million dollar mansions for me once we get out of this mess," Reyes says. We start walking down the creel, it's the first time we've been talking while walking since we left the Camp Office. I thought about it, if I do manage to get out of this and receive money, I could probably help my wife and kids, give them all the money they'd need. "My daughters going to be asking for all the toys I bet," Hillard says, laughing. "Yeah, my ex-wife'll probably pull the same shit on me I bet," Inuit says after. "I feel you brother," Hillard says. "At least I still got my daughter, she'll like to jump up from behind me once I get home from these logging trips and tickle the hell out of me. Missing the hell our of her right now," Hillard says, smiling a bit but in a sad way. "It's good you think that," I say. I miss my son and daughter as well, but at least when Hillard gets back he'll have somebody to go to. "I just want to get laid one last time," Reyes says. Everyone laughs. "You ruined my fucking story," Hillard says with half a smile. "Just saying ma-," Reyes says before getting cut off again. "I'm telling a pleasent little story about my eight year old," Hillard says. "Don't mean to screw you man, just saying. Last piece of ass I had was some fifty something year old Eskimo broad up north," Reyes says. Everyone laughs again. "That aint' right," Hillard says. "Whatever man," Reyes says, he shrugs and we all continue to follow the river.

It's dark out now, the suns barely out and you can't see more than thirty feet in front of you at best. We continue to follow the river and then I slip. My heart jumps a beat, I hear Inuit yell and then Hillard and Reyes yell, "Mackenzie! Inuit!" I can't really see what's happening but I know I'm falling in the air and scraping myself against twigs and roots but before I even know what's going on I hit the ground. I can't tell if we hit the creek, or rock, or snow, my heads just spinning. I realize that we didn't drop far enough to die, seeing how we're still here, or even to break something because I don't think I broke anything. I can hear Inuit groaning and rolling next to me. "Fuck... Fucking... Motherfucker, fuck," He groans. "You break anything, you OK?" I ask, I roll myself over to look at him. I can't see him very well because of the dark, the ground is starting to damp up my clothes and make my head wet but I see him withering around and moving his body. He swears a bit more, "Yeah, fuck, I'm OK," He says and groans a bit more. I think that I'm alright as well, but my heads pounding and I new things start hurting. Maybe I did break something, I don't know. I hear Reyes and Hillard yelling down to me and Inuit. I can't really tell what they are saying, but I shout out "I think we're alright!" anyway. I look up and see that we fell off a small cliff, one that you can't just climb back up or down. It's dark out but I think I can make out Hillard and Reyes but they could just be twigs sticking out of the cliff. "Just keep following the bluff, try to keep in sight if you can!" I yell. "OK," I hear Hillard yell. "Try to find a spot where the bluff drops!" I yell back up. "OK," Hillard says again. I can no longer see them or hear them but I'm guessing they're gone already. "Fucking fuck," Inuit says, and he gets up as do I. "Yeah, I know," I say. The sick feeling I got when we found the town abandoned comes back when I realize that this could be the last we ever see of Hillard or Reyes. At least the small river drops down here in some kind of frozen waterfall which leads further some kind of valley with rock faces covering the sides of it. I find myself praying that they're alright and that they'll make it, the same way I do with my kids and how I hope they remember me and how I love them. But they're gone now, and all I can hope for is that we'll find them further up ahead.

I check my pocket to see if my knife is still there, which it is, and better yet it isn't sticking out of me. "Find a stick," I say. "Why?" Inuit grumbles. "Sharpen it, in-case those wolves come back," I say. Now it looks as though Inuit has that same sick feeling in his stomach, he must have forgotten all about the wolves in the time it took us to get down the ravine and to where we're at now. "Fuck, yeah," He says. We grab a few sticks off the ground and start to sharpen them into little spears. We put them into bundles and put them on our back. "Remember, if they come at you stand your ground, if there's only a two of them we should try and take them on. Turn the numbers," I say. Inuit nods, he looks scared as am I but I try not to think about the wolves. I try and think about finding Hillard and Reyes at the end of the bluff, getting out of here and give any money I get from this whole fiasco to my wife and kids. But the thought of the wolves is still there, and I still think about the jaws on that Alpha. I look ahead and I realize that the bluff's terrain starts to deviate from us and Hillard and Reyes. We're in some kind of gully, the slope keeps going down and up. There's nothing else to do now besides keep following the gully and hope we stick to the bluff. "Are we going to get out of this?" Inuit asks while we're walking. I don't answer, and I know he doesn't want and answer and neither do I. "Think Hillard and Reyes are alright?" He asks. "I don't know, I hope they are," I say. I listen, listening to any footsteps or voices. I know Hillard and Reyes are to far away to hear now but theirs still the wolves. And when you speak of the devil thou shall receive, I see a wolf up ahead of us, and then another one on the side of it. We both stop. "What do we do?" Inuit asks, like I know all the answers. "Keep going," I say. "Maybe we can gang up on them," Inuit says. I shrug. I'm not even thinking right anymore. "Me and you can get these two, make them flee or take them out," I say. The two wolves start walking toward us and staring us down. "We can do it," I say. I take my knife out of my pocket and then my stick, as does Inuit. We're both shaking in doing so.

"We charge them. If they try to run around us we'll charge them from there. Just fight them," I say. It sounds like a desperate kind of action, but we're both tired and we just want to get this over with. Inuit doesn't say anything, he just stands there and breaths in and out. "Ready?" I ask. He nods. I raise my stick up and start yelling and running at them, as does Inuit. There's some kind of satisfaction in it, the two wolves actually look somewhat surprised. They jump up and run behind us, and we turn around and charge them from that direction. They don't run at us, they just stand there and look at us. I get ready and charge my wolf again and Inuit does the same with his. My wolf get tired of this little game we're playing with it and runs at me. I'm scared but I continue to charge. My wolf tries to jump up on me but I raise my stick up and it penetrates it's belly and goes in deep from what I could feel. I hold the stick into him but his weight crushes me and I fall down. He's moving around, and panting, laying there with that stick in it. I should be feeling great but I don't. It just doesn't feel right. "Fuck you!" I yell at it and I feel a little bit better, I think about how it was trying to kill me. I look back and Inuit is still dancing with his wolf, his wolf is circling him looking like he's about to jump and Inuits watching it and holding his stick up like I did. I look at Inuit and we both decide to charge down the wolf. The wolf jumps up at Inuit and gets him in the neck but Inuit somehow manages to get free before he actually penetrates any flesh. Inuits falls down but gets back up and I start to charge at the wolf but I slip in some snow and fall face first down into a rocky patch. I get back up and see the wolf has got Inuit on the collar of his jacket, trying to bite him. The wolf is to occupied with trying to kill Inuit that he doesn't even bother with me, I charge at it with another one of my sticks and it goes right through it's body. Inuit manages to shove the wolf off now and it stops moving. Inuit yells like a madman and picks the wolf up, and chucks it as far as he can. We're all breathing heavily. I'm to tired to cheer, I just go to Inuits wolf and pull the stick out of him and take it. "You OK?" I ask. He nods silently. "Yeah, yeah," He says. We continue down the gully and it looks like the bluff starts to drop off, and eventually we're in forest again.

Authors Note: Welp, hope you guys liked it. Next chapter might actually be the finale (Get your tissues) :cry: so yeah! I hope you all enjoyed it and thanks for your support. So yes, next chapter is probably going to be the final chapter of the story so all I can say about it is get your tissue box! Anyway, thanks for all your guys support, you've all been great so I hope you enjoy it and prepare yourselves for the finale? What do you guys think is going to happen? Post it in the comments! Anyway, later guys, the finale is probably going to come out this week so yeah. But if you want to, post what you think is going to happen in the comment section! Anyway, hope you all enjoyed it and your support means a lot. Later! ;)

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[align=center]Authors Note at Bottom of Page[/align]

The last time I saw my father it was freezing cold and the wind was pounding like this. I was around 23 when my father disappeared out in the tundra while flying some annual delivery trip to some oil refinery or some other remote place up in the Yukon. There was a real brief search and rescue and a handful of samaritans decided to go out but they ended the search in only a weeks time, seeing how it was going to be dark all month soon. I decided that I would go look for him, even though I knew he was already dead probably but nevertheless I did just the same. I spent a day or two hiking around the tundra and eventually I found him, perched up against a tree and eating some bark. He just looked up at me. "Took you long enough," He mumbled. I just stared down at him and took my rifle out and shot him a little to the right of the base of his neck, through his collar. He slumpt over quickly, but he didn't die. He looked up at me, confused, but not really all that confused, and although I could tell he wasn't very happy with me for shooting him, I knew for the first time I made sense to him. He knew why I shot him, though I did not know what for. He was going to die out there even if I never showed up anyway, maybe I just wanted closure. Remembering it now he reminded me of the wolf I impaled with the stick with Inuit, it laying on the ground, not happy but not trying to resist much either. He never went away though, his mind went into mine. The physical part went away but the ghost part never did. Now here I am, dying out here in the middle of nowhere being hunted by a pack of wolves, looking for some magic bullshit river that is going to lead to civilization. He was evil and quite frankly worthless, but even though I loved my father. The kid me did at least, the me before he did what he did to me and my mother. Even after that I still loved him, and I cried when I saw his eyes start turning and when he eventually died. I made a makeshift stick cross to put in front of him and I left him there. I never said anything about him to anybody, no sheriffs ever asked, nobody ever asked because I never talked to anyone and nobody ever remembered him because nobody ever talked to him. I hated my father for what he did to me and my mother, but I loved him too and now he haunts me because of what I did. His last final hurrah for getting back at me I suppose.

Me and Inuit continue down the river, watching the trees for wolves. Anything for wolves. I listen but I can't hear much other than our boots crunching in the snow and the wind. I keep thinking that there is a wolf to my side just starring at me but each time I check there is none. Inuit does the same. We're both scared. Eventually we do hear something though, footsteps. I think that it could be either the wolves, or Hillard and Reyes. "You hear that?" Inuit asks. I nod. "Yeah," I say. We're both afraid to move, fearing that if we do something is going to jump out at us. I see some dark figures moving up ahead of us, and they don't look like wolves but I don't know. They stop and look at us. "That you?" I hear Hillard yell at us past the blackness. It's them. "Yeah," I yell back. We walk towards each other to where we can actually make each other out and both Hillard and Reyes are frozen, beaten, and terrified like us. But I'm relived to see them. "Did you come across any of them??" Hillard asks us. I was going to say yes but Inuit speaks up first. "Two," He says. "We whopped them though," Reyes looks at us surprised, Hillard as well. Not congratulating each other or cheering like when we killed the two wolves, just surprised. "You see any?" I ask them. "Six of the fuckers, big one in front and they all just lined up in front of us," Reyes says. "We didn't really have the balls to go and charge them, so we just stood there. They just left after a while of it," Hillard speaks up after. I can't blame them for not charging, two against six wolves and the Alpha, I don't think I would have done any different. We're all quiet, all of us are exhausted, beat up, freezing, dying, and above all hundreds of miles away from home. We just stare into the tree line and I think about what to do next. Reyes is looking down at the ground, looking like he's either about to fall to sleep or die right here and now. I feel like doing the same thing.

Then something out of the trees just comes out and jumps onto Reyes face. He stumbles to the ground screaming and we just look at him on the ground squirming for a few seconds before I see Hillard take out his knife and charge the wolf on top of Reyes but then another one comes out and smacks Hillard to the ground. I take out my stick and it looks like Hillards about to go down but his wolf just jumps off and runs back into the forest. Just like that. Reyes wolf gets up as well and runs back into the woods. We scramble toward Hillard and he's bleeding from somewhere, I can't tell if it's going to kill him or not. We turn toward Reyes and he must have got back up and then sat back down, then he just falls over and hits the snow. He's bleeding like hell, worse than Hillard. Bit in his neck, blood covering the snow. He just shakes his head like he doesn't want to believe what's happening. "Jes-... Jesus... FUCK!" He barely manages to yell. He's quiet now and he just sobs. Quiet and tired sobs. He know's he's about to die and he doesn't want to. Then I see the Alpha charge out of the woods faster than I've seen any of the others and it just slams into Reyes like a hammer to a nail. It wraps it's teeth around his neck and I see more blood spurt out and it then runs into the woods with Reyes. "Reyes!" Yells Hillard and we all run in after him. We only make a dozen or so feet into the woods and we don't hear anymore wolves, and more Reyes. We know he's gone now. I feel my eye lids getting real heavy now, and I weave and wobble back to the river. I feel a pain in my wrist and I look at it and see some frozen blood on it. The wolf must have got a bite on me when we were fighting them with me and Inuit and I just never noticed. I try to think but it hurts to think.

"Fuck," I hear Hillard mutter as we get back to the river. The river starts to open up a small bit and I hear water running. "Do you think wolves would cross over a river?" Inuit asks. I haven't even thought of that, my mind has just been pounding this whole time I haven't even stopped to think about that. Those wolves make want us dead, but they wouldn't cross over freezing cold water. Unlike us who would. "That's a good idea," I say. "They won't follow us if we're on the other side," We walk further down a little bit looking for a good spot to cross but then we hear trotting in the woods. I turn around and sure enough the whole pack is there. "Fuck," I say. All of us back pedal to the edge of the river. We got a chance if we fall in the water and ice, but we got zero if we're attacked by all of them. They know that too. "Fuck it," Hillard says, waving his arms in the air. He steps of the snow and into the water and starts to cross. Inuit does the same and I follow. They all start to howl and come towards us. Hillard and Inuit see this and we all pick up the pace more, even the the water is freezing us. They don't want us to leave. They want us dead. I didn't even get more than a foot or two in before they started charging us. It feels like my legs are just getting cut and thrashed by sharp rocks and knives but I continue on. We're holding onto the rocks for strength but I see Hillard loose his balance and fall in. Inuit sees this and runs in after him but he falls in to with his stick falling out and washing away, I do the same thing and I end up falling as well and my stick ends up falling out and washing away like Inuits. Now it feels as though my whole body is just getting cut up, but I try to get to my feet and help Inuit up in front of me. We make it to Hillard who is struggling to get up and we help him up as well. We turn around and see that the wolves aren't bothering to cross anymore. We want to cheer but we don't bother. They all howl like mad when we make it across. "Go into the woods," I say and we do just that.

We walk far enough in to where I don't think I can use my legs anymore and where we can't see the wolves anymore. We're all half crying because of the pain, it's worse than any wind or wolf bite that's for sure. We jump up and down trying to warm up but instead we're all just engulfed with pain and the air feels strangely warm. It's going to be a damn shame if the water ends up killing the rest of us. Hillard then sits down, then lays down, and then just curls up in a ball. Inuits still jumping around. "You've got to get up man," I tell him. "Ye-... Yeah," He stammers out and I help him up. I realize that we need a fire right now and if we don't we're going to die. "We need a fire," I say. I hustle toward some twigs and it just hurts to move but I move anyway. I grab any pieces I can and Inuit and Hillard do the same. My hands shake as I fumble for a light from my jacket pocket and thankfully it's dry enough that it sparks and lights. The first few twigs won't like and eventually the lighter hisses out. I try it again and it just hisses out again. My heart tightens on me and I my clothes are starting to freeze to my skin. "Anyone have another lighter?" I ask. Inuit fumbles for his pocket and lord and behold he pulls out a handful of them. I don't even bother to ask where he got all of them and I try each one, each of them spurting out. Eventually, one manages to catch a flame and light one of the twigs on fire. I hold up the bundle and it starts a small fire. It's burning my fingers but I don't care, it could burn my whole fucking hand off, I'm not losing this fire. I set it onto some sticks and those eventually light and now we have a small fire. It's small, but a fire nonetheless. I just pray that the wind doesn't blow it out. "We should add some more," I say and they all get up and get some more branches.

We eventually get it to a huge size but not matter how big we get it we're still cold. At least we don't feel as bad as we did but we're all still feeling pretty shitty. "Do you still have that bag of beef jerky?" I ask because I realize our stomachs are pretty much empty. Hillard reaches into his bag and pulls out a half eaten bag of frozen jerky. Hillard takes the first bite and by his expression I can tell it's frozen solid, but he passes it along anyway. I look at the river through the trees and the wolves are gone from what I can tell. Maybe we're all looking back on this, and all we're doing is telling a story of what happened and this is just in our minds. Telling a story about how everyone else died but well somehow managed to pull through. Hell, we've lived through everything so far so that means we'll leave through this. I'm sure that's what Otto, Hansson, and Reyes thought as well though. But even so we're all happy with the fact that we're on one side of the river and the wolves are on the other, so even if we do end up dying out here at least we get to say we beat the wolves. And maybe, just maybe, this river will lead to the Pacific. I eventually tell myself that we're dry enough to move which aren't, seeing how our clothes are still somewhat frozen to us but I don't care. As hard as it is to leave the warmness of the fire, I decide we should leave. "We should head out," I say. Hillard and Inuit nod and we get our bags and head back to the river. The wolves are gone now, we're all excited with the fact that we might actually make it out alive now that we don't have to worry about the wolves anymore. We have no more water and we're all so thirsty we just drink the water out of the river, even though it's freezing cold we just don't care. Even though it feels like we're leaving a loved one once we leave the fire.

We keep going down the river, sometimes it's flat, sometimes it's rocky, but we keep going down it. Even some sunlight is starting to come up after the longest night any of us has ever had. You got to look on the hopeful things. The river starts to slope around and there it is, a stupid little frozen pond of water. Not even a lake. I no longer see a big river I thought I saw, I realize it was just a stream that could have been any stream in thousands of streams. It just ends, just like that. We walk around it with the faint hope that there might be something on the other side but we can already see there's nothing there. The stream we thought was a river which would lead us to civilization and was our border between us and the wolves just ends. Just like that. I just sit in the snow and look at it. The sky is overcast and pale, and our chance of getting home just got annihilated. My wrists are black with frozen blood, and nobody even says anything. We're to tired to say anything. We could keep going if we really wanted to but this stupid stream discouraged us. I feel as though we should just go and give up here, let the wolves come and have us. There wouldn't be much shame in quitting here either, it's a nice spot. This stupid fucking pond keeps staring at us as if it has eyes and I just want it to go away. "What do we do now?" Hillard asks after a while. I'm silent. I don't know, I feel like just saying 'lay down and die'. "Keep moving," I eventually say. But none of us moves, we just sit there. We're all ready to die, more than yesterday when the road stopped. I roll up the sleeve of my jacket to look at my wound and it's crusted with black blood. I dip it in the water to wash it off. Hillard gets the same idea and lifts up his shirt to reveal and good scratch on his abdomen with some dry blood on it. He splashes some of the water onto it. He looks at my wound. "It'll be OK," He tells me, which is kind enough of him to say but it won't help me get out of here. I take out a small piece of cloth from my bag and wrap it around my wrist, Hillard does the same with his wound. I think to myself why the fuck am I even doing this? In a matter of minutes I bet the wolves are going to come back and finish us off, it's not like it even matters.

After that we head back into the wilderness. There is no plan, the only plan we had was obliterated and we're just walking to our deaths now. If there is any plan it's to hope we're going west and that we'll hit the ocean. At least it's daylight, but even that will probably go soon. It's more like half-day than anything else. We hike on, weaving, stumbling, bloodied, battered, starving, and quite literally battled scarred. "I should have stayed at fucking home," Hillard says. "Go and worked at a some convenience store all my life, at least then I'd be with my little girl right now instead of this damn mess," I can't really tell if he's talking to me and Inuit or just talking to himself but I shrug anyway. "It's good she knows you," I end up saying. I find myself thinking about my son and daughter and where they might be right now. He just keeps walking. "She won't remember me though," He says. I realize that this whole situation is the saddest thing that could happen to him. All she's going to remember him for is that he was some lumber man working four weeks non-stop and taking a week or two break every now and then. He'll die out here and her life would go on without him. "She might," I end up saying. He shrugs and we all just keep going. "My boy better well remember me," Inuit says. "He damn well better or I'm going to go haunt him," He says it as a joke but nobody laughs. I just nod and we keep crunching through the snow. "I just want to go home," Hillard says after a while. Inuit wants to too, I want to. There is no more tough guy persona, we all just want to go home. It's strangely cold just like the time I shot my father. I thought to much about what my son and daughter were going to end up being like if I continued to be around them. I frightened the both of them, I never wanted to, but I didn't want to taint them with any part of me.

We keep going into the trees, up a few slopes and down some. I'm dizzy and I'm not sure what from. The blood I lost, the freezing cold water I drank, starvation, no sleep, cold, take your pick. But I see a cliff edge up ahead of us. And I hear water. Not the small little water we heard from the stream, almost thundering water. Booming water. We walk faster and stumble around toward the ledge and there's my real magic river. It's probably five or six times as big as the stream. It's far below us but it still is loud and huge. It's half frozen, half running, but it's loud enough. Even if it was pitch black we couldn't get lost because of how loud it is. "This one might lead somewhere," I find myself saying. It's a real river. One that leads to the ocean. It must. It goes somewhere, someplace away from the wolves, and I don't think it's going to lead to some dead end fucking pond like the last one did. Inuit just starts laughing. "Think we can get down?" He asks. We all look down the cliff, and it looks like we stand on some kind of overhang. I look to the sides and I see ice frozen on the rocks. I just stare down, weaving a bit and wishing to myself that I had more blood in me so that I could appreciate it more. It's beautiful. Eventually I look downstream and it looks like it goes on forever but I see it drop at some point. Drop hard too. Maybe the ocean, or hell even a city or something. I just fall back in the snow and look at Hillard and Inuit and for the first time since the hopeless road I find myself smiling. They to turn me and they smile too and we all start laughing.

Then I hear a crack. I can't tell from where but I see Hillard fall down and slide back. Inuit just disappears and Hillard drops off away from me. I get up and jump to see if I can catch one of them but I end up just falling face first into the ice. I'm roaring down at them and I hear their screaming then I hear the two of them hit the ice below, two little gunshots just like Otto. I crawl forward and look down at them and they look like how Otto looked. They aren't smashed into pieces, they just landed on some of the snow near the rivers bank. I see a pool of red leek out from under them. I keep looking down, expecting them, wishing them to get up and that they're alive so I'm not alone out here but they aren't. It was a two hundred foot fall. I find myself lying by the edge looking down and I eventually start to crawl backwards slowly, for fear that this part might give way. I pull myself up to a part which seems solid enough. I sit there, alone, and all I see is the empty space off the cliff. I find myself crying, and I know I'm not crying because I wanted them to go home to their families but because I want to go home to mine, and now I'm all by myself now and none of us has made it. I want to make it out, go find my son and daughter, even though knowing whatever the hell I am would ruin them, turn them into the murderous mess that was me and my father, but I don't care anymore. I want to go find them, protect them with my life, and guard Anna's life with mine, and not leave it to anyone else. I feel as though I'm sinking and falling like Hillard and Inuit but I'm not. Finally I get up and know that I have to move. "Bless you," I find myself saying. I'm not a religious person, but I find myself saying that nonetheless. I know that it's pointless to move, I can either wait here and freeze to death, or go walk and get caught by the wolves. Each step is a struggle and I feel weighed down. Though I look at the river again, and where it drops off. I can get hope I think to myself. I have to stay ahead of the wolves, and walk on the cliff edge along the river, and then I'll come home.

I head down the slope and I'm not walking all that great, not like I was walking good before anyway. I trudge, slip, weave. The light begins to fade, and I see that the bluff starts to lower. Not as many trees either, it's mainly open snow. The river just gets louder as well. I can do this I think to myself. But I look behind me and there I see the Alpha and the entire pack of them, all looking at me. Now that I see them I realize the idea that I could get home, or even get down to the river without coming across them again was a dream. I just breathe and stare at them, my knife is in my pocket but I don't get it out. I'm to tired to get it out, that or I just don't want to. The Alpha growls and eventually I fumble for my knife and look at them. I breathe in deep breaths and the Alpha charges toward my like some kind of bullet, and all the others follow. I raise my knife at him and try to get a cut on him but it was not a good swing and it wasn't very hard. My arm is just stiff, and weak now. I go down quickly and the knife flies out of my hands. I feel biting and scratching all over. They're all over me. I can't even tell where I'm getting bit. I'm punching and flailing my arms in the direction I'm getting bit but everything seems slowed down, like time is slowing down. The times I thought I was going to die in my life, the one with my neighbor, the one where those two wolves attacked me while in front of the office, the plane crash, all of them seems comical compared to this one. I try and reach for my knife and I manage to get it. I see the big wolf come forward and lunge onto me, I didn't even know he was off. With the the remaining strength I have I use it to slam the knife into the Alphas side, it slackens and tries to move off, surprised. I hold the knife in him and the rest of the wolves get off of me as well. I'm bleeding all over, and I don't know where from. Everything's a blur and I'm fading and eventually I let go off the knife. I think of my son and daughter, and my wife, and thing that at some time I used to be a man who was able to walk around instead of this bleeding blur floating away. This is where I'll die, this is where the world will be clean of me for good. I fumble up a bit but the Alpha rams into me and I fall again into the snow hard and I don't try to move. I see that the last light in the sky is starting to out now. The Alpha's dead I think, but I could just be imagining that. I imagine that instead of me laying in the snow about to die, I'm standing triumphant over the Alpha and all the other wolves are dead as well. Hillard is alive, Inuit is alive, we're all alive and that we follow our magic river and it leads to a town and we all find our families again. I don't feel anything anymore, just a floaty feeling.

Then, I'm standing in front of our old house in Vancouver, looking at the picture of my wife and son and daughter. The one that survived the crash and is probably frozen in my pocket. I put the picture away in my pants pocket. It's night out and the moonlight gives out enough light, there's a 7-11 across from us and I think I can see Hillard manning the counter and Inuit and Reyes buying something from it, they all look at me and give a wave through the street lamps. Hansson and Otto are smoking out in the front of the store and they give me a wave as well. It's snowy out but I don't feel cold. I'm dreaming, fading away. I close my eyes and open the door. I open my eyes and walk in and it's bright. Above me on a platform are my son, my daughter, my wife. They reach their hands out to me to help me up. In the dream I take their hands.

Authors Note: So this is the end to Into the Fray. I hope all of you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. I was inspired by movies like The Grey and pretty much any Jack London book out there. I hope you all felt for the characters in it and all in all I just hope everyone enjoyed it! Please leave a comment if you want to say anything about it and I'll be more than happy to answer. Also I'd like to say thanks to everyone at Hinterland who gave me the idea to make this story for you guys. At any rate, leave a comment if you like to say anything and your support means a lot! I'd also like to say thanks to the people who took the time to read it. Anyway, I hope all of you enjoyed it and please feel free to ask a question, leave a comment, or better yet a REVIEW in the comments as if this were Barnes & Noble :lol: . Anyway, I know I said this before but really, thanks for taking the time out of your day to read this, it means a lot :P . So yeah, leave a comment, review, question, go ahead. So thanks for reading and I'll catch all of you later!

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