to a halt under the snow, and he finds a halfdead man bleeding out while a dead woman watches. Now his nightmares impinge on his waking life, and the only one who knows what’s going on is his unexpected patient.
Amazon Link Dreamspinner Link Sequel to Dog Days
For Gregor it’s simple. The treacherous prophets mutilated him and stole his brother Jack, and he’s going to kill them for it. Without his wolf, it might be difficult, but he’ll be damned if anyone else gets to kill Jack—even if he has to enlist the help of his distractingly attractive, but very human, doctor.
Except maybe the prophets When the Winter arrives, the want something worse than Wolves will come down over death, and maybe Nick is less the walls and eat little boys in human than Gregor believes. their beds. As the dead gather and the old stories come true, the two men Doctor Nicholas Blake might will need each other if they’re still be afraid of the dark, but going to rescue Jack and stop the monsters his grandmother the prophets’ plan to loose tormented him with as a child something more terrible than aren’t real. the wolf winter. Or so he thought…until the A Wolf Winter Novel sea freezes, the country grinds
will. This wolf had no pack. Her pups had died. Her mate had left. She was alone until a man came. The wolf knew men, she knew to avoid them, she knew they killed WHEN DR Nicholas Blake and didn’t eat. Usually she was a little boy he lived with would have run, but she his Granny in a little grey could smell sour milk and house in a long grey street fresh shit. The things that in Glasgow. His granny squirmed in the man’s arms wasn’t like other grannies. were not pups, they were She wore makeup like naked and soft, but they them. She Other grannies were infants. told stories about wolves about little pigs and little Maybe the wolf had run girlsbut not like Granny’s. mad. Wolves aren’t meant to be alone. Wolves aren’t built Once upon a time, she’d say to mourn. It made an odd after she tucked Nicholas in sense to her, though. In her and covered up the mirrors, den were the bones of two there was a wolf. She lived malformed pups, dead in the mountains and she before they could suckle. hunted on the plains. Her Now two squalling infants thoughts were wolf thoughts had been left here, naked and her stomach was full of and pink as worms in the wolfhunger. Her ears were sun. sharp and her teeth were white, but not as sharp as So she took them. She fed her grief or as white as the them. But they were weak milk that leaked from her and slow. Their eyes didn’t teats. For wolves can love, focus, their teeth didn’t boy, better than you ever
The Tale of Two Wolves
grow. Her milk would dry up. Other beasts would come. New bones would lie with the old bones, and she’d be alone again.
The cubs were still men, and men where to be avoided. The wolf had forgotten that. When men The wolf waited until the saw the naked, wild moon rose high in the sky. children on the hill they For she was a wolf and she came to take them, they had been born, grew, raised them on mutton and hunted in one of the old, taught them to hunger for high places were the air and more than would fill their the real was thin. She could belly. see the moon. She could see the Moon, the pale, fierce Wolves are hungry. Men are woman and the stareyed greedy. The wolf’s children wolves who pulled her were both. chariot. Now go to sleep, and hope Her mate had eyes like stars you wake. and smelled like the earth after a lightning strike. Maybe that is why the chariot slowed when the wolf sang. Maybe that’s why the Moon looked down and chose to give the wolf what she wanted. Pups instead of boys, fur instead of skin, teeth instead of gums. But there are always two sides to a god, to a gift, to the moon. The light face and
The Run Away Man WHEN DR Nicholas Blake was a little boy he lived with his Granny in a little grey house in a long grey street in Glasgow. His granny wasn’t like other grannies. Other grannies told their grandchildren to be scared of strangers. His granny told him he only had to be scared of one stranger. Once upon a time, she’d say after she tucked Nicholas in and looked under the bed and behind the curtains, in a place not so far away there was a man that everyone loved. The gods gave him strength and speed and sharp, white, teeth to gnaw through the winding sheet of the world into the Wild. His people admired him and called him brave, they gave him titles and respect and women. He deserved none of them. For
he was a fool and he was a man. He told people he had taken the gifts the gods gave him. The gods still loved him, and so they let him go unpunished and waited for him to realise the error of his ways. “Surely, he’ll come back to us,” they’d say. “We loved him, we gave him everything, how can be deny us?” But this wolf, who wasn’t really a wolf for all his sharp, white teeth,, had given himself pride. He thought that everything he’d been given was his by right, and he turned on the gods and his wise men and the women who told him the truth. He rejected the strong, for they might challenge him or remember that he wasn’t what he said, and raised the weak to his side. Then the weak did what the weak always will, they sickened and they died. It was sad and it was bad, but no one really cared.
Now the man, who wasn’t really a man for remember his sharp white teeth, was alone. The gods had found other people to love. His people had seen that he was weak, and grown old. All the man had left were old bones to chew and his pride, so he told himself this was what he wanted. To be alone, to be godless.
the sewers. He’s not invisible, that isn’t how things work, he’s just not quite here.
He’s there. On the other side the world’s winding sheet, in the Wild where the gods live and the monsters wait. He goes where he wants and no matter how hard you run or where you hide, he’ll find you. Even if you cover the mirrors and Except bones don’t fill a wolf’s draw the blinds and close your belly and silence doesn’t fill a eyes, because he doesn’t need man’s heart. Sometimes the to peep through the holes in man, who isn’t really a wolf or the world. a man but the worst of both, gets hungry and lonely so he He can smell you. He can smell comes down from his throne the meat and the blood, the and he comes down from the lights and the liver, the wet Highlands. marrow in the bones he’ll crack. Once he’s found you, Now you might think that then no one else will again. He people would be afraid and take you away and eat you all amazed by this. A wolf who up. Not quickly though, no, was a man, or neither, come because as hungry as he is he’s down from the hills in his also lonely. So he’ll eat you a bloody fight and inked skin. I bit at a time. A toe. An ear. would be amazed and you, Until all that’s left are bones for you’d piss yourself wouldn’t his throne. you, my little budgie boy. But in fact no one gives him a So if you see a dark, bearded second look. They think he’s man with sharp, white teeth the wind or a sour smell from appear out of nowhere you’ll
know who he is. And that heâ€™s come to eat you all up. So if you see him, you run away. Run away to your Granny. Otherwise the Run Away Man will take you away and no one will ever see you again.
Then the first human—call him Ask, call her Eve, whatever—made their first list. They pinned down the world one observed phenomena at a time. Little darts of logic that sewed up WHEN DR Nicholas Blake this world in a winding was a little boy he lived with sheet of the mundane. The his Granny in a little grey gods were stitched out first, house in a long grey street reduced to dependency on a in Glasgow. His granny butterfly’s wing or a wasn’t like other grannies. misturned corner to play Other grannies taught their out their games. Then the grandkids to look both ways great beasts, harried to crossing the street. His death or exile. Granny taught to look for monsters in glass. The monsters lasted longer. Like the bastard fox that Once upon a time, she said raids the bins instead of the as she peeled the shell from nest box, they adapted and the hardboiled egg, the found rills and shallows of world was Wild. Great the wild to lie in. High beasts walked through the places, old places. Anywhere forests and swam through the winding sheet has worn the streams, the gods came thin against stone and time to fuck and fight as mortals until the stitches popped. until it didn’t suit them any more and they could be In reflections, where the gods again. Monsters, truth is never entirely what things that could live where you let yourself see.Every the Wild braced their bones polished, silver disc on a or breathed for them, did as slapper’s necklace, every they pleased. oily puddle, every window
hit just right by the sun was a window into the Wild. Poets lingered until they could smell the dank rot of primordial forest, women peered under the Moon’s blind eye for a lover the Moon wouldn’t steal. Except every window goes two ways. When you look in, something else looks out. Beautiful boys died in riverbanks, in love with a face that finally looked like they wanted it too. Women drowned as they clutched the kelpies seaweed mane and tried to flee their problems into the other world. So if you look in the mirror and see something wink at you, don’t look back. Look away. Walk away. Don’t let it know you’ve seen it. Once they know that you can see them, they’ll pick at you and pull at you until they have the bit. They’ve been gone for a long, long time and they
know what is to come.They want to rub their spoor on this world, to glut themselves on fat men and soft women while they still have the chance. Before it’s too late, for them and for us. So if something taps at your window in the night, from the dark, never pull the curtains back. Like now. Just ignore it and go to sleep.
Say Your Prayers Before You Sleep WHEN DR Nicholas Blake was a little boy he lived with his Granny in a little grey house in a long grey street in Glasgow. His granny wasn’t like other grannies. Other grannies told their grandchildren to say their prayers before they went to bed, his Granny said it didn’t matter. Once upon a time, she’d say after she tucked Nicholas in and turned the radiators down so far the windows would have frost lacing in the morning, the gods would listen to the prayers of men and wolves and, if it amused them, they’d answer them. It would never end wellgods don’t understand the needs of wolves and men and find disaster amusingbut at least they heard when you prayed.
Those days are past. People tried to shortchange the gods, like misers at the corner shop with euros in their pocket, and the gods grew weary of the lip service piety. So, like a cook with a sour broth, they are set to try again. First they will send the winter. The seas will freeze and the ground will grow bones instead of wheat. Blood will freeze in the veins of the living, everything that man has built and made with falter and fail. This is the wind age, when the weak will die. That’s when the wolves will go down over the wall. From John o’Groats to Land’s End they will harry those strong enough to have survived this long. The Run Away Man will lead them for a Wolf Winter is red as blood and has a butcher’s mercy for the sheep. This is the wolf age, when the only god who will listen for prayers is sharpeared, bloodytongued Fenrir. When Fenrir is glutted, fat
bellied and sated, that is when happened. the survivors will turn on each other. Brother will slay brother, mother will send her child to the wolf’s maw to buy herself one more day. This is the axe age, for that is all we’ll have left. Axes and knives. Sticks and stones. After that the world will born to cinders and ashes, down to the bedrock, until there is nothing left standing that was built by men. Like a pot, scoured clean in the sink, so the dish can be cooked up better this time. That’s when the gods will finally come back, to fight over who gets to shape this new place. No need for you to worry about that though. A skinny little thing is barely a mouthful for a wolf. They’d eat you in your bed, from your toes to your ears, before you even have a chance to get cold. Maybe even in your sleep, so you’d not know what
could be bargained with and would trade some small favours or power for mortal things. Heart’s blood perhaps, three drops for the symbolism of it, or a handful of sugar cubes. Some of them fed on WHEN DR Nicholas Blake people’s thoughts and was a little boy he lived with feelings and would lead his Granny in a little grey them astray so they could house in a long grey street gulp down their fear or their in Glasgow. His granny lust before they finally wasn’t like other grannies. revealed what they really Other grannies told their were. Most of them just ate grandchildren fairy stories, people. It was easy back his granny said that the then, people were like soft fairies were all dead. crabs who hadn’t grown their shells yet. Once upon a time, she’d say after she tucked Nicholas Then the wolves came. in, there were all sorts of strange, Wild things that They marched as men at lived in Britain. Black Dogs first, under an eagle and in haunted graveyards and the skin of humanity, and back roads and Horned followed the orders of men Men, although they were who liked straight lines and not and never had been gold coins. Except men men, raced stags in the cannot be trusted, boy, and forest. Fat, wet worms grew neither could the man these to impossible lengths and wolves followed. He found brooded under hills and out what they were and towers. banished them up to the cold highlands, to the Some of these Wild things
A Fairy Tale End
people they’d fought only a day before.
the sea to be picked apart by fish and stones.
Where they’d arrived as men with a country, honour, and a wage of small, silver coins but once that was all stripped away they were left as wolves.
Maybe some will o’ the wisp is still buried in a swamp somewhere, and the selkies still swimit’s said although they soon learned not to come to these stores.
If this was where they’d So don’t worry about fairy been banished to, this is stories, boy, just listen to where they would stay. They what your granny tells you. took this land as their home, they took the local gods as their own, they made a home. But wolves are hungry, boy, and men are greedy. A wolf was chased from a kill by a horned man, his ribs staved in by hooves and his flanks bloodied by horns, and the pack returned that night. In the morning the forest was empty and they were full of venison. A worm crawled through a wolf pack’s territory, the ground sour and poisoned in its wake, and the wolves drove it into
Monsters Behind the Door
stumbled. A button here to hold his jeans up, a pinch of bony fingers on his flank to keep him awake.
“Are you afraid?” she asked him as she dragged him out of his bedroom and to the stairs. “Are you scared of WHEN DR Nicholas Blake the dark, boy, of the things was a little boy he lived with that wait for you in it?” his Granny in a little grey house in a long grey street Nick said, “Yes.” Because he in Glasgow. His granny was, and because Granny wasn’t like other grannies. had told him to be and he Other grannies told their was more scared of her. grandkids that the monster in the closet wasn’t real. “You should be,” she said as Nick’s Granny told him that she dragged him it wasn’t just in the closet. downstairs. Wake up, she told him that night, as she shook him awake with hard, red hands. Her hair was down and tangled and her breath smelled like the dead rats in the traps they laid in the kitchen. Wake up, she hissed as she pressed a saltsharp hand over his mouth, and be quiet. She pulled him out of bed and dressed him when he
There was blood on the table in the kitchen and Ms Davis’ bagthe one that Nick liked because it was covered with embroidered birdson the table. Ms Davis was his teacher this year, straight from teacher training and with big, earnest eyes. She still cared and she asked questions and she always seemed very worried about Nick.
His school book stuck out of the bag, blood stained red on the cheap blue paper, and he could see his shaky W on the corner. They had been told to write down bedtime stories, and he’d wanted to impress her so he’d written down all the stories he knew. All the ones his granny told him at night, about the wolves who’d eat you slowly and why you should never look in mirrors and about the Runaway Man who could be anywhere and everywhere. After she’d read them, Ms Davis had seemed very worried about Nick. She’d asked to come and see his granny.
snapped as she grabbed the book and waved it under Nick’s nose. “You told our secrets and now they’re going to come and take you away. They’ll lock you up, chain you up, and who will protect you then? Not your granny! Now come on, we have to go.” She flung open the back door and dragged him out in the snow. The frost nipped at his bare feet and everything that Granny had ever told Nick to be afraid of leered at him from the dark. Granny had to pick him up, bundled in her arm like a blanket, as she ran down the back alley and along the ginnel.
Nick screamed and squirmed until she lost her grip and he fell with a bone rattling thud against the His gran slapped him, a kerb. Granny grabbed at crack across his backside him again, but by then the and then, in frustration, police came with red and against his cheek. It startled blue lights to banish the a yelp out of him. dark. They took Granny away in the car after she “What did you do, boy?” she “What did you do?” Nick asked.
had been mad and that none of her stories were true, there was only one thing that didn’t sense. It was the middle of summer the night they came to “Remember what I told you!” arrest his Gran….so where had the snow come from? Gran told him, the last thing she told him as she pinched his chin in her fingers. “The wolves are coming boy, and they’ll eat you first. But your Granny will come back for you if you stay safe.” punched a cop and bit another, his ear tattered like Macy Simmons when her earrings got pulled out in the playground.
Even then, Nick didn’t find any comfort in that. Ms Davies, who’d been a Olympic athlete and surprised his Granny as much as his Granny had surprised her with the knife, hugged him with bloody arms and told him he was safe. She’d have the scar on the face for the rest of her life, but thought she’d probably saved that little boy’s life so it was worth it. Later, when Nick understood that his Granny
Visit the Wolf Winter universe in this prequel collection of short stories.