Chapter 1: Jorgen.
“It is the dog that doesn’t bark, that tells the story”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“Hey everyone, Alfred here and uh that time again, time to lissen to one of the oldies…I uh…where’d I put that disc. Hold on buds (various sounds of someone rummaging through a cluttered sound studio). Ah here it issh…coming at you from CCAR 103.9 F.M., I know yer gonna like thish one, Holding out for hero by the ever shmoking Bonnie Tyler”
Jorgen sniffed the air warily. Humans had passed not long ago and so the shaggy dire wolf crouched low behind the trees. He’d seen first-hand what they could do with their rock tipped sticks, he’d lost a mate a season ago to one of them, it had been a long, unkind death. But he could not resist approaching their camp, the scent of rotting meat was too alluring. He knew that to approach brazenly was an invitation to death, as the thicker animals often did, the lions, the hyenas and the arrogant bears. They’d swagger towards the human camp, confident in the strength of tooth and claw, only to become the next days feast, at least after a great deal of violent noise.
Padding softly forward from the tree-line he remained alert, ready to bolt should a human spot him. As he neared the camp, Jorgen could hear the humans voices, strange yelping sounds that continued for too long at a time, but he was glad, as they revealed their location. The camp was on a hill that rose out of the endless forest of evergreens that stretched from what would one day be called the Atlantic ocean, across Europe, then Asia to the pacific ocean on the other side. The same vast forest then continued across the top of North America, cloaking the northern hemisphere in green, at least where it wasn’t otherwise covered by the equally vast glaciers. The camp was located just above a mid-sized river wending its way through a land that would eventually be called the province of Manitoba, Canada. The river is one of many that feeds James Bay, which in turn becomes the enormous bowl-shaped Hudson Bay. From vantage points like the hill camp, one could see far to the north the great glacier named Hoarfrost, appearing like a vast fallen cloud. Such things did not interest Jorgen, however, for the scent of meat swirled through the air and tantalized his nostrils.
For the most part, the humans ate, used or stored much from the carcasses of their prey, but there was a heap to the south of the camp where the leavings and scraps of decades had accumulated. It was there that Jorgen was stealthily approaching. He was not alone, for some time now other wolves had settled in the nearby woods, making daily trips to the refuse dump to find a meager meal. Unlike Jorgen, they were residents and no longer bothered with the effort of hunting. As a result they’d begun to change. It was gradual and happened with each successive generation, but these wolves were smaller than Jorgen, quite runtish, with smaller heads, and smaller brains less accustomed to learning the habits of prey animals or developing strategies to hunt. They were fearful of the powerful dire wolf and flit like shadows among the underbrush, keeping well clear of the superior animal.
Arriving at the center of the midden, Jorgen searched for the source of the pungent aroma that had lured him from the forest. Old animal bones lay scattered, picked clean among moldy furs and broken pottery shards.