I think it is going to rain soon. I can see thick grey rain cloud coming up from the south, the fridge door is open, and it's blowing up straight off the Antarctic. Straight off the frozen top of the world.
And she is coming towards the gate. She is coming towards me. My friend. My staunch loyal friend. The wind is whipping her dress, slapping it against her legs. The gates, not shut properly, crash and clang loudly, unceasingly.
It was the gates that hurt me. I was coming through them, heading towards my den, with bloody bits of moa to feed my small cub. And me. And the gate, blowing shut, hit me with its clasp, the clasp ripping down my side, ripping my skin open. I scream in pain. I howl like a wolf. As you do. Blood pours from my side. I am like, oh shit, now what? And I try to drag myself and the dead moa dinner towards the den, but it is hard work and I faint for a while.
When I come to, I am lying in congealed blood. The pain is horrific. In the distance I hear my baby yipping loudly. He sounds afraid and hungry. So I made a few more dragging steps and then, quite suddenly, she was there. She gave me a heck of a fright, I had no idea that one of those creatures was around. It just shows how badly I was hurt. So off my game. I should have known she was there, I should have snarled and leapt upon her, I should have got her throat and ripped it ...
I am still thinking that thought when she makes her primitive communication noises that those creatures make, babbling to each other, incomprehensible sounds. But she is making holes in me, she is pulling stuff through it, she is tying me together, wrapping me in some skin-like stuff. Oh my god, now she lifts me, carrying me to the den, I am beside myself in pain, I snarl and pass out again.
I come around again and discover she has hauled that cub out and he is suckling on me. Thank goodness. She is sitting in front of me and offers me some pieces of that dead moa. I try to eat but my head spins dizzily and I throw up. Then I die. Then I am nothing.
Mary sits back on her heels, shocked and horrified. I thought I could save you, she whispers. Poor mummy wolf.
The wind howls down the carriageway, icy cold. Trees float like curtains. Baby wolf cub nuzzles at his mother, wondering why she doesn't move. Shit, thinks Mary, what to do now? In the end she pushes the mother wolf over to the side and under the trees. The swampy ground slowly absorbs her. Mary quickly seizes the cloak she had wrapped around the wolf, and wraps it around baby wolf instead. Standing up, she shuts the gate, this time properly, and shivering with cold, she scurries back to the castle, holding the wrapped baby cub close to her body.
In the bathroom she washes the cub and then herself. She tucks him up in her enormous bed covered in silks and cotton and wool blankets. It's an odd room, black draperies hanging from the huge windows, a lamp which is made from a skull with a golden candle inside. In the corner there's a huge cage with a Tasmanian Devil family inside. Mary goes downstairs and gets a bottle with milk in it and a plate of casserole for the baby. Baby feeds hungrily and then goes to sleep, cuddled happily in Mary's arms.
And that is how it was, this is how Mary found Ghouler, her pet wolf and companion ...