The chill of the air turned each breath to a cloud as it left his mouth. The weak sun tried to push itself through the gray snow laden skies. He looked at his compass, and once more pushed onwards, quickly gazing at the ever threatening clouds. His feet crunched the fresh snow underfoot, snow that he knew any moment would be joined by much more from the ever darkening sky.

He knew to be caught out in the woods in the soon to hit blizzard would be fatal. He had to reach the cabin, he knew was just a few miles away.

Brushing through the fir trees, he suddenly came to a clearing in the forest, and there in the middle was a huge wolf. He stopped, not knowing what to do. The wolf looked up, and a pair of huge brown eyes seemed to pierce his very soul

It was at that moment the skies opened, and the blizzard hit, blowing away vision and instantly turning the world into a white hell. The wind whipped the snowflakes, making any visible piece of skin feel like a thousand needles had pricked it. He pulled the hood of his jacket tighter round his face, trying to look at the compass once more. Then putting his head down he set out once more, struggling every step against the bitter wind and driving snow. His vision was useless, he could see but a few inches in front of his face

He lost all sense of time and direction. His fingers fumbled for the compass, but frozen with cold, lost his grip and it fell into the fresh snow. He blindly pushed on each step an effort one foot in front of the other he struggled onwards. He did not know how many times he fell, but each time he pushed himself back to his feet and struggled onward. His mind must be playing tricks, but he was sure he could make out a pale light moving amongst the trees. He tried to make an effort to move towards it, but his feet would not move and he fell once more into the snow. He attempted to get up, but his head swam with the effort. Darkness covered him and he felt no more. His eyes flicked open once and he saw the light getting closer. He vainly tried to cry out before the darkness covered him again. Just as the edges of his vision disappeared he thought that he saw two brown pools of fire looking at him.

He woke to feel the warmth spreading through his body. A soft light of a flickering log fire cast shadows across the ceiling. He felt the soft warmth of fur across his body, and another body stirred next to his. An arm wrapping around him before the darkness once more covered him.

Slowly, his eyes cleared and he found himself looking into a face of surely what must be an angel. A smile that would alone have removed the cold of any blizzard, and a pair of brown eyes that were vaguely familiar made him feel that indeed he had died and gone to heaven.

He tried to sit up and the room swam before his eyes. "Shhhhhhhh now," a soft voice said. "Take it easy you have had a rough time." This time he tried to move more slowly and he managed to get himself into a sitting position. When he looked up, she had disappeared. He looked around, so he had made it to the cabin after all.

The sound of pans being moved was soon followed by the smell of food being cooked. And suddenly he felt really hungry. She appeared with a plate of food and a mug of steaming coffee. They started to talk as the food filled the emptiness of his stomach. Her name, she told him, was Sheriva, which she said was silver in her native tongue. She dipped her head and he saw the strands of silver hair that made a streak amongst the rest of the black raven locks, and he knew why.

She had been out in the forest herself, but had reached the cabin before the blizzard broke. She told him how some sense had made her go looking but did not go into it any more than that. They talked and the blizzard hammered at the cabin. The fire dwindled and they talked on, until as the last flames disappeared. His eyes started to close and he felt her slip under the covers, her body warm beside his. The moon’s silver beam filtered through the snow covered windows, as their bodies found each other, like a halo of silver it surrounded their love making. They were safe inside the walls of the cabin, wrapped safe within each other’s arms.

As he slowly came awake, he felt the warmth of her body next to his and the softness of the fur. The fur!! He moved away fast, looking at a large wolf that was lying next to him. He shivered, he had heard of these mountain tales, of wolves that mysteriously turned into women in the light of the moon. Remembering what had gone before, he shivered again. A soft laugh floated across the cabin. So, you have met my friend she said. The day passed as the blizzard continued to howl outside. He got used to the presence of the wolf, which he found actually gave him some piece of mind. They talked, they kissed, and they loved. He told her all about himself, his dreams, his fears, his happiness, and his sadness. Without saying a word, she listened and answers came into his head. When he cried, she held him, when he laughed she laughed with him. As the moon once more filled the sky, she let the wolf out and slowly closed the door.

"The storm is almost over. It will be clear by tomorrow," she said. "I wish that it would never end," he replied. Knowing in his heart that this was indeed what he wanted. "Do you?" she asked with a questioning look. "Yes," he replied, more sure than ever before. "We will see," she softly said.

They made love that night, reaching higher and higher into the stars. Until as the first tip of the sun’s rays pierced the sky, they came together, in what could only be called a howl of ecstasy.

He fell asleep, and dreamed of running through the forest. He woke to feel the fur next to him, so the wolf was back. He opened his eyes, stroking the body next to him. As he looked he noticed a silver streak of fur, down the wolf’s back. And as he stirred the wolf shimmered, turning into the shape of Sheriva. He found that he was not amazed at this, as if he already knew. She smiled at him. "Come, Love, come run with me, be my mate, let us run these hills forever." She held out her hand, he grasped it. "Yes," he said, "forever". He felt his body change, suddenly he could smell the forest, could feel the earth. He looked across at his silver streaked mate. "Let us run together." Her voice spoke in his head. "Yes, Love," he replied. As they left the cabin and bounded into the fresh snow, many voices filled his head, welcoming him into the pack, mate of Sheriva.

Later that day, a rescue party made it to the cabin, but could find no trace of the man that they knew had been there. Nobody noticing the two wolves that watched them from the edge of the woods.

Barry Eva August 2001