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Page Turner Challenge: Picks

A Wolf in the Head by Gloria Varley

Snow, deep over my boots, over my knees, a feeling it will swallow me up. My parents are dragging supplies on a sled but there's no room for me to sit. We walk in from the highway, the road an unbroken trail, all so different from the soft dusty surface of summer, puffing up between bare toes. Now my feet sink deep deep deep. I can scarcely pull them out. And then the wolves start to sing. First one, then another, then a whole chorus. An anthem as old as the world.

I didn't want to come here, not to Reggie's place. In the summer, going to the camp site, that was a joyful trip. But now it felt as if the world was dissolving around me, everything fading and in the wrong place.

There was no choice. Reggie had a business, cutting ice in the winter, cutting logs for firewood the rest of the year. He had a house of sorts with room for us. All things we lacked since my father was let go from the bank and we lost our home because he could no longer pay the rent. Only seventy-five dollars a month, but this was 1938 and seventy-five dollars might as well have been a million when the only breadwinner could not find work.

I was eight and had met Reggie, my father's cousin, only once. I had been terrified by the memory of that meeting ever since.

Gloria Varley is from Toronto, ON

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