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I Bring the Fire Part I: Wolves

Crawling out of her car, she feels for a pulse. She can’t find anything and is both relieved and disgusted by
the fact that she is relieved.
She has to get out of here. She begins frantically patting down the dead man’s body.
“What are you looking for?” Strange Guy says.
Amy glances up to see him sitting on the bank of the ditch, a box of Life cereal between his knees, Fenrir
sitting in front of him. He throws a handful into his mouth and tosses a piece to her dog.
He looks so much calmer than she feels, and it’s not fair. She begins patting down the man again.
Not finding what she’s looking for, she murmurs, “They’re not here.”
“What?” Strange Guy says.
Amy looks up at the minivan. Getting up from the ground she runs around the corpse and out of the ditch.
She lifts the latch on the passenger side door. It’s open. Maybe his keys are in here. She can drive the
minivan to find help.
Stranger’s voice comes from close behind her. “I don’t think you should go into that man’s automobile.”
Ignoring him, Amy opens the glove box. There’s a narrow folio in there, long and leather bound.
“Don’t,” says Stranger, and his hand is suddenly coming from behind to grab it from her. But it’s too late.
Amy’s already opening it, and pictures are spilling out. There are pictures of women in there, but mostly of
children. For an instant the pictures shake in Amy’s bloody knuckles, and then she screams.
The man behind her says something, a curse or a swear or an exclamation. Whatever, he sounds shocked
and horrified and the photo album bursts into flame.
Amy drops it, and the man says, “I’m sorry...I didn’t...”
Some sense finally coming back to her, Amy begins to stamp out the fire with her foot. The people in the
pictures...their families will need to know.
When the last of the flames are out she backs up — right into Stranger Guy’s chest. He feels weird, too
hard. She’s in shock. Obviously. He brings a hand to her shoulder; it is warm and comforting and normal.
In the distance she hears sirens — maybe the car that drove off didn’t belong to an ass after all. Stranger
starts to pull his hand away. “Don’t,” she says, turning to him and looking up. He is really tall, maybe 6’ 3”
or 6’ 4”. She’s not afraid of him anymore. She presses his hand more tightly and wills him not to go.
His jaw goes tight. And then he says, “All right, I won’t.”
When the man had a gun on her, she was terrified. But now, after seeing the pictures and what she almost
did not escape... Her whole body trembles. The sirens in the distance get louder. Clutching Stranger’s hand to
her face, she begins to cry. She’s safe now, she knows it. The words, “I am so afraid,” are on the tip of her
tongue, but she doesn’t say them.
“I know. I know,” the Stranger says. And in the pit of Amy’s stomach she can feel it. He does understand.
He does know.
x x x x
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