The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo on First Sight Saturday
Today, on First Sight Saturday, I welcome Rose Anderson’s paranormal romance, The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo. The first thing I did when receiving the excerpt was look up “wendigo”, but I’m not sure the official definition fits Rose’s story, so I’ll let all of you check the dictionary for yourselves.
Here is the cover and the blurb:
What does an immortal Native American shaman do when the grave he’s sworn to watch over for all eternity disappears under urban development?
His purpose of guarding his wife’s burial mound gone, Ashkewheteasu seeks to end his immortal existence. In his despair, Ash assumes the form of a wolf and steps in front of a moving car and into the life of Dr. Olivia “Livie” Rosalini. The veterinarian saves the animal’s life, and in the process saves the man within. Livie has no idea the wolfish dog she’s taken into her home and grows to love is a magical being seeking to win her heart as a man. While Ash is learning a new world filled with new love, friendship, and happiness, an old menace makes plans to steal it all away; just as he had 3000 years before.
The following excerpt shares the scene where Ash steps in front of Livie’s car.
The machines eventually lumbered away and silence settled on the air, disturbed only by the occasional rustle of falling leaves in the fast-approaching twilight. The silence was an illusion, Ash knew. It was only an absence of the noise he’d experienced for days. These people immersed themselves in constant noise. The only true silence was found in his dreams.
Filling his lungs with a slow deep breath, his body changed form. Growing taller, the fur and claws disappeared into his skin. Within seconds, Ash stood as a man. Aiyanna’s resting place was gone, and with it the grove of oak trees, and the sumac, and the plum and raspberry thickets as well. Even the creek bank was unrecognizable on this side. It was all gone, as was the charge he’d been sworn to. There was nothing left to do but end this existence.
Looking down, his eyes spied a single pearl left in the track they’d left behind. His gaze fell to a fist-sized chert nodule lying on the ground next to it. Yes. There’d be only small effort on his part to work a stone and fashion a knife. As quickly as he had taken his human form, he returned to that of a wolf and headed toward his hidden cave. Death was not something an immortal considered, but he had no reason to live. Distracted by thoughts of suicide, Ash stepped into the road.
Yawning, Olivia rolled the car window down. As desired, the cool evening air hit her in the face and roused her a bit. Having come close to hitting more than one deer over the years, she needed to stay alert on this dark two mile stretch of road, notorious for deer activity. She clicked the high beams on to expand her range of vision. Another yawn took her and she turned on the radio. Finding the inane talk radio chatter unappealing, her gaze momentarily strayed from the road to the dial. She looked up in time to see a large husky walk right in front of her car. The horrible thump that followed confirmed her worst fear. “Oh no, oh no.”
Pulling off to the shoulder, she ran to the bleeding, unconscious dog. Another car pulled up behind her. The driver hurried over. “Oh the poor thing! I saw it happen. He walked right in front of you.”
Between them they managed to wrap the dog in Olivia’s jacket and get him into her car. Speeding back to the clinic, Olivia grabbed blindly for her cell phone. Feeling the touchpad like Braille, she speed-dialed her boss, John Redleaf. “John, it’s me. I know you and Cora have an evening planned, but I really need some help. Can you give me just an hour of your time?”
“Of course Liv, what’s wrong?”
“I’m not sure. First glance says compound fractured leg for sure, bad road rash, possible internal injuries, there’s pink foam coming out of the mouth and nose.”
“Sounds like a punctured lung. Anything else?”
“I can’t tell. It’s too dark to see.”
“I’ll meet you there. Thanks, John. Tell Cora I wouldn’t ask if I thought I could handle this myself. This is a nasty compound fracture. If the dog’s going to keep his leg, he’s going to need surgery.”
Three hours later, washing up at the sink, knew they’d done all they could for the dog. Olivia’s quick action saved the leg and hopefully the animal’s life as well.
Intent on getting a better look at the amulet they’d found tied around the dog’s neck, John ran the carved bird stone under the water. No larger than a small plum, its smooth surface had been worked by hand until the form of a bird was achieved. The fact the animal wore it suggested they’d been treating someone’s pet, but if he hadn’t cut the bloody cord himself, he’d swear they’d just performed surgery on a wolf or a wolf–dog cross. “I’m not so sure that’s a dog Livie … with that snout, it’s more likely a wolf mix.”
“I believe you’re right. I’m thinking malamute–wolf or husky–wolf cross, myself. Look at those dark markings on the head.”
John nodded. The animal was darker than the average wolf, but definitely wolfish. “Malamute’s a good guess.” He held the small figurine out to her. “But whatever he is, this isn’t an everyday dog tag. He’s obviously somebody’s pet, though I can’t imagine the purpose of a pet wearing a bird stone.”
Taking it, Olivia blotted it dry with a paper towel. Simplistic in its rendering, the stylized bird was similar to Native American artifacts she’d seen in museums. Gift shop souvenir, she thought.
John examined the unconscious dog lying on the table. This was a full-grown adult, obviously well cared for, and he had no tartar on his teeth. No sign of the usual wear to the enamel that came with age either. In fact, his gums, coat, and eyes were all clear of disease and healthy — perfect, actually. John found that curious. A niggling thought entered his mind. Picking the bloodied cord from the trash, he unwound a bit and exposed fresh pale fibers suggesting the cordage had been recently crafted. A memory took him. This was dried stinging nettle, the same material his grandmother used on the reservation. The dog’s owner could be Potawatomi or perhaps Anishinabe, like himself. He turned back to the animal with renewed interest. “I think we’re looking at a rez dog.”
“This far south?” The nearest reservation was Lac du Flambeau, nearly six hours away by car.
“It might explain the bird stone versus dog tag. Very few tagged dogs on the rez.”
END OF EXCERPT