The big male continued to stare down the storm. While the others
retreated under the lean-to, he faced all the toss and roar of the rain.
Over him on the black sky was scrawled the wild calligraphy of lightning.
“Tomorrow I’m going to kill you,” said Waldreve.
Then he opened the door and went inside to bed.
At morning, the others were waiting for him in the kitchen. He hadn’t
expected this, as he’d always been the early riser of the house, but they
were all seated at the table as the window slowly grayed with dawn, and
Waldreve knew he’d slept too long and that the day had begun without
“Surprised I let y’all get up before me,” he said. He went to the coffee
pot and poured himself a cup and drank a long gulp.
No one spoke. They sat huddled around the table, Philip nervously
bouncing his leg and Vance still and quiet while Corella picked toast
crumbs off her plate. Waldreve knew from the look of them and from
their silence that something was wrong and that it had to do with the
He turned to the window. In the gathering light, he could see the
hutch in silhouette against the overcast sky. Inside the pen, three coyotes
lay sprawled and motionless in the mud.
When he walked out onto the porch, the cold air pricked his lungs.
His breath fogged in the early-autumn chill as he descended the steps
and moved across the yard, his boots squelching in the wet grass. Even
before he reached the pen, he smelled the copper reek of blood.
All the coyotes were dead except the big male. He sat in a corner of the
hutch, his coat soaked from the rain and his muzzle painted with gore,
and his eyes were alert and shone with the strong old light inside them.
All the coyotes were dead except the big male. He sat in
a corner of the hutch, his coat soaked from the rain and
his muzzle painted with gore, and his eyes were alert and
shone with the strong old light inside them.