His dream of finding gold dashed, a huge winter blizzard threatening the collapse of his remote cabin in Alaska, his yard full of wolves which have attacked and wounded him severely, this unnamed man’s desperation to get out of the cabin for the long difficult hike to the nearest town where he hoped to find medical care is very real. Very real indeed.
Christopher Morin’s short story, The Beseiged, doesn’t take more than an evening to read, but it will stay with you for a long long time. In fact, I read it twice. It was that good.
I was particularly delighted to discover that Morin dedicated this book to his 7th grade teacher, Stephen Cowperthwaite, who he wrote: “inspired and fueled my passion for both reading and writing short stories.” Steve was indeed a fantastic teacher in our Maranacook school system, who also taught two of our kids.
The man in this story left California to find gold in the Klondike when he was 30 years old. To put it mildly, that didn’t work out for him. Finally running out of money and supplies, with no gold in sight, he’s left in this remote cabin with no way out.
When, in the midst of the devastating blizzard, he notices wolves getting into his meat shack, his anger got the best of him, and he went out to chase them off. “Strange for wolves to be roamin’ at night in such horrible weather” he said to himself.
Grabbing a gun and light, he staggered out into the storm. Firing the gun into the air, he scared off the wolves. Or so he thought. But when he got into the shed and reached down under the floor where he spotted a chunk of frozen meat – well, this is what happened.
“As his right hand grasped the frozen hunk of meat he cried out in tormenting pain as a powerful set of jaws clamped down on his forearm! The man fell backwards and as he did, the jaws released him. Lying on his back in the snow with his right forearm badly bleeding, the man looked up as his attacker poked its head out of the hole and into the light of the lantern.”
It gets worse, but I don’t want to spoil this for you. Does the man survive? Does the storm ever end? Do the wolves continue to attack him? Does he get out to that town and find medical help? I guarantee you won’t stop reading until these questions are answered.
For more information on the author, go to www.christophermorinauthor.com. And in this book review section of my website, you can also read my review of Morin’s book, The Rebel’s Wrath, which I also enjoyed.