I went up to my room, put on a sweatshirt over what I was wearing, added my jacket, and left the hotel. Edwin had been correct, it had stopped snowing. That made it easier for me to find him. I just had to follow his tracks in the snow. They went around the lake to the far side, then into the trees. I almost lost them at that point when a sudden breeze shook the branches, knocking snow over them, and me. I brushed if off, swearing as some of it went down my collar, and moved forward, my eyes pealed for any sign of where he'd gone. I picked his footprints up again a few yards further on and stopped dead. Beside them were the paw prints of a large animal.
Then, ahead of me, I heard Edwin say, "Orville should be here any time now."
There was no reply from, I presumed, Henry. I inched forward, trying to see where they were, afraid the wolf, if that's what the paw prints belonged to, was close by since its prints were still visible next to Edwin's. Had it been following him, I wondered.
Then I saw them. Edwin was squatting beside a huge wolf, his hand on the animal's back. They turned as one to look at me.
Edwin stood, shaking his head as he said to the wolf, "You should have warned me." Then, to me, he said, "I really wish you hadn't followed me."
"Are you…? Is he…? Where's Henry?" I stammered out.
Coming over, Edwin gripped my forearms. "Go back to the hotel, Austin."
"Not until you explain why you were talking to that wolf like he was a pet, or something."
He seemed about to reply when an older, brown-haired man I'd never seen before came into view, accompanied by another wolf. Edwin must have been blocking his view of me because he said, "Logan had to show me where you were."
"Logan should have warned you we have company," Edwin replied, turning to him.
"So I see," the man replied. Since he was wearing a tan uniform under a winter jacket, it didn't take me long to figure out he must be the sheriff. He held out his hand. "I'm Orville. Edwin mentioned you when he spoke with me."
"Austin," I replied, swallowing hard as we shook hands. I didn't know what was going on but whatever it was, it scared the hell out of me.
Orville smiled dryly as he said to Edwin, "I take it he didn't know."
"I have the feeling he does, now, although he doesn't believe it." Edwin glanced at me. "Or doesn't want to believe it." He gripped my arm again. "You wanted to know where Henry was. He's right here." He nodded to the first wolf. Almost instantly it vanished and Henry stood in its place, fully dressed.