In my new novel, the long shot, author Joyce Derenas counts on the Doig River First Nation men to save a group of 1907 prospectors from a rut of starving wolves.
Nazaire couldn’t believe his eyes. Next to one tree, a Doig stood with feet apart. By his ankles, a young boy no older than ten lay on the ground, his rifle aimed at the line of men. Nazaire looked up at the Doig father, saw his lips moving as he spoke to his son. Below him, the boy changed the angle of his rifle and fired.
Smoke and loud reports broke Nazaire’s focus. He watched the grays follow the ledge as its slow descent brought the wolves nearer level ground where they would join with their prey. The wall disappeared and with it, the distance between wolf and man. A bullet whizzed in front of a man’s chest and another missed a second man’s leg. Reports fired all around the prospectors while the Doig whooped and yipped.
Nazaire searched out the father of the young boy. He wandered through camp among the back slaps and handshakes. At last, he found the man.
“How old is your son?” Nazaire asked.
The Doig turned in surprise and couldn’t stifle a proud grin.
“Nine years. You see him?”
“How could anyone miss him between your legs? Nazaire said. “Brave boy and good aim. I been scared before but not like this.”
The Doig squatted broomstick-straight and smiled with pride.
“Tell him he did good, excellent good,” Nazaire’s said.
The Doig raised his chin in agreement.
“It game to wolf. We play too, good practice.”
That night, laments of grief kept the men awake. It broke Nazaire’s heart to hear the wolves’ howls of love and sadness. He thought of the young Doig boy while tears came to his eyes.