Authors: Adam Dreece
Tags: #Fairy Tale, #Emergent Steampunk
Copyright © 2014 by Adam Dreece.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at [email protected]
ADZO Publishing Inc.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Edited by: Chris W. Rea, Jennifer Zouak
Printed in Canada, United States, and China
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Dreece, Adam, 1972-, author
Along came a wolf / written by Adam Dreece.
(The Yellow hoods ; bk. 1)
Issued in print and electronic formats.
ISBN 978-0-9881013-0-2 (pbk.).--ISBN 978-0-9881013-1-9 (epub)
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To my daughter, for her enthusiasm
for the story, and
encouragement to write it,
To my sons, for keeping the
little boy in me thriving,
To my wife, without whose
I’d be lost in the wind.
Cartographer: Driss of Zouak, 1793
Created at the behest of the Council of Southern Kingdoms
“Watch out!” yelled Tee.
Her gleeful voice could barely be heard over the sounds of her wooden contraption crashing down the forested mountainside.
A short distance away, Tee’s mother, Jennifer, looked up from her tomato garden. She wiped her forehead and looked at her husband, William. “What has your daughter gone and done now?” she said. Their daughter certainly kept life exciting.
daughter, too,” said William. He was a tall, thin man with light brown hair, and a beard. He quickly tossed aside his axe and started hunting around the side of their cabin for the tool he’d need.
“Oh, William, love, I think she’s more yours in habits, if you ask me.”
“Watch out!” Tee gleefully yelled again. She was rapidly approaching the clearing surrounding their log cabin home.
Jennifer stood and looked in the direction of Tee’s voice. She couldn’t imagine how Tee was coming down the mountainside so fast. “Will—I’m worried she’s coming faster than usual.”
“Faster than the time with the pony? Now where did I leave my—”
“Somehow, yes. I’m wondering if she’s built something this time.” Jennifer furrowed her brow.
“Humph—I can’t find it! Where
Jennifer paused. “Oh! It’s hanging inside the front door. I put it there this morning. Sorry!”
William darted to the door and grabbed his crossbow. “There we go! Do you have the bolt with the rope attached?”
Jennifer tried to track where Tee was, using the swaying bushes and trees as indicators. “It should be in the quiver—the case thing… whatever you call it. Check by the spare saddles.”
“Right! I was going to put them in the shed this morning. Why didn’t I put them in the shed?” William raced across the yard and grabbed the bolt he needed.
Jennifer nervously moved from side to side. “Hurry up! I think you’ve got less than half a minute before she’s here.”
William fought to untangle the rope, glancing up every few seconds.
Suddenly, Tee popped into view. “
Hi Mom!” she said. Tee was clutching the steering wheel of her cart; a ripped bed sheet hung from its broken mast. Her yellow cloak flapped in the wind behind her.
“Got it!” said William. He loaded his crossbow and aimed at Tee’s cart as she rocketed past.
“Shoot already, Will!” said Jennifer, realizing their daughter might end up sailing right off the nearby cliff.
William took a deep breath. Just as his daughter reached the end of the clearing, he pulled the trigger. After a moment, there came a wood-splintering crash, and then silence.
Jennifer looked at her husband in horror. “Oh my—”
William waved for her to stay calm. “Tee!” he called loudly. “Can you get yourself down?” he asked, trying to sound confident. Worry started to creep across his face.
After an agonizing few seconds, there came some rustling sounds and Tee replied, “I think so, Dad. Give me a moment… Yeah! I’m okay.”
Then, with practiced flare, Tee jumped into the clearing and yelled her trademark, “La-la!”
Jennifer turned and looked at William with a mix of relief and frustration. “How many more years until I don’t have to worry about her?”
“Forever and a day, my love,” said William, smiling. “Forever and a day.”
Tee woke up to the familiar sound of the kettle whistling and the table being set. She sat up and yawned, unaware of the adventure that lay ahead.
Her first attempt to join the family for breakfast was rebuffed. As usual, her mother informed her that she needed to brush her shoulder-length dark brown hair before sitting at the table. After huffing about it for a minute, Tee went to brush her hair.
To her mother’s surprise, Tee had even dressed herself before returning. Looking ready for the day, Tee complained, “Why do you
make me brush my hair before breakfast?”
Her mother got the scrambled eggs out of the cast-iron skillet, sat herself down, and turned to her daughter. “You
why. But, you won’t need to brush your hair anymore if—”
“Really?” Tee interrupted.
Pushing back her own dark curly hair, Jennifer continued, “
you find a magical way to make it unknot itself.”
“Mo-omm! There’s no such thing as magic.” Tee plunked herself into a chair and looked at her dad, expecting him to say something.
Jennifer turned to her husband and smirked. “Am I being unreasonable, Will?”
William looked at his wife, and then his daughter, each awaiting his involvement. Having learned his lesson from this type of situation before, he quickly put a piece of toast in his mouth and looked elsewhere. The conversation eventually moved on without his input.
With the dishes collected and all signs of breakfast gone, Tee leapt for her yellow hooded cloak and backpack, both hanging by the door, when her dad stepped in the way.
“Tee, before you vanish for the day, I need you to do something for me. I have something that needs to be delivered to Grandpapa. If you could help your mother while I …” William deliberately paused, anticipating Tee’s interruption.
Tee jumped at the opportunity. Unleashing her huge brown eyes—her best weapons of influence—she asked, “Can I take it to him?”
She loved visiting her mom’s father. Apart from being kind and patient, he was a marvelous inventor and loved explaining things to her. He also made the best cookies, and always seemed to have some ready as she walked in. When asked how he knew she was coming, he’d always smile and change the subject.
William pretended to think over his daughter’s proposal. “Well… I
going to take it to his house while you helped your mother weed the garden and clean the house, but if you insist—”
“I insist!” she yelled so loudly that she startled herself. She looked around for a package to deliver.
William smiled. He loved his daughter dearly. For all the trouble she got into, there was never anything but good intentions.
“Actually, it’s in the shed. There’s a set of plant pots. One is turned upside down—”
“I know the one! It was turned over yesterday morning. I thought that was odd.” Tee raced off.
“It’s a little red box!” yelled William, shaking his head. He was surprised she knew what he was talking about. It seemed impossible to hide anything from her.
He snapped his fingers, having almost forgotten he was Tee’s father. “Remember,” he shouted, “to stay on the roads—and don’t talk to strangers!”
“I will,” shouted a little voice from the distance.
William looked at his wife as she came in carrying an armload of firewood. “I just passed a little yellow whirlwind. What was that about?” she asked.
“The package that arrived yesterday for your father—Tee’s going to deliver it.”
“Couldn’t he have picked it up this evening when he comes for dinner?” asked Jennifer.
William looked out the front window. “No. I figure if there’s any trouble to come of it, it’ll come to us today. Best that she’s not here,” he answered.
Jennifer frowned for a moment. “Do you think that’s safe?”