2021 Third Place

I Told You There Was a Wolf

by Dave Kurley

I told you there was a wolf
I told you all
And you wanted proof
You wanted to see the spoor
’Show us the carcasses’, you said.
‘Give us pictures from the cameras that never lie.’
But the wolf was clever
It cleaned up after itself
Created false trails
It was forensically careful.
But I knew it was there,
Biding its time.
I told Grandma there was a wolf
She didn’t believe at first
But I was persistent
Supplied argument and counterargument
I won her round.
And she had sympathetic friends at the home
And then

And then, one late, silverlit night in her room
The wolf came in and ate her
Took her voice
Convinced her friends it didn’t exist
And ate them
One by one
And the carers, too
Until the home was empty
Except for the wolf
Grinning from the high windows
And nobody visited the home anymore
So the wolf went to the woods
I went to the Town Hall
Told the Mayor
Told him about the wolf
And what became of my Grandma
And her friends
And the carers
And now –
And now the wolf was in the woods
Biding its time
And the Mayor said:
‘What do you want me to do?
Put guards round the woods?
People picnic in the woods.
People buy food from the grocers
To picnic in those woods.
If the people can’t picnic in our woods
They’ll picnic elsewhere
And what will happen to the town
With no picnic money?
What do you want me to do?
Put guards round the woods?’
‘Yes!’ I said. ‘Put guards round the woods.
Fence the woods off
A no-go area.
Starve the wolf.’
But the Mayor wouldn’t do those things
And the people picnicked in the woods
And the wolf picnicked on the people
One by one
Even the Mayor
And his wife
And their kids
(They were there for publicity)
One by one
The wolf ate them
Every one.
All gone
Just me now
I daren’t go out
The wolf waits
I told you there was a wolf
I told you all.