Dwellers (excerpt)

Nick spat down at the ground, cursing as the last of the crew’s pickups disappeared in a cloud of dust down the cobblestone road.  Mumbling to himself, he reached into the cab of his truck and pulled out a red cooler.  Carrying it to the front steps of the only unoccupied townhouse in the development, he set it down and peered inside. Three cans of Lite beer still attached to their plastic harness, half a tuna sub wrapped in foil, and an apple sat in about two inches of water.  Tearing one of the cans free, he pulled back the ring tab, took in a mouthful and grimaced.  It was warm.  Peeling the foil away from the sub, he mumbled something before throwing it back into the cooler.  Oh, it was going to be a wonderful night; warm beer and a soggy sandwich.

Looking out over the lake, he picked up the apple and tossed it up and down.  He hated the lake and the development.  In the thirty‑odd years that he had earned his keep as a bricker, he’d never felt so edgy at a site.  There was something about it that got under his skin; something he couldn’t put his finger on.  Something that just wasn’t right.

Scanning the lake from one end to the other, he shrugged his shoulders.  It was a nice enough place, no different from any other lake in any other town.  The water was clean and clear; cattails and reeds hugged most of its fringe.  There were plenty of fish, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and birds.  It was nice.  Real nice.  There’d even been a deer out at the site earlier in the week.  But there were wolves, he was sure of it.  He’d sworn up and down that he heard wolves howling the other night while he was packing up.  Paddy and the others just laughed.  There weren’t too many people that took a drunk seriously.   Just the same, there could have been wolves out at the lake.  There could have been just about anything there; but whatever it was frightened him.