Anna swivelled her hands through the water, made small adjustments, kicked carefully so as not to splash. She positioned herself so her toes pointed in the direction of the animal sounds. Then, slowly, silently, she bent her knees up to her chest and allowed the redistribution of her weight to right her. She tipped up and bobbed there in the water , holding her breath deep inside. The howling had stopped the moment she started moving. Silence seeped in from all sides in its place.

Treading water, her chin and mouth beneath the lip of the lake, slow breaths now through her nose as she reined in her thundering heart, she looked towards the shore.

And there, watching her with orange eyes, sat a wolf.

And here, watching him, moving slowly to keep herself above the surface, Anna watched the wolf.

The wolf and the girl watched each other.

“Hello, big wolf,” Anna whispered, “hello.”