Living in a small mountain village, Earl remained a mystery to most of the local folks. The crotchety and ill-tempered man stayed away from all but a couple of acquaintances.
Earl’s rundown shack sat at the very edge of town. Seeing that others viewed him as an outsider, the home’s remote location suited him just fine.
Earl’s mean streak blazed away every night. On his front porch, the self-proclaimed hermit played a never-ending recording of a haunting sound. A wolf’s howling kept others away . . . critters, trespassers, and just about anything else.
Staying up well past midnight, Earl enjoyed his isolation. No one dared to drop in because of the eerie, crying sound.
At bedtime, Earl turned off the repetitive recording. After all, he looked forward to his own peaceful night of sleep.
On this cold and snowy winter night, nature would even up the score at the expense of this mean-spirited man.
In the middle of a full-moon nightscape at exactly three o’clock, a cagey wolf slipped into the quiet town. His hunger brought him right up to Earl’s front porch. Perhaps he smelled a remnant of supper’s beef stew.
With the moon glowing overhead, surrounded by the blackened sky, the forlorn wolf let out a riveting, howling cry.
Earl stirred awake upon hearing the piercing, deafening sound from right below his upstairs bedroom window. Realizing the sound was from a hungry wolf, sent shudders throughout Earl’s now-frozen body.
His teeth would have chattered, except his false teeth were sitting by the bathroom sink. Unable to scream, Earl buried himself under the bed’s heavy blankets. Even then, his body was shivering from the coldness of the wolf’s constant howling.
Awake for a few more hours, Earl never could return to sleep. Shaking with fear, the old fella had finally met his match. Just before sunrise, the wolf scampered away, unseen by anyone.
Wide awake, exhausted, and overcome with terror, Earl wondered what the next night could bring.