We leave Anchorage in our rental car and drive towards the mountains. Believe me Anchorage was fine, nice city.. But we couldn’t wait to get to our cabin in the woods. From there we can take beautiful walks in the nature, and hopefully see some beautiful animals. We open the windows of the car a bit and take a deep breath. I look sideways at Laura, she has a relaxed face and a small smile.
″You look relaxed″ I say while looking back at the road, Laura nods and hums. She hasn’t had the easiest time... Last year her sister Christina passed away, they were 1 year apart in age and very close. And one month ago her boyfriend of 6 years broke up with her for an older woman he met at work. I’ve never seen her so broken in the 10 years we’ve known each other, she was convinced he was the one.
Laura used to work in marketing, but like me, she was looking for a new challenge. So we decided to fulfill my desire to photograph wildlife in Alaska.
Photography has always been a passion of mine, it just didn’t earn me enough to make ends meet. For years I worked in a pet store and did photography on the side to make enough money. I met Laura in sophomore year of high school and we clicked right away. We both continued to live in Casper (Wyoming) and saw each other regularly. Now, 10 years later we are both 26 and ready for some change in our lives.
After a few hours of driving we arrive at our cabin, there are 4 cabins located in a small clearing. One belongs to Mrs. Brown, she lives in the largest cabin and the other 3 she rents out to people like us. We park the car in the parking lot and walk with our suitcases towards the cottage.
It is November, the temperature is just below freezing. Some light snow falls and I notice that I suddenly feel very happy. Winter has always been my favorite month, the cold days that are sometimes combined with sun are the best.
We settle in the house and light the fire, it immediately creates a very cozy atmosphere and we drink a glass of wine while watching an episode of Vikings.
In the night we wake up to a loud bang and then hear some growling, we quietly sneak up to the window and see a big brown bear going through the bins. Now we fully understand why Mrs. Brown advised us not to go out at night, we look at the beautiful beast a little longer and then decide to go back to sleep. In the morning we want to get up early, because we have planned a long hike.
The next day we are on the hike trail very early, we both have a heavy backpack with all the necessary stuff for a long hike. We even have a mini tent just in case, and Mrs Brown has added a last minute spray that is supposed to deter wild animals.
We spot many beautiful birds, a number of reindeers and even a Lynx, the SD card of my Camera is quickly full but luckily I have several with me.
We ended up in a beautiful forest and spot a moose. It is cold and the frozen branches and moss make an enchanting picture together with the animals.
It's starting to get late, it's getting darker and darker in the forest. We should head back to our cabin before it's getting too late, and we probably already are in trouble because of the dark.
We look on google maps but notice that our mobiles don’t have a good range. Shit... We should have downloaded a map.
We decide to take a path that we think is the right one, but I notice that both of us are getting a little tense. “And I thought we prepared well,” I mutter as we drag ourselves through the woods. ″I didn’t think we would really need that tent, but now I’m seriously doubting it.. And I bet it's going to be freezing tonight″ Laura says.
“Stop...” I say, holding my finger to my lips to show her to be quiet. Laura moves her mouth in a “what?” motion and looks around, and then we hear the... growl.
Laura looks around me and her eyes widen, she points her finger behind me and whispers “wolf”. I turn and see a huge gray wolf standing a few hundred yards away.
Shit this is not good, we both stand dead still hoping the wolf turns around and goes away. But then we hear another growl to our right, and we see another wolf standing there, it is as if they are surrounding us.
When I take a closer look I see that these wolves do not look like the normal gray wolf. They are bigger, much bigger... They almost look rabid, their eyes look red and they have a lot of drool dripping from their mouths. They both snap their mouths and start trotting towards us, Laura grabs my hand and we run off. I grab my animal spray that’s in my jacket and hold it ready, I look behind me and see that they are quickly closing in.
″FASTER! FASTER!” I shout to Laura as we sprint through the woods. Suddenly there are more wolves in front of us and we slow down so quickly that we both tumble over each other on the ground.
Two of the new wolves jump over us and start fighting with the two wolves that were chasing us. The rabid wolves are no match for the new ones and soon they lie dead in a bloody heap on the ground.
“Run Laura, Run!!” I say as we scramble to our feet and try to run away. Behind me a wolf tries to grab my ankle and I spray some animal spray in his face and try to run further. I hear some whining behind me but I try to focus on following Laura.
But then I feel something prick my neck, I feel with my hand and pull a little arrow from my neck. ″Shit...″ I say and I look at Laura, I see that she was also hit.
The sedative works quickly and I sink through my legs, I try to crawl towards Laura but my body no longer cooperates. A big hand grabs my neck and I look into the eyes of a man... A naked man.
″Who are you?″ he snarls and then he sniffs me, ″You are human″ he says with a snarl and looks back over his shoulder. That’s the last thing I hear when the darkness takes over me.
I feel drops falling on my neck, slowly rolling down my back. My head feels heavy but I manage to look up. On the opposite of me I see Laura with her arms chained above her head, her head hanging down and her dark brown hair hanging damp around her head.
I feel that I am in the same position as Laura, I literally hang on my wrists and I feel them hurting more and more.
″Laura..″ I say softly, my throat feels dry.. How long have we been here? Her head slowly lifts and we look at each other for a moment, we both realize that we are in deep.. deep trouble.
The only question is... Where did we end up? And why did they take us?.