An extract from Trolls by Stefan Spjut's -
The snowmobile track was a sharp line across the white sheet of the fens; the wolf was running below them. Appearing and vanishing like a pale ghost dog in the shrouds of snow stirred up by the rotor blades. Anders put one leg out through the cabin door and found purchase for his boot on the landing gear footstep. The wind rushed through his hair and the collar of his jacket whipped against his face when he strained his eyes not to lose sight of the blurred creature. ‘Would you look at that!’ he shouted. ‘that’s no bloody hybrid, that’s for sure!’
The helicopter had moved in so low he could see the waves rippling through its fur. Its tongue, flapping out of its long snout like a wet rag. Ears pressed at against its head. He leaned as far out as his harness allowed, pushed the butt of the stock against his shoulder, turned the ring on the scope one notch and tossed his head to push his ear protector out of the way. His index finger slid down and curled around the trigger; then he red.
With snowshoes strapped to their boots, they followed the tracks that led in among the spruce trees. Geir went first, striding through the snow as though in a race to reach the wolf first. Anders got winded and called out to him, but Geir strode on, arms pumping, seeming not to hear.
The wolf had gone into hiding under the skirt of a large spruce. It was lying on its side; when they creaked their way in under the branches, it raised its head. Its nose was spackled with snow. The spark behind its eyelids slowly dimmed. The dart with its red etch was buried like a pimpernel in the animal’s hip. Geir pulled it out and slipped it into his breast pocket. Then he pushed his hand into the fur and turned up the undercoat, which was pure white. He examined the claws on the enormous paws and noted that they were black.
With his knuckle, he pushed his foggy glasses further up the bridge of his nose and then he sat quietly, deep in thought while Anders praised the wolf’s remarkable size. He had come across wolves that weighed more than he did himself in northern Canada, and this looked to be of the same stock. Without a doubt, it was the biggest wolf he had ever seen on Scandinavian soil.
‘ This is incredible! What a giant!’
The vet said nothing, but when he pulled out the syringe with the anaesthetic, Anders noticed his hands were trembling.
Trolls by Stefan Spjut's (Faber & Faber) Published 1 August 2019
What if...? A large wolf escapes its captors. A cult leader breaks out of psychiatric care. A disillusioned woman is forced to end her self-imposed exile.