TITLE: Running With Wolves
GENRE: YA mystery
Eight summers before she was murdered, my sister got a job as a chainsaw artist.
Actually, she was the assistant to the chainsaw artist – a buff, elderly man called Ben – but to my younger self, Lara wielded the real magic when the chips flew.
Ben’s shop was just down the road from our house. It was a rambling log building that sat on the main highway. Tourists in RVs and sometimes buses would stop by, captured by the huge totem poles out front, the looming ten-foot tall carved grizzly bears, or the rugged personalized name signs that Ben called his bread-and-butter. When he was younger, Ben toured the country as one of the first who carved wooden sculptures in front of crowds. He’d earned huge shoulder muscles and massive forearms that, even at his advanced age of 50-something, still held the noisy machine steady through the curl of an eye, the twist of a lock of hair.
Lara thought Ben was the most awesome person on earth. At sixteen, she fought more with my parents than they got along. I followed her around that summer simply to be near her when Mom and Dad weren’t because when I was nine years old, she was my hero. Away from them, she changed back into her familiar big sister self – a little distracted, her eyes always focused on something else, over the next mountain, just beyond our small Alaskan village. I’d ask questions so she’d look at me instead of that far-off, invisible place.