This is the first few pages of a new story I am writing - let me know if you like it or not.
A harsh wind was whistling towards him from the North, ripping away the snow cover from the peak of Ben Macdui, the highest mountain in the Cairngorms and which towered behind him, in a horizontal plume of billowing white.
He sat amongst the rubble of the Cairngorm ski centre, which had become a pile of smoke blackened bricks and charcoal timbers a few summers ago as a result of a wild fire in the hills and tried to ignore the creeping cold suffusing his stiff bones.
Every now and then, as the wind dropped, he could smell the lingering scent of burnt wood and plastic coming from the fire ravaged remains. It was redolent of a time that was becoming every year more distant in his memory.
The thick woollen blanket heaped over his head and shoulders had amassed in the hours of his vigil a small pyramid of snow, and as he reached forward to flex his arms to ease the ache in his shoulders it fell across his face in a scintillating cascade of powdery dust.
His warm breath billowed from his lips and curdled in the air, till the breeze snatched it away.
He reached down and checked the rifle again, retracting the bolt of the Browning A Bolt hunting rifle ensuring it was still sliding smoothly over the Winchester Short Magnum rounds in the magazine.
The sun was beginning to lift from the East, casting glimmering rays of scarlet light into the darkness and he could feel the biting cold begin to abate as the dawn crawled out of the dark abyss of the night.
Suddenly the howl of a wolf came from close by, probably in the Coire Cas car park a few hundreds of yards to the left.
His heart began to pound and he felt his breath catch in his throat.
They are here, he thought.
With his right hand he reached beneath the blanket and unclipped the snap on his holster on his right hip, ensuring that he could pull the Colt .45 1911 pistol quickly if required.
Another howl. Closer now, about two hundred yards he estimated.
The wind was still moving to the North and up the flank of the mountains and away from him so he knew the wolf could not catch his scent.
Slowly he raised the rifle to his right shoulder and stared down the barrel aiming the black bead straight in front of him.
A soft crunch of ice being crushed beneath a tentative paw.
Scratching at wood and the sound of sniffing. Close now.
Less than twenty yards.
Then through the gap in the fire cracked bricks beside the gaping hole where the front door once stood, he could see a massive male timber wolf loping towards him.
In the distance he could see other wolves moving forward. Christ he thought, the pack has grown since the summer.
There must be a dozen of them.
These were the descendants of a pack that had once been kept in a wildlife park a few hundreds mile to the East.
After The Collapse they had escaped their pens and fled into the forests, becoming wild again within a few years.
Now their progeny had reclaimed the mountains and ran free all across the Highlands, and every year their numbers grew as their aggression grew.
This beast was huge.
His fur was slick and full, a mixture of pure white and midnight black. Beautiful in its way, but he could see the flecks of frozen blood upon its muzzle and the red upon its fangs and talons and knew this was a killer.
Deer or man, to it both were just a meal.
When the bead rested between it eyes, he pulled the trigger.
The explosion rang out as loud as thunder, echoing into the distance.
The wolf was thrown onto its back, as a red mist rose from its head and blood splattered across the snow behind it.
He jumped up and reloaded the rifle, casting the blanket from his shoulders and running forwards.
Instead of running from the shot as he had expected the rest of the pack had run towards where it fallen leader lay.
He fired the rifle again and the leading wolf fell, howling with pain as it tried to drag itself away on its belly.
Only two rounds left in the magazine.
He dropped the rifle on the floor and reached for the pistol.
Two more were running at him, one coming from the left the other straight toward him.
He fired once at the wolf on the left that fell onto its front legs and skidded to a halt about ten yards from him.
The other was running toward him and then leaped in the air, its maw wide open and a demonic snarl escaping from its foam flecked lips as it sought to bite his throat.
He fell onto his back in the snow and fired twice into its belly. The bullets threw it back tumbling in the air as an arc of blood sprayed across his face and down his chest.
It then lay on the ground howling in pain and panting until he fired another shot into its face.
He knelt on his right knee and pointed the pistol before him waiting for the rest of the pack to come forward and continue the attack.
Each second elapsed in tortuous slow motion, his heart hammering in his chest and his bowels loosening.
He rose and slid the safety catch on the pistol and reached down for the rifle.
The sun had now risen above the mountains and was turning the crags crimson in its morning glory.
He put the rifle strap across his right shoulder and walked to the dead wolves, taking the skinning knife from its sheath.