Clem loaded both barrels with buckshot and lamented that he was unable to find the deer slugs in the chaos. He chambered the rounds and took a deep breath. The screams had subsided now into moans and whimpers, and Clem knew it was too late to save his friends, but he could still hear the beasts tearing the camp apart, so he knew it wasn’t too late to exact some revenge. He eased around the tree and tried to make out movement in the darkness. The fire had gone out and the night was moonless, but Clem had always had excellent night vision. He saw a furry shadow, and took aim even though something about the shape seemed wrong. The shotgun blast thundered and blazed in the night, and a sharp, feral cry told Clem that he hit his mark. He took refuge behind the tree again and pulled more ammunition from the pocket of his jacket.
Clem opened the gun once more, but before he could reload he heard snarling rapidly approaching his hiding spot. He shouldered the gun and got a hand hold on the tree. He wouldn't be able to outrun the wolves, but wolves couldn't climb trees. Clem heaved himself up and swung his leg onto a branch. He was reaching up for another hand-hold when he felt a claw wrap around his leg and he was yanked down. Clem hit his head on the trunk of the tree and bright stars exploded in front of his eyes. He was stunned and confused as he felt himself being picked up and thrown against the tree. He felt hot fetid breath on his face that reeked of blood. Clem struggled to focus his eyes, but he was now aware that the creature was not a mere wolf.
The beast lunged and Clem instinctively thrust the shotgun into its jaws, but still felt a blinding pain as the teeth sunk into his shoulder. The thing shook him viciously then abruptly let him go, and let out a pained sound. Clem's body toppled over limply and he was subjected to a kick in the face from a boot. Wolves with boots? Clem thought dully as a dragon of pain breathed its fire through his body, and consciousness ebbed away.