1450 c/o Valerie O'Riordan

seven stages leading to predatory wolf attacks

The wolves rounded the final corner as the sun was rising and there were the gates, tall and Parisian and unlocked.

"The gates!" they cried and grinned and the two at the back high-fived, and they all slung arms around each other, clumps of matted fur and stale blood mingling companionably as they cheered and yawned.

A small girl was passing though the gates, lugging a heavy basket with both hands, walking with a lurching gait. She saw the wolves and screamed. She flung her basket to the ground and ran into the city.
"The wolves are at the gates!" she yelled, sprinting through the streets and hammering at doors and pulling bell-cords and screaming all the time.
"The wolves are at the gates!" she sobbed, grasping the legs of every adult she passed.

But she had come a very long way from home with her basket, and spoke a strange language, and the adults patted her on the head and smiled at this jolie fille speaking in tongues, and a priest was fetched.
"The wolves are at the gates, padré!" she moaned, trying to bolt the heavy church door shut. The priest, strange himself, gasped and ran out into the streets, imploring the citizens of Paris to barricade themselves indoors.

"The wolves are at the gates, my children!" he called, and the people paused and wondered what he could mean, and fetched their Bibles and consulted different editions and thought about allegory and metaphor and coffee and red wine and truffles and secularism.

The priest fell to his knees and begged the skies.
"The wolves are at the gates, mon pére," he whispered, and it started to rain.

The little girl followed a tangle of paw-prints along the avenues, and as the raindrops smudged and muddled and washed away the trail, she reached a hill-top and looked back.
The newsboys, barefoot and over-excited in the early morning sun, called from street-corners, "The wolves are at the gates!"
The people, stretching their arms and rolling their eyes, moved slowly towards the hullaballoo, and had a look for themselves.
The gates swung in the breeze, unaccompanied.
"No wolves here," the people said, annoyed.

The little girl looked in the other direction, where down the abandoned Champs d'Elysee the wolves strolled, eating ice-cream and taking amusing photographs on disposable cameras.
They filed their claws on the sharp corners of the Eiffel Tower and cleaned their teeth with wicker toothpicks ripped from the child's abandoned basket, and waited.