From Algonquin mythology comes the many and varied legends of the Windigo. Its territory ranges from the Maritimes to the Northwest Territories to the Rockies. Thirty-seven variations of the name Windigo appear in published accounts from Wendigo to Onaouientagos. Windigo takes almost as many forms as names: it can be a giant demon, an insubstantial spirit, or it can be a person possessed by the lust to eat human flesh. There are a few common elements; the Windigo is always a cannibal and always comes in the winter months.
Windigo is a bit of a horror story, my first. I tried to keep the pace moving quickly. The setting is present-day northern Ontario, around the Magnetewan area (a small town a bit north of the Muskoka area).
“Windigo” is available in Mythspring, an anthology edited by Julie E. Czernada and Genevieve
Kierans and published by Red Deer Press.
A recent review showcasing a pretty substantial quote from the story at: University of Manitoba.
After a failed robbery George, his brother Tom, and Tom’s girlfriend try to escape into the backwoods. They drive off the road in a snow storm and as they try to find shelter, Tom goes missing. When he returns, George has to figure out if Tom’s still the brother he knew, or something else.
“The snow’s too heavy,” Iris said. “You can’t possibly see where you’re going.” The wipers thunked back and forth. B.T.O. was taking care of business on the Parry Sound radio station. The car dove down a hill through the blowing snow.
Tom looked over at Iris. “Babe, I—”
George saw something in the road ahead, just coming into view; man-shaped, but taller, indistinct and white. The headlights’s white glare revealed pale yellow eyes within a swirling vortex of snow. Arms extended from the sides of it ready to catch the oncoming car.
“Tom!” George yelled.
Tom’s head snapped back around to face forward.
“What the— ” Tom jerked the wheel too fast and the car slewed first left then right. They passed through the vortex, disrupting it. George heard a cry of hunger that no human could have produced, high and hateful, and felt a cold he had never felt before, a stabbing icicle through his heart. Terror struck George to the depth of his soul. Iris screamed. George craned
around to look at what they’d just passed through, but there was nothing there. Tom lost his fight to bring the car under control. The Buick spun around and went off the road trunk first, still doing almost fifty. It dropped down into a stand of trees and stopped with a jarring crash. Everything was silent except for B.T.O., working overtime.