Another week passed. School was back in session, and people back to their normal routine. I was starting to think my adversary had flown the coop. As nice as it is and as good as the food is at Deb’s Café, the diner I ate at when I first hit town, I was missing Portillo’s and Lou Malnati’s. I was missing Hal and Abbey. They’re pretty much all I have. No family anymore. Pestering Carla aside, it’s not like someone like me can actually date someone. Basically, I suck,
My first break in the case came when a deputy was asked to check on one Lucy Everett, an aging hippie that lived by herself and ran a goat cheese business out of her home. She lived nearby but hadn’t been seen in 3 days. The neighbors were worried and requested a wellness visit. The deputy’s panicked request for backup squawked loudly on the walkie talkie. I raced over to his location. When I got there and went inside, he was sitting at the kitchen table crying. Lucy, or rather her blood covered bones, lay about the floor in pools of blood.
The thing had gotten in in human form, probably pretending to be a customer. Probably incapacitated her in some way, ether, a blow to the head. Undressed, transformed, ate Lucy. Changed back, got dresses. Left his socks. Why? Maybe just forgot them. Bloody monster and human footprints. Other cops began showing up. Some went to interview the neighbors, see if they saw anything. Some carefully went over the property, looking for anything that might help.
I sat thinking. Where is this thing living? Who is it? What does it’s human half look like? What was its name? We were going to have to get real lucky if we were going to find it.
Luck showed up later that day. But the deputies messed that up. The deputies had dispersed, leaving two forensic guys to go over the scene. Why, I don’t know, it’s not like you can arrest this thing. Oh well…
Just before dark, Grover came over on the radios. He was parked down the street from a small rental property owned by an old man named Sullivan. An ’82 Ford F150 was parked in the gravel driveway. He said it was faded blue with rust and primer spots. A cracked front window, a rusty trailer hitch, and Washington plates, number BCJ9999. Every officer in the area converged. It took me a few moments to put the address into GPS, and then drive there. Aside for a few deputies in the backyard, firing AR15’s into the woods. I asked them what happened. The deputies arrived, and relegated Grover to traffic control, even though he was the only one there with a weapon that could hurt it. Instead of laying low and waiting for me, they approached the front of the house. The subject came out the front door in just jeans, and lit a cigarette. The deputies hit him with spotlights and ordered him to lay face down and put his hands behind his head. Which of course he didn’t. The deputies opened fire. He transformed, bounced on deputy off a tree, then ran into the forest. Three deputies went into the forest after it. Some of the deputies were so freaked that they were in the back yard, firing at every movement or noise.
The guys in the back yard ran out of ammo and slowly walked back to the front of the house. Luckily, the deputies that chased it into the woods didn’t get eaten, They made their way back, looking back over their shoulders.
“What part of do not engage don’t you ass hats understand?” I queried. They looked at me, stunned. “You guys were told your weapons won’t hurt it. You were told it’s no longer human. You were goddam well told that I’m here to kill this thing, and you guys are here to keep the public outta the way!”
I walked into the shed, garage, whatever, and found a 5 gallon jerry can of gasoline. I walked into the rental home, spread gas all over, pulled out my Zippo, and lit it on fire. Then I went outside with what was left of the gas, pulled a rag out of the back of the truck, soaked it in gas and jammed it into the tank.
“You guys might wanna run,” I growled. Then I lit the rag and backed off. The truck exploded in fire and wreckage. The house went up like dried kindling.
“What are you trying to do?” one of the deputies screamed. “You can’t break the law! Who do you think you are?”
“Now it has no vehicle! Now it has no lair! All his clothes and belongings are in there. Now he’s naked and on the run. You’ve got the plate number and you’ll have its name. Now it’s in survival mode. It knows it has nothing to fear from you guys. But to get off this mountain alive, it knows now it has to go thru me. It’s watching right now. It knows the only way this ends is monster versus monster.”
For the first time since they met me, the deputies saw the truth. I’m not some big ugly guy. I’m not some really weird version of Dog the bounty hunter. I am a monster. And now they saw it.
“If Sullivan wants restitution, he can sue me when this is over. A lot of people do. I have a habit of breaking things. Now, get back to your patrols and sing out if you see anything. Grover! I need to talk to you.”
Grover came walking over.
“Thanks for spotting the truck. That was sharp eyes. Keep that shotgun handy. This is going to come to a head real quick. It’s going to want to draw me out as much as I want to it out.”
“Listen, Mister Garrett, I know you’ve been sleeping in your SUV. That can’t be too comfortable, not as big as you are. Why don’t you come home with me. I got a roll away.”
I don’t sleep as often or as long as a human being. But yeah, as big as the Denali was, I was bigger. And using the power washer and cleanser behind Deb’s Café as a shower was getting old. I don’t get to many invitations. Especially after I was just chewing people out.
“Yeah, OK.” I said. “Thank you. Thank you very much.”
We drove back o Grover’s house. It was too late for dinner. We had Hot Pockets from the microwave oven, and Strawberry Fanta. I was too heavy for the roll away, so I slept on the floor. I slept, dreaming of the path not taken. Married to my old girlfriend from the 80’s, Darla. Two grown kids, second grandchild on the way. My job back, good money, a home. I woke up to the reality of being the monster man.
Grover and I were both up by 5:30 am. He had to keep watch on the school bus, while I needed to get back to looking for a monster.
I hate things like this Wechuge. Big things that can move fast and silently without leaving a trace. Werewolves can be like that, especially Lup Garous and Lobis Homen. They’re both humanoid, and smart. Which is to say smart for an animal. And they won’t back down from a fight. They don’t run away. Regular werewolves, the four legged kind, they avoid fights whenever possible. I’ve never seen a Bigfoot so I can’t confirm that they back off rather than fight, but I’ve seen a Momo. Momo, despite popular opinion, is not a Bigfoot.
Momo, or more properly the Missouri Monster, is a strange hairy being, first seen in 1971 near Louisiana Missouri. It’s a tad over seven feet tall, covered on black hair, with a big pumpkin shaped head. You can’t see it’s face for all the hair. It’s got three toes on each foot, and two fingers and a thumb on each hand. It smells like King Kong shit in a sewage treatment plant. And no, King Kong’s not real either. Momo has been appearing randomly since 1971, occasionally eating dogs and other pets, and scaring people silly. Then, last year, Momo showed up again. But THIS time, Momo killed two kids, brothers, that were fishing. Then it killed a man who was working on a screen door on the back of his home. Finally, he was actually within the city limits of Louisiana, withstood gunfire from several cops, and disappeared into the swamp. I was contacted. The city paid me fairly well to come take care of things. Tracking it in the swamp was impossible, and he could move silently in the wild. So I baited him in. I found a family, the Johnsons, that lived at the edge of the swamp, and I had them throw a barbecue, with a radio playing music and tiki torches and kids playing noisily. Right after dark, Momo crossed into the yard. And yeah, it smells just that bad. The family ran in the house while I attacked Momo.
Momo is big and strong, but not a fighter, nor smart. I was able to beat it unconscious. My handler, Carla, arranged pickup. I still don’t know where they take these things, and I never found out what Momo is.
Grover left to meet the school bus, and I went to the burned out wreckage of Sullivan’s to see if I could pick up a trail. I was able to follow the tracks thru the woods well enough. It wasn’t making an attempt to hide his tracks. Branches were snapped all along the root it took. I found a nest it made out of branches and pine boughs to sleep in. The tracks circled back, towards Sullivan’s. Probably to see if any of its stuff survived. The tracks reached Sullivan’s, stopped momentarily, then crossed the road. I picked it up on the other side and continued to follow it. On and on it went. It slipped past the two man team at the Command Post. So did I. It crossed into the Timber company’s land. I picked up the pace. I was more familiar here. I used to hike this stretch of territory. It crossed a creek and continued up towards Alsea Deadwood. Then it stopped It must have heard something. I stopped. Something moved.
A black bear crossed in front of me. I watched it pass. I moved on, following the tracks. It was ghosting the road, sticking to the forest, stopping to stare at backyards and farms but it kept moving. Thankfully Lizzy’s home was in the other direction. I kept moving. The land was rising, the road now beneath me by fifty feet, I knew ahead it would level out again. It was headed towards town. What the hell was it up to? I pressed on, keeping eye on the tracks. Then I heard a loud gunshot. A shotgun. Up ahead. I took off running Another gunshot. 7 deer raced past me from the direction of the gunshots. They were really spooked, oblivious to me.
Below me, a boulder had been pushed into the road. The bus was stopped, the kids were screaming, and Grover was firing on the monster. The silver buckshot was definitely hurting it, but the beast drew it’s big arms up to shield it’s torso and face. I took a running start and jumped. It howled at Grover, who let fly his last four shells into the monsters face and head. Even at 12 gauge, it wasn’t enough to breach it’s skull. It reared back, blood flying then started to go for Grover.
I landed in a three point stance. You’ve seen it. Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor on the Quinjet in Avengers, Angel Dust off the wrecked helicarrier in Deadpool. They all do it. Asphalt cracked and sprayed about from my landing. The thing stopped, pulling up short. I rose, fists clenched. Our eyes met. It pulled back a bit. And then it spoke.
“Why are you doing this” it asked. “You are another thing, like me. We are not human. Humans are our prey. Why do you fight me? Why do you not feast? Who are you?”
“You were human once. You’ve heard my name, even as a child. In books and films and nightmares your parents said weren’t real. Later on, after you became… this, you travelled. You no doubt had to pay respect to Van Raffen, the vampire lord of Seattle, and Eyes So Far, the Manitou who resides in power in Portland. You know the places, the locations to be safe and be among others in the shadows. And there you heard my name again, this time with fear and dread. I AM FRANKENSTEIN! And this is your last day!” Hey, sometimes you have to live the part.
“My last day? No! Yours!” it snarled. “I have heard them speak of you. They say you’re a pretender, that the Monster died during the last world war.”
“That’s the nice thing about being a product of science. I get upgrades. You’re looking at 2.0, buddy! Now, you gonna talk or are you gonna fight, asshole?”
The creature lunged. I charged. The kids in the bus screamed. It was ugly time.