Detective Jenkins, Capt. Rogers, Dr. Jacobs and Dexter the dog
Dexter panted, excitedly wagging his tail as he looked up at the detective lovingly. Detective Jenkins picked up the dog from the kennel with Dr. Jacobs. They arrived where the Van had originally been in what they thought was an abandoned parking lot, but in reality was home of The Wolf’s Den Tavern, protected by an ancient incantation to shelter it from prying eyes. He had called Capt. Rogers and now he waited for his arrival.
“You know, I thank you because you are the third person that knew without a shadow of a doubt that something strange was truly happening…” Doctor Jacobs paused for emphasis before continuing, “You know it wasn’t your fault, don’t you? I have seen their eyes, full of frenzy. Cody wasn’t in his right mind from what you’re telling me. I don’t know that there was anything you could have done differently, or I, for that matter.” He mused.
“Yeah, I’ve seen Cody with my own eyes and truthfully I wouldn’t have believed what is transpiring!” Detective Jenkins scoffed. He scrounged around for his crumpled half pack of cigarettes from his pants pocket beating his crumpled cigarettes on his thigh then offering one to Jacobs.
“No, thank you.” Dr. Jacobs politely declined.
Jacobs could only smile as he started to think about his own encounter. He knew he acted out of instinct. He acted in self-defense when he killed Freddy by the theater. It wasn’t technically his responsibility but in his heart it was his fault. It worried him when the lunacy overtook him he had begun to love it more and more and that vexed his soul, his very faith in his own humanity.
Dr. Jacobs had helped Detective Jenkins get the ATV down and now he sat patiently waiting for Capt. Rogers’ arrival, his dark sunglasses keeping safe his sensitive eyes from the harsh sun light. The minute sounds and faint smells of the forest were exhilarating him. He could zero in on the tiniest mouse hastily making its nest. Astounded he could tell by the sounds and smells how far away the mother sparrow tweeted for her babies to feed, in fact with every inhalation he could tell how many animals belonged to each family. Now, so sharp, so potent the odor, it gave him goose bumps on his arms trailing down to his hands.
He felt as if he would just jump out of his skin. His wrist watch which tracks heart rate beeped incessantly. Dr. Jacobs’ curious nature led to relentless experiments with his unholy gift. He knew that if he could go into a trance like state and increase his respiration his heart rate would quicken releasing endorphins, awakening the parasites inside of him. He would successfully transform into a powerful humanoid, a beast like-Neanderthal with no worry, no cares, just running on pure animal instinct. It had become surprisingly easy to transform, more control each time. As more and more parasites flooded his veins he started a low guttural growl, which worried and concerned the man of faith so he took in a deep breath trying to slow down his heart.
“I have seen the colossal power that the inflicted possess and there are at least two of them. Capt. Rogers is on my side, he too has seen what I’ve seen,” Detective Jenkins ambled over to Dr. Jacobs. He couldn’t help thinking that not only his medical training but his exposure with this mysterious bug would be an asset whenever they came across the suspects again.
He paced away, a calm silence filled the air Detective Jenkins deep in thought until the ghost of his son spoke, breaking through his concentration, Philip questioned. “What is it you’re looking for, Dad?”
Detective Jenkins’ body jumped into the air, he had all but forgotten about the ghost in the midst of his musings. Jenkins started to protest, “I’m not looking for anything per say, I’m just… Well, I’m just stalling until Rogers gets here.”
Capt. Rogers’ paperwork for his quadrant, Pointe Coupee through West Feliciana parish, which consisted of over five hundred square miles had stacked up of late. Since the arson at Michael Millers he had seen two of the alleged cult member’s faces or an extreme facsimile thereof and he felt in the pit of his soul he would soon unravel this mystery. The Capt. let out a satisfied groan when he finished up the last of his tedious paperwork pushing off from his desk and stretching his legs before he headed out to meet up with Detective Jenkins as planned.
Concealed by a multitude of Cypress trees, Capt. Rogers couldn’t see the Jenkins as his truck sped along Route 1 until he turned the wheel onto a side road toward the parking lot and the concealed Wolf’s Den. Capt. Rogers and Jenkins caught sight of each other. Jenkins adjusted his eyes to look at what he imagined to be a little red matchbox truck. Further still and the truck look like a red snap-together model hurtling towards him. He unclipped his walkie-talkie to say he had already arrived as Jacobs quietly stood beside him.
“Well it’s about time, Thompson; I thought you weren’t going to make it!” As the truck came into view he couldn’t help but smile ear-toear the pair had become a trio, the three musketeers. Jenkins scoffed or more than likely they would be the hilarious three stooges.
“I had to finish my reports after work, I still haven’t had the chance to change out of my uniform yet,” Capt. Rogers looked up at the gathering gray cloudy formation, “I hope it doesn’t rain on us.”
Dexter led Detective Jenkins down into the ditch, his tail wagging. The chain snapped taunt, the eager dog leading him up on the shoulder of the road. Jenkins aggressively tugged the chain until the dog froze. Jenkins waved his hand in the air so Capt. Rogers could easily spot him and put on the brakes.
“Who the hell is that?” Capt. Rogers questioned. He had parked on the shoulder of the road and gotten out of his dusty truck and now he stared daggers at the presumed stranger.
“Don’t you recognize him, Thompson?” Jonathan Jenkins remarked pointing at Dr. Jacobs.
Thompson Rogers scrutinized Dr. Jacobs’ outlandish appearance, “Who?”
Rogers did not recognize the doctor right away. He had been used to Jacobs’ clean and well-fitting outfits but the stranger had on an ill-fitting, dirty uniform. He had gotten taller and leaner. He now wore a grungy lab jacket two sizes too big for him and the length of his pants two sizes too small on him. Rogers had been used to Dr. Jacobs’ thinning and receding hairline. This stranger had thick, silver-gray hair, and bushy gray eyebrows that appeared as one eyebrow instead of a pair.
Dr. Jacobs took off his sun glasses. They were no longer the familiar loving and compassionate eyes. They were tired and anxious but the very structure of his eyes had changed; his new eyes had a keen intelligence, somehow mixed with cunning instinct. Even the irises changed to a glowing golden brilliance. No more wrinkles that had come with age his face tightened and smooth. A whole different person altogether, Rogers thought. Dr. Jacobs’ new visage, his confident stature with his smashed fighter’s nose and high cheekbones he looked almost dangerous.
Dr. Jacobs stepped over the ditch and got alongside the truck asking,
“You don’t remember me Capt. Rogers?”
Capt. Rogers squinted as if peering closer, “Dr. Jacobs?”
The doctor’s voice lower and deeper than normal, “Don’t you recognize me, Captain? I’m Doctor Jacobs.”
“Hell, um, right… Lord, have you changed!” Capt. Rogers couldn’t believe his eyes.
The man’s conflicted behavior and his body language aside the white uniform sparked Rogers’ recognition. It was Dr. Jacobs’ mind but the physique had changed somehow. Capt. Rogers saw Dr. Jacobs’ conflicted expression, as if his eyes had been at odds with two persons trying to possess one physical body.
Detective Jenkins smiled as he regarded Capt. Rogers’ dark navy Jacket and pants suit so perfectly cleaned and neatly pressed. Jenkins saw his bright white, starched button up shirt, dark blue silk tie, shiny brass cufflinks; he looked so professional, at odds with their bizarre reunion. In the back of his mind he welcomed the mounting support, Rogers and now Jacobs believing bizarre events occurring.
Capt. Rogers shrugged his shoulders in a submissive gesture relating to all the unbelievable things, things that he had seen far. Teaming up with the expertise of the doctor to investigate the mysterious strangers seemed like a good thing. Through Dr. Jacobs he could scientifically report back the findings anonymously to Amy Anderson so she could lead with a breaking report of the phenomenon she had been looking for.
Capt. Rogers had recently obtained several items of value to Tequila and Garrett procured by their friend, AJ, commanding, “here boy, get a good whiff!”
Capt. Rogers whistled for Dexter. Detective Jenkins released the dog from its chain who instantly and enthusiastically responded. Capt. Rogers bent a knee and gave Dexter the clothing, who greedily inhaled their scents. Eventually Dexter had a trajectory and the dog’s tail rose up and stiffened.
“Okay, here is the game plan…” Used to giving out orders, Capt. Rogers spat out commands, “Jenkins and Dexter will go on the ATV, Dr. Jacobs and I will follow you on side roads suitable for my truck, communicating on radio.”
The trio nodded and Dexter barked as if he understood.
“Forgive me, but Captain Rogers is right… you have drastically changed. Do you still feel the same?” Detective Jenkins tried to play off his concern, worry still evident in his cracking voice as he turned the key to the ATV.
Dr. Jacobs thought about the question a moment and spoke, “no, I feel fine… great, actually. I am still me, strangely, only in a new package that changed for the better; it’s actually quite fascinating clinically!”
He managed a smile, “All of my faculties are working fine and I have all of my long-term memories but…” He shrugged and looked down at his distorted body, his lips quivering because he knew his rational thought was starting to conflict with baser animal instinct.
Detective Jenkins looked into his eyes and smiled a toothy smile, as he pats Jacobs’ shoulder for comfort. Jacobs’ heart rate quickened, the hairs rising on the back of his neck. Somewhere he heard a growl of warning and was momentarily alarmed until he realized it came from his throat. For just one moment he had thought the detective’s exposed teeth were a sign that Jenkins was somehow threatening him. And his staring into the doc’s eyes had seemed a sign of superiority or dominance. The Detective’s social clues of comfort were unconsciously mistaken as signs of aggression, making the doctor severely uncomfortable, invading his personal space, both frightening and enraging him. He realized all this and had to restrain himself from striking out at the detective’s neck… 1, 2, 3… the Doctor counted silently; he had to calm down, and inhaled slowly. His heart rate slowing until he came to his senses.
“Are you coming?” Capt. Rogers questioned, already in the truck with the engine running.
“Let’s go!” Dr. Jacobs climbed into the truck and sat down then wrung the used clothing in his clenched fists, he breathed in the familiar clothing too.
Detective Jenkins and Capt. Rogers conversed by radio, the truck stayed on the neglected but passable pathways. Dexter ran through the fields using shortcut after shortcut until the dog came upon Gerome’s manor.
“Hey Rogers, Dexter has stopped over at Gerome’s old plantation…” Detective Jenkins squawked.
The Captain shivered at the myths of his childhood but he remembered the legends. Gerome’s place lay abandoned but in the full moon’s light a sorrowful howl could be heard coming from inside of the house. The howling had stopped long ago before he was born and he had long since grown up but he knew the myths well.
Detective Jenkins called, “You have to see this, get here right away; copy?”
“Copy, be there right away, over and out.” Capt. Rogers turned off the radio and looked over at Dr. Jacobs who stretched his head out the window oblivious to him as he sniffed the air around him.
“It’s gonna rain cats and dogs, I can feel it.” Dr. Jacobs closed his eyes and looked up to the sky.
Capt. Rogers continued slowly on a poorly maintained dirt road until he came alongside the ATV. He still sat on the seat of the ATV and Dexter stared off in the distance with his tail between his legs, too scared to go any further, involuntarily relieving himself upon the grass.
Detective Jenkins could see strategically placed Weeping Willow trees that had been planted a long, long time ago in the distance concealing the whitewashed walls of Gerome’s old place. Capt. Rogers observed the white van in the gravel driveway. The gravel drive spanned the length of several football fields, from the van to the thick wooded area. The driveway abruptly serpentine, conveniently obscuring the barn that held many infected, including the pack’s inner circle, between the thick woods and the white house.
“Dexter had a strong scent; he rushed me around through the trees but then it was like the Millers incident. The dog stopped, shaking, and Dexter started circling around me his tail between his legs. He was a professionally trained tracker! Not easily sidetracked or frightened until he got to the Millers shack and Raccourci Island.” Jenkins remarked, he had let go of Dexter’s leash and he promptly jumped into the truck bed. “I tried to coax him to go further but it was useless!”
The first large thick cylindrical raindrop fell to the ground and Detective Jenkins, Capt. Rogers, Dr. Jacobs and Dexter the dog, looked up into the dark, cloudy sky as a torrent of rain began to fall. While Rogers and Dr. Jacobs were protected by the windshield from a good soaking, it got the clothing of Jenkins uniform and Dexter’s fur. Even Jenkins’ ghost son looked up into the sky in the bed of the truck, so the raindrops fell down on the bed liner.
“I think it’s time to go!” Capt. Rogers barked his arm outstretched across the rolled down driver side window.
“I’ll help you load up the ATV. Then you can get in my friend.” Rogers signaled Dr. Jacobs to step back.
Dr. Jacobs stared at the wooded area behind the white house. Almost in a trance he spoke softly under his breath, “they are here somewhere in the wooded area, I can smell it…”
Nobody heard Dr. Jacobs’ soft-spoken warning. Detective Jenkins and Capt. Rogers had just loaded up the ATV when headlights of the van quickly approached.
“Hey, Captain Rogers! Do you and your buddies want to come out of the rain? I am heading back toward the motel.”
Detective Jenkins and Capt. Rogers did not respond, but Sarah would not take no for an answer, “come on, I just got my van back and you can’t all fit in the cab of that truck, I’ll take you wherever you need to go after we get back to my dry room.”
The motley crew offered no further resistance as Rogers shrugged and climbed into the van and before he could shut his door, Dexter jumped out of the bed of the truck and hopped up on the seat with him. Sarah grinned at the dog who looked quite pleased for securing a warm, dry seat.