“Couldn’t you find a more deserted place in Hessmer?” Phillip the ghost scoffed, he threw an incorporeal arm over Jenkins’ shoulder.
Detective Jenkins stared at the remains of a two-story house. The ruins now looked like the cross-section of a dollhouse. What used to form the walls in the kitchen was reduced to three kitchen cabinets strewn about on the floor. They were unaware of the four Royal Bay residents on the second floor. They froze, afraid to even breathe lest they be caught.
“I don’t even know what we are looking for!” Dr. Jacobs said discouraged.
“There is nobody here and I confess I don’t know what we are looking for either.” Said Detective Jenkins.
The upstairs residents drew a breath of relief. Confident they were gone. The Royal Bay residents couldn’t smell or hear them anymore. Eventually a group consisting of four people drifted back to sleep exhausted from the drastic changes and last night’s events.
Dr. Jacobs, Detective Jenkins, and the specter of Phillip rode on to another town with another burned down house. Again they were ignorantly unaware of the infected just feet away, obscured by the burnt up rubble. Yet another village in another burned out home far from society. Detective Jenkins gingerly touched the mysterious sigils written in blood, no signs of life.
With Dr. Jacobs’ help to track down any individual involved in the mayhem in their once peaceful parish all clues pointed toward the Asher’s house in New Roads. Burnt wood, the coppery gleam of exposed wires, and the smell of urine assaulted their senses. Jenkins caught movement from the corner of the room. Six filthy persons huddled together like a lazy orgy had just happened here. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing nude people all sleeping and lying on the floor filled with soot and debris together. One woman while hugging the group sluggishly opened her eyes. Like a deer in headlights she froze, her eyes widening in fright.
Like cockroaches scurrying from the light young filthy nude infected Royal Bay residents ran from Dr. Jacobs and Detective Jenkins. Two strangers, a man and woman obviously a couple, locked eyes on Dr. Jacobs and Detective Jenkins. Their faces obscured by their oily and dirty hair. They were horribly bruised from head to toe. They let out a warning growl. Jenkins whipped his head around to see Col. Miller and the originally double leg amputee Sgt. Adam Alexander, standing before him. Encircling them laid the nude young changelings who had stayed in the house, too exhausted to flee.
A sudden movement gave Detective Jenkins an involuntary flashback to seeing the paramedic’s claws. Then the eyes of his shocked son flashed through his mind when he pulled the trigger. Once, twice, the man fell down dead and the dirty woman gasped clutching her wound in her chest as well. Detective Jenkins cautiously advanced on the couple. His finger was still on the trigger and his eye on the target as he gained enough nerve to check the couple’s pulse.
Detective Jenkins stared at Col. Miller and Sgt. Adam Alexander closely. Alexander had his boots off and he saw paws where dirty fleshy feet had been and he stood on the balls of his hard pads! His Marine Corps field jacket arms had been torn off and he had fur sprouting out of his right arm with a long talon-like paw.
Col. Miller’s once hairy, wrinkly visage and drooping jowls had tightened and his face filled out. He had no need for dentures anymore, emerging with a set of full sharp fangs. Jenkins could not help looking into Col. Miller’s eyes and they looked hollow reminding him of a marionette puppet, but who was pulling the strings?
“What are you doing here?” Sgt. Adam Alexander yelled clutching Detective Jenkins’ collarbone with his new powerful lupine arm and spinning him around wincing in pain. “You killed my kin now you have to die!”
Dr. Jacobs’ eyes widened as he frantically reached for his revolver and fired hitting Sgt. Adam in the chest. Shocked Sgt. Adam stumbled back and fell. Miller growled in fury but instead of attacking Detective Jenkins he came to Sgt. Adam’s aid.
Jenkins’ incorporeal son whispered into his ear, “Let’s get out of here!”
The group stumbled out in unison from the condemned matchbox running toward the truck. They just had time enough to slam the doors shut when from out of the bushes there came two animals one crimson in color the other black as coal on all four legs targeting the truck. Dr. Jacobs craned his neck out the window wiping off dust in a circular motion. He could see through the dust two huge doglike creatures, closer examination revealed two huge hybrid-lupines, running after Detective Jenkins’s truck using their tails as rudders for balance and control.
“Shoot them!” Detective Jenkins anxiously ordered Dr. Jacobs.
Dr. Jacobs’ gun trained in on one of the two hybrid-wolves, incandescent eyes glinting, and fangs gnashing as they drew closer to the tailgate.
“What are you waiting for? Shoot it!” Detective Jenkins ordered turning the engine on and putting the truck into drive.
He pulled the trigger and the front limb burst with blood. No longer able to support its body the limb gave way; the hybrid-Wolf somersaulted toward the ground before righting itself again and stumbling up on two legs.
Dr. Jacobs shouted, “I thought I shot the monster!”
Dr. Jacobs hit the hybrid-Wolf in the chest but instead of falling down the hybrid-Wolf turned into a monster on two feet. When he was still a boy he believed in the supernatural; picking up his knowledge from books, movies, and television so it did not surprise him that the group of people could not transform under a new moon. But now Dr. Jacobs’ mind spun with new questions. Why did one couple die from a simple gunshot while the other seemed to be unstoppable?
He knew he hit the wolf squarely in the chest. He could see the blood but he could also see the wound seal up right before his eyes. Fairytales come to life; the wolves that were chasing them could instantly transform into monsters at will and stood up on two legs, a hybrid of human and lupine. One werewolf was an obvious man with a furry bulge, the other clearly a woman with a petite curvy figure and four pair of teats her uninjured arm gingerly nursing the other injured one. They hurdled toward the truck bed their long claws reaching for the bumper.
Why were the residents of Royal Bay shacking up in four burnt down houses and in human form; unable to change any form at will? Does the cycle of the Moon affect them? The truck was swerving back and forth at breakneck speed but the two wolf-things easily followed.
Dr. Jacobs rolled down the window and with a shaking hand he fired at the male hybrid. He hit the monster again. A slug to the abdomen slowed the male Wolf-thing but did not stop it.
“Impossible!” Dr. Jacobs said, astonished.
The wolves were able to shift with ease; they seemed to have rational conscience thought during this, unlike the doctor. The more that Dr. Jacobs had struggled with his lunacy the fevered transformation had always finished and amnesia hit him and just the powerful emotions remained.
Dr. Jacobs broke out in a cold sweat “Is that what I’m going to be like?”
Dr. Jacobs’ logical and inquisitive mind took over; his internal questions had to be put on hold, though. Out the passenger window he aimed for out reached claws and fired. A red fur hybrid-Wolf yelped in pain releasing its hold of the bumper as another hybrid-Wolf howled out in disappointment.
Somewhere concealed by rows and rows of Cyprus trees, Aticus was hugging a huge tree in human form and observed with his one good eye the growing conflict. So-seti emerged from the bushes her crutches giving her stability and her swollen belly looked like a beach ball ready to burst.
“Let them go, my sweet…” So-seti stroked Aticus’ gleaming raven black hair.
“First and foremost, two young changelings are dead. Alas I can’t help them, they were newly infected and it is too soon for the full moon’s influence to do any good. Get them out of our Den before more police find them. However, Adam Alexander will be fine, but he needs rest,” So-seti consoled him, “We have more important things to attend to, it is almost time to make preparations for the ritual to call upon the mighty shade.”
Aticus observed the speeding truck with the werewolves, Lance and Tonya, behind them. He could smell right away that Dr. Jacobs had been infected and they had more important things to do than get in a fight with their own. He shifted into a lupine figure and howled out orders.
“They are stopping!” Dr. Jacobs shouted seeing the beasts abruptly stop, transform into huge wolves again, and vanish into the weeds. “Good!” Detective Jenkins exclaimed, “What the hell is going on!?” “I don’t know.” The specter answered.
“We have to get Rogers, he and I are the only other ones seeing the strange fiends firsthand,” Detective Jenkins said never taking his eyes off the road.
Dr. Jacobs stayed silent the apprehension creaking in, and wondered, am I going to become one of those accursed creatures? What is going to happen to me? He knew his body was fighting the infection. When it lost the fight what would happen next?