CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
Greg nodded at the paramedic as he listened to the instructions to keep firm pressure on the gauze lined pad that he held to the cut on his forehead. Sitting in the door way to the rear of an ambulance he looked around the scene before him and it reminded him of any saturday night cop show he might have seen on television. Firefighters still continued to hose down Cain’s home address as well as the residents either side of it and blue lights reflected in the puddles of water that had begun to pool all over the street. His colleagues in uniform had cordoned off the street and evacuated the houses along the row and utility service men could be seen busy at work presumably turning off gas and electricity to the immediate area in case of secondary fires or gas leaks. He could see Emma laid out in the back of another ambulance across the road a short distance away and he slowly stood placing his foot carefully out in front of him as if he was trying to walk a chasm along a narrow plank. His head swam as he tried to focus and his body was still trying to recover from the concussion he received but slowly his feet began to respond to his command and he steadily made his way across towards Emma. Reaching the back of the ambulance Greg steadied himself by gripping the handle on the door with his free hand and he looked at the paramedic in the back before speaking.
“Is she going to be alright?” Greg asked his voice laced with notes of concern.
Nodding whilst lifting a drip and hooking it in place the paramedic replied to Greg’s question in earnest.
“She should make a full recovery. She has lost quite a bit of blood and the laceration to her lower leg was quite bad but she is stable now and in no immediate danger but we need to take her to Hospital.” The paramedic confirmed as he busied himself caring for Emma.
“Can I speak with her before you go?” Greg nodded as he acknowledged what the medic had just told him before he spoke.
“Two minutes but be quick.” Replied the medic as he stepped from the ambulance and went to speak to his colleague a short distance away.
Greg pulled himself up into the back of the ambulance and took the seat the paramedic had been sat in moments earlier then looked down at Emma and smiled. Emma smiled back weakly and slowly lifted the oxygen mask down from her face before she spoke softly.
“We made it then?” Emma said trying not to show the pain she was in but at the same time managing to sit almost upright on the bed she was seated upon.
“Yes. Yes we did.” Greg almost laughed as he spoke but smiled warmly instead. Taking her hand in his he lifted it up to his lips and kissed it gently before leaning in and kissing her tenderly on the lips. As they sat their looking at one another sharing the relief of both of them felt with them still being alive they suddenly had an epiphany almost occurring at the same time. Their faces were both covered in the same quizzical expression as they said together at almost the same time.
“Mr. Whiskers?” The pair blurted out to one another.
“Did he?” asked Emma.
“I think he was the only one who escaped without a scratch and I saw him looking back at me from under my car just before I must have passed out.” Greg replied to her question in a reassuring tone.
“I know you will think I’m crazy but he saved me at the end I was being dragged down with that creature and he leapt on it causing it to let go of me.” Emma said with almost disbelief in her own words.
“After what we have seen tonight I’m willing to believe in almost anything including heroic cats.” Greg was interrupted by the paramedic who had returned to the ambulance and coughed to make his presence made aware.
Kissing her hand once more and placing it gently on her chest Greg spoke softly to her.
“I’ll see you soon.” With a wistful note in his voice he got up and stepped out of the ambulance.
Emma smiled as she watched him leave and the paramedic sat down next to her.
“Don’t worry miss you will soon be back on your feet. Is that your husband?” The paramedic asked as he made polite conversation.
“Not yet.” Emma smiled to herself as she answered the medics question.
Greg watched as the paramedics colleague closed the rear doors then shortly afterwards the ambulance started up and drove away conveying Emma to the nearest hospital and safety.
“Greg” a voice he recognised was calling out from behind him.
As he turned he saw a fellow colleague, Detective Kirk Wilson, from Scotland Yard beckoning him over. The throbbing in his head was slowly beginning to subside and he could feel his senses begin to return to him so he walked slowly over to his colleague shaking his hand in greeting as he reached him.
“What in all the holey hells happened here then mate?” Detective Wilson quizzed as he swept his arms in front of himself encompassing the disaster scene before him.
“It’s a long story and one you probably wouldn’t believe.” Greg shook his head as he spoke.
“Well you better come up with some answers pretty damn pronto mate as the superintendent is awake and asking questions and where the hell is the chief?” Kirk asked emphatically of his colleague.
“I think he was in the house when it went up. I was here looking for him. Do you remember the murder that happened the other night? He was following a lead here and when I couldn’t contact him on his phone I came here looking for him.” Greg’s face was awash with sorrow and regret as he spoke and he was almost certain that they would find the body of his chief inspector in the ruins of the house.
Detective Wilson looked visibly shocked as he heard the news and immediately reached for his mobile phone to tell his supervisor the news. He was clearly shaken by the news and he fumbled in his jacket in an awkward attempt to find his phone as he walked off. Greg watched on as Wilson conveyed the news to whoever was on the other end of the phone with varying degrees of animation and colourful words. Removing the gauze dressing from his head he checked his wound to see if it was still bleeding and it had appeared to have finally stopped. Looking over at the house he could see the hoses being turned off and the first of the fire crews working their way tentatively into the ruins of Cain’s house. Walking towards the house he tossed the dressing in a pile of refuse nearby then approached the fire chief.
“What’s the situation?” Greg flipped out his warrant card as he asked.
The chief looked first at him then looked down at his badge before replying.
“We believe we have the fire out at least. Next we are going to carry out exploratory checks on the structure before we look for any other survivors. The whole upper floor has been compromised and those of the houses either side.” The chief’s radio crackled into life as he strained to hear what was being said by one of his crew that had entered the building.
“……structure seems…..secure enough……proceeding……” the broken message from a firefighter using an oxygen mask came across the chief’s radio.
It then suddenly hit Greg like a sledgehammer and his mind raced as he thought what if the creatures had somehow survived the fire; the firemen were walking to their certain deaths. Greg took several steps towards the house before the fire chief took hold of him.
“Where the hell do you think you are going! No one is going in there till I say so.” The fire chief reprimanded Greg.
“You don’t understand you have to warn your men there could be dangerous wild animals in the house.” It was the best warning Greg could come up with without blurting out that they may be attacked by werewolves at any moment and risking the distinct possibility of being laughed at or worse locked up himself. The fire chief looked at him and shook his head before bringing his radio to his mouth once more.
“We have information that there may be dangerous animals kept in the house.” He said hesitantly over his radio to the crews exploring the house.
“……..you mean like dogs?........or spiders? I hate spiders chief.” Came the shallow reply from one of the fire crew inside the house.
“Whatever animals are in there just be careful with them as they will have been terrified by the fire and you might get bit trying to rescue them alright.” The chief shook his head as he turned to Greg and said “Satisfied?”
What seemed like an eternity passed as Greg watched on half expecting the screams to begin any second and the horror to that he had lived through earlier this evening to come back to life once more. The chiefs radio crackled into life again as another message from the fire crews exploring the house began.
“ah hell……yeah there were dogs here alright…….big fucking dogs chief…….and we have bodies too………they must have tried saving their pets……..the body parts seem melted together……..” The voice crackled over the radio.
“Roger that” came the curt answer from the fire chief.
“Well there’s your answer detective.” The chief motioned for more recovery crews as he spoke to Greg.
Greg stood there listening to the fire chief’s words slowly digesting what he was being told as his head began to clear and the throbbing subsided. The fire must have consumed them in its blaze he thought thankfully to himself as he watched the fire chief walking off barking orders to his men. He slumped against a nearby fire truck as he watched the fire crews go about the gruesome recovery of the bodies from the building. As he stared at the smouldering ruins in front of him and with his senses returning to him his foggy mind recollected his original destination which had been to drive to the professor’s house. He would have to call him and give him the grim news he thought as he slipped his phone out from his pocket and looked at the number that he had been given for the professor earlier that day. Greg paused for a moment gathering his thoughts before deciding to call; it would not be an easy phone call to make. Punching in the numbers he waited until he heard the phone ring and he heard the voice of Marcus on the other end answering his phone.
“Hello. Who is this?” Marcus asked.
“Its Detective Lawrence here Professor Tremane” Greg paused and rubbed his aching brow as he spoke.
“Where are you?” asked Marcus with some interested.
“I’m at what’s left of Cain’s home address.” Greg replied solemnly.
“What do you mean? I was just about to head over there myself” Marcus spoke in astonishment as he absorbed what he was being told.
“It’s been burned to the ground. We were attacked inside by wolf like creatures and” Greg swallowed and paused once more before finishing his sentence.
“Inspector Williams was inside. One of the creatures we encountered. It just threw his head at my feet. What in god’s name is going on professor?” Greg asked his voice etched with fear.
“Come to my address as soon as you can my boy. We have much to discuss it seems” Marcus finished the call from Detective Lawrence and his heart sunk as he realized that with that information the final hope of finding his friend alive was gone. He slammed his fist onto the roof of his car in frustration before letting out a long sigh then turning slowly he made his way back into his home.
Greg stared at his phone for a few moments before slipping it back into his pocket and at the same time pulling his car keys out from the other. Looking around he could see his car still parked further down the street just inside the taped off cordon the uniformed police had erected to keep members of the public safe. Seeing Detective Wilson still animatedly talking on his phone he took the opportunity to slip away from the scene to avoid all the impossible questions that were bound to follow as soon as the top brass started arriving on scene and bodies were dragged from the house. Flashing his badge once more to the uniformed officer manning the cordon at the end of the street Greg indicated to him that he was going to his car and the constable simply nodded in acknowledgement. As he reached his car he could see shards of glass from the house windows littering the roof and small pieces of wood lay strewn across his bonnet. One of the windows at the rear of his car had been shattered by the explosion and the glass lay across the back seat of his vehicle. Hitting the key fob the car flashed in response and Greg tugged the driver’s door open and slid inside slipping the key into the ignition as he sat down. Just before he could turn the ignition key he let out a loud yell as he glanced to the foot well in the passenger side and saw a pair of emerald green eyes staring up at him from the shadowed alcove that the foot well created.
“Mr. Whiskers!” Greg exclaimed as he caught his breath before slipping on his seat belt and starting up the car.
“Fine. You can come along but only till we get to the professors then I’m calling the R.S.P.C.A or the chaplain if you’re lucky” He spoke in an exasperated tone as his heart began to return to normal.
Cassiel blinked her big green eyes slowly and hunkered down comfortably in the foot well as she began to gently purr.