CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
The moon was at its Zenith as the trio sped down the moonlit motorway in the dead of the night. With every passing hour they journeyed further north and ever closer to their quarry. As Greg concentrated on the road ahead of him he absently listened to his two passengers who by now were deep in conversation.
“So you believe then that they are a species evolved from the union of both beast and man?” Jacob quizzed Marcus on his origin beliefs of the werewolves.
“I am simply telling you what Cain told me earlier this evening that he believes he is some kind of offspring between man and the dire wolf or some other species that evolved prior to man.” Marcus replied with a slight shrug of his shoulders.
“What about the legends man, werewolves, vampires, demons they could all be true and if what is written down in that book that let’s not forget the Vatican has kept a closely guarded secret for hundreds of years then I am very much inclined to believe the writings are true!” Jacob waved his hands in the air as if to drive home his point.
“I’m not disagreeing with you Jacob. I just” Marcus was cut short as the Chaplain interrupted his friend.
“It all makes sense Marcus, these things are clearly men possessed by Demons and they are driven to transform into beasts to serve the Devils purpose. For God’s sake man the name Cain even means possessed what more proof do you need?” Jacob made the sign of the cross as he sat back in his seat.
“I think both are compelling arguments and depending on which flavour of thought you prefer Darwinism or Religion both have equal merits and neither detract from the fact that whatever they are; Cain at least is a threat to us and must be stopped.” The professor absently patted his pocket in which his small pistol rested before continuing on his conversation “The key factor here is that both lines of thought have two distinct themes in common and that is in the way these creatures can be killed.” Marcus was interrupted again as it was at this point Greg felt compelled to interject in the conversation to have at least one of many questions that were burning away in his mind answered.
“Explain to me how silver can be poisonous professor? I have never heard of anyone dying from silver poisoning and believe me in my line of work I would have heard about it.” Greg glanced over to Marcus as he posed his question.
“Oh my dear boy; you have to understand that everything that walks this earth has its strengths and weaknesses. The Cucujus clavipes is a beetle that lives on Everest and produces chemicals in its blood with similar properties to anti-freeze effectively allowing it to survive where most creatures would perish for example. There are many metals and metalloids that are toxic to humans in the right dose. Take arsenic for example; for thousands of years its been used for therapeutic use but we all now know of course its more lethal side effects too. Let’s not forget tribes have been hunting with poisonous darts for millennia.” Marcus smiled as he finished his rambling sentence feeling satisfied he had enlightened his detective friend.
“I think what Marcus is trying to say in his own way is that what one species of animal may find toxic another certainly may suffer no ill effect from.” Jacob interjected as he patted Greg on the shoulder.
“That’s what I said my dear fellow.” Marcus started to protest but Greg interrupted him by saying.
“Okay! Okay! I get it. So you have silver bullets then professor? So we should be able to kill Cain regardless of whatever he is.” A solemn silence fell over the three men for a moment before Marcus broke the silence by saying.
“Yes. I think the silver does more than simply poison the creature. It prevents it from regenerating and if it has poison flowing through its veins I believe it can be killed like any other creature as it will not be able to rely on its amazing healing abilities.” The professor pushed his glasses back and smoothed his moustache as he spoke.
“You better not miss then professor.” Greg commented as silence descended over the companions once more.
The night waned and hours passed as they drove throughout the early hours ever northward. The roads were practically devoid of all traffic allowing them to making excellent time and soon the trio felt they could be confident in reaching Carlisle ahead of the train. As the men journeyed ever on Marcus found his mind playing over and over something Jacob has said earlier. Something about Cain doing the devils work; whereas he didn’t necessarily believe in the whole good vs evil battle he did start to wonder if Cain was in fact answerable to someone else and if in fact that was the case then…….
His thoughts were abruptly interrupted as he heard his friend speaking once again.
“Do we have a plan” Jacob finally asked as he noticed the three of them had been sitting in silence lost in their own thoughts for quite some time now.
“I mean when we find Cain; what are we to do?” The chaplain posed the question they were all secretly thinking to themselves.
“He has a point Professor; there will undoubtedly be people around.” Greg commented.
“He is wounded and alone and fleeing to what he perceives safety so I believe he won’t be expecting us which gives us the element of surprise.” The Professor nodded to himself as he spoke his thoughts out loud.
“He knows both Jacob and I by sight but I don’t think he knows you Greg so while we hang back a little you will go ahead and check the train carriages and when you find him return to us and I will do what I must.” Marcus said with a grim tone to his voice.
Earlier that evening as the conductor blew his whistle for the final time Cain and his female companion boarded the train that would take them to the safety of his ancestral home far away in the north and across the English border. His shoulder still throbbed a little from the painful wound that Marcus had inflicted upon him and he had draped his overcoat across his shoulders to save the pain of removing it later. His other wounds had healed and he could feel the poisonous silver working out from his system allowing his strength to return. Walking slowly behind the other passengers he and his travelling companion arrived at their cabin, number 8, and slid the door open before stepping inside. Cain slowly removed his overcoat and placed it on the back of the cabin door before opening up the small drinks cabinet and pouring out two drink; lastly he dropped ice in both and handed one to his female companion before sitting across from her. Leaning forward he smiled and raised a toast.
“To us my dear. We shall begin again but not in this land. I feel the home of our ancestors would be a more fitting place for the rebirth of our kindred. We shall travel to the Americas as soon as I am well enough to fly.” Cain sipped on his drink before sinking back into his seat.
His female travelling companion, Jerusha, smiled at Cain and replied in a soft warm tone.
“To you my beloved.” She sipped her drink slowly before slipping back into her chair.
Cain finally found himself relaxing and his thoughts began to drift to those of his estate in Ayr and to his father who had left it so many years ago. His mother and father were fools of course he thought to himself as he watched the moon through the cabin window. They had realised all too late what their union had produced and had tried to end Cain’s life and theirs too but in their folly they failed to realize that the fall that had killed them would not be enough to kill a pure blood werewolf even one still in infant form. The fall had caused harm to him of course but by the time their bodies were found his wounds had mostly healed and the officials concluded that the miracle baby had been cushioned from the fall by his parents. A verdict of misadventure was recorded and Cain was placed into private care funded by the proceeds from his families’ estate. It had been a simple thing for him to have another stone coffin commissioned to be placed beside his parents in their crypt with their oh so righteous final epitaphs placed on their coffins before their deaths. Cain’s face twisted in discomfort as he remembered how his parents considered him a mistake and their folly upon this world. That had of course been the final piece of his plan to disappear those many years ago when he was being pursued by John Williams and it had worked perfectly with the authorities being satisfied that a dangerous serial killer had been removed from the streets of London. His mind was suddenly filled with earlier remembered images of women he had stalked through London across the ages.
As the slow and steady rhythm of the train gently rocked him towards sleep his mind wandered back to an easier time in his long life.
As his mind wandered he reminisced of a time the night was still the domain of folk of ill repute and it was far easier to move around unseen. The police he recalled had always been a thorn in his side; a nuisance that he constantly had to deal with. He remembered the first time one of his victims had been discovered by the police and the shrill call of the whistle as the officer tried to summon assistance. Watching from the shadows he could see his victim lying crumpled on the floor in a pool of her own blood; her taste still lingered in his mouth. He could of course have killed the constable then carried on his gruesome feast on his victim but he knew from past experience that the shrill noise of the whistles would soon bring more men to the area and the night was yet young. Cain felt his blood lust subside and his body began to shift once more back into his human form as he melted further back into the shadows. His eyes were the last to change from golden orbs infused with slits of darkest obsidian to the familiar human like creamy whiteness and his normal blue coloured iris. Cain could hear other whistles and heavy footsteps approaching as he turned and walked slowly away; the last thing he heard was the gasps of the men arriving and the sound of someone being violently sick upon the pavement. It was a chill time of the year in London and there were not many people on the street that did not have to be; he found making his way round the streets without being accosted was easier than usual. There were no barrow boys or vendors peddling their wares tonight and as he walked along dimly lit streets he caught a glimpse of his breath on the cold night air; he knew on such an unwelcoming night no one but the desperate would be out this late. Cain was a handsome man and he frequented the ladies of the night for both business and pleasure so it was this evening that a woman who by favour or ill fortune found herself alone walking the street this night by the name of Catherine Eddowes or Kate to her friends. It was late and she was cold and lonely and upon spying Cain she recognised him; calling out and waving over to what she presumed was a landed gentry type or at least he always had money about him she thought and that was what she cared about this evening. Stepping out from the shadows Cain motioned for Kate to come over to him, all the while scanning the area to see if they were being observed, feeling safe that they had not been observed he linked his arm through hers and smiled a soft smile at her as he whispered to her.
“You are Katherine are you not?” He said in a disarming manner.
She smiled back at him and held on to his arm as she still felt a little unsteady following the activities of events earlier that evening.
“That I am good sir. That I am.” Kate replied with a smile and nervous laugh.
“What’s a nice lord like you doing out on a cold night like this?” she enquired of Cain.
Unbeknownst to her though Cain was leading her away from the main street and towards a more secluded area as the two made idle chit chat.
“I my dear am just out enjoying this bracing English weather we are having tonight. I feel it very invigorating.” Cain said as he smiled at her and gently patted her hand in a reassuring way. Kate shook her head slightly at this but kept her thoughts to herself as she slowly began to work out a way of getting him into one her favourite late night drinking establishments.
“Ere” she said then paused glancing around her before she carried on speaking. “Would you like to keep a lady company tonight?” Kate finished her sentence and glanced hopefully up at Cain.
“My dear lady” Cain began “It would be my pleasure to keep you company on this winter’s eve.” he patted her hand as he finished his sentence.
“Ere. Where are we?” Kate had not been paying that much attention to where she was being led and her head was still a little fuzzy from earlier. Cain had led them to a small side street that was used in days gone by to ferry shipments of cargo to barges but had been scarcely used in many years since the industry had changed and tonight there was not another soul around.
“I thought I would have a bite to eat before going on home. What do you think of that idea miss?” Cain’s question was almost marked with sincerity.
“Names Kate Eddowes and you are a surprise! I ain’t been taken for a meal in many a year” she smiled the best smile she could before looking around trying to see an entrance to an eatery.
“Oh my dear Kate you have me mistaken we are not going anywhere. I am going to dine here upon you.” With this comment Cain let his overcoat fall from his shoulders and he rounded on his victim his broad shoulders and long arms barring her path. At first Kate was simply puzzled by what her lordship might mean and showed no concern as he wasn’t the first odd sort to lead her down an alleyway but then she began to stare at his face which had come into clarity as the light from the moon poked through the clouds. Unable to stop a look of revulsion spreading across her face as she watched in horror at his face beginning to distort and pulsate.
“Ere what’s wrong with your face?” Kate asked as she moved slowly back from Cain; her retreat blocked by the stony wall behind her. Transfixed by the events unfolding before her she felt her breath catch in her throat unwilling to escape as she shrank away body and soul from the sight before her. A terrifying cry filled the air as Kate finally found her breath but no sooner had she begun to scream than a large clawed fist wrapped itself around her mouth silencing her. Cain slowly dug his now bestial claws into the delicate flesh of Kate’s face and brought his elongated snout next to her neck and sniffed her fear; all the while enjoying the scent of fear that now lingered upon her. Lifting her slowly from her feet he could feel her writhing in agony as she was lifted off the floor by his claws digging deeper into her face. As she hovered there suspended against the wall he thrust his left clawed hand deep into her flesh through her clothes and opened up her stomach. Cain watched as she began to thrash around in his grip struggling against him but Kate lacked the strength to break free. His free hand wrapped itself around something deep within her; squeezing it tightly he began to pull upon it which caused Kate to moan in agony and thrash around even more but all her screams were muffled beneath Cain’s mighty clawed hand that stretched across her mouth. With a sharp tug Cain removed his hand and there covered in Kate’s blood, steam from the night air rising from it, was her left kidney. Kate’s eyes widened in horror as she watched Cain bring it up to his bestial snout and in one fell motion wolf it down in a single bite. He knew from past experience that the blood loss and shock would eventually kill his victim and he was not killing tonight for any need to feed but for the thrill from the kill itself. He felt immense power from the feeling of having so much control over another being. It was like a feeling coursing through him that none other could match. Slipping his hand into her once more he gazed into her eyes as his clawed hand plunged deeper into her as he felt her body spasm as she thrashed around like a rag doll in his other hand and her eyes grow wider as the horror and pain overwhelmed her. Tightening his fist he wrenched it from her once more; a torrent of blood and guts fell to the floor beneath Kate’s now limp dangling body. Cain watched as blood pumped from her and he moved his fingers so the blood flowed over each in turn before finally turning his attention back to her eyes. Kate stared straight ahead, no longer feeling, no longer in pain, just simply mercifully gone. This enraged Cain as he so enjoyed toying with his victims; in a moment of pure fury he drew his hand from her face almost ripping it from her head and let the body fall to the ground where it lay in a bloody mess of remains. Her tattered face barely recognisable and her clothes covered in blood with her guts splayed out all around her. She lay there throughout the chill night undisturbed until a barrow boy had the misfortune of finding her the next morning.
A sudden jolt from the train as it crossed an intersection brought Cain’s memories back to the present and he thought to himself how simple a thing it had been to prey upon the homeless and forgotten of London and no one even noticed. It had certainly become easier to be a killer in modern day London than in years gone by. This last thought brought that sickly sweet smile to Cain’s lips once more as he began to think of which city to move to in America.
“New York? The big apple? I think we shall go to. What do you think my dear?” Cain asked of Jerusha as he leaned in close to her.
“I think my beloved I will follow you were ever you may lead.” She kissed him as she finished her words and slowly stroked his face with her hand.
The moon shone brightly through the cabin windows illuminating the two lovers as they once more lost each other in their passions.
Mile after mile disappeared behind the three companions as their pursuit took them seemingly deeper into an endless night along a never ending road until finally they reached the station they were seeking.
“A sign post to the station, look there Greg, take the next turning up ahead.” The professor indicated with his hand to turn left as he spoke. The three companions had almost caught up with the sleeper train travelling from London to Carlisle and their final confrontation with Cain but no none of them could have possibly know that he was not alone. Pulling swiftly into the car park of the train station they could see the train sitting on the platform idling quietly. The three men almost leapt from the car as Greg brought the vehicle to a stop; hurriedly they raced on foot towards the train. As they boarded it they began to walk swiftly along its long deserted carriages in search of Cain. They hurried along the train’s carriageway and could see the cabin doors were open; as they neared each booth in turn they could clearly see that the booths were deserted. With increasing urgency the three men raced along the carriages until finally they reached the last set numbered from ten down. Unlike the others however these cabin doors all appeared to still be closed.
“He must be in one of these” Greg half whispered as the Professor placed his hand on the pistol resting in his coat pocket. Greg’s companions nodded as he placed his hand on the handle of the first cabin; numbered 10. Twisting the handle he pushed the door open but it revealed only a room that had clearly been occupied and used as the bed sheets were still strewn across the bed; the occupants however were gone. The same scene was clearly evident in cabin number 9 so with a slow feeling of despair building among the three companions Greg placed his hand upon the handle of cabin number 8 and slowly turned it. The door swung open and there in front of the three men was yet another empty cabin with two used tumbler glasses and a dishevelled bed.
At that moment the three were startled by a voice calling out to them.
“Oi! What are you three up to? This train is being serviced and all passengers should be off by now.” An officious member of the train staff was closing his ground on them as he questioned them.
“What do you mean off? Where are the passengers?” Greg stepped towards the staff member who stopped and took a step back from Greg as he replied.
“The train terminates here so passengers travelling onwards have boarded other trains by now.” The train guard said in a weary yet officious manner.
“The train to Ayr which platform is it on?” Marcus asked urgently as he stepped towards the staff member.
This caused the unfortunate conductor to once again take another step back as he cautiously replied to Marcus; pointing across the station at the same time and saying “Platform 3 over there but you better hurry it’s just leaving.” The three men raced from the train leaving the bemused guard in their wake and onto the platform; they reached the end of the sleeper train and could see the transpennine express train slowly beginning to pull away from the platform. The three of them sprinted towards the train as it gathered speed; Greg reached it first grabbing hold of a rear trailer door handle and using it to pull himself onto the narrow step he hit the release button to open the door that would normally be used by the driver. With a hiss the door folded in upon itself and Greg stepped into the driver’s compartment then turned and helped the professor and the chaplain on board as the train built up speed and headed out of Carlisle on its way to Ayr.