"Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back;
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."
One: august 3rd 2014
You know… if I were in your shoes and reading this for the first time; there is no way you’d believe me… but its true… every word.
I’m sitting here, in what once my old office; that’s now doubled up as a store room… but I can’t stay here for much longer… because they know where I am now, and that means it’s dangerous for me. I have decided to write this down because it’s better to do that, than to spend hour after hour muttering aloud… after all, I’ve done my share of that…
In the background I can hear the winding chug, chugging throb of the generator. It’s comforting in a strange sort of way; I don’t know why but its’ rhythmic sound makes my heart feel glad, besides, it’s supplying all the electricity I need… and that’s good… because I don’t know if I am going to be able to finish the story before… the moon rises.
Last night was bad enough… when I saw it rise, full and golden between the hills of the “sleeping Dragon”, -as people here used to call it- I could barely recall the time when I could look up at the moon and see such a sight of mystery and secret promise… Now… The full moon leads to nothing but feelings of utter dread.
My part in this story began six months ago… when a stranger’s body was found on the outskirts of Bridgeton, that’s my hometown.
The papers were full of it at the time… I have pictures of the incident on my mind map, together with a cutting of the first headline from the West Sussex Echo: “mutilated body found in woods” the letters are a stark reminder, beneath that, is a black and white photo-stat 1: 5,000 map of the hills that surround the town. Even before the fall, they had a reputation for being haunted… and looking at them, it’s hardly surprising… as they seem to represent a sleeping animal, curled from back legs to tail, around the entire town.
Now the map is almost covered with a mountain of pins in all neatly tied with a line of string that extends from the point of the incident, to a snippet of a note and photograph taken at the time… I visual record into my thoughts as part of my investigation as to what happened… each with a date, a time and But… of course… none of that matter’s now…not now…
Febuary 14th 2014. 11:20hrs
‘…But none of that matter’s now…’ Peter Dawkins said dryly, almost waking me from my musing.
‘yes…’ I replied.
It gave the impression I hadn’t really heard him, though I had heard every single word; I could see him shake his head, but I didn’t let him know I’d seen that either.
‘The body’s been here-‘
‘-About twelve to eighteen hours…’ I said coldly, as I pointed to the hard blue veined and partially gnawed hand that was roughly sticking out from the cold damp earth. The hand was about five feet from the rest of the cadaver. ‘…And the body’s been dragged quite a distance by the look of it.’
I pointed to the broken stems of the February flowers that had started to show through the dark red and black decaying snow.
‘Do we have a name…? Any I.D…at all..?’ I looked hopeful, and sounded desperate, as I stared up from the partially dismembered corpse that lay curled, in an almost foetal position upon the ground.
He looked down and shook his head slowly; his round face and wide spaced, large watery blue eyes; gave him an innocent appearance. He was twenty five and had, at that time, never seen a dead body before. I had, and memories of it kept creeping in upon me. So the scene was beginning to get to both of us; though in very different ways.
‘ Good Christ…What’s that fuckin’ smell. ’ He asked.
I stared at him coldly, I never liked profanity at the best of times, and this was not the best of times.
‘Decomposing human body and animal scent, I think…’ I said quietly.
‘Shit…’ he coughed, gagged then covered his mouth with a hastily placed handkerchief from his right trouser pocket; that hacked twice into; before replacing it once more, as we slowly paced the area.
I took in the entire scene.
We were standing by an old track that descended to our left and eventually joined the main road into town. Behind us the damp forest trees ascended, in front of us, the trees slowly descended, allowing us to glimpse though their fine tendrils the town of Bridgeton in the middle distance.
Finally to our right stood the ruins of the old Watherfall house.
The old stone ruin was essentially a hide out for the local kids, who needed to find a place where they could spark and share the occasional toke on a joint, spray a tag, or crush beer cans underfoot, without the interference of an older, but no better generation.
The air was full… from the heavy wet loam, to the slowly decaying snow, that blackly mixed with cold blood, and that in turn blended with the gentle scent of the late spring flowers.
I looked down at the cadaver at my feet once more.
At a guess, he was a man, possibly in his late thirties, slightly overweight, and partially naked. His torso had been severely ravaged. On the whole, It looked like a ferocious animal had killed the man… but… something about it simply didn’t feel right. It looked methodical. No, not on the surface, true…but underneath… it seemed to me that this man was hunted and killed, though not for food, because despite the savage nature of the injuries, he was not eaten. He was partially stripped and attacked, but not eaten… therefore whatever did this, did it for sport… or for fun… but definitely not for need.
I looked up and turned around to look into the middle distance of the forest, making a mental note of the budding blue flowers scattered between the huge, heavy leafless trees. It felt wrong to see this body in such a pretty place… I could feel myself begin to feel pain… I gulped back my slowly growing feelings; though a single tear betrayed me. I traced it from the blurring of my vision, then over my rounded cheek, and distantly noted it as it slowly fell down upon the body at my feet, while wondering whether I was just getting too old for the job.
A crack on a rotten branch behind me made me spin around. It was Donovan, from the “Bridgeton Echo” the town’s local paper. The shit had been listening in on police bands again. I scowled at him, wishing he was a million miles from here.
‘Got a story?’ he asked wryly. His narrow spaced, rounded green eyes bulged, as they shone from, his pale almost translucent skin that clung to the bones of his narrow face.
Donovan was from Belfast, he moved here during the seventies, with his mother and father. He was brought up a catholic but, I knew him too well from the Charlotte arms to know how lapse he was.
‘Been listening in again, have we?’ I asked sarcastically.
‘Oh Come on…I gotta job to do!’
‘-and so do we… and your incriminating a murder scene!’
Dawkins suddenly stared up at me, his eyes like pointed stalks.
‘-and that means, by simply being here, you’re contaminating the evidence. Now be a good boy and get lost, I’ll give you a statement later.’
I smiled caustically at Donovan’s slowly reddening face. I could see he wanted to reply, but he knew me far too well for that, so with an embittered shrug of his shoulders, he turned.
I smiled a little coldly as I saw his gangly form stagger and sway between the foliage, like a fish out of water; and back to the path from which he came.
‘Murder?’ I could hear the tension in Dawkins voice.
I shrugged. ‘well it got rid of him didn’t it?’
‘I’ll get the camera.’ Dawkins muttered as he slowly walked back to the car.
We got back to the station at about three that afternoon; and upon entering the old building, I heard the beautiful melody of Bach’s Concerto in D minor mixing with the clickity click of the keyboard coming from my office. I smiled as I thought of Laura typing away.
‘Anything else going on?’ I called out and waited for the reply as I opened the counter and walked through the open door to the narrow main office.
Dawkins, was right behind me fumbling as he opened his camera and took out the memory chip, before sitting down at one of the three computers we had at our disposal in this ramshackle and over cluttered office.
Laura’s voice was flat and uninterested, which meant she was far too busy to talk properly. She was looking intensely at her copy of my report on the incident at the Chalmers house the weekend before. ‘There was a break in at Henderson’s…’ that was the pharmacy; ‘ …An’ Julia called.’
I went to the phone and called her. I never liked mobiles, even when they weren’t able to access your bank, give you money from your account and play super Trojan asteroids all at the same time. However, Julia’s number was on speed dial, it was the only number that was.
The phone rang twice.
‘Oh Richard…’ there was an awkward pause and then she continued. ‘Oh thank God….Its Simon… darling… he’s been bitten by a huge wild dog.’
The road to Bridgeton General was crowded with the usual Friday commuters, so I had to use the siren to split the road. I felt justified, though a little guilty, after all, this was in my own time, if a local police officer could have his own time that is. When I finally got to the accident and emergency department, Julia was sitting alone, nervously playing with the sleeves of her jumper. Something she got into the habit of doing since her mother died two years ago.
I walked up to her and gave her a hug. She smiled sadly and almost kissed me, there was a pause and she pulled back, pulling at my heart.
‘He’s with the Doctor now. From what I can gather, he was just coming out of school when this huge dog leapt from out of the trees and bit him, then it ran away.’
I held her tightly. But she pulled back and that hurt again.
‘Apparently he’s been cleared… ’ her eyes filled with tears.
…‘its ok.’ I sounded like I meant it, but she knew me well enough for her to smile. A moment later the Doctor appeared.
‘he’s a strong boy.’ He said, ‘The wound’s superficial, however, we will need to keep him in for one night, just to be sure.’
I nodded and walked with the doctor back into the main ward.
Simon was sitting up on a stiff cot. His right arm in a sling. I felt pain but hid it well.
‘Here you got bit… you ok Si?’
He smiled and looked down.
‘Just came out of nowhere, I didn’t see it till it was too late and then… he tried to raise his arm.
I smiled and tousled his hair. And, for a brief second it all felt right… everything… Julie, Simon and I… A happy connected family… then Steven arrived.
I could see Julia looking away and down, as Steven came over.
I wanted to shout at her right there and then, but, I knew that this was neither the time or the place; so I shook my head, turned away from Steven and stared at Simon lovingly. ‘Son…I’ll come by in the morning… I have…’ I looked at Julia with ice in my eyes ‘…work to do.’
Julia looked upset, and I was mad as hell as Steven came over and put an arm around her, which she accepted just the same. I didn’t wait for a comment, I just shook my head turned and left. After all, I do have some pride.
Two hours later and I was in the Charlotte arms opposite Donovan; and I am ashamed to say I was already drunk.
‘ … I mean… why call him… ?’ I could hear the words come out of my mouth, but as usual I had no control.
‘ I dunno… maybe it’s because he’s married to her?’ Donovan said sarcastically.
I really didn’t need to hear that, so I looked away in fury.
Julia and I… I and Julia… we had been happy once, but that was a lifetime ago. Now there was “Steven”, a neat tidy and less complicated lawyer from the heart of the city.
I had been on the programme but it wasn’t working for me… it never had… people there drove me mad. I knew I had a drink problem, and I had controlled it for years… but… the job… the promotion to detective inspector, all of it had taken their toll. Then came the final straw… the Brighton serial rapist and murderer known to us who worked on the case as “Jack in the box.”
Jack had mauled his way across the city. He started at Jew road; leaving his first victim with her throat cut and her vagina so badly mutilated it defied description. The next victim a month later was found in the toilets of Brighton’s railway station: again the same bloody brutal cadaver, except this times the words “JACK’S BACK!” were painted on the toilet door in the victim’s blood….so… the bodies began to pile up… six of them in all. And with each new victim there had to be new interviews and that was followed by re-interviews and more re-interviews, not to mention the endless watching of sstv camera’s, and that led to late nights and drinking…
Those that say police work is dramatic, really have no idea what he or she is talking about. The made for TV drama is simply that…drama… it’s not nice looking at corpses, it’s even uglier when you know that the shit in front of you at the interview table has beaten his wife or girlfriend, but have no real proof of it then there are the kiddie cases, they simply defy description… The crazy ones are simple by comparison, because serial killers follow the same modus operandi they are easy to stage for and to arrest … except for Jack…
Jack was the ugliest not only because of what he did, but because he knew…somehow he knew…that he could get away with it.
It showed intelligence, sure, but limited intelligence and a lot of lateral thinking on his part. I wanted to get the bastard. And that meant looking at every detail, every tiny thing, the things most people don’t even think about, and seeing these things for what they are… that’s the real tool of the craft, because its only in the detail, that the puzzle can be solved , and in the end that’s all it is… a huge mind-bending puzzle… it’s what I’m good at… and I am really good at it… Though, it drives me to drink.
But Jack vanished as quickly as he arrived… and all we had to show for it, were a pile of cardboard boxes with the words “on-going” written on the side.
Yes, Jack was the camel that broke me. I was demoted… I lost my wife to solicitor Steven, and now I was back in uniform in a small town twenty miles, and a million years from everything; for a while things were great here, dealing with the drunk drivers and the petty acts of juvenile violence, simple stuff, and of course helping the local community… Police works isn’t all crime. People look to the police to bring some sort of order out of chaos…yeah, things were smooth, until Julia and Steven moved here…
‘Gotta get you home Dick.’ Said Donovan gently, as he slowly pulled me to my feet. I agreed with him; so I let him take me home.
The alarm crashed into my head at eight; making the whole room reverberate. I slowly peeled open one eye and saw Donovan in the leather chair that I placed by the huge window of the rented one bedroom flat.
‘Did I behave myself?’
‘You were a perfect gentleman.’
I arose from the busted leather couch and staggered to the kitchenette just in time to pick up the phone as it started to ring.
‘Hello Dawkins.’ I said gently.
‘Sir…’ Dawkins sounded very troubled. ‘…sir I think you better meet me, at the Dragon’s back… there’s been another body found.’
‘ok… ‘ I began. I wanted to cry scream and throw the phone… but I didn’t. I placed the receiver down and, re-joined Donovan in the front room. I was about to hit Donovan with some shit about nothing in particular, but he raised his hand first.
‘I know…’ he said. ‘… I just got the message on my mobile. But I gotta get to the office. ’
By the time I got there, Dawkins had already removed the cadaver from the scene… I was just in time to see the ambulance stroll past slowly, so I was pretty pissed at him for that, because now the whole area had been contaminated.
I stared at him stonily when I arrived.
‘oh come on!’ he began. ‘What were we meant to do?’
‘You’re to wait till I arrive at the scene.’
‘Don’t give me that crap!’ He started. ‘I’m the superior officer if no-one else is available… and I had been calling you for hours.’
‘Don’t swear and don’t lie to me!’ I sounded cruel and viscous, and regretted the words the moment I heard them. Dawkins looked away feeling hurt.
There was a long awkward silence as I took in the scene.
This time the body had been found upon an open piece of open ground upon the high hill known as the dragons head; the grass had that windswept parched appearance, the trees where the first body was found yesterday were to the left and below me, down the side of the steep hill. In the distance I could see the Town and the steeple of the old wooden church and to my right and off towards the horizon were the high rolling hills of the Sussex downs rolled by. I looked around at the floor once more, and between the long blood soaked grass…it was then that I saw it… it was almost inconspicuous, if it were not for the torn stems… and no one would have noticed or even paid attention to it… if it wasn’t for the fact that I had seen them before… at the previous site… they would have been completely ignored… It was the same pale blue flower, the same long blue cup and spindle like leaves, only this time it had been gathered together in a bunch; the stems had been torn. They looked out of place on this grassy hillside… therefore they had to have come from… somewhere else… I looked down the hillside.
‘were they in the victims hands?’
He looked pained.
‘We have a name… Stephanie Porter… Aran and Dee’s little girl… ‘ I knew that Dawkins knew the family well, I had even been at an impromptu BB-Q Dawkins had held last year… I even met the girl… she was only fourteen… I sadly looked at Dawkins as he looked away from me.
‘You did a good job here.’ I said trying to encourage him. I put a hand on his shoulder. He shrugged, and mumbled something about wishing he’d been somewhere else.
‘Look…’ I began, still feeling awkward and a little ashamed. ‘… you know Aran and Dee better than I do… It would be better if it came from you. Then, take the rest of the day off… I’ve got the shift covered, and Wallis will be in at three.’
He nodded as he walked slowly away. I wanted to do more, but what could I have done? An hour later and I was back at the station, in front of my PC a steaming cup of black coffee filled my senses and battled the hangover from hell, as I was looking at a picture of the flower I had found at the scene from a website… it was wolfs bane… why would she pick that?
And then the two deaths, in two days… there was no doubt about it… a wild animal was loose, and I was going to have to enforce a local curfew… but it still felt odd and wrong somehow… I closed my eyes, and in the darkness my mind recalled the toilet wall from Brighton station once more… Jack’s back… I shook violently, and opened my eyes… how I hoped that we could end this and find the bloody thing before- the phone rang waking me from my muse, I picked it up and was relieved to hear that Simon had been released and was on his way home.
Lunchtime came upon me suddenly, the door to the counter was slammed and Wallis came in.
Afternoon sarge, anything happening?
‘You need to check up on the burglary at Henderson’s…’ I said absently.
‘You mean go round to Pebright’s again and see if he’s stoked up?’
Joseph Pebright was the closest thing Bridgeton had to a drug problem; if the shop had been done over, guarantee that he was the man behind it. I looked away from the PC and stared across the grey walled office, and smiled.
‘Say no more boss…’
‘Say no more…’ I echoed as he turned and was about to leave the room.
‘Oh, before you go.’
Wallis’s head popped around the door once more. A tired strained look appeared on his face.
‘we are going to have to enforce a nine pm curfew tonight, so get the guy’s together, for about…say eight? ‘
He nodded and then vanished.
I looked back at the monitor screen…and at a picture of a flower that shone there… Wolfsbane… the flower seemed to scream at me, yet I couldn’t hear a word it was saying.
Two: August 9th 2014
The town has been deserted today; I’ve spent most of the day foraging for tins of food. I avoided the co-op fresh food aisle, as its contents have started to undulate, while the hideous buzzing of the growing numbers of bluebottles makes me gag. I left after a few moments, and treated myself to a scotch from Charlottes. I thought about having another, after all no-one’s going to judge me now. But I left. There were far too many ghosts leaking from the walls for comfort.
They nearly had me last night… if it wasn’t for my supply of bane, that I have regularly sprayed the outer walls with, I think they would have had me for sure… I have set up a distillery in the second bedroom. Life has become a routine of nightly making enough bane to spray the house with, before spraying the lower walls, closing the metal shutters and locking away the terror that stalks at night. As I in my cocoon, hear them howling in pain, as they try to find a way in. Last night they almost did… One finally jumped upon the garage roof, and set the alarm off as it then jumped up almost to the bedroom window. But I followed it; and took a shot at it from less than five feet away. I heard it howl with rage as it flew backwards; then howl again as its body bounced upon the dirt road. Its side ripped open, the hair coarse and bloody from the twelve bore shotgun blast…. They don’t behave like real wolves… real wolves look after each other, there is something more human in them… No these animal’s simply tore the wounded one to bits… and as they ripped and tore the body to pieces oh… sweet Christ… I could see the human finally come to the surface smiling as he was being mauled.... I screamed as I slammed the shutter down…From that point on the night was hard, full of sharp rusted nails being hammered into my skull; as the monstrous howling carried on screaming into the black night.
Somehow I managed to sleep, when I awoke, I set about turning the tables, because during the day, they sleep… and that leaves me all the day to hunt in.
I have been doing a bit of studying at the local library, and found some books on lycanthropy. It’s mostly psychiatric in origin; nothing seems to relate to what has happened here, in Bridgeton, they have spread like a virus, that seems almost like rabies… some of the books offer a kind of hope, they all say that the disease could link to one alpha male, if I can find him kill him and draw some of his blood… I might be able to end this… for the last week, I have been going from house to house looking for that key…
Today I chose a place on Roman Road, partially because of it’s security, it being a detached property on the top of the hill; Its’ also a good vantage point for the rest of the town. If I was a hunter, as Alpha is described as being, then it seemed like the best place to start.
When I opened the back door, the stench was just awful. The L shaped spacious cream walled brown marble topped kitchen was covered with a thick layer of dust; and dust covered the red slate tiles upon the floor too, making them look pink in the golden early morning sun light.
A decomposing body of a small cat was lying in the centre of the room. It looked as if it had starved to death… I started my search in the cellar, expecting it to be heaving with them; but all I found were two bottles of claret, and a pile of rubbish… I duly removed the claret and took them to the kitchen; a visual reminder to collect when the deed was done.
Then I made my way upstairs.
I found one in the front bedroom, its body curled up almost in a ball, I could see it breathing fast too, another symptom of the disease; its, eyes closed. The cub could be no older than six… so a child then… I could feel my stomach start to turn, as I raised my gun. I had to keep telling myself, that this is no child, this is a monster that would, given the opportunity, rip your throat out… but that made it no easier.
I was about to open fire when I heard a growling behind me.
I dived down to the left as it threw itself at me. Pain shot through my body as I bounced down the stairs on my back. But I didn’t wait to think, I pulled out my revolver and aimed it as the creature turned on all fours its long wolf like face seemed to crack into a smile as its red eyes blazed at me… then… it stood up on its hind legs.
There was something foully human about it, as it stood there; glowering at me… it was obviously protecting It’s young… funny… I never really expected them to feel that way… not after last night… perhaps there was, in this particular one something more human, after all. Or is it simply the need to protect their young… I was shaking with fear and pain, the gun felt greasy in my hands. I tried to focus, but it was hard. The room was humming my head was spinning; I wanted this to end. I screamed and pulled the trigger as it leaped into the air. There was a deafening scream as the bullet punched a hole in its chest. Then it collapsed upon me; Its dead weight pinning me down; its body reeking, of rotten flesh and dried bones; as the world went dark.
An hour later, after I had taken some samples, I dragged the bodies into the garden and after soaking them in precious petrol I burnt them… Burnt them, with their silent howls screaming in my ears…
And as they burned, I could see the one that attacked me begin to return to human form… as she slowly started to move, her hair began to mottle, the jaw slowly began to retreat, as the human began to return… as the canine mandibles began to shrink, I could see her eyes begin to shine… and a phrase I heard from an old hunter when he made his last kill… came to mind, for he saw, as I did then “a fierce scream of dying in the eyes of the wolf I killed… “
I can’t recall who said it, but I saw it, in her eyes before I finally pulled the trigger, and sent one last bullet through the air.
Mentally I could see Its precious shining silver casing slowly spiral as the air around was pushed aside… the bullet penetrated her skull, gouging through the right eye then burst out behind the right ear; leaving a thin line of pale white matter to slowly arc out into the rising flames… then she fell, with a howling scream… I am looking at the moon now, it’s in its third quarter, shining so bright… so very bright… not long now…
It’s funny… I have become the very person I hated, but he told me it would be this way…
Febuary 17th 2014
The night of the curfew had me busy, with crabby kids and drunks and barkeeps to have me thinking about what might have been out there, prowling the woods at night; and needless to say there was no incident, the next day however, the phone rang at eight sharp; and I was surprised to hear her voice. It was Jenny Young from Brighton University’s anthropological department. She was a clever elfin faced woman, with close cropped hair and the brightest, bluest eyes I have ever seen. She was seconded to Brighton’s C.I.D in connection with “Jack in the Box” and had a strange, though believable idea that Jack was very probably suffering with what was defined in psychiatric terms as lycanthropy. She based her findings upon the fact that all the victims had their throats savagely cut, and at all the sites save the last one, animal hair, to be precise, wolfs hair was found. She was convinced that the perp was “becoming” something, or changing his nature to that of a wolf… she also implied that it was someone in the office that Jack wanted to get at… There were times when she lost me, because she’s just so very bright…We hadn’t spoken since I was reposted here.
‘Hey Dick, how are you enjoying the natural world?’
Oh did I hate being called that. ‘Fine…’ I began tightly, not letting my conflicting feelings of desire and distrust come to the surface once again. ‘…Its nice and quiet here…’
‘-Save for the animal attacks?’
Donovan, I thought, he will get it in the neck tonight.
‘-And before you start thinking of a close and mutual friend of ours, then forget it… your little town has become a headline.’
I felt my spine tingle.
‘I don’t know what you mean.’ I began tersely.
‘Then you better check out B.B.C News channel…’ there was a pause, ‘…Richard… ‘ I could hear the comfort in her voice. ‘… our mutual friend has told me about the fact you’re drinking…he cares for you.’ I could hear in her voice that she felt the same, I just wanted to slam the phone down, rip it from the wall and scream; But I kept myself in check.
‘Look Im going to offer my services again on this one.’
‘- I don’t think that be necessary…’
‘-I think it is.’
‘How many bodies have been found so far?’
‘Two… a stranger and a local girl.’
‘And your son was attacked… it’s all over the news.’
I shook my head. I really didn’t want this conversation.
‘Look… ‘ I felt tense I wanted her here, but for all the wrong reasons. Not that it mattered, after all I was single.
‘OK… ’ I stammered it out feeling everything at once. ‘…get here when you can, I can’t promise you a descent place to stay, but I would like to know what type of animal we have here. My gut is saying wild dog, but I have little evidence to go on, save what my boy said. ‘
‘Ill be over in a couple of hours.’
I smiled, through gritted teeth as thoughts about broken fingers and dry dusty beds came to mind.
Later that day, I found myself propping up the bar at Charlottes again, a pasty faced, and rather sheepish Donovan came over to my seat and sat opposite.
‘You can’t blame me for this, she-‘
I shook my head, and then gave him a sad smile.
‘It’s ok, I don’t blame you.’ I said quietly, I said that because by then I had seen the news footage and the grainy pictures someone had you-tubed to ABC News that day; and had found out that it was Ellie Pierce who had sent it. I had seen the piece three times… and found it fascinating, and terrifying all at once a huge wolf, almost the size of a man, its hair dark its eyes a blurred yellow, looming out of the line of pine trees, opposite the high school entrance, chasing down my son, and snapping at him before disappearing into the black matted forest once more. There was no doubt about it. If, of course, the footage was genuine, I’d have to talk to her and find out what was going on.
‘So she is coming down here then?’
I nodded. ‘that and half the Tv crews and whacko’s this side of the Massachusetts river. This town is goin’ to get messy for a while…I am not sure I’m keen on the idea…’ I nodded at Peter’s behind the bar who poured a glass of Coors for him.
‘Besides…’ you’re going to have your work cut out with all these cameramen and TV reporters descending here.
‘Oh, you’ll keep me in the loop eh?’
I smiled at that. Then there was a pause, I wasn’t sure what to say, but I’d thought I’d say it anyway. ‘Why’d you tell her?’
He looked down into his glass and then stared at me with his ‘Its obvious… you’re a friend besides she cares for you.’
I shook my head and tried not to think about her, but I couldn’t… she was everywhere I went…. The beer tasted sweet and cool as it trickled down my throat. It was my third and I was starting to feel a little dizzy. I don’t recall much after that.
The next day, I received a phone call from Donovan.
‘You better get down the Hospital mortuary.’ He said coldly.
‘Why..?’ I murmered, my head was aching and my mouth feeling like a sewer. The room could barely be focused upon, as my heart pounded.
‘There’s been another one.’ Was all he said in a black dead tone before the phone went dead.
When I got to the infirmary I was in for another shock. Jenny was already there, though she paid little attention to me. AS always her mind was focused on job in hand and that was the cadaver upon the mortuary table. She looked up and from behind the mask she wore over her mouth, I could see a slight smile, before she returned to the body.
‘-the victim is in her mid to late teens… her throat has been masticated by what I can only describe as a large carnivorous animal…’ she looked deep into the wound and a look of bafflement came across her face. ‘…though would find it hard to determine the species at present.’ I saw her wave me in so I entered the room, as she covered the body up.
‘Fuck Its great to see you.’ She said.
I smiled and said ‘You too.’ It was a lie an awful one and she smiled back pretending not to have seen it.
‘So you’ve been here since the…’
I nodded slowly,.
‘There’s something not right with the way the body has been attacked… she began, she always managed to do that, cut to the core without any disambiguation. And even though she held one PhD from Yale and another possibly from Harvard , in cryptozoology, Or something like it, she really was one of the guys. With a huge list of the most foulest dirty jokes I’d ever heard.
‘So the corpse has been dead about two days, she has these…’ and at that she threw the cover off and began poking with her pen at the torn out throat, ‘…very unusual marks… most cannis have carnassials, extended rear canines, that are at the rear of the mouth, they are usually bent outward, but the marks on this neck...’ she pointed to the gaping flesh. There’s nothing there… this throat has been mashed and chomped by teeth thatcher and crush bone… Carnivores don’t do this… ‘
You know where we are?’ I could feel my blood rise, as I thought about my son, and how close he came…
She looked at me as if I was an idiot.
‘We are in the heart of sussex… Worthing the place WHERE PEOPLE GO TO DIE, is less than five miles away… people here don’t give a shit about anything other than the size of their four by four.’
‘-NO I FUCKING WON’T!’ she stared at me, with a look of shock.
I could feel myself shouting, screaming that I wanted to be heard, something like this happened somewhere else, not here… never here…
‘It’s not Jack.’ I heard her words as my body began to shake.
Now sit down and relax. That was easy to say, but not that easy to do.