Drake glanced back, a look of surprise and fear on his face, as I lunged at him with my claws. He rolled back his fleshy gums as if to bite me, but I was too quick and he had been taken by surprise. Swinging back my arm, I swiped at him, slicing his head from his body.
The wolf’s head spun away, and the animal’s giant body slumped to the ground, where it twitched then fell still. Then the craziest thing I had ever seen happened. The wolf’s body started to change. It was as if it were shrinking in front of my very eyes, as its fur disappeared and it changed back to its human form. Turning, I raced over to where the head had fallen. The long snout, pointed ears and teeth withdrew back into the giant skull which gradually grew smaller. I watched the transformation until it had finished and Drake was staring blankly up at me.
Reaching down, I picked up Drake’s head by the hair. It felt heavy in my hands as it swung against my leg. I went back to the bloody mess that had once been Madison. Bending down, I took the crucifix from beneath a lump of flesh. Holding it up before me, I watched the moonlight wink back at me as it reflected off of it.
“I’m sorry, Madison,” I said and like a distant memory, I had trouble remembering her face. Maybe that was for the best. Perhaps I should forget about what happened between me and Madison at the Wolf House. It would be our secret – my secret.
I put the crucifix in my pocket, turned, and headed back to the town of Little Hope with Drake’s head dangling from my fist.
I reached the Little Hope railway station just before dawn. With Drake’s head still swinging by the hair from my fist, I entered the car park. There were two vehicles parked next to one another. One was a Chrysler, the other a van, but both were black in colour. The headlights of the car flashed twice at me, and I covered my eyes with my free hand.
The passenger door swung open and someone got out. At first I couldn’t see who it was as I was blinded by the headlights. But as I got nearer, I could see that it was Harker who had gotten out to greet me. The way the dying moonlight glinted off his bald spot I would recognise anywhere.
“Have you caught this rouge Lycanthrope?” he asked me.
Without saying anything, I chucked Drake’s head at him. It bounced off the tarmac and rolled towards his feet.
Harker glanced down at it and said, “Drake?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure,” I hissed. “I don’t cut people’s heads off for the fun of it. That’s why you never caught him, he was working from the inside. He knew your every move so he could work around you.”
“Can I trust you on this?”
Lighting a cigarette, I said, “There’s a house on the other side of town. My guess is that by morning you will receive a call into the police station from the owners saying that they woke to find a huge hole in their daughter’s bedroom wall.”
“Constable Drake?” Harker asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“No, me.” I told him. “I followed him last night to the house. I saw him with my own eyes as he tried to take the little girl, so I killed him. You won’t have any more child killings in Little Hope.”
“Constable Madison?” he said.
“Dead,” I answered blowing smoke through my nose.
“How come?” he asked flatly.
“Drake killed her when she discovered he was the killer,” I told him.
“That’s a shame,” Harker said. “She was a good officer.”
“Was she? I wouldn’t know,” I said. “Where are my friends?”
Harker raised a hand into the air, as if giving a signal, and the side door to the van slid open. Luke stumbled out and fell to his knees. He was blindfolded and his hands were bound behind his back. Murphy followed as he was shoved from the darkness of the van. Like Luke, he was blindfolded and bound. He hit the ground hard and cried out in pain.
“I think that concludes our business,” Harker smiled and held out his hand for me to shake.
I looked at him and said, “You put a bullet in my sergeant, I won’t forget that. Watch your back, Harker.”
Without shaking his hand, I flicked my cigarette away and walked over to my friends. Kneeling down, I removed their blindfolds and restraints. I watched Harker pick up Drake’s head and throw it into the boot of the car. He then climbed back in behind the steering wheel and both vehicles drove away into the night.
Turning back to my friends, I could see that Murphy was as white as paper and looking gaunt. A filthy bandage had been tied about his thigh. It was stained brown with dried blood.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
“Do I bloody look okay?” he barked. “You sure took your time!”
I looked at Luke then back at Murphy and said, “Well don’t thank me all at once! I’ve just saved your bacon!”
Reaching out, Luke placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “Thanks Potter – you did good.”
“Did I?” I asked, looking down at Murphy.
“You’d do even better if you got me back to The Hollows so I can get this bullet out of my leg!” he snapped, and then out of the corner of my eye, I saw him wink at Luke and smile. I’d done good.
Snaking our arms around Murphy, we hoisted him to his feet as he limped across the car park. As we went, I felt something digging in my trouser pocket and it was sticking into my thigh.
“Wait a minute,” I said.
“What now?” Murphy groaned.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the photograph of the old guy and the cute little girl. Wrapped around it was Madison’s cross.
“What’s that?” Luke asked me.
“A crucifix,” I whispered.
“You’re not going all religious on us, are you?” Murphy grumbled.
“No,” I said thoughtfully. “You can have it. It will keep you safe.”
Murphy took it from my hand and tucked it into his shirt pocket and grunted.
“Who’s the picture of?” Luke asked me.
I looked down at the photograph of the old guy and the beautiful little girl as she sat smiling in that chair, clutching her Barbie doll. Tearing it into tiny pieces, I said, “I don’t know,” and scattered it to the wind.
We took Murphy back into The Hollows where a Doctor named Ravenwood removed the bullet. He told Murphy he would survive but would always have a limp from now on. This pissed Murphy off but he learnt to live with it. The crucifix he wore on his tie and for some reason, he said it was his lucky charm.
Luke stayed with Murphy in The Hollows while his leg healed. I stayed long enough to fight any growing cravings and then came back above ground. What was the point of staying in The Hollows when I had no one there?
I stayed in a small motel and waited for them. Most days I did nothing apart from lay on my cheap bed and watch the T.V. in the corner. Eventually, I took a piece of note paper from beside the phone and wrote Sophie a letter. But before I’d even finished, I’d screwed it up and tossed it in the bin.
I had to let go – somebody had told me I needed to – but who had said that? I couldn’t even remember her name, let alone picture her face.
Bored almost out of my mind, Murphy and Luke arrived back from The Hollows. Almost kicking my motel door in, Murphy limped into my room and barked, “Get off your lazy arse, Potter, we’ve got work to do!”
“Work? What kind of work?” I asked him.
“We have another suspected vampire outbreak,” Luke said.
“Where?” I asked, keen to get going.
“It’s miles from here,” Murphy told me. “A place called the Ragged Cove. Now get your shit together and let’s get going!”
So I left with Murphy and Luke for the Ragged Cove and forgot all about the Wolf House and what happened there. But I didn’t – not really. There was something that sat in the back of my mind, like an itch that I just couldn’t reach.
Slowly it came back to me, what it was that I couldn’t quite remember about my time spent at the Wolf House. I was with Kiera in the caves below the mountains. Seth had just released us from our cell. I was staring at her – not Kiera – Seth’s companion, Eloisa.
Kiera had elbowed me in the ribs and said, “Remember the hairy tongue!”
“Who’s this?” I had asked Seth, unable to take my eyes off the woman standing next to him.
“Does it matter?” he had asked me.
“It does if we’re to trust you,” I said.
“This is Eloisa – my lover,” he smiled, reaching out and stroking her face with his hooked fingernails.
But whatever had seemed so familiar about Eloisa faded away like a puff of smoke, and I hadn’t thought any more about it.
Then, as me, Seth, and Eloisa had taken refuge at the police station in the town of Wasp Water, she had seemed to want to befriend me. She had called me Sean. How did she know that was my name? Nobody called me Sean, not even my folks had as a boy. I had always been known as Potter.
Even Kiera had thought it strange as we had rowed together in the cafeteria at the police station.
“I see that you’re on first-name terms with the werewolf –because that’s what she is, Potter. She’s also a child killer and so is her lover, Jack Seth!” Kiera had shouted at me.
But I hadn’t made the connection. The itch was still itching but still, I was unable to reach it, so I said to Kiera, “You are jealous and that’s what this is all really about. You’re not pissed at me because I made plans without you – you’re pissed because I’ve been spending time with her.”
Something inside was telling me something was wrong. It was like I had a secret that even I didn’t know about. But Kiera saw it, she saw everything. As we lay in bed after making love at the facility, she had turned to me and said, “So, what about you? What’s your secret?”
“I’m not sure that I have one,” I said.
“Yeah, you do,” Kiera smiled, and pinched my arm.