(The story begins here.)
Lassiter covered his face with his hands. “The next thing I knew, it was morning. The ravine, the woman, Althaus and his goons—all were gone. I was crawling toward the gully when I came to my senses. It was the last place I should go. Was the woman good or evil? I didn’t know. About the ravine, I had no doubts.
“I returned to camp, but it was abandoned. Only the tent used by Althaus and his men remained. I ransacked it—then burned it. I scattered or hid the remains carefully: I wanted to make the area as hard to find as possible, though I knew someone would come looking. I kept some books, letters, and papers I found, and some money. I guess the others were too frightened to disturb the tent, though they took his car. I was no longer afraid of anything but the ravine—and myself.”
Dr. Fleming cleared his throat. “I assume this is a foolish question, but why didn’t you—or the wolf—simply kill them all? From what I saw of you, a tent shouldn’t have kept you outside.”
“The wolf seldom enters buildings,” Lassiter said, “even tents. If it had pursued someone who entered a tent, it would be another matter, but otherwise no. I doubt it was seriously hunting anyway after disposing of the Germans.
“I wasn’t sure where to go that morning. I considered Poland, but I thought France or Switzerland might be safer, and I didn’t know Polish anyway. The problem solved itself: a Sturmabteilung squad seized me before I had gone twenty miles.
“It was a rogue operation, I think. They arrested me for murdering Althaus, but they weren’t police and didn’t turn me over to the proper authorities. Instead, they chained me up for a few days in an old farmhouse to wait for someone important. He came at night, of course. The wrong night, as it turned out. A familiar feeling came over me, and I managed a glance out a window and saw the full moon.”
“The full moon?” Darren interrupted. “It wasn’t full that first night?”
“No,” Lassiter replied. “I don’t know how this works; there’s no manual that I’ve ever found for it. But the place where I saw the woman brought on the first transformation, and the full moon has done it since. I think there are different levels of lycanthropy: some can change practically at will, while others only do it under a full moon.
“Anyway, there was a full moon the night they gathered to interrogate me. I really don’t think any of them suspected I was a werewolf; they just thought I had stumbled upon some useful information. By a terrible irony, they had been babbling about harnessing ancient powers to produce the ultimate fighter. I remember snapping the chains and rushing them, rejoicing as the machine guns’ bullets pelted off me like so much chaff.
“In the morning, I found that they had left me a car and many useful items. I managed to reach Switzerland and get a flight to England. From there to America was easy enough. But I’ve used up the money I acquired, and jobs are still hard come by.”
“I can take care of that,” Dr. Fleming said. “Your case interests me, and I’ll furnish room and board in return for the right to study you.”
“Thank you. But there is more. I’m beginning to think that I’ve been traced here—to the US at least and probably to this city.”
“Why and by whom?”
“Doctor, I have no idea.”
I'm going to shift back to reviews, theological rants, and so forth, but I'll get in an installment or so of Dark World each week, all going well. The next chapter will be A Pound of Cure.
1 year ago