The sky was red by the time Cahal returned home. They had put Edan’s body in a coffin, and started to dig a hole around the back of the village hall, in the large park area. He opened to door to Number 9 Miller Passage. It was a nice little house. He stepped inside, taking off his shoes by the door, hanging his coat on the coat-rack. Then, he headed into the kitchen to make something for ‘dinner’. He had no meat yet. Nobody expected to have caught anything in the traps, so nobody bothered to look. He hadn’t a clue what to make. Getting some water on to boil would be good starting point, but he did not know how long it would take for the rest of his dinner to cook. He turned toward his cupboards, opening a few and finding odd ingredients- canned tomato, a bag of pasta, and some dried kidney beans. He put them all down on a counter, sighed. He could make some form of bolognese, at least. Even though he didn’t have any meat, and his sauce would be tomato.
He started off by putting the tomato and kidney beans in a saucepan, putting it on the hob and twisting one of the knobs until it was at a decent temperature. Then, he got another saucepan, and filled it part-way with water. The pasta could go in there as soon as the timer went on. Once he had it all ready, and had set the timer, he shuffled back into the hall and into the front room. He sat down on the sofa, stretching out his legs and putting his hands behind his head. He stared mindlessly at the houses on the other side of the street, distracted only when the street light flickered on.
As night fell, the Seer, Doctor and Detective made their choices for the night. The Detective discovered the identity of the Martyr, while the Seer found another innocent. The werewolf stumbled out of their home once more, heading for the woods in a drunk-like daze. They transformed, with perhaps a little less pain than the previous time, and lumbered off in search of food. Meanwhile, the Doctor’s choice got their protection for the night.
Elissa yawned as she ate her dinner, stabbing a carrot with a fork and eating it slowly. She then let the fork fall back onto the plate, and carried it over to the sink. A few glasses and plates were piled beside it. The draining board was empty. She sighed, sliding the washing up bowl into the sink, and turning on the taps. She got a bit of washing up liquid, squirting it in and waiting for the water to fill the bowl. When it had, she put the first plate in. That was when she heard the knock on her door, and she nearly jumped out of her skin. “Hello?” She called, putting the plate down, grabbing a cloth to dry her hands. “Who is it?”
When she got no answer, she started to walk toward it. What on earth were they doing outside at this time of the day? The sun had set, the moon was starting to rise, and it was dark outside. She got to the door, and opened it. No one was there. Elissa frowned, taking a step outside, her toe bumping into something. There was a small package by her feet, with a little card strung on. She picked it up, glanced around again, before retreating back inside.
She went back into her kitchen, unwrapping the parcel as she went. Inside was a box, which she opened. Inside, were a few grains of rye. She frowned, poking them around a bit. She put the box down, looking at the note.
To: Elissa September
Number 15, Farmer’s Trail
From: The Doctor
Note: Keep this on you throughout the night. If the werewolf attacks it should keep it at bay.
A warmth grew within her. The Doctor didn’t think she was the werewolf- the doctor trusted her enough to protect her. She put the card back down on the table, picking out a handful of rye and putting into a tissue, wrapping it up and putting it in one of her pockets. Then she took another handful, and another tissue, and put it in her other pocket. It may not be perfect, and she may forget about it, but at least it would protect her.
His feet were cold, but the bed was warm. Elvin sighed as he lay there, cursing the season, the time, and generally the world. He turned on his side, pulling the covers up around his chin, curling up in his bed, wincing as his feet pressed against his legs. Outside it was dark. He had nothing to do, except sleep and hope the night would end without his untimely demise. He shut his eyes, taking a deep breath and lying still.
A cool, long howl rung out through the air, and his eyes snapped back open. It sounded close. Far too close for Elvin’s liking. He clenched his fists, which were growing damper and damper the more his over-active mind thought of it. What if it was in the forest outside him? What if it were to come inside, and walk around downstairs? What if it were to find him? He took a deep breath, pulling the covers over his head. He felt like a small child, but he didn’t care. It wouldn’t come for him. Maybe Reagan had been telling a lie? Maybe what she had seen wasn’t a werewolf, maybe she had faked her screaming? He tried to convince himself this was the case, but he didn’t buy it. Reagan hadn’t been lying. There was a werewolf out there.
When it had grown dark, he was still lying on his sofa. His hands were behind his head, his feet on the arm of the sofa. He looked up, toward the ceiling of his house, before his gaze shifted to the window. The wind blew hard and strong, while his windows rattled. He stayed where he was for a few moments, before pushing himself up and walking over toward the curtains. He pulled them shut, then walked back into his kitchen. The timer said ‘1’. One minute until he needed to put the pasta on. Cahal sighed, walking toward the back door and locking it, drawing the curtains above his counter.
The sound of the alarm made its way through the house- a high-pitched, sudden, incredibly annoying noise. He pushed the button in, and it stopped. He picked up the wooden spoon, taking off the lid to the pan, and stirring the sauce. It smelled of cooked tomato. He put the lid back on, laying the wooden spoon to one side, before putting his pasta into the pan of already-boiling water. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, he thought to himself. He hadn’t noticed how hungry he was. A howl rung through the night, cold and lengthy. Cahal shut his eyes, taking a deep breath. He had forgotten about the werewolf. For a while there, he had forgotten about being here, he had sunk back into his mindset for normal life. As he remembered the werewolf, he remembered Edan. The cooling hands as they hauled the corpse into the village hall, the stiffness of the body. He shuddered, almost forgetting to check on his pasta. He had forgotten about the living nightmare they were all trapped in.
He took another deep breath, letting his chest rise and fall. Tomorrow, he decided, he would look for a way out. Tomorrow he would walk into the forest, and he wouldn’t come back unless something stopped him.
The alarm went off again, breaking into his thoughts. He snapped back in to action, turning off the rings and reaching up to get a plate. He found a colander, and put it in the sink, lifting the saucepan full of pasta over and tipping it in. Steam rose in a mist, as the water ran down into the plumbing. He pulled his plate a little closer, before tipping the pasta on to it, then pouring the tomato and kidney bean sauce on top of the pasta. He opened a draw and picked out a fork, heading back into his living room and sitting down in a chair.
Elissa returned to her washing up, moments before she herself heard the howl. It seemed far away, though, so she wasn’t particularly worried. She became conscious of how cold the water was around half-way through, but pushed on anyway. She’d done washing up in colder water, before.
After a few more moments, she was done. Her draining board was fairly empty, with only a few plates, and her washing up bowl was now upside down in the sink, drying out. She sighed, and dried her hands. Then, she was still, listening. All she could hear was the sound of the wind rushing down the chimney. She took a deep breath, heading upstairs, turning off lights as she went. There was little she could do from now until morning- except maybe read, but she wanted to make full use of the day tomorrow. Reading could wait until she didn’t have to worry about her life every passing night and day.
Elvin lay there in his bed, curled up as tight as he could, breathing shallow and rapid under the covers. He could hear something outside as the wind whistled around chimney pots. He could swear there was something outside, but he didn’t dare look. If he didn’t move, perhaps it would move away. There was a crash as something fell in his garden. He drew a breath, lying still, silent, not daring to even blink as he stared blankly at the covers. The closed window blocked out any other sounds, anything else that would hint toward what was down there. He hoped it was just a fox. But, knowing how things tended to go, he doubted it. It was the werewolf- it had to be.
His fears were confirmed when he heard the second howl, literally right outside his house, down there, in the garden. He shut his eyes slowly, and curled up tighter. He begged, oh lord did he beg. He wished it would turn away, run back into the forest, sneak away. Fear bubbled inside him, and he had to suppress a hopeless scream.
Cahal heard the crash, and dashed toward his back door, fumbling with the lock before wrenching it open. What was it? Had something been blown over in the wind? It had sounded close. He took a step outside, looking toward the direction of the noise. The wind battered his back, whipping his clothes around him. Then, it dyed suddenly, and the trees calmed. A little way away, he could see a large, dark shape. He felt as though a stone had been dropped into his stomach. He urged himself to run back inside, but couldn’t move. He stood there, staring in stunned silence, at the thing ahead.
Then, it raised its head, yellow eyes glinting in the moonlight, looking right at him.
They watched each other for a while, Cahal standing there, the werewolf slowly turning to face him. After a few moments, Cahal darted back inside, slamming the door behind him, quickly flicking the catch. He looked around in sudden panic, becoming all too aware of the crashes as the werewolf charged through the fences and walls between his garden and the one it had previously been in. He started to run, adrenaline beginning its course through his system. He tore forward, nearly smashing into the wall in front of him in his hurry. He pushed himself back, launching himself up the stairs, slipping on the second from the top, before regaining his balance. The nearest room was his own- he had a massive wardrobe. Would it be able to find him there? Wasn’t his scent all over this house? It wouldn’t find him in there, would it?
Cahal took a chance, and ran into the room, making sure to close the door. The werewolf had stopped outside, and was already starting to beat his back door into submission. Cahal went into his wardrobe, shutting the door as quietly as possible, then kneeling down, grabbing a bundle of clothes from the floor and covering himself in them. He wasn’t seen and he wouldn’t be smelt. Now all he had to do was keep as quiet as possible.
His door gave in, creaking forward as the werewolf stepped into it. He heard it walking across the kitchen tiles, claws clicking as it went, before the tone changed to a more hollow noise as it started on the floorboards. The footsteps halted for a few moments, and Cahal held his breath, hoping, even begging, that it would just turn around and forget about it.
Then they continued. He cursed silently as the clicking continued up the stairs, before dying out on the carpet of his landing. There was a loud crack as the werewolf pushed the door to his bedroom open, and it splintered beneath it. He could imagine it standing there, looking around, its head low. He didn’t dare to breathe, instead trying to push himself further into the clothes, shutting his eyes before lying still. He heard another snap from one of the other doors. It hadn’t fully entered the room. His hope returned, as it sniffed around the small bathroom, pushing things into the bath as it leaned upwards. He heard it padding across the floor of the bathroom, before its footsteps became silent once more. It was back on the landing. He heard cracks again from the door, which he now imagined was on the floor, as the werewolf walked into the room. His hope died once more. A low growl began to grow in its throat, as it walked up and down the room.
It stopped outside the door to the wardrobe, and he could hear it sniffing at the crack in the door. His heart was in his mouth, his blood was pounding in his ears. All he could hear was the sound of the werewolf, the sound of the air rushing into its nose, and perhaps even his scent. He lay under the clothes, not daring to move a muscle. There was silence for a few moments. It stopped sniffing, it stopped moving. It even seemed to stop breathing. Cahal was about to sit up when there was a loud smash, and light started to shine through the clothes. A pale, silvery light. Then a shadow fell, and it all went dark again. There was another smash, as the werewolf snarled. Cahal shut his eyes, wincing as it smashed his wardrobe to pieces, flinching at every shard of light that fell on his face. Then, he became aware of something wet on his face, seeping through the clothes. He lifted a hand, wiping away whatever it was, and the clothes with it. He cursed, his eyes widening. The werewolf looked down at him, saliva dribbling from its jaws, teeth glinting in the moonlight.
He barely had time to scream.
The sun rose early that morning, rising in the sky and staining it a deep, blood red. Adeline sat up, stretching. It had been another quiet night for her. She sighed contentedly, sliding out of bed and walking toward the window. She opened the curtains, along with the window, before changing out of her pajamas and into her normal clothes. She dragged a brush through her dark hair, before heading downstairs. The first thing she did was get a glass of water- she was eager to wash the metallic taste from her mouth. When she had, she got down a plate, grabbed a slice of bread and put it on to toast.
When it had finished, she put it on her plate and found some butter in a barely-filled fridge, grabbing a knife from the draw. She spread it thinly over the toast, before putting everything back, and sitting down for her breakfast. The toast was perfect- it was that mix between crispy and soft. She sat back in her chair once she had finished- she had left a bit of it, before she stood up again. She broke the last of the toast into pieces, and tip-toed outside to put them on the bird feeder in her garden, before hurrying back inside. She put the plate by the sink, putting away the clean crockery from the previous day. After that, she decided to go out and find out the results of her efforts at hunting.
Cloaked in a light coat, she head outside, carrying her still-full back pack from yesterday, walking out of her garden, and walking into the forest. She took a deep breath, savouring the forest air, before starting off toward her spot.
She reached it fairly fast. She hadn’t realised how slow she had been the day before. She put down her back, finding a fairy heavy rock from the edge of the path. If the trap hadn’t already killed the animal, she needed to put it out of its misery as soon as she could. She took a deep breath, before picking her way through the brambles, heading toward the little dip in the undergrowth. She blinked in surprise. Lying among the remains of her trap, was a dead rabbit. The wire was tight around its neck. Adeline stared at it for a few moments, before kneeling down beside it. It had choked itself.
Her other traps, however, had nothing. She finished re-setting the first one, before she returned to the path, slinging the backpack onto her shoulder, not bothering with the other strap. She held the dead rabbit by its back legs, and started to walk back. Adeline was surprised at her own coldness- she felt no guilt in the act, she felt no remorse at the task she had just completed. She hadn’t remembered being this emotionless. She sighed, continuing on her way.
By the time she returned to the gate, it was mid-morning. The birds had stopped their dawn singing, instead settling to occasional chirps. Adeline left the dead rabbit in her shed, making sure the door was closed. She would be able to skin it later. When she returned inside, she washed her hands, and finally remembered what else she had to do that morning. She bit her lip. Who had died? Had anyone died? She felt dull embarrassment start to rise within her. She had forgotten about the current situation.
She turned around the corner, and looked over into the main square. A few people stood around, talking, while a few others came out of the village hall. Adeline started to walk over, doing her best to look calm and casual. Then, Christina noticed her.
The next few minutes passed in a blur. She remembered being slammed into by Christina as the woman hugged her, then had a vague memory of everyone else started to wander toward her. Pretty soon she had a little group of people, all curious to know where she had been. Adeline kept apologizing, holding her head low, staring into space when she could. “I was just going to see if I had caught anything…”
Christina was babbling on about missing her, and being worried. She couldn’t help but feel as though it was a lie. Adeline sighed, trying to change the subject. “Anyway, what happened last night?” The chatter faded into silence, as everyone looked at each other, exchanging glances.
“Cahal O’Hanegan was… eaten by the werewolf.” Gretchen muttered finally.
Adeline dipped her head lower, staring at the ground. Others followed suit, shifting their feet in awkward silence. So the werewolf was real. “Have they found his body, then?” She glanced up to check the response.
Gretchen nodded, looking over toward the skyline. Which was high, because of the hills. “We think he was trying to escape, or at the very least trying to hide. He was found in his wardrobe, which… had also been shredded.” She looked back toward Adeline. “We were going to search for you, as well, if we had found Cahal alive.”
“Sorry again.” Adeline muttered, breaking eye contact.
Christina patted her on the shoulder. “It’s okay, we didn’t worry that much once we found Cahal.” She said it in a cheerful tone- unfitting to the circumstances. Adeline sighed, looking over toward the village hall.
“I suppose I should place my vote for today…”
Keelan patted her on the shoulder. “Do you mind if I join you?” When Adeline shook her head, the Seer broke from the group and started off toward the village hall, heading inside and disappearing as Adeline jogged to catch up.
The small crowd dispersed to find the others and reassure them that only one person had died, and that Adeline was not joining Cahal in the ‘afterlife’.
When Keelan was certain nobody could hear them, she turned back to face Adeline. “Christina Lou is Innocent.”
Adeline shrugged. “Figures.” She said, taking a slip from the table. She took a pen from her pocket, and pondered over who to condemn today.
“Oh?” Keelan said, raising an eyebrow questioningly. Adeline looked up.
“She was my room mate back in the facility. You can always tell when she’s hiding something.” Adeline paused, frowning. “Or at least, I can.” She returned to her paper, thinking over all the names. She finally decided on ‘Marija Averill’. She hadn’t spoken to the woman particularly much. Everyone she had spoken to seemed completely normal, like there was nothing different about them. Adeline felt it would be wrong to choose one of them, and decided that picking someone she didn’t know was more… guilt-free. After all, one of them had to be dead by the end of the day, and she’d rather it be someone who could possibly be the werewolf, compared to someone she was certain was not.
She picked up the slip from the table, along with the pen, dropping it into the box and putting the pen down beside it. Keelan watched Adeline carefully as the latter left the building. She sighed, taking a moment to feel the cool breeze on her face, before heading back toward home. She paused before she left the village square, looking back toward another gathering crowd. There was excited chatter among them. Adeline sighed, turning back toward the road and heading back home.