Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Fantasy  ➡  Contemporary  ➡  Paranormal

A Tale of Hunters

 

 

A Tale of Hunters

 

A novella

 

By Frank E Whelan

 

 

Copyright

 

Copyright © Frank E. Whelan 2015

Cover Art © Frank E. Whelan

All rights reserved.

 

The right of Frank E. Whelan to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted.

 

First published in the Republic of Ireland in 2015 by Perpetual Autumn Publishing.

 

This eBook first published in 2015 by Perpetual Autumn Publishing.

 

ISBN 978-0-9932358-2-5

 

 

All character and events in this publication, other than those clearly within the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor to be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

 

 

www.perpetualautumn.com

 

 

 

Contents

1. Where Wolves Do Roam

2. Patience is a virtue, silence is essential

3. Atmospheric friction on re-entry

4. Complications with the bill

5. Gentlemen, it’s hunting season!

6. Every rose has its thorns

Read more books

About the author

 

 

About this story

 

This tale takes place in the world of the “Diary of the Wolf” series.

The events take place between the first and second novels.

While it is not essential to read the first book, it will certainly enrich the experience and help avoid a few spoilers that might crop up in this story.

 

This is a work of fiction. While some of the locations named do exist, all events and characters are completely fictional and any likenesses are coincidental.

 

 

 

1. Where Wolves Do Roam

Jenny McAllister grabbed her left ankle and pulled her foot up towards her back. She had been driving for hours and her legs were now stiff and sore. Her father, Red, would normally do most of the driving, but he was still recovering from a battle with a werewolf. He was nearing his fifty-seventh birthday, and though he was still fitter than most men his age, Jenny had noticed him slowing down of late. Anything she could do to make life easier for him was important, even though she knew she couldn’t make it obvious.

In Red’s eyes he was the master hunter and she was still his daughter and his apprentice. Red was never patronising, it wasn’t in his nature, but he always took the lead and he was always between his daughter and the greatest danger.

“Where to now, Dad?” Jenny asked, as she stretched out her right leg.

“The bed and breakfast is just on the other side of the green.” Legs stretched, Jenny got back into the black van. It had taken most of the day to get from Kirkcaldy, in east Scotland, down to Garrigill in northern England and she was eager to leave the van behind, have a run and then possibly grab a quick cat nap.

A suspected werewolf attack brought them to Garrigill, so secrecy was the order of the day. Depending on the werewolf type, the infected person could be blissfully ignorant or they could be completely aware. Two hunters in town would either scare the werewolf into hiding, or more likely, draw down a surprise attack.

The cover story was a father and daughter with a keen interest in hiking, which worked because there were plenty of local hills and their hunting experience gave them a vast knowledge of remote walks all round the country.

The village was very pleasant, with a triangular green and all of the buildings in-keeping with the feel of the place. On the main street, was a row of terraced houses, starting with the local pub The George & Dragon Inn and continuing on with a number of houses and the local post office. She parked in a clear space at the end of the row of terraces, hopefully out of the way of passing traffic. The last thing they needed was for a passing police car to take an interest in the big black Scottish van and find it filled with surveillance equipment, weapons and a sleek black quad-bike.

Despite the amount of equipment in the van, when it came to personal gear they packed lightly. After a polite knock on the B&B door, a dowdy woman called Rose welcomed them in. Pushing eighty at a guess, Rose wore a flowery dress and had grey roots showing at the base of her brown-dye perm. Her rosy cheeks went well with her name and where she went a scent of lavender followed.

 “Come in, come in” she said while gesturing. “I’ve just put a pot of tea on! I’m Rose, and you must be John, and who is this beautiful young woman?”

“This is my darling daughter Emma, she got the good looks from her mother and the love of hiking from me.”

“Oh I’m sure you had a hand in more than that. Come in and have some tea to warm yourselves up and then I’ll show you to your rooms.”

Tea was served with freshly baked scones, homemade jam and clotted cream. Delicious enough to nearly make the two hunters forget the work awaiting them.

After being shown to their separate rooms, Red popped his head in and suggested that Jenny had a nap after her driving, while he went and had a snoop about town. Without argument, Jenny stretched out on the bed and fell quickly asleep.

Jenny woke with a knock on her door. In her mind she had only just closed her eyes, but the light in the room was much darker. “Come in” she said. It was Red.

“Hope you enjoyed your rest” he said in a cheery manner.

Jenny spun in the bed so she was sitting up. She had fallen asleep in her clothes, so there was no question of modesty.

“What did you find out?” she asked.

“The local paper has the story of a man dying from infection, following an untreated bite from a wild animal. The report said the wound looked weeks old and the blood poisoning from the infection killed the poor bugger.”

Red didn’t have to say anymore, Jenny knew what it meant. The bite of a werewolf was quick to heal because the werewolf virus starts working straight away to change the victim. The problem was, with most strains of the virus, only a small percentage of victims successfully change into werewolves, the majority just died.

“When did he die?” Jenny asked.

“He was found just over three weeks ago… his time of death suggests he died the day after the full moon.”

Jenny stood up. “So The Network’s reports were right for once, Garrigill does have a werewolf”.

Red nodded “Aye and there’s a full moon tonight. If he’s like most werewolves, we have three nights to catch him!”

Jenny gave her father a dirty look “You always think they’re guys dontcha’, Dad. A female baddie is going to be the death of you one day, you’re sexist when it comes to hunting” and she smiled as he chuckled.

After they discussed their plans for the night, Red and Jenny went to the local inn for a quick dinner. Not only was it the done thing for tourists, the town inn was also a great place to watch the locals. Now that there was a confirmed werewolf in the area, everyone was under suspicion. There are different breeds of werewolves, just as there are different breeds of dogs. Some, like the “Great Wolves” were largely able to control the wolf within, and were rarely a problem… but when they were a problem they were possibly the most dangerous of all. Others, such as the classic lycanthropes, changed with the full moon and had no real memory of their time as a werewolf, except maybe some bad dreams. Different breeds reacted differently to the full moon, but generally people were divided in two camps: positivity, with big appetites and a more boisterous nature, or negativity with appetite loss and dread. The two hunters were on the lookout for the rowdy, the distracted and the downright odd.

The man behind the bar was also named John, so that broke the ice when the two men congratulated each other on having a fine name. Jenny had the pie of the day: a stout, beef and onion delight. Red had some sausages, beans and chips. Good, hearty food and perfect to warm a person up before they spent a night hunting in the hills. Jenny and Red chatted away about pointless things, keeping up an air of normality, both mentioning Jenny’s mother, even though she had died when Jenny was seven.

“Your mother would be so proud of your latest achievement” Red said, telling anyone trying to eavesdrop that he was the woman’s father, rather than her randy old lover.

Nobody was acting particularly out-of-place, or rather they all were. Everyone in the pub was eating well and full with energy. If it was one man alone he’d be a suspect, but everybody was gorging on pies, peanuts and good ale. It simply seemed like a happy town, and it didn’t aid the hunters in the slightest.

There had to be a werewolf in the area. The Network was informed by its mystical sources that this was the home of a violent werewolf, and the death in the newspaper confirmed it. Sometimes the sources saw the future or the past and got confused, but they were usually right on location. The werewolf was there and would transform that night.

 

2. Patience Is a Virtue, Silence Is Essential

Clouds hung low in the night sky, delaying the change for an hour at least, but come midnight the werewolf would lose human form.

Jenny and Red walked to the east, setting up in the nearest dense forest grouping. The village sat in a valley, a settlement sprung up from a natural route-way between the hills. Most of the terrain was grass, ferns and bushes, so the wooded area seemed a more attractive location. The forest had a large clearing running down the middle and it was there that they placed their main trap. Jenny was high in the trees to the north of the clearing, while Red was to the south.

Jenny, though brilliant in hand-to-hand combat, preferred to arm herself with projectile weapons, currently favouring a Steyr rifle with silencer. All her weapons were loaded with silver ammunition. In reality, unlike in most tales about werewolves, a silver bullet wouldn’t kill them in one shot. Silver neutralised the werewolf’s increased healing ability, so silver bullets make them bleed like a human. Any conventional weapons could kill a werewolf, but in some cases you’d need to go to the point of disintegration just to make sure.

Red was more of a traditional hunter. His weapon of choice was a long solid wooden staff, with a silver blade hidden in a recess. He liked to beat his prey with the staff, slowly taking them apart. Only for a killing blow or in dire circumstances would he press the latch that caused the blade to spring out. If a werewolf was running, he had a silver tipped bola, which he was so skilled with that he could stop most werewolves dead in their tracks.

Both were armed with a one eyed night-vision scope, allowing the other eye to keep its natural night vision. With a litre of pigs’ blood splashed around the clearing, all they had to do was wait.

Silence was paramount when hunting werewolves. Their hearing was on a level far above humans and whispers would be enough to alert the prey. Werewolves also had an amazing sense of smell, which was best combated by not using perfumed soaps when washing, and to use local mud  and flora as camouflage where possible. No fancy camo-sticks, just a good ol’ fashioned roll around in the mud. Even with every effort, if a werewolf was on guard it’d find you, some could even focus enough to hear heartbeats.

Jenny checked her scope. Nothing. It was 2am, and the latest the change took place was around midnight. She looked across to where Red was hidden in the high branches of a tree, and waited for him to look at her. He was focused on the woods around her, making sure she was safe, as per usual. Eventually he looked up and she signed “Wrong position? Consider moving?” Red signed back “Two hours since he turned. Would be here by now. Wrong direction. Give it fifteen minutes. I descend first. You cover. Then you.” Jenny was taught sign language from the age of eight; it had come in handy hundreds of times. Red had hoped the practice would catch on with other hunters, but many saw it as too much effort, not realising how many times it could save a life.

The fifteen minutes passed with no sign of the werewolf. Jenny and Red moved to the edge of the forest, once again climbing trees. The ability to climb was one advantage the hunters had over the werewolf.

They had a perfect view over the sloping hills. A light frost twinkled with the moonlight on the gorse and heather. The earlier cloud cover was gone, now it was a clear cold sky dominated by a perfect full moon. Jenny found herself staring up at that moon and losing herself in the moment, until Red snapped her back with a double click noise he made with his mouth. She looked at him in the neighbouring tree. He pointed at his eyes and then down to the field. She followed his finger and saw a shape moving to and fro across the grass. It was too big to be anything but a werewolf.

 Jenny wondered why the hell the werewolf was running aimlessly rather than heading for a destination. If not the forest then any destination at all. It was odd behaviour. Jenny made a click and signed to Red “Will I take a shot?” and the response was “Too far. Might drive it in to hiding. Wait.” Jenny had to laugh at Red signing his response, because when he was finished he shouted without warning. Jenny watched as the werewolf stopped, looked at the forest and began running directly towards Red’s location. Red spoke “This wolf has kept us waiting long enough, put a few bullets in him and we’ll make this quick.” It was unlike Red to resort to bullets, but the last time he went against a werewolf he had allowed it to live, a first, and it had changed him. He knew allowing that werewolf to live was the right thing to do, but it messed with an absolute he had lived by.

 Werewolves were people infected with a disease that turned them into wild and dangerous creatures. There was no cure and they had to be killed to prevent them infecting others. It was a simple rule. It wasn’t that werewolves were always evil things, they were just at the top of the food-chain and humans were an acceptable target. A tiger isn’t evil when it kills a man, it’s just a tiger, and yet man puts it down to save another man. This was the first werewolf since the exception, and Red wanted it done. Just done.

Jenny checked her sights. The werewolf was moving fast, but still far enough away that she could keep track of it. She held her breath and squeezed the trigger. A muted “fahtwup” sound was heard a moment before the wet thud of metal into flesh and a yelp from the werewolf. The first shot was aimed at the body but got the top of the leg. The werewolf stumbled but kept coming. The rifle shot four more times, three of them finding home. The werewolf found the mud rise up into its nostrils as it ploughed face first into the ground.

There was enough silver bullets in the wolf to kill it, if not that night, then when it woke as a human. It struggled to stand but gave up quickly, content to lie on the ground in a pool of blood. “Nice shooting.” Red said as he descended from his tree. Jenny looked through her scope for a moment longer, making sure there was no charge when Red hit the ground, but the wolf stayed still, partially hidden by the bushes.

“He went down easier than most.” Red said as they approached the wounded werewolf. Jenny circled around to approach the beast from behind, while Red took a direct route. The wolf was lying on the ground, resigned to its fate, no fight left whatsoever. It didn’t even growl when Red flicked out the blade in his staff. It looked up with sad eyes. This wasn’t the sort of werewolf the hunters were used to facing, it was strange.

Red stabbed the silver blade into its brain and with a yelp and some reflexive twitches, the werewolf was dead. They watched as it turned back into a human. A teenaged male. Jenny remembered him from the pub, he was the butt of the other lads’ jokes, Jeffy they called him. Strange to think that little Jeffy was sitting there one moment, a killer werewolf the next… though as a werewolf he turned out to be a serious failure.

They had to dispose of the body. It was the worst part of the job and both of them disliked it. Red would normally do most of the work, saving his daughter from the unpleasantness, but sometimes, like tonight, he felt it necessary to remind her that their way in life was not an easy one. A machete and a compact bone-saw had the body in pieces. They buried different parts in biodegradable bags around the forest. The werewolf condition meant the cells renewed themselves faster, but it also meant that in death, decay happened faster. In a month there would be no trace of the body, not even bones.

The sky was pink by the time they made their way back to the village.

 

3. Atmospheric Friction on Re-Entry

It’s seldom that something is as easy as it first seems. They took a different road back into town and as they walked the silence that followed their grisly work began to melt away. The job was done, another town was safe.

Before they reached the van they both stopped and chuckled. Right next to where the van was parked lay the town’s ancient graveyard. It was situated behind the house the van was parked next to, and there was no indication until you walked further down the road. A terrible place to park in their line of work, with the knowledge that beings of the dark were all too real. They were dealing with a werewolf, so the graveyard didn’t come into play, but it was just a funny surprise.

“Just as well we weren’t dealing with a necromancer, eh, girl?” Red said.

Jenny laughed and said, “oops, my bad.” as they strolled on.

When they rounded the cottage the smiles were wiped from their faces. The van was wrecked. Deep scratches covered the side of the black van, and no amount of waxing and polishing would sort that out. The tires were slashed. The van was going nowhere anytime soon.

“Looks like Jeffy was delayed because he was thrashing our wheels.” Jenny said.

Red paused for a moment. “Why do a targeted job of destroying our transport and then act as if he knew nothing about us? He didn’t seem to be following our scent when we encountered him in the field, so why do this?”

“It could be territorial. Unknown object turns up in his territory and he chooses to mark it?”

 “I don’t think so lass, the scratches maybe, but bursting the tires is something else. Well, we’ve had a long night, let’s load the gear in and see what’s for breakfast. We can deal with this after a rest”

As they approached the B&B, the curtains twitched. “I see our host is up” said Jenny. They both looked a state, covered in dirt, mud and the odd spot of gore, so they slipped up the stairs without saying hello. The first thing they did was shower; each of their rooms had an en suite bathroom so there was no need to worry about bumping into anyone in the corridors.

Half an hour later they both emerged, Jenny with a nice shine to her hair and a fresh pink glow to her skin. Red marvelled at how his daughter always managed to look so presentable, even after a night of hunting, and he was reminded of his wife, who always managed to look beautiful regardless of the situation.

It was just after 7.30am, an acceptable time for breakfast. Their hostess was awake, as they had known, and she greeted them and took their orders. No continental breakfasts here, it was a full English breakfast of sausages, pudding, beans, eggs, bacon and more. Ideal following a night of sitting in the cold.

“There you are now, hope you enjoy it. Would you like any tea or coffee?” Rose asked, before pouring a cup of coffee for Jenny and bringing over the pot of tea for Red. “Did I hear you two go out last night?” Rose asked.

“Yes, the moon was so bright; we decided to take a stroll around the closer hills. Nice fresh air up there.” Red said.

“Yes, it’s so peaceful at night” Jenny added.

“And will you be going out again tonight?” Rose asked “Only, I’ll leave the lights on if you are, and keep the door off the latch.”

Red glanced at Jenny and said “No, I don’t think we’ll be out tonight. In fact we were hoping to do some hiking today and possibly head home tonight, but our van has been vandalised, so we’ll have to spend the day fixing it. The hiking will wait til tomorrow morning, so we’d appreciate staying again tonight.”

“Your van has been vandalised?! That’s terrible. Didn’t think we had that sort local around here, but then it’s hard to account for some of the young ones, or more likely it was some of those hoodies cruising down from Carlisle. I didn’t hear anything mind, but they’ve been about before, with their tinted windows and noisy exhausts.” With that Rose left the room to make herself busy in the kitchen, popping in occasionally to offer more coffee or another piece of toast.

After a leisurely breakfast, the hunters made their way upstairs for a rest. On the way up Jenny paused on the landing. “Is it just me, or do you get a strange smell?”

Red inhaled deeply through his nose, “I smelled it when we first came in, but just dismissed it as coming off us. It could still be the smell of Jeffy lingering on our skin, but there is a very definite ‘wet-dog’ hint to the air. Hopefully it’s gone by the time we wake up, it’s not exactly pleasant and our hostess keeps her house tidy.”  The two went into their separate rooms for a rest, due to emerge at 2pm to inspect the van properly.

“Well, we’ve got four completely shredded tires and only two spares. If it was a case of punctures, I’d be able to repair them, but these tires are completely gone. It’s a job for the AA I think.  We’ll change the two tires on the cottage side, so it looks like something could have come along the road and damaged to the other two. The less reason we have to report it as a crime the better.” Red said.

“Scratches are all over, but only deep on this side panel. Seems Jeffy had anger issues” Jenny said.

“Well he would have been better served showing some anger at us rather than our van.”

The roadside assistance was going to take an hour to arrive, but there was no rush. The hunters cleaned themselves up after changing the tires and went to the inn for lunch.

The atmosphere was quite different; a sudden silence greeted them when they entered. The local men were decidedly less raucous than the previous day, and nursed their ale in silence. Apart from their demeanour, the other visible difference was the absence of little Jeffy on the fringes. John the barman was less than talkative, and produced the two clingfilm-covered plates of sandwiches without ceremony, and the soup was apparently off the menu. The mood had certainly changed.

The hunters had to deliberately slow down their eating to avoid appearing like they were in a rush. Everything had to seem completely normal. If the locals were restless because of Jeffy’s disappearance, or if it was something more sinister, the strangers to the village were sure to be a centre of negativity.

After what appeared to be a leisurely lunch, the hunters paid and left. “Bad vibes in there today.” Jenny said. Red just nodded.

They sat in the van to talk. “You’re right, lass, the natives are restless. It could just be the worry over the missing Jeffy, but we should be on our guard. Unfortunately we have to stay the night to keep up appearances; we don’t want to look like we went running just after Jeffy disappeared. Such is the cost of dipping back into civilisation I’m afraid.”

Jenny thought of the simplicity of hunting in the highlands of Scotland, where they could be tracking for days without seeing anything more than a hiker’s brightly coloured bag in the distance.

The AA van arrived and had the wheels quickly replaced. The guys were as confused by the damage as the hunters pretended to be, but one of the two was sure it was vandals while the other suspected some large piece of farm machinery. Either way, both hmm-ed and haw-ed over the possible price to fix the scratches, then tried to argue about each other’s reasoning. Once they left, the van was ready to go, horribly scratched but still ready to roll.

Back in the driving seat, Jenny said, “It’d be so easy to just drive off now, before more questions are asked. Sure nobody would even be able to track the fake license plate back to us.” She said it already knowing Red’s answer.

“Yes, but there’d be publicity we don’t need about people matching our descriptions, and you should know better than anyone, with your love of the internet, that information builds overtime. The less mysterious and interesting we seem, the better. Plus, I have a bad feeling in my gut.”

The game plan for the next few hours of daylight was simple: The two would get on their hiking gear and head out to the hills on the west of the town. With luck they’d find more of Jeffy’s prints and have a clearer picture of what happened the previous night. At least, that was the plan until Red looked out the window of his B&B room and saw two guys trying to peer in through the black van’s tinted windows.

“I don’t trust the van here on its own, not with all the equipment in there. You head off while it’s bright and see what you can find. I’ll stick around and keep an eye on the van. I have a hunch that those two guys will be back when they think no one is watching.”

Jenny smirked. “Oh yeah, send me out on my own with a potential lynch-mob on the prowl, while you enjoy a good sit down? Fine for some.” They both smiled. It was hard to get worried about disgruntled locals when you faced down werewolves and worse on a regular basis.

They walked out of the village together, but Red doubled back and vaulted over the rear garden wall and entered the B&B from the backdoor. He sat in his room, reading the local newspaper and overlooking the van. Red wasn’t only on guard duty, he was also observing the town. There was a rumbling in his gut and he wanted to get a better feel for the place.

Jenny soon found a set of tracks in the soft mud on the hillside and began following them. The ground was soft and held the imprints well, definitely evidence of a werewolf, but the mud was chopped up by mountain bike, sheep and horse tracks, making precision tracking tricky.

When she got out on top of the mountain she found precious 3G signal. Cue checking her email. Though her father was very much rooted in the old world, Jenny was quick to embrace new technologies, and with her lifestyle forcing her to constantly move around the country, Facebook and email were the only way she could properly keep in touch with her friends. She had a new email waiting for her from Sabine, an unlikely friend but one that was becoming dear to her. The circumstances of their meeting were strange enough, but what they had in common was even stranger, and Jenny found herself getting on with the Irish girl better than anyone before.

With emails read and Facebook messages replied to, she continued following the tracks as they went along the ridge. On the higher ground she was finding the drier terrain needed to figure out the more exact details, and what she suspected on the way up proved true. There were two werewolves, judging by the tracks. One had noticeably larger tracks than the other. The two tracks converged on a similar path and continued to the saddle, but Jenny didn’t bother following them, she ran cross-country back to the village.

While Jenny was on the mountain, Red had a run-in with the locals. The two men, who were looking in the window earlier, came back with a crowbar. Red appeared behind them as they tried to find purchase in the back door of the van.

“Gentleman, may I ask you what the fk you think you’re doing to my van?”

The men turned, searched for an explanation, then the one with the crowbar swung it while the other mumbled, still looking for words. Red’s right hand shot up and caught the crowbar before it gathered any momentum. His left hand shot out and punched the local straight in the face with a crack. Red then spun the man with his right hand, ripping the crowbar from his grasp at the same time. The crowbar was dropped to the ground; Red wouldn’t need a weapon for these two. He rammed the first man’s face into the back of the van and he fell to the floor. The mumbler tried to swing a punch but Red spun, deflected the blow with this left arm and delivered a swinging upper-cut with his right. Mumbler staggered back and a sweep kick took him to the ground with his crowbar-loving chum.

“Don’t let me catch you anywhere near my van again, ok? Next time I won’t go easy on you.” There was no response but groans from the men on the ground, but Red felt his point was made. He wiped the crowbar, threw it onto the roof of the cottage and walked back to the B&B. Rose met him inside the door.

“Are you back from your walk so soon, John? Is Emma not with you?” she asked. 

Red switched on his positive face. “I didn’t manage to go on the walk, my knee was acting up a bit, I think I may have twisted it last night. Emma went on her own. Lucky I stayed though, I just caught two men getting a bit too curious about our van.”

Rose looked disapproving again. “Could be they thought the van belonged to gypsies. We had some Irish gypsies camped out on the village green last summer, a terrible business. The place was such a mess, and the local council wouldn’t do anything about it. We had to sort it out ourselves. The clean-up took a week. So, I can understand if maybe some of the local lads were anxious, still, it’s not good to treat tourists like that. I must have a word with them.” And that was the matter closed it seemed.

 

4. Complications With The Bill

Jenny arrived with mud splashed up to her waist. Red chuckled at the state of his daughter. “Well, I assume you’ve a story to tell, I certainly have, but you first, lass.”

“I think some of the local lads went up to follow us, but I was already on my way back down and going cross-country at pace, so I only had to duck behind some bushes and follow a small ravine off the mountain. The real news is there was more than one werewolf! I found two sets of tracks merging; the second was considerably larger than the first.”

“It makes more sense than just Jeffy. I reckon Jeff had no idea we were here, while the other werewolf avoided us last night, but made sure to vandalise our van. Or, maybe the local lads in the pub did the van. They were certainly keen to break into it today, before I had a word. Go get changed and we’ll talk about plans.”.

“So what do we know?” Red asked when Jenny returned in clean clothes.

“We’ve got two werewolves, one dead, one presumably at large, and two nights left with the moon. One villager is already missing, chopped into pieces and buried in the woods, and some of the other locals are less than happy that we’re here. I think that’s all we’ve got?”

“Right. So we have two problems: The remaining werewolf and the locals. We stay put tonight, act normal. Then early in the morning we settle any bills and drive out of the village as if nothing happened. We drive north and come back down on the other side of the mountain you went up today. Up we go, fully loaded and hunt ourselves a werewolf. No pretence, no fake names, just the mountain, the wolf and us.” 

“So we just sit tight tonight? Is that not a waste of the full moon?”

“Sometimes playing dead is worthwhile if it means the bear loses interest and walks away. We can’t kill the locals, they’re just worried for their missing friend and trying to find someone to blame. It’s safer for them if we just stay put. We’ll catch the werewolf in one night… especially if we set up some surveillance.”

The van was packed with weapons and gadgets, including a number of wireless infrared cameras. Red took what looked like a leisurely stroll around the town, subtly placing the cameras as he went. The cameras fed their signal directly to a tablet, a high-tech tool even Red agreed to use. With some simple gestures each camera could be called up full-screen, or set to highlight movement.

The hunters had used the equipment on countless occasions and it was yet another way that technology was narrowing the gap between humans and the supernatural. Red had the roads to the north, west and east monitored, as well as the van and village green. If any werewolf left the village they’d know where it went.

An early night was on the cards, feigned tiredness from too much fresh air, but neither hunter found sleep easily. Red kept checking the cameras, looking for subtle changes. Jenny had the cameras linked to her phone and kept flicking between cameras. Despite talk of a quiet night in, both hunters had discreetly brought weapons into the house. Neither hunter mentioned the weapons to the other, but Red smiled to himself when he noticed a handgun missing from its case.

The moon was high in the clear sky, big enough to make out the craters in amazing detail. The lack of cloud cover made the night crisp and frosty, so when Jenny opened her window her breath hung in the air. She stood by the window, listening to the night, dressed in a baggy Elmo t-shirt which was just long enough to cover the short shorts she wore. The night was quiet, perhaps too quiet, and beginning to feel uneasy, she moved away from the open window.

The pistol was stored in her bedside locker, safety off, and she imagined the movement needed to retrieve it should anything suddenly happen. In a position where she could see out the window and dive for the gun, Jenny felt more comfortable. The clock by the bed read 00.15. She saw movement outside the window and stepped closer to investigate.

When Red said goodnight to Jenny, he went straight into his room and dressed in his hunting attire. In the game of werewolf hunting it was always better to be safe than dead. His armour was his own design, coming from years of experience hunting werewolves. The immediate danger of tooth and claw needed skill to overcome, but just as fatal was the virus contained in the werewolf’s saliva. One bite that drew blood would be enough to infect the victim, the virus spreading like rabies, and depending on the strain, it could be a near certain death sentence. Red’s armour was tough leather, with a number of steel studs and strategically placed plates. Vambraces could be used to intercept a werewolf’s bite, protecting more vulnerable areas. To survive as a hunter, when one mistake can cost your life, amazing focus was needed.

Red and Jenny were light-hearted by nature, but they were always fully focused on the task at hand. Reds staff was sitting by the bed and hung from a belt was a silver coated hand axe, more suited to combat at close quarters. At ten minutes to midnight, Red began having issues with the camera feeds. Except for the camera attached to his window, all other cameras went offline within minutes of each other. Looking at the only infrared camera left, Red saw no movement. He stood, waiting.

At 00.15 the tablet screen flashed and highlighted movement on the camera. It was definitely a werewolf, running from the east and heading towards the village green. The werewolf was heading away from the B&B, but he thought it best to let Jenny know regardless.

Red was about to open the door to the landing when he paused, his hand on the handle. He heard deep breathing in the hallway, and barely audible, the unmistakeable sound of hard claw on wood. The breathing faded as it moved towards Jenny’s room. Axe held in his right hand and his left hand on the door handle, Red swiftly opened the door and stepped into the hallway. The werewolf was sniffing at Jenny’s door but turned to face Red. Time stretched for a moment as hunter and prey faced each other, though who was what was hard to tell. Then, battle was joined.

Jenny’s focus on the village green werewolf was broken when she heard a crash from the hallway. She dove towards the bedside locker, landing on the bed and pulling her gun from the locker. She spun around and ran for the door. In the hall the werewolf had Red pinned, the wolf’s right shoulder bloody from a cut. The wolf’s teeth were clamped on the handle of the axe, with Red holding either end, trying to stop the wolf from getting a bite. Jenny dropped to one knee, aimed along the sight, took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger.

It was a hollow point silver bullet, designed to do as much tissue damage as possible and lodge in the target. The bullet found home in the wolf’s stomach, such was the forced angle of the shot. The wolf released the axe with the pain and spun around to face Jenny. The narrow landing cut down on the wolf’s manoeuvrability but also meant there was nowhere to dodge. Wearing only a light t-shirt and holding a pistol, there was no way Jenny could stop the werewolf’s charge. A second is a long time. The werewolf jumped; Red threw the axe; Jenny pulled the trigger. Split seconds decide fates.

Jenny’s bed was covered in blood, the red stain spreading through the crisp pale sheets. The human body holds a surprisingly large amount of blood. Red leant against the wall for a moment, gathering his thoughts and breath. When he was ready he looked at the bed. It had all happened so fast. A split second either way, that’s all it would have taken.

The werewolf had turned sharply, and Red recovered and pulled his hand back to throw the axe. The werewolf leapt, with nothing but soft, young, pink flesh in his sights. The wolf was in mid air when Jenny pulled the trigger. The bullet caught the wolf right in its open mouth, blood exploding out of the back of the animal’s head. The axe hit home and dug deep into the wolf’s back, just as Jenny slipped to the floor and performed a bicycle kick, the wolf’s momentum carrying it crashing through Jenny’s half closed door, landing on the bed, dead before impact. It changed into a human in a sea of blood.

Jenny was already getting dressed by the time Red turned the man over to check his identity. It was no time for modesty. Jenny threw off her clothes and jumped into her hunting gear that lay prepared on a chair. As with many other things, Jenny’s hunting gear was a more modern take on her father’s equipment. Jenny went with tight mesh bullet proof material, which would prevent any fangs from piercing her skin. It was lighter and more flexible than Red’s gear, but she wouldn’t try to convince her father to upgrade, his way had kept him safe since before she was born.

“It’s another one of the village men,” Red said, “and there was another werewolf on the green. I think it’s safe to say we’re dealing with a pack. Subtlety be damned, we’ve wolves to hunt!”

 

5. Gentlemen, it’s Hunting Season!

They left nothing in their rooms. Everything they weren’t wearing was stuffed into Jenny’s rucksack. The first mission was to get to the van and load up on weapons. As they moved carefully down the stairs, Red stopped Jenny with a hand signal. Instantly she could hear it too, a low growl. Sure enough, the werewolf appeared from the back of the house and began climbing up towards them. On the stairs it was easy for Jenny to place three rounds in the wolf’s head before it gathered speed. It lay dead in the hallway, its face a messy pulp.

“I was wondering where the first wolf came from,” Red said, “and now it seems we’ll get our answer.”

They made their way carefully to the back of the house. Muddy paw prints covered the floor and lead the way. The backdoor to the house was open, as were all the others bar the front door, which had turned out to be locked with no sign of the key.

“This house has been left awfully werewolf friendly” Red said, just as they spotted another werewolf entering the back garden through the open rear gate.

 The wolf charged them, but Red had his staff and plenty of room to use it. A solid swiping smash in the face changed the wolf’s direction, and Red spun the staff above his head to bring it down hard, right between the werewolf’s eyes. It wasn’t enough to kill the beast, but it certainly broke its charge. Then came a moment of pure focus, as Red waited for the wolf’s next move.

Jenny couldn’t take a shot; in such fast paced battles a bullet could easily find the wrong target. No, it was Red who had the lead and he was well used to the situation.

The wolf leapt. Red dug the staff into the ground and used the wolf’s momentum to flick it over, like a pole-vaulter. The wolf landed on its back, and before it could upright itself, the staff came swinging in a wide arc and broke the animal’s jaw with an audible crack. The broken jaw was a key strike, without the crushing power of its jaws, the werewolf had to rely mostly on its claws, but Red was fast enough to dodge its first swipe, answering with another crack of the solid staff.

If the problem was as bad as Red predicted, he didn’t have time to waste on the werewolf, so while it recovered from the staff strike, he got in close and with his free hand swung the silver axe at an angle, cutting deep into the side of the wolf’s face. The axe remained stuck, between the wolf’s muzzle and left eye.

Most times a blow like that would kill a wolf, but the axe must have missed anything instantly vital. The wolf went into a frenzy and ripped the axe out with its claws. The gash was deep and blood poured down the its face as it moved with a berserker rage. It was a moment when a less experienced hunter may have lost it, but Red was in command of his own destiny.

The Scotsman took a step back and pressed a catch on his staff, releasing the hidden silver blade. He spun it around his head once and dug it down through the wolf’s skull, just as the animal charged towards his midsection. Red took a step back and the animal lay on the ground at his feet. He pulled the staff up, making a noise like cracking a lobster tail, and cleaned the thick blood off the blade by rubbing it on the wolf’s fur before it changed back into a human.

They met no more werewolves in the time it took them to reach the van, though they felt watched. The van remained untouched.

“I guess they were planning on just killing us.” Jenny said as Red opened the back door.

The werewolves had every right to be confident; there were at least three of them against two humans. Unfortunately the werewolves picked the wrong people to underestimate.

The hunters equipped themselves with their full complement of weapons. Jenny with a rifle and katana, and Red adding a silver tipped bola to his arms. Both hunters took a selection of silver throwing knives, just in case. First on the to-do list was to collect the surveillance equipment while the coast was clear. At each spot they found the cameras smashed, but killing a town of werewolves meant operating a no-trace policy. Once they had returned the cameras to the van, Red spoke about his theories.

“It was in the back of my mind since we first came across Jeffy, but it was so unlikely. This town could be one big den of werewolves. I’ve seen it before, but it’s usually in remote settlements in the wilderness. We’re going to have to kill every one of them and get out of here before sunrise. The problem is… how far does this go? Just make sure you pack extra ammunition.”

The village was in complete darkness, save for a large house across the village green to the west. It was the obvious destination. There was no need for stealth; the hunters wanted the werewolves to attack.

As they walked across the green, a single light cast two long shadows before them. Out of the darkness came two werewolves, running at full pelt. Jenny dropped to one knee and took the rifle off her back. Breathe, aim, squeeze. One werewolf got a bullet through its left eye and stumbled. The second wolf was nearly on them when Jenny squeezed the rifle trigger again, but this werewolf was quicker and dodged out of the way, the bullet flying past its head. The wolf was too close for another shot.

Red stepped forward and swung his staff. The wolf dodged again and the staff only glanced its shoulder, deflecting the werewolf’s charge slightly, but it still got close enough to lash out with a claw, tearing deep into Red’s upper thigh. The wolf was within the staff’s strike range and Red could only hold it horizontally to keep the wolf at bay. The staff was under the werewolf’s neck, and only Red’s strength was keeping the snapping teeth from closing on his face, but with every second the weight of the wolf was inching the teeth closer.

The katana flashed down and sliced through the outstretched neck. The head twitched as it fell forwards onto Red’s face, still attached to the neck by a thin layer of flesh. Red wrestled the corpse off him before it turned back into a man, minus a head. Another of the local inn’s crowd.

Red stood and carefully wiped the blood from his face. “Right. Let’s get this done.”

Jenny took point, walking with her rifle raised, ready to shoot at anything emerging from the house. Red followed, limping. They reached the house and tried the door handle. Surprisingly it opened easily.

Inside was a pleasant warm glow and what sounded like some easy going Glenn Miller on the radio. The hunters moved into the hallway and stood outside the room with the music. Red counted to three and opened the door. The sight that greeted them was shocking.

 

6. Every Rose Has Its Thorns

The women were armed with knitting needles and looked up casually at the intruders. The hunters were suddenly ill at ease; the situation had quickly gone outside the realms of gun and blade. Rose was the one to break the silence, “And how are our two visitors tonight?”

The hunters sat in comfortable armchairs at the behest of Rose, who also urged the other women to leave, “well ladies, seems I have some business to attend to.” Weapons were rested next to the chairs and the hunters found themselves drinking tea. The crackling of the fire was the only sound for some minutes, until Rose spoke again.

“How many did you kill?” she asked. When she got her answer she sighed.

“They were good men you know. They lived as werewolves for years, and with only a few casualties along the way. It’s sad how all things must come to an end.”

Red gently placed his china teacup on its saucer. “And what role do you play in all of this may I ask? You don’t seem surprised by any of this.”

Rose took a bite of her gingernut biscuit and a sip of tea before replying. “Well I’ve seen it all before. I’m what you’d call a ‘Great Wolf’, you see.”

There was silence in the room, save for the crackling of the fire.

“Go on.” Red said.

“Tales are important, ‘John’. After tonight, one of our tales will end. I’d like us to share our stories so that they might live on. Please, tell me yours, and please tell me your true names.”

Red told the tale of the hunters, how his father had been a hunter, how he had followed in his father’s footsteps and how his wife had been killed by a supernatural creature when Jenny was still a child. He told their tale and then it was Rose’s turn. Before she began she made a fresh pot of tea, for she told them her tale was long.

“I’m much older than you would imagine. I was born in a world at war, or at least it seemed that way to my people. The Romans had come to Britannia many hundreds of years before my birth, and had most of the island under their control, except for the very north, which is why I will always welcome a Scotsman at my door.” She smiled and nodded to the hunters.

“My people were called barbarians by the Romans, and too few of us remained south of the wall. We were Britons and we were proud, but too few to fight the Romans. I grew up strong and filled with fire, with stories of the legendary warrior queen Boudicca running through my mind. Roman power was in decline, and by the time I was a woman grown, we were raiding again and weakening the Roman foothold in our area, but it would never be enough.

“Then the Saxons arrived, a force capable of challenging Rome. With the Saxons came the Black Wolf, my creator. He was as clever as he was powerful, wise and wild, a true force of nature. I fell in love with him, and for many years I thought he felt the same about me. In time I saw his life was driven by war, war against the Romans and ultimately war against the vampires.”

Rose paused and drank some tea. “Once the Romans were out of Britannia, I led my tribe to rebuild our lands, but as years passed I was cast out by men greedy for power, who persecuted me with a witch hunt. My own people turned against me.” Rose was silent for a moment, then took a bite from a fresh gingernut.

“Cast out, I found a home among the Saxons. I learnt the Anglo-Saxon language from my years with the Black Wolf, so I had somewhere to go. I moved from place to place, never settling for more than a few years. I faked my death more times than I can remember. Britannia became England and I became bored of civilisation.

I lived in my wolf form for years, haunting all the great forests of the country, then the isolated highlands, even some of the islands where no man roamed. I was happy, enjoying the beauty of nature, becoming part of it.”

There was another tea pause and Red asked, “How are you still alive? Werewolves aren’t meant to be immortal. I’ve never heard of one so old.”

The gingernut disappeared with the second bite. “Well, how many werewolves do you talk to, or do you normally just kill them?” Rose asked the question with the slightest hint of an edge. “The longer a werewolf stays as a wolf, the longer they’ll live. In fact long enough spent as a wolf will even remove some wrinkles. The scary thing is, I’m not even the oldest, and the Black Wolf was hundreds of years old before he met me. But back to my story and how I got here…”

Rose went through some of her adventures over the centuries, discovering how civilisation had changed, marvelling at technological advances and horrified at other aspects such as the rampant pollution. She’d quite often find a lover and even settle down for years, but every time she wouldn’t age and the wild would always call.

“That brings us to this village. About forty years ago I was living as a wolf in the highlands and I came across another werewolf, or rather he came across me, tracking my scent for hours. We mated as wolves and woke up in the morning as naked humans, legs intertwined. His name was James and he wasn’t a Great Wolf like me, he was an average lycanthrope, turning every full moon and completely normal for the rest of the month. He loved me and understood me.

“After centuries of living life in a constant transient mode, settling down seemed right. So here we set up home. James aged much like a normal human, but he had much more youthful vigour. The type of man you could imagine running marathons in his retirement. We also kept our love life going like randy teenagers. Soon some of the women in the village noticed and asked me for my secret. So I told them. James did the turning, because a Great Wolf is a very different undertaking. Our first attempt at changing a woman ended in a painful death, so we decided to leave the monthly call to the men, since they took to the change without fail. We set down some ground rules. All was working so well, and then you turned up.”

Rose finished her tea, placed the cup on the saucer and put the saucer on the table. She stood up, brushed some biscuit crumbs off her dress and said, “Now, I’m afraid I have to kill you.”

Red barely got to his feet before Rose’s punch connected with his face, knocking him backwards over the armchair. Jenny pulled her pistol up for the shot, but Rose spun quickly to hit the gun as it went off, the bullet going wide. With her other arm Rose smashed Jenny with an uppercut that sent her falling back into the fireplace. Rose began closing in on Jenny, wary of the hunter with the fondness for guns. Jenny burnt her hand on the metal grill of the fireplace, but managed to avoid the fire itself. She stood up and found a hand around her throat, lifting her feet off the ground. There was no air getting to her lungs as the hand squeezed. Jenny’s world went black.

Red tackled Rose, forcing her to drop Jenny. It took a second, but Jenny gasped and her eyes flicked open. She took a moment, gulping down air but quickly orientated herself. Red was wrestling with Rose on the ground. Despite her old woman look, Rose was not only incredibly strong, but her body was firm like a fitness model, her dowdy baggy clothes hiding her trim physique. She threw Red off with ease. He crashed through the table, tea cups clattering on the floor.

Jenny stood, her gun held awkwardly in her left hand, her right hand bright red and raw. She emptied five rounds until the gun clicked with the lack of ammunition. Rose started moving with the first bullet, she dove across the room and ran out the door. Blood was splattered on the wall and a trail was left on the ground, but Jenny knew that between her left hand and Rose’s pace, she didn’t get a solid shot.

Red got to his feet. The struggle had caused the wound on his thigh to bleed more; his leg was now slick with blood. Jenny was quickly by his side.

“Damn, she’s so strong!” Jenny said, as she tried flexing her quickly stiffening right hand. “I’m going to need this bandaged, and it’s going to cut down on my accuracy for the night.”

Red picked up his staff. “I’ve never fought any werewolf as old or as powerful, the very fact that she hasn’t changed into a wolf during the full moon is testament enough to that. Stay focused, and take any chance you get. Let’s go.”

The only sign of Rose was a trail of blood that led outside. Red limped as he made his way through the hallway. He knew better than to keep his eyes on the ground. The blood continued into the grass of the village green and was lost in the dark. The hunters stepped out into the night.

Jenny put her katana into its scabbard and took the rifle off her back. It felt unnatural, but she could balance the rifle barrel on her right forearm. She looked through the sights and found a passable stance but her right arm shook too much due to the burn damage.

The night was still. The grass glistened with frost and a low mist spread across the open village green. The hunters began moving across the grass, heading for Rose’s B&B. Mist surrounded them on every side. The quiet was ruptured by a long howl, echoing off the buildings in the dark.

The hunters continued on their path. It was hard to pinpoint the howl, but they moved in the general direction, the same direction as Rose’s B&B. They passed their van, looking much the same as they had left it, except for a smear of blood along the side. There was another howl, just as the hunters approached the B&B. It was uncannily timed, as if the wolf knew exactly where they were. The howl came from the graveyard.

The mist was thicker in the graveyard, making the tops of the gravestones appear like islands in a pale grey sea. The hunters hopped over the low stone wall, landing silently on the soft graveyard grass. Jenny looked through the rifle’s scope and saw nothing. The wolf didn’t survive for thousands of years by presenting an easy target to hunters.

Jenny and Red moved slowly through the graveyard, sweeping their vision and checking every angle. They were too focused to appreciate the cliché they were walking through. There was the constant fear that the werewolf was concealed in the low lying mist, but when Rose finally appeared the notion was preposterous. The werewolf was dark brown and massive, with grey flecks running through its thick fur. Thick muscles visibly moved with each step, and then they exploded with a turn of pace.

Jenny got a shot off, but her arm was shaky and the wolf was fast. The bullet bit into some meat but didn’t slow Rose down. In the moonlight the shine off the blood made the fur look liquid. The silver bullet wound wouldn’t kill the werewolf, but it was the classic if it bleeds we can kill it.

Red did the familiar and stood between Jenny and the oncoming wolf. Despite the massive size of the wolf, it moved with fluid grace. Red lashed out with his staff. Instead of cracking the wolf on the jaw, Rose turned and attacked the attack, grabbing the staff in her teeth and ripping it from Red’s grip. The werewolf grabbed Red’s left arm in its teeth and shook him violently, throwing him aside to smash into a gravestone. The force of the attack dislocated Red’s arm, but his armour held and the skin wasn’t pierced.

Jenny faced the oncoming wolf alone. With rifle already dropped, the katana slash was well timed, cutting down and blinding one eye. The wolf pulled back for a moment with the pain. Jenny dove to her right, sticking to the side with the blinded eye. The wolf instinctively followed her, but Jenny had made for a gravestone the wolf didn’t see, and rushing in fury, the wolf charged straight into it. Jenny had a split second to decide on a course of action, before the wolf got around the solid gravestone. Fight or flight.

Jenny knew she had to use the terrain to protect herself. Fight. Jenny stood up, jumped on the gravestone in one step, stabbed down with the katana as the wolf rounded, and leapt forward and kept running. The wolf howled in agony. The sword was buried deep inside the wolf, through its back, with just an inch of blade visible before the handle. The katana punctured out from the wolf’s side. Blood pooled below the opening. Jenny couldn’t hear pursuit, only the howl. It felt like a turning point, the wolf could just lie down and die.

Jenny watched as the wolf began to change into a woman, the normal sign of a werewolf’s death. Jenny rushed over to Red, who was struggling to get to his feet between dislocated arm, bloody leg and a winding blow.

“She’s dead.” Jenny said, but a noise suggested otherwise.

Rose stood and pulled the sword slowly out of her side. Her skin had contracted when she changed and the katana was tightly lodged inside. She had to tear herself to get it out, but there she stood, katana in hand, naked as the day she was born all those thousands of years ago. The sword clattered against the base of a gravestone.

Rose turned and stared with eyes intent on killing. Her body was covered in fresh wounds, blood trickling down and streaking her skin. She walked towards Jenny at a steady pace. Jenny fumbled to get her pistol out of the holster. There was an unexpected burst of speed and Rose had her hand on Jenny’s throat again, the other hand grabbing the gun and tossing it into the dark. Rose had a feral look in her eyes and her perm was gone, replaced with long curls. Her nails were longer, digging into Jenny’s throat. Blood appeared and dribbled down Jenny’s neck and Rose’s fingers. Jenny could feel the grip tightening, her windpipe slowly being crushed, as Rose finished the job she started by the fireplace. A life was near its end.

Red kicked Rose hard in the back. She stumbled forward but didn’t release Jenny. Rose was strong. She tossed Jenny aside, through the air and smashing into a gravestone head first with a sickening thud. Then Rose whipped around on Red, a punch landing on his face and taking him off his feet. He landed metres away, skidding across the grass.

Rose looked back at Jenny, she wasn’t moving and her face was covered in blood. Turning back to Red, she was just in time to see the silver tipped bola fly towards her, wrapping around her legs. A line was attached and Red pulled hard, bring Rose crashing down. The line held her legs tight, and the more she tried to break the bonds, the more the silver cut into her flesh. She tried to bend forward and rip the bonds with her hands, but the katana wound had cut through her lateral abdominal muscles and she didn’t have enough strength. The attempt opened the wound wider, causing blood to gush forth.

Red scrabbled towards the downed Rose. Any second she could burst free. He had the silver hand-axe. On his knees, he raised his right arm and dug the axe deep into her stomach. Rose cried out in pain. The only way out was to turn into the wolf.

She began to change, it was easy with the full moon, and it felt natural. The bonds would burst and muscles would work in different ways and the hunters would be slaughtered. As the change began, Red pulled the axe out of her stomach, even as her abdominal muscles grew and changed. Her hair was extending, her muscles changing, her body convulsing and then the axe came down, hard.

The metal chopped through her neck. Rose’s eyes opened wide. She gasped in air, but there was only a gurgling, deathly noise. The change stopped. Rose stared into Red’s eyes “Don’t worry, your tale will be remembered” he said, as he pulled the axe from her neck and struggled to his feet. Rose lay in a pool of blood as her body reverted back to her human form.

Red limped over to where Jenny lay. He checked her pulse. She was still alive. He didn’t want to move her in case her neck was damaged, but he couldn’t leave her there. The morning was already growing grey. The hunters had to leave. Red produced a small container of smelling salts. Jenny woke with a groan.

“Careful. How do you feel?” Red asked.

“My head is killing me, but other than that… still pretty shitty.”

Jenny moved and used the gravestone as a balance to get stand up. She then helped Red to his feet. Jenny looked at Rose’s body, “It’s a shame, she was so old, a living piece of history.”

Red looked at the beaten and bloody Jenny. “Yes, but she left us no choice. It was kill or be killed. She led a long life and a good life. We’ll write down the story she told us, she won’t be forgotten, but she’ll no longer be a threat to innocent humans.”

The hunters collected their various discarded weapons and returned to the van, where each tried their best to give first aid to the other.

Dawn was breaking and the hunters would have to move fast to cover up the deaths,though they were in no shape to do anything but lie down and recover. When they opened the year of the van, they found an elderly woman standing a few feet away.

“Good morning, madam.” Red said.

The woman just stared in silence.

“We have to do some work and then we’ll be gone, well away from here.”

The woman spat on the ground. “You’ve no more business here. You’ve taken our husbands and sons. There’s no more work left for your kind. You’ll not lay another finger on those that you’ve murdered. We bury our own.” She spat on the ground again, with venom, and turned away.

“Let’s get out of here, Dad, before we have to start battling old women.”

“Right you are, lass, right you are.”

A trip to a hospital was probably in order, but they had to get out of the area. Red shone a light in Jenny’s eye and the pupils followed the beam as expected. They’d have to chance it. The drive home would be challenging, with Jenny steering with one hand and Red changing gears.

The black van was on its way back to Scotland before the sun had come over the mountains. For the hunters it was just another weekend of work.

More in the series

 

The story will continue in Diary of the Wolf book two:

Shadows in the Dark

 

For more, check out

www.perpetualautumn.com

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Frank was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland but can most commonly be found wandering around his imagination.

A firm believer that a mug of tea can solve most of life’s problems, influences range all over the pop culture shop, from hobbits to vampire slayers and all the way back to conflicted Vulcans and adventure prone mutants.

 

Feel free to get in touch for a chat about whatever is on your mind. Options:

 

Twitter: @fwhelanwrites

Facebook: www.facebook.com/frankwhelanwrites

Website: www.frankewhelan.com

 


A Tale of Hunters

An ancient network exists to hunt the supernatural creatures that prey on men. The war has been waged on blood drenched battlefields, the deepest caverns and across the continents of the Earth. Now a battle is building in a small town in the north of England. This hunt is only for the brave. Part of the "Diary of the Wolf" series, A Tale of Hunters takes place between the first and second novels in the series

  • ISBN: 9780993235825
  • Author: Frank E. Whelan
  • Published: 2016-12-18 15:20:10
  • Words: 11704
A Tale of Hunters A Tale of Hunters