by John Nation
One of the richest men in the world declares war on Sheriff Johnson and the Pack.
|“What the hell was that?” the Colonel asked as he and the rest of his men turned to where they heard the howl.
“Damn, I don’t have a clue,” the Cobra Three commander said. “If there was such a thing as a Hellhound, that is what it would sound like.”
For three more minutes, they strained their ears, waiting to see if the howl was repeated. All of them were relieved when it was not.
The Colonel called the three Cobra leaders and moved away to speak with them where they would not be overheard. “I’m seeing the first signs of panic from a few of the men. We have to stop it now before it grows and spreads. Keep control of your men. At the first opportunity, make a kill. Once they see blood from a body that is not a part of the team, they will calm down. You know your men. Keep them in line.”
He dismissed them and they returned to where their men waited.
“Form up,” the Colonel ordered. “It’s time to kick some ass. You know as well as I do that you are the orneriest, strongest, and best force there is. I pity the bastards shaking in fear out there. When you get one of those assholes, reach down his throat and rip his heart out.”
The Colonel was ready to encourage them more, but before he could, there was another shout from the back of the group. “Evans, where the hell are you? Get back with the team now. That is an order.”
They turned to see what the Cobra One leader was doing.
“What the hell is going on now?” the Colonel asked when he stopped in front of his team leader.
“Evans was standing next to me not even ten seconds ago. I turned around for only an instant, and when I turned back, he’s gone.”
“Do you think he ran off?”
“Couldn't have. Like I said, he would not have time to be out of sight. He has to be near.”
“Shit, here he is,” a man called out.
They hurried to the man standing a dozen feet from them. They stopped and saw what remained of Evans. His heart had been ripped out. The lungs were missing also. Whoever did it did not go down his throat but had gone through his chest.
A low murmur started at the back of the group. Several of them whispered the Devil was after them. More than a few of them now showed signs of panic.
The panic moved to all of them when another body of a teammate fell from the sky and landed in front of them. Like Evans, it had been ripped open and the heart and lungs were gone. As a unit, they ran, not knowing where they were going or what they would do when they got there. When they turned in a certain direction, a man on the edge of the forest would vanish. Seconds later, his disemboweled body flew back at them. They changed course. If they went too far in the new direction, a person of the other side of the formation was slaughtered. They would move back to the original path.
“We’re being herded,” The Cobra Three commander shouted. “Whoever is out there is moving us to where they want us to be.”
None of the people around him paid him any attention. They were too frightened to heed any warnings.
They began firing their weapons into the woods as they ran, moving the barrel of the rifles back and forth, praying they would hit one of the enemies. Explosions started all around them as those with hand grenades flung them into the trees.
Fifty yards on the right of the fleeing militia, Diane halted and looked at her left leg. Blood gushed from a bullet wound. Diane saw the round passed all the way through the leg and was not buried inside of her. That was good. For a minute she watched as the flow of blood slowed and then stopped completely as her body healed itself. She could tell by the time the night was over the wound would be completely healed. It was the first time she or her Wolf had ever been shot. Neither one of them liked it. Now the Wolf had firsthand knowledge of how the weapons the humans carried could hurt her. She would be careful around them from this time forward.
By the time she resumed her chase, the humans were three hundred yards further away. She made up the distance in seconds. The firing from them had slowed considerable. This was because a lot of them were running out of ammunition.
They were going in the right direction, but Diane wanted to move faster. A man at the back of the group vanished from sight. Several seconds later, his corpse fell at the center of the militia. Again they started firing in all directions. Most of them dropped their rifles when they ran out of bullets. The two machineguns opened fire, sending the rounds soaring into the night. Every sixth round was a tracer and showed where the rounds were striking.
Diane was safe from all the bullets. Her Wolf learned quickly. After she killed the man and tossed him away, she jumped into a creek. As she lay down in the water, the banks of the creek were higher than she was. A few of the bullets passed inches over her, but none touched her.
The machineguns stopped firing two minutes after they started. This was not due to one of the commanders ordering a cease fire, but because they used all of their ammunition. The remainder of the militia stood behind them, praying that whoever was out there had been hit. For five minutes they waited, looking for any movement and straining their ears for the slightest noise. They did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary.
“Witherspoon, you and Douglas recon the area. Check for bodies or signs of any wounded.” the Colonel ordered.
“I’m out of ammo,” Witherspoon said.
They spent the next minute collecting bullets from the rest of the group. They gathered enough for Witherspoon to have a full magazine. He chambered a round and he and Douglas separated as they went to see the results of their barrage.
The two men moved forward five yards and stopped. They examined the area in front of them for signs of anyone waiting in ambush. Satisfied the area was clear, they moved forward five yards and repeated the process. By the time they moved a hundred yards, they were hidden from the rest of the militia by the forest.
Witherspoon stopped when he saw the banks of the creek in front of him. He moved to his stomach and crawled to the edge of the stream. He knew this would be an excellent area to be in during the attack. The bullets would not hit anything below the top of the embankment. If he had any hand grenades left, he would have tossed one into the creek so the shrapnel would take out anyone hidden. Unfortunately for him, he had already used all of them.
He stopped a foot from the edge and listened for any sign of movement. The only thing he heard was Douglas a hundred feet to his right. Slowly, he peeked over the edge. When his head was past the embankment, he looked down. The only thing he saw a set of yellow eyes ten inches in front of his own.
Before he had a chance to scream, Diane’s snout was around his head. She closed her mouth and his head was crushed. She dropped his body and leaped soundlessly to her feet to hunt down the other human close to her.
The two men sent to recon the area had been gone for fifteen minutes. There had not been any indication of where they were or how they were doing from the time they vanished into the woods. All of the militia members found out at the same time how they were doing. One of them looked into the sky and saw Witherspoon’s body outlined in the center of the full moon as he flew through the air. He had only started his shout of warning when the body smashed into the ground. Three seconds later, Douglas landed on top of him. Both bodies had been mutilated.
Again there was a mad dash for safety. They turned and ran. The few with any ammunition left fired until they were out. For five minutes they ran. If they went in the wrong direction, a man at the edge of the formation vanished, only to return again ten seconds later with his chest torn apart and half of his insides gone. They turned back to the path Diane was directing them to.
They ran into the mouth of a small canyon. The walls of the canyon quickly grew as they moved deeper into it. It did not take long to reach the back of the ravine. The walls were too steep to climb without climbing equipment. They pushed themselves against the wall, trying to disappear into it.
Several of them screamed, more than a few grew weak, and all of them slammed their hands over their ears to protect them from the noise when the howl they heard earlier was repeated. This time it was only sixty yards in front of them at the entrance to the canyon. They shouted in amazement and disbelieve when Diane showed herself, standing tall so all of them could see her.
“NO! It can’t be!” the Cobra One leader cried out. “That’s a werewolf.”
They broke formation and ran in all directions as Diane advanced. Some had weapons and aimed at her. The only sounds they heard was the sound of the hammer striking the empty chamber. None of them had any ammunition left.
Half a dozen of them pulled knifes. As a group they charged. Not one of them got close enough to swing the blade with any chance of hitting her. Diane’s reach was longer and she was a dozen times faster. It took less than three seconds to kill the six of them. She ran to the rest as they pleaded for mercy. Each of them was ripped open and devoured. Soon, there were only two people left alive.
Buzzsaw cowered down behind a boulder, praying he would stay hidden. His head was covered under his arms to protect him. When he felt his shoulder getting wet, he peeked between his arms. Staring down at him was the werewolf. Drool from her mouth was spilling onto his arm. He lost control as his panic took over. He leaped up and ran.
Diane watched him run. She was between him and the exit of the ravine so there was nowhere for him to go. He dashed around for several minutes until he began to tire. When he slowed down, she started for him. For some reason, Diane did not like this person. There was an aura around him that pissed her off. Normally, her Wolf would devour a person in seconds, quickly ending his suffering. This time Diane asked her Wolf to take her time and go slowly. Her Wolf agreed.
She grabbed Buzzsaw and lifted him into the air. She turned him so they could look into each other’s eyes. Buzzsaw was screaming and crying. He pounded away at her head, but she paid no attention to the feeble hits. She took his hand and moved it to her mouth and bit off a finger. She held him for over a minute before she took the next bite, allowing the unbelievable agony of a Wolf bite to move up his arm. Buzzsaw screamed in misery, begging her to hurry up and finish him. She did not. Next she took an ear. She held him another minute, allowing him to convulse in pain. She moved back to the first hand and repeated the process. After each bite, she held him. Often she would gently shake him when he started to pass out so he would not miss any of the sting. When he had no more ears, she took the nose. Then his lips. When his hands were only stubs, she started on the wrists. She reached both elbows before he died. She dropped the body and howled once more. There was one remaining. She left the canyon and started for him.
Pete ‘Colonel’ Guyer was getting close to the vehicles and safety. He managed to escape while the Wolf devoured Buzzsaw. He had to keep telling himself he was not crazy. If that morning he thought he would believe in werewolves before the day was over, he would have had himself committed. Sweat soaked his clothes. He was not a young man and the exertion was taking a toll on him. The one thing he had going for him was that he was in remarkable condition for a man his age.
A cry of relief escaped his lips when he saw the parked cars and trucks through a clearing of trees only a couple of hundred yards away. He picked up speed and used the last of his energy reaching his van. He pulled the key from his pocket and inserted it into the ignition in one smooth motion. He leaned his head against the steering wheel for a moment, trying to regain his breath and also hoping his fluttering vision would calm down.
He locked his doors and put the van into gear. As he was pulling off the field onto the road, it felt as if the van was bumped. His panic return in a flash as he sped up and looked into his rearview mirrors. He was relieved all he saw was the empty road behind him.
His relief fled and his panic returned when he heard screeching over his head. He glanced up and witnessed the tip of an incredibly sharp and strong claw, slicing its way through his roof. The metal of the roof parted almost as if it was a zipper being slowly pulled opened.
The Colonel started weaving the van back and forth, turning as fast as possible without flipping over in a frantic attempt to toss the Wolf off.
On top of the van, Diane used her right arm and grabbed the van where the roof and side of the van met. Her fingers broke the window, and the metal where her paw met the van was crushed as she took a firm grip. She dug in with her toes and the claws sank into the metal. She was secure enough that she would not be shaken off. If the van flipped, she could leap from it before it crashed. With the other paw, she took her time, working at cutting out a square in the roof, three feet on each side.
She looked up and saw the van racing for the shoulder of the road and many low hanging limbs. She let go of the van and it shot out from underneath her.
“HALLELUJAH!” the Colonel yelled when he saw the Wolf leave the top of his van and land directly behind him. He moved back to the road and pushed the accelerator. He smiled when he looked at the speedometer. He was doing a hundred and thirteen miles an hour. His smile fled when he looked into his mirrors and saw the Wolf was only a few feet behind him, keeping pace with the van. To him, it did not seem as if she had to use a lot of energy to stay with him.
The Wolf jumped. The back third of the van roof sunk in a foot when it landed. Two more dents in the roof and the claw was back, resuming its cutting. Fifteen seconds later and the section of the roof that had been cut was pulled away. He saw it soar into the forest and out of sight as the Wolf tossed it.
Then for a reason he did not understand but thanked the Lord for anyway, the Wolf leaped from the van and disappeared into the woods. He did not take time to wonder why, but tried to pick up more speed. He pushed the accelerator to the floor. The wind howling in from his new sunroof sounded as loud as a hurricane. His van was maxed out. The speedometer showed a hundred and thirty-eight miles an hour. He zoomed by two cars going in the opposite direction.
Diane was in the forest, keeping pace with the van. She went from running on her hind legs and dropped to all four. She ran faster that way. This was much more difficult than it was when she chased the van the first time. The increased speed had little to do with it. The problem was instead of running on a clear road, she was in heavy forest. She had to dart around trees and leap over bushes. She had seen the approaching cars and left the van before they could see her. People talking about a werewolf walking around on top of a van doing over a hundred miles an hour would draw a lot of attention and discussion. She knew Miranda would discuss it with her and it would not be a pleasant conversation.
She waited while the first two cars drove out of sight. She started back to the highway, but returned to the forest when she heard one more vehicle moving in her direction.
The Colonel raced up a steep climb of the highway. At the top of the rise, the highway made a dip as it started down a hill. At normal highway speeds, it would not have affected a vehicle, but at his speed, all four wheels came five feet off the ground and he was airborne for a dozen feet before landing back on the road. He did not know if it was good or bad, but the vehicle passing the opposite direction as he was airborne was a State Trooper.
In a flash he was two hundred yards past it. Right as he followed a curve in the highway and the Trooper car vanished, he saw emergency lights come on and the car began to turn around to come after him.
Damn! Diane thought. The flashing lights meant nothing to her Wolf, but she knew well what they represented. She weighed her options. If she let the Colonel go, once he was captured, he would tell his story. No matter how skeptical the authorities were about his ramblings of a werewolf, they would investigate the area to see if there was anything there. The over three dozen bodies lying around she had not yet hidden and the peculiar wounds on many of them would lend a lot of weight to his tale.
Her next option would be to kill the State Trooper. That was something she wanted to avoid. Not only would Miranda be enraged, Sheriff Johnson would be placed in a bind. Knowing who was responsible for the death of a law officer could push him past his limits.
There was only one option that could work. She estimated the faster state vehicle would need only a minute to regain sight of the van and anyone or anything moving around on top of it. That meant she had sixty seconds at most to not only kill the Colonel, but also get far enough away that her Wolf would not go after the Trooper.
She ran clear of the trees and jumped. She was running at a hundred and eighty-five miles per hour, almost her top speed. Her leap carried her twenty-five yards and she smashed into the side of the van. When her twelve hundred pounds of mass moving at a hundred and eighty-five miles per hour slammed into the side of a van doing almost a hundred and forty, the outcome was predictable. The side caved in and the van flipped over.
Diane dropped away and chased it as it tumbled down the highway. On the fifth flip, the Colonel’s body shot out of the hole in the roof. It skidded down the highway, being shredded as it went and stayed at the side of the van. It took two hundred yards for the two objects to stop moving. Behind her, the highway was littered with pieces of the van and pieces of the Colonel.
Diane looked down at the body as she trotted by. He was every bit as ripped apart as any of her victims. His head was only held to his body by a couple of thins strips of flesh. She leaped over him and disappeared into the woods. Three seconds later, the State Trooper rounded the bend and slammed on his breaks to avoid hitting what remained of the van.
Diane was a quarter mile into the forest by then. The human part of the werewolf could hardly wait until the next three nights were over. She had a story to tell the rest of the pack.