Four best friends are trapped and hunted by werewolves while on a road trip.
|The Seventh Werewolf
By David Daniel Ducker
In a dilapidated cabin deep in the woods of northern Ontario six cloaked figures stood around a pentagram drawn in red wax. One to each corner of the pentagram and one standing in it's centre each person had a wolf laying at their feet, breathing heavily and catatonic, obviously drugged. The six chanted rhythmically being led by the man in the centre who held in one hand an ancient tome and in the other a silver dagger. Candlelight illuminated the scene, five young faces and one older man leading them, five men and one woman. Their chanting grew louder and louder, until finally reaching a crescendo their leader shrugged off his cloak revealing his nakedness, the others followed suit. They each now raised their daggers high above the helpless animals in their charge in preparation to strike. Wet squelching noises and the whimper of dying wolves echoed out of the cabin across the moonlit forest. Silence followed. And then the howl of six wolves...
Four best friends were crammed into a beat up old car on their way back from a rock festival blasting rock music, drinking beer, and talking about how awesome the acts had been. Johnny and Glennie had on leather jackets, blue jeans, and matching Five Finger Death Punch t-shirts. Seeing the band had been the highlight of the trip for them. Mike and Katie were more conservatively dressed and had enjoyed the other big headliner a bit more Bruce Springsteen. The car radio alternated between heavy metal and classic rock, as per their prior agreement.
The dark, trackless woods closed in around the tiny ribbon of highway but insulated by their music and vehicle the quartet were oblivious to the mysteries of nature all around them. Rain had started pouring hours ago and showed no sign of letting up any time soon. All they could see of the dense trackless forest were green and brown blurs through the driving rain.
Mike was driving, high beams on, windshield wipers on full speed, he could still barely see thirty feet ahead of the car through the heavy sheets of pouring rain. But that didn't cause him to reduce his speed at all. His friends seemed oblivious to the dangerous driving conditions and twisting uncertain forest road but he knew they wouldn't be oblivious to him slowing down. Or at least Johnny and Glennie wouldn't be.
A fallen tree blocked the road ahead. Mike barely managed to stop in time to avoid plowing headlong into the thick treetrunk. Everyone in the car cursed as they were jostled about and some beer was spilled. Mike and Johnny got out into the heavy rain to see if the tree could be moved. There was no convenient detour and they'd already been driving for hours. No such luck. The trunk was far too thick and heavy for them to move. But strangely it didn't look rotten. Mike wondered if it might have been struck by lighting?
Mike and Johnny got back into the car, both men were cold and soaked to the skin after their brief foray into the weather. They told the girls they'd have to go back to the nearest town and get a motel room. They could go on the next day once the road had been cleared. Glennie whined, not wanting to backtrack for hours, and also not wanting to dip into their precious savings to rent a motel room but there was nothing else to be done. Katie was more understanding of the situation and thanked the boys for trying to move the log anyways.
Mike turned the car around and began the long drive back to the nearest town. They'd passed through it hours ago when the rain was just beginning and it would take even longer to get there now that the rain was so thick and the road so slick.
Another deadfall blocked the road. Again Mike had to slam on the breaks, again there was cursing and spilled beer. They couldn't believe their bad luck. In the short time since they'd passed this section of road a tree had fallen and now they were stuck between two impasses. Mike and Johnny decided to brave the rain again and see if this tree were small enough for the two of them to move.
The two men strained with all their might, rain pouring down so heavily they had to blink it out of their eyes constantly. It seemed useless. Mike turned to Johnny to tell him it was futile, but Johnny wasn't there... Mike looked around dumbfounded. Had he gone back to the car? No he could see the girls were alone, still singing along to some Audioslave. Where had he gone? Mike peaked over the fallen treetrunk to see if Johnny had gone to the other side to try a different angle of attack...
Mike saw two red eyes shining out of the darkness in front of him. A huge naked man crouched in the rain, strangling Johnny as if he were a toddler. A man with head of a wolf. Mike's eyes went wide, his legs began trembling, he was frozen in terror. The wolfman slowly picked Johnny up by his neck and brought his face toward it's terrible jaws... Then a shot rang out in the night BLAM! BLAM! A second shot! The wolfman's shoulder exploded in a red mist of gore. It dropped Johnny and fled into the darkness clutching it's shredded shoulder without making a sound. Johnny lay in the road like a dead man. Mike tried to run to Johnny but the world spun and he fainted.
Glennie and Katie were in shock. The boys had left them in the car to try and clear a deadfall from the road. Then two shots had rung out in the night and Mike had fallen. Was he shot? Who shot him? Glennie opened the car door to go and check on him but Katie grabbed the bigger girl's arm and told her not to leave her alone.
'Whoever shot Mike might shoot you too if they see you! And where's Johnny? ' Katie babbled in a panic
A man rushed out of the woods toward Mike. He was carrying a rifle and wearing a camouflage hunting jacket and cowboy hat.
'He shot Mike!' Glennie yelled jumping behind the wheel and slamming her foot down on the gas pedal.
Katie was thrown up against the back seat as the car rushed forward to crush the hunter up against the deadfall.
Matt saw the car move just in time. He threw himself backwards onto the wet road and the car slammed into the deadfall in front of him. The girl behind the wheel was thrown forward and her head smashed into the windshield. Blood poured down her face and stained her thicker blonde hair. Matt stood up unsure of what to do. He saw a smaller girl with thinner blonde hair in the backseat was climbing into the passenger seat to check on her friend.
Glennie assured Katie she was okay and both girls looked out the driver's side window at the hunter. He had a bewildered and concerned look on his face and made no move to aim his rifle at them.
'Are you okay?' he asked
The girls looked at him in shock. But they seemed fine so he leapt over the deadfall to go and check on the man the werewolf had attacked. The man was writhing on the ground blood gushing from his shoulder where the werewolf had pulled him over the treetrunk. Matt stood over him for a moment considering what to do. He looked at the rifle in his hand. And then shook his head and pulled his first aid kit from the pocket of his hunting jacket. He took the man's leather jacket off and began bandaging his wound. He knew from experience the man wasn't in much danger.
The girls jumped out of the car and gJohnnyd over the log to see where the hunter was going. They saw Johnny on the ground, but before they could get over the log to get to him Mike fell over the log. He was staggering trying to get toward Johnny too. The girls rushed to his side and asked if he was okay.
'We thought you'd been shot!' Katie said with relief hugging Mike tightly
'No he didn't shoot me. Or Johnny! He shot... Something else. Something that was attacking Johnny.' Mike said groggily
'An animal?' Glennie asked touching the wound on her forehead
'Yeah. An animal...' Mike said with hesitation
The trio waked over to where the hunter was kneeling in the rain bandaging Johnny's arm.
'Who are you mister.' Asked Mike
'Name's Matt. Your friend is gonna be okay don't worry.' said the hunter
'What was that thing?' Mike asked
'You saw what it was' Matt answered bluffly
'What thing? Mike what do you mean thing?' Katie asked with fear creeping into her voice
'Don't worry about it Katie. Nevermind.' Mike said evasively
'No you should be worried. Worried about your friend and yourselves.' Matt said looking up at Mike
'You said Johnny'd be alright.' Katie said with concern
'Well he will be in a manner of speaking.' Matt said cryptically
'What do you mean by that?' Katie asked her concern unabated
'We need to kill the thing that did this to him. For his sake, and for ours too.' Matt replied with conviction
'What do you mean we?' Mike asked hesitatingly
'Come on son you're in a trap you have to see that. There's no driving out of here tonight. And with those things out there you'll never survive the walk either.' Matt said
'Things? There are more of them out here?' Mike asked his fear mounting
'Yessir. A whole pack. That's why I'm here. To hunt them down. And if you wana make it out of here alive you've gotta help me. There's no other way. Strength in numbers.' Matt said with genuine concern
'Maybe you'd better start from the beginning.' Mike said
'Okay well help me get your friend into the car and I'll explain as best I can.' Matt said
With the girls' help the two men managed to get Johnny resting in the backseat of the car. Glennie knelt in the backseat, Matt and Mike sat in the front and Katie sat on Mike's lap. They all felt a bit relieved at being able to close and lock the car doors. And they felt even better when Glennie handed them all some beers.
'That thing you saw was a werewolf. There's a whole cult of them out here hunting human beings tonight. These deadfalls are their traps to make sure their prey can't drive away.' Matt said
'That's impossible.' Mike said skeptically
'Look at his shoulder.' Matt said
'What?' Mike replied
'Take the bandage off and look at it.' Matt insisted
'Oh my god it's healed!' Katie exclaimed peeling back the bandage. Beneath the dried blood there was a wicked red scar where the claws of the beast had torn Johnny's flesh but it looked days old rather than minutes old
'Yes exactly. And we have until the next full moon to kill the werewolf that inflicted it. Or else your friend will be joining their fraternity.' Matt said grimly
'No way.' Mike said as if trying to convince himself this was all just a bad dream
'You can either believe me and hep me hunt these things down. Or you can get out of my way while I do it solo. But if we split up, they'll come after you first. It's kill or be killed right now, believe me.' Matt said sympathetically
'I'm in.' Mike said after a moments hesitation
'Me too.' Glennie said with more determination
'I'll stay with Johnny.' Katie said quietly
'He's not in any more danger from them. Don't worry about him, worry about yourself.' Matt said sympathetically
'I'm not leaving him.' Katie said with quiet conviction
'Suit yourself.' Matt said with disappointment in his voice
Matt got out of the car. Followed by Glennie. Katie climbed into the back seat and then Mike got out too leaving her alone with the unconscious Johnny
'Be careful Katie.' Glennie said with concern
'You too.' Katie replied fearfully
Matt reached into his coat and held out a pistol and a large silver hunting knife to the two friends. Mike took the knife and Glennie the pistol. Matt smirked appreciatively at Glennie as she cocked the weapon expertly.
'A woman after my own heart.' Matt said
'Silver bullets?' Glennie asked
'Don't leave home without em.' Matt's smirk widened
'I don't believe this.' Mike said
'Believe it kid.' Matt said
'Don't call me kid.' Mike replied
The trio moved off of the road and into the woods with Matt in the lead. Once they were out of the glare of the headlights Matt produced a pair of flashlights. One large and one very small.
'Sorry for the lack of gear kids. Thought I'd be doing this one solo. I do appreciate the help though. I've been tracking these scumbags for months. They've got a cabin out here somewhere where they conduct their transformation ritual. I just missed them at the zoo where they stole the wolves from'
'Wolves?' Mike asked
'Yeah. The primary ingredient in becoming a werewolf is a wolfskin. But it's how you remove the skin from the wolf that makes all the difference. Very unfortunate for those poor animals. And just one more reason to put these scumbags in the ground. ' Matt said
Glowing red eyes peeped out of the darkness all around them. The trio froze for a split second and then all burst into action as the werewolves pounced. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! The rifle was knocked from Matt's hand and Mike was hit by a rolling ball of fur and lifted high into the air his knife falling to the forest floor beneath the colossal beast which gripped him. In a flash Matt had snatched up the knife and was stabbing furiously at the creature's belly. It whimpered and doubled up in pain, then sunk to the ground as Mike fell on top of it.
Matt reached down to help Mike to his feet but before Mike could thank the older man a second werewolf fell upon him. It's jaws closed around Matt's shoulder with a sickening crunch and Matt was almost ripped in half as it tore a massive bite away from his torso.
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Glennie had both guns blazing the pistol in her right hand and the rifle awkwardly gripped in her left. The remaining werewolves fled into the darkness leaving the two friends alone with three corpses Matt and two werewolves. But in death the wolfmen had returned to their human forms. Naked except for their wolfskins. They looked young, barely out of their teens.
'Now what?' Asked Mike looking down at Matt's body feeling like he was going to be sick
'We keep going. No other choice' Glennie said with determination
Johnny moaned and writhed in his sleep. He was burning up. Katie used a handkerchief soaked with cold rainwater to mop his brow. The noise of the rain on the roof of the car was muffling, but this made her anxious, every few seconds she gJohnnyd out of he car windows into the blackness around them wondering if she'd made the right choice by sticking with Johnny. She heard distant gunshots. Her heart dropped in worry for her friends. But at the back of her mind she was relieved; if her friends were dealing with the werewolves she should be safe here.
The car door behind her was torn free of the vehicle flooding the cab with cold air. Katie screamed as she saw the hulking wolfman outside throw the door off into the woods and turn back towards her fangs and fur dripping with rainwater.
She bolted from the car and ran into the night completely abandoning Johnny in her panic. The wolfman was upon her in an instant. She felt its claws sink into her shoulders tearing through her jacket like it was tissue paper. She was lifted from her feet by the wounds and sharp agony spiked through her body. Katie felt the creature's hot breath on the back of her neck and felt this might be her last moment. She screamed again.
Johnny jumped clumsily onto the creature's back locking his arms around it's windpipe and squeezing with all the strength of his young muscular body.
'Run Katie!' He yelled breathlessly
Katie fell to the wet asphalt and turned to look up at the struggle. The creature was spinning comically trying to reach around and grab Johnny. She sensed it was trying not to hurt Johnny but if it wanted to it could easily tear him to ribbons. The fact that it was being careful with him terrified her; maybe he had joined the fraternity of the werewolf after all?
'Run!' Johnny yelled again
Katie shot off into the woods at full speed desperately groping through the thick undergrowth in the dark.
It wasn't long before she stumbled over something in the dark and fell. What was it? A corpse! Matt! And two others naked but for wolfskins. Katie screamed again and began sobbing and pounding the muddy ground. But despite her outward panic her brain was still functioning. She saw the glint of silver in Matt's hand and picked up his silver hunting knife. She turned on the flashlight in her cellphone and resumed her mad dash into the forest hoping she'd picked the right direction to find Mike and Glennie.
Mike and Glennie saw lights ahead. They slowed down unsure of what this might mean. A cabin. Old and dilapidated with broken and boarded up windows, holes in the roof and moss growing up the outside walls. But from within there was the faint glow of electric lighting. They looked at each other and silently stalked forward both thinking the same thing; they'd found the lair of the werewolves.
Glennie kicked in the front door and the two of them stood in the doorway weapons at the ready. There was no movement inside. They stalked forward cautiously pulses pounding. There was an electric lantern on a table at the far end of the cabin providing dim illumination. As the moved towards it they could see the interior of the cabin. Smashed furniture, blood smears, bones, feces... The place was a mess, like the den of wild animals. The smell was overpowering, blood and feces and a hint of whisky. Six piles of rancid sweat-soaked cloth scraps seemed to indicate sleeping palettes on the floor and in the centre of the room was a huge pentagram sketched in red wax with a dark black puddles of gore in the cnetre and at each point. Clearly this had been the site of their transformative ritual.
'Looks like nobody's home.' Glennie said
'So what do we do?' Mike asked
'We wait.' Glennie answered
'Wait?' Mike asked
'Yeah. They'll have to come back at some time. So we set a trap' Glennie replied
AWOOO! The mournful cry of a wolf echoed from outside. Followed quickly by another, and another...
'Unless this place is already a trap...' Mike said
'They'll try to surround us. There's four more of them. Lets stay on opposite windows.' Glennie yelled half panicking with fear
Glennie ran to the window nearest to where the howl had originated and Mike tried to stay on the opposite side of the cabin and watch their rear
'I see them!' Glennie called
'All of them?' Mike asked
'No! Just three! They're circling!' Glennie replied
Glennie was using her flashlight to try and cast some illumination out into the darkness. She saw three monstrous outlines at the edge of the clearing for a moment and then they began sprinting to the right. The lead werewolf was moving much faster than the others, no doubt trying to get around behind her viewpoint so she'd lose track of one of the three.
Glennie took careful aim with her rifle trying to lead her target and anticipate his movements. The werewolf wasn't making it easy for her in addition to the bad lighting, and uneven terrain she felt he was varying his pace intentionally to throw her off. BLAM! She winged it! The wolfman went spinning off into the brush and then slowly began to crawl away, she took careful aim at the crawling figure and then CRASH! A werewolf leapt through the window to her left and flew at her with claws and fangs gleaming in the dim light BLAM! BLAM! Mike was less startled than Glennie and fired two rounds into the creature. It flew against the back wall with a yelp and then lay still. CRASH! The third werewolf was through the window behind Mike and in an instant had him snatched up in it's claws
'Mike!' Glennie yelled trying to get a clear shot as the creature shook her friend
Mike was screaming in pain, his pistol fell to the floor as his body went numb. As Glennie tried to aim the werewolf behind her dragged itself forward leaving a trail of red blood behind it. Glennie saw it coming out of the corner of her eye and spun on her heel BLAM! It's head disappeared in a shower of gore. The other wolf roared in rage and threw Mike across the room into Glennie. The two friends lay in a shocked heap as the wolfman advanced upon them. It looked down at it's prey for a moment savouring the kill. Then a silver knife flashed across the cabin into it's back. It howled in pain and wheeled to see Katie half through the window of the cabin already reaching for Mike's fallen pistol on the floor. The beast charged Katie and simultaneous shots rang out BLAM! BLAM! Both Katie and Glennie caught the creature with their shots and its momentum carried it to a heap next to Katie.
'We did it! Way to go girls!' Mike cried in celebration
All three of them were splattered with gore but smiling at their apparent victory.
'Katie where's Johnny?' Mike asked as he struggled to his feet
Katie opened her mouth to answer but instead screamed in terror her eyes fixed on the window behind Mike and Glennie. Mike dove for the ground but Glennie wasn't so quick on the uptake and the final wolfman pounced on her driving the big girl to the ground under it's huge frame and savaging her with its teeth
'Glennie!' Mike screamed as he sprinted across the cabin tears streaming down his face.
Katie screamed again and Mike pulled her along with him as he fled into the darkness, fear and shock overtaking his reason. They awkwardly stumbled through the underbrush at full speed, branches tearing at their exposed skin, tree roots grasping at their feet. AWOOO! They heard the howl of the last werewolf behind them. Soon they could hear it barking and growling as it crashed through the undergrowth after them. It was gaining rapidly.
Katie tripped over a tree root and went sprawling into the mud
'Mike don't leave me!' she screamed
Mike hesitated but the pleading look in her eyes snapped him back to his senses and he turned around to help Katie to her feet. As he reached her the werewolf emerged from the brush twenty feet in front of him. His blue eyes met it's glowing red eyes and he determined he would die fighting before he let another of his friends down tonight. He stood firm and clenched his fists tight daring the beast to spring upon him.
As it pounced a second werewolf entered the clearing at a sprint. The second werewolf slammed into the first and the two rolled across the ground as a mass of snapping jaws, rending claws, heaving muscle and wet fur. Mike watched dumbstruck
'There's another one... A seventh werewolf!' He exclaimed
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Katie unloaded her pistol into the furious furred combatants. Growling turned to yelps and whimpers and the two beasts staggered and fell still. Mike looked on in shock as the creatures shrivelled and shrank. One transformed into a naked man in a wolfskin and the other... into the familiar form of Mike's best friend Johnny. Katie began weeping then and collapsed into the mud. Mike cradled her in his arms still unsure of how to process any of this.