It is dark, the moon is full and if somebody is going to die, it might as well be another nigger, thought Doug Gurney.
He smoked a Marlboro from the roof of the barn and looked out across the Gurney Plantation north of Interstate 95, dressed all in black. At his side, he carried a Mauser M 98 Magnum rifle, which was also black, with a night vision scope attached.
He and a dozen other Gurney men were hidden around the property on strategic high places staring down at the center, which was lit by a single, solitary light.
It was a very quiet month. Oh sure, the Jew Ethan Bartlett wasn’t getting himself killed, and the fact that all the blacks and poor whites on Fisher St were suddenly getting great jobs and the fact Bartlett wouldn’t even discuss selling Dustwood back to them was infuriating, it was still uneventful.
Old Man Gurney, the name everyone gave to their patriarch Herbert Gurney, had grown paranoid. He liked Janet Dupree, a beautiful, blond Protestant whose death reminded him deeply of his own mother’s back in 1939. He was now extremely nervous and even the death of Darnell Morris, a nigger psychopath who was so monstrous that even his own kind didn’t mourn him, didn’t calm him much.
It gave him an idea, though.
Isaiah Winthrop, a skinny little kid with very dark skin and very short afro hair from Applewood had somehow “gotten lost” on his way home from the Bay City Mall and soon found himself trapped on the Gurney Plantation. If things went wrong that night and the werewolf did come, well, it would find an easy target standing alone between all the buildings.
To the rest of the world, Winthrop would have just vanished, which was a pretty common occurrence in Bartlett Bay. By the time that nigger lover Simms had got to the Gurney Plantation, assuming he even got that far, there would be no trace the little bastard had ever been anywhere near the farm.
No big loss.
Doug knelt awkwardly on the barn top, aimed his gun, looked down the night vision scope, and looked at the skinny little black boy looking around nervously in green illumination. He was wearing a white polo shirt and beige slacks, which looked very Caucasian to Doug, and he had ropes that were tied around his hands from a length connected to the old sheep shed.
The boy was looking around very nervously, fully aware of just what night it was. He was only fifteen but probably a rapist already. Doug imagined that cute-boy outfit was good at disarming sensitive white girls from Bay City High.
The thought made Doug want to shoot the boy right then and there.
He lowered his gun, sighed, took a deep inhale of his cigarette, and then breathed it out into the night sky. He didn’t exactly believe in werewolves but something was out there. Janet Dupree and Darnell Morris didn’t just tear themselves apart.
Doug smoked for a few minutes and listened. The world was shockingly quiet with the only sound that he could hear being that of the creaking of the nearby windmill as it slowly spun. He looked over at the tower silo, the machinery shed, and the old farmhouse where his brothers and cousins were all standing on the roofs of with their guns ready. They were all carrying big game hunting rifles with silver-tipped ammunition.
His eyes rested on the farmhouse for a moment, his face a scowl of bitterness. That farmhouse was just expanded from a rickety old building meant for an overseer’s family back in the slave days. Their true home would always be that of Dustwood, a true New England aristocrat’s house. So what if a bunch of niggers died there? he often thought when it came to mind. It belongs to us.
He didn’t believe for an instant that it was haunted or that nonsense with the dolls. As far as he was concerned, Aloysius just went mad, and the thought of Bartlett selling that home, or tearing it down, for some huge payoff they would get no part of made him want to smash someone’s head in so hard that their brains would splatter across the ground.
Doug put his cigarette back into his mouth, looked back through his scope and examined the empty corrals. There were no horses in them, all locked away as safely as possible in the barn below him. He sighed and lowered the gun again.
This is stupid, he thought. The alleged werewolf was attacking in the south center of Bartlett Bay, on and near Fisher St. The Gurney Plantation was on the northwest of town, with countless homes, businesses and the interstate between them. The werewolf would find countless victims between Fisher St and the farm and it could even end up lost in the Engelstad.
It was going to be another boring, long night just like the one where Darnell Morris died.
Doug finished his cigarette, flicked it over the side, lit up another one, and then put the new in his mouth. He adjusted his crouch position a bit, aimed his gun carefully, and looked down his scope as he moved aimed along the edges of the property where the orange trees went west all the way to the Merricks’ farmland.
He imagined he was seeing Matt Merrick out there in the dark.
If there was one nigger on Earth Doug hated more than any other, it was him. He was the alpha nigger if ever there was one, a “master” of various blades and guns, a psychotic that the entire black community worshipped, presently off hunting in the nigger homeland of Africa. Supposedly, he once went to Alaska to hunt giants, which was a long, wished-for dream of Doug Gurney. It was something his family could never afford, thanks to the Fullers wrecking their finances over the last century and a half.
Merrick was dangerous, that much for sure. His whole family was.
I could take him, Doug thought. He pointed the gun at Isaiah and said, “Bang,” and then moved it up to a corral near the orange rows now in great bloom from the spring. “Bang,” he said again, imagining Merrick was standing there with a stupid, slack-jawed look on his black face. “I’m sorry officer but it’s not my fault this chocolate fucktard jungle bunny walked onto my land. I was just enforcing my rights.” He moved the scope to the gate onto the farm, the road heading east through the endless orange trees. “Ba—”
Something emerged from the orange trees and the cigarette in his mouth dropped from his lips.
A huge, bulking, wolf-man stood at the entrance, its eyes glowing a nuclear green in the scope as it stared straight at him. Its claws, emerging from its human hands, were opening and closing and a hateful sneer formed on its canine face.
The cigarette landed on his leg, burned him, and he gasped, wiped it off, and quickly looked back.
The wolf was gone.
Did I just see that? Doug wondered. He had an idea he had been mistaken but he slapped that thought away fast. It was fatal to be wrong and he did not want to die. He quickly grabbed his walkie-talkie, already set on a secret frequency only the Gurneys used and knew about, and pressed the talk button. “It’s here!” he snarled softly.
“Are you kidding me?” asked his younger brother Parker from on top of the machinery shed.
“Do I fucking sound like I’m kidding! I saw it! I—” He looked around with his eyes, seeing nothing, then finished with, “It’s here! Somewhere!” It was so utterly quiet and that made it worse. It wasn’t trying to fight them. It was hunting them.
“Keep calm,” said the cold, hard voice of John Jr., Doug’s father, Herbert’s nephew. Lights all over the property turned on below the buildings, lighting up the grounds. “The lamb is out.”
“Let me help!” Alice said from the basement with the other woman. “My magic—”
“No!” John Jr. stated coldly.
The “lamb” was indeed out but Doug was so disturbed by what he had seen, it gave him no comfort or confidence. “Jesus, those eyes!” he gasped. He looked all over the property quickly, not seeing the bulking, huge brute that should have been hard to miss with the property lit up as it was.
And still, it was so damn quiet. It was as if he could hear a pin drop landing on dirt.
“This ought to be fun,” said his older brother Randal on top of the tower silo.
“The fuck it is!” hissed Doug and he put down the walkie-talkie and aimed his gun back at Isaiah. The boy was still standing there in the same place, still looking confused and staring around at the lights curiously. Dumb nigger has got no instincts, he thought. The little bastard should have tried hiding behind the sheep shed or something. This won’t be hard at all.
The boy was standing right between himself and the wolf. Obviously, it would go after the boy rather than climb up a building, but he had doubts. Powerful doubts.
There was intelligence in its eyes. He was almost certain of it.
“Where the fuck are you?” Doug snarled softly and he looked around vainly, his gun pointing in all directions. “Come on! Appear!”
The sound of the windmill turning seemed like it could drive him mad. He wanted a roar, a step, a growl, anything that gave its position away.
“I saw it!” hissed Parker suddenly and Doug looked over to the machinery shed. He could barely see his younger brother there, a figure in black holding up the walkie-talking with one hand, his rifle pointing downward in the other. “I saw it by the greenhouses near the sheep shed!”
He looked through the scope, looked at the greenhouses, saw nothing, then moved back to the boy and his jaw dropped.
The boy turned around at the sound of something just as Doug looked and there, before him, was the werewolf. It stood less than ten feet away, towering over him at over seven or maybe eight feet in height, its ears and lips pulled back in a snarl of rage. It moved toward the boy, slowly, very man-like, and reached for him.
“Don’t fire!” John Jr. growled. “Don’t distract it from the nigger!”
Doug watched on the night vision goggles as the wolf reached closer and closer. Then he blinked.
The werewolf was suddenly gone and the boy was still there, shaken but otherwise fine.
“Where did it go?” asked Parker.
“I don’t know!” said Randal. “I think we should have shot it!”
“What happened?” Alice replied.
“Everyone shut up and keep your eyes peeled!” snarled John Jr.
“I don’t see it anywhere!” hissed his cousin Nate on top of the farmhouse with John Jr. They were both pointing their guns randomly all around them, expecting the werewolf to appear from any direction.
“Shut the fuck up!” growled John Jr. and everyone did. “Listen!”
Doug crept to the edge of the barn, looked down, and half expected to see the creature looking up at him from below. It wasn’t there and, looking around, he saw nothing. “Where the hell is it?” he gasped.
The Gurney Plantation seemed empty.
“Jump!” cried Parker through the walkie-talkie suddenly and Doug looked over and saw him pointing wildly toward the back of the barn. “FUCKING JUMP!” he shrieked.
Doug felt the shadow over him, spun around, and fired. The bullet shot across the werewolf’s chest while another across its side, a third into its back and a fourth across its head. He distinctively saw them hit their target and little bursts of blood explode outward, but the werewolf didn’t even seem to blink.
Each shot was capable of killing an elephant.
The werewolf’s lips peeled back and it roared, shoved its hands forward and spread them apart as if it was doing a swimming breaststroke. Doug screamed as a wave of blood filled the air, and gravity suddenly asserted itself as he fell backward. He fell off the barn, landed on his ground, and was so stunned that he felt nothing.
Doug saw the creature appear above him, bullets banging off its body, and then saw it step off the edge. He tried to scream and roll as its feet flew toward his chest.
He was not able to and everything went black in an instant.
* * *
Isaiah Winthrop got his hands free by twisting them around until he could slip them out and then he fled like the farm was on fire. He heard the screams and the guns firing behind him but he had no interest in seeing any part of what was happening and did not even look back. He sprinted south through the field of orange trees that surrounded the Gurney’s property line on all sides.
He had an idea the werewolf would follow him and that made him sprint faster. He couldn’t see anything ahead, or behind, due to the foliage and darkness. He tripped a few times because of that, almost shrieking in terror each time, and then quickly scrambled back to his feet awkwardly to begin his run again.
He ran chest first into the property fence, grunting as he did, and then climbed over and rushed east down Went Dr until he got to Alberta and then went south toward home. It was a long walk but since he didn’t own a cellphone and couldn’t yet drive a car, he had no choice but to walk the entire way.
He couldn’t run for long, tired and covered in sweat before he even reached Alberta, but he felt a little better although nowhere near comfortable. He could at least see easily once he was on a lamp-lit road and nothing seemed to be following him, although he couldn’t stop himself from looking back every minute just to be sure.
Walking to the southeastern section of the city in Applewood gave him plenty of time to think of an explanation of where he was but, when he got there, opened the door and saw his terrified mother glowering at him, he had forgotten anything was going to say.
“Oh thank God!” his mother cried when she saw him. She walked up to him, infuriated enough to shake him until she saw his face. “What happened?” she asked softly. He was supposed to be back by five last night, knowing what moon there was out, and he almost universally did as he was told to do, which made his disappearance all the more terrifying to his mother.
Isaiah burst into tears, threw his arms around his mother, and said nothing.
His mother’s anger and maternal instincts battled for supremacy for a moment before she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “Did something happen?” he asked.
“No,” he told her.
“You’re grounded!” she stated firmly.
“Okay,” Isaiah told her. He had to let her think what she wanted to think. If he talked about the Gurneys to anyone, anyone, they would kill her. They had made sure to let him know what would happen if he got away and snitched. They said they would kill every member of his family, his grandfather, granduncle, older brother and cousins, but they would start with his mother and end with him.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” she asked him after a moment. “Did you see something out there?”
Isaiah looked up into his mother’s eyes and lied through his teeth when he said, “I didn’t see anything. I’m fine.” He swallowed a lump down his throat. “I’m going to go to bed now.” He walked past her without another word and sensed her suspicious eyes staring through his back.
He would keep his mouth shut and he hoped to God that would be the end of it.
* * *
Caitlin Christopherson rubbed the bridge of her nose, sighed and looked back into Nate Gurney’s eyes. The spinning red and blue lights of the police changed the colors of the frowning man’s face before her.
“Okay,” she said. “So you saw the werewolf and shot the werewolf multiple times with silver-tipped big game hunting rounds. This is correct, yes?”
If so, it was the absolute worst news Christopherson could be told. Her 9mm Beretta felt like a bb gun when pitted against anything that could absorb bullets designed to take out elephants.
“Yes, yes, and YES!” snarled Nate. He was a big, bulky-looking man in his twenties with a dark brown mullet and bright blue eyes on an unattractive, square face. He was unsuccessfully trying to intimidate her with his size. “The werewolf walked through our farms, went past our barn, crawled up onto the barn and jumped my cousin. It snuck right up behind him.”
The death had been brutal. The werewolf had ripped open the front of Douglas Gurney’s torso, throwing parts of him right across the barn top, and then when he fell off onto the ground, the werewolf leaped off the barn and landed right on his head, shattering it like a melon. Then it began to rip out Doug’s organs and throw them everywhere, all the while being shot at, according to the Gurneys.
“What was Douglas doing up there?” She knew they weren’t lying about that but they were all so defensive that she was absolutely certain she wasn’t getting the whole story.
“As we said, we were up there watching out for the werewolf. We all were.” Nate was looking furious and irritable. “We told you. Grandpa had a fucking problem with the werewolf in the past. He’s nervous now when it comes back so we took out our weapons that we’re all legally able to carry and we tried to protect our family. You going to arrest me for failing, Officer Hotness?”
“That’ll be all for now,” Christopherson told him coldly. He gave her a frown and then looked her over in a contemptuous manner filled with undisguised lust before he turned around and walked away. So much for our moonlight patrols, she thought bitterly to herself.
“I told you they’re assholes,” said Mary Merrick as she came up behind her. “They’re racist as hell too. Look at the way they’re looking at me.”
They were outright glaring at Mary, dozens of them, male and female alike. The old one was especially mean-looking, Herbert Gurney who everyone called Old Man Gurney. He was a big man, over six feet tall, big-boned, muscular, with a gray beard, a shaved head, and looking at Mary like he wanted to hack her to pieces and feed them to his pigs.
“What’s their deal?” asked Christopherson softly.
“They’ve been racist trash forever,” Mary told her just as softly. “They hate all black people but they hate us Merricks more because we don’t take their shit and my uncle Sal owns the farm east of here and his kids are better farmers who constantly outsells them at fairs and other markets. They hate the Fullers most of all and more than any other human beings on Earth. They would kill them all if they could.”
Although there was no way to prove it, Christopherson was certain the Gurneys were the Klansmen who assaulted the mayor last year. Who else could they be? The Fullers had a well-known rivalry with them going back generations and the mayor they attacked was a Fuller.
I wonder where they got the ogres, Christopherson pondered as she thought about Thanksgiving.
The Gurneys were all crowded together, the body of their kin gone. It was clear that if anyone was in control of the werewolf, it wasn’t them. Janet Dupree, Darnell Morris and now Doug Gurney, were three seemingly random people, with no connection between them. The police had gone through the farm with a fine toothcomb and found nothing new or of any use. As always, the only tracks that existed were the ones around the victim, disappearing before and after the attack.
It made Christopherson want to scream and rip out her hair.
To make matters even worse, the Gurneys had a wondrously sophisticated security system yet it had somehow managed to record nothing. They had all managed to see the creature with their eyes but all that did was confirm what everyone believed all along: that a werewolf was in Bartlett Bay.
“Fuck!” Christopherson hissed.
“Yeah,” said Mary. “You’re stressing out, girl. Let’s hit New York City this weekend. On me.”
“Yeah, I’ll bring my wallet just in case,” she replied.
Mary laughed but it was a weird, awkward laugh and the two walked away from the corpse and the Gurneys. When they got into their vehicle, Christopherson looked through the windshield at the cold, hateful eyes of the Gurneys. After a moment, she turned on the car and drove off.
It was an odd situation to be sure. The police and the public were both letting the situation go. She could feel it and she surprised herself by understanding why. From what little she could gather the time of the werewolf was a year, give or take a month, and it seemed easier to just let it pass rather than rushing into hell and trying to make a difference.
An ending was the thing that everyone, Christopherson included, wanted. She did not fear for her career, not even a bit, as she had an unshakable sense they would simply let it go. On the day after the full moon of the thirteenth or fourteenth month, she would come into work, discover no one had died, and everyone would act as if the year of the wolf never happened.
Exactly as they were acting about the other two such years in the last century.
It would be easy to do that but around nine more deaths would come before that time came. Caitlin Christopherson didn’t join the police force to just do nothing and let people die and, in perfect frankness to herself, she wasn’t sure she could live with herself if she did.