Lake County Gazette, Oct 16 — Police Blotter section
Two days ago Walter P. Brown called the county police complaining a wolf was raiding his chicken coop taking a number of chickens each time. He states "The wolf walked on two legs, instead of the usual four." The sheriff's deputy investigating reported there were "definite wolf tracks" in the area of the coop. Farmer Brown alleges it was not a wolf, or a man, but was instead a "werewolf".
I arrived in Lake County with Pete Franklin and Father George Garls, about noon on the 25th of October. It was a couple of days before the full moon. In accordance with our orders, we obtained rooms at the Easy Rest Motel, one of those dilapidated old motor hotels which is not much more than a series of one-room cabins with only outdoor access.
I could tell, by looking at the bed, that these rooms had seen better days. The bed looked like a bias relief map of the Colorado Rockies, and the wallpaper was a faded yellow with what appeared to be an all but eroded floral pattern on it. I picked up the phone and asked the clerk to make sure I was awakened by six p.m. The clerk told me she would call and wake me at the requested time.
I removed my clothes, and laid on the bed. As I had thought, it felt like a bed of rocks. It took me longer than my normal ten minutes to fall asleep.
I woke on my own about 5:30, called to cancel the wake-up call, and decided to shower. While showering, I sensed something watching me. I checked the room and found nothing, so I returned to the shower, still feeling watched.
When I stepped out of the shower, there was a high degree of mist in the bathroom, higher than normal for one of my showers, and I still sensed the presence of something in the room with me. I went over to my suitcase and took out my talisman in case the hotel room was haunted. Was it, or was I just being paranoid?
We met at 7:30 and drove to Buzz's Place, the local greasy spoon. Buzz's Place was a flat-roofed one-story cinderblock structure that was once painted white but was now faded and worn to the point of disaster. The outside of the building had definitely seen better days. We walked in and were immediately assailed by the combined scents of stale grease and old cigarettes. A palpable blue haze burned our eyes as we made our way to a table roughly at the center of the room. I picked up the menu from the table, looked it over and decided on the Fish-Sandwich deluxe before passing it to Pete.
Pete looked it over and chose the Bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich before he passed it to George. George had just decided on the Buzz-Burger deluxe when a kid barely out of diapers walked over and said, " Hello, I'm Buzz. Are you ready to order or do you need more time?" We ordered. Buzz repeated our orders back to us, and we said "Right," almost in unison.
While we ate we listened in on the conversations of the other patrons hoping to hear something useful. Most of what we heard was the usual chatter about who was doing what, where and with who. We learned that this community was as much a Peyton Place as just about any other small town in rural America.
I had finished my fish and was polishing off a triple-scoop hot-fudge sundae when a young lady stumbled in and dropped. Her face matched an albino's hair. I ran over to her and began first aid. On closer inspection, she was approximately twenty years old, with bleeding from the left upper thigh. I called for bandages or something I could use to stop the loss of blood and sent Pete to the van for the first-aid kit. Buzz tossed me the few clean dishtowels he had handy as Pete returned with the first-aid kit.
I opened the kit, grabbed the scissors, and cut the fabric away from the wound to give us a clearer work area. Pete rinsed the area with sterile saline, and as the saline rinsed the wound I saw what looked like a bite from a large dog, wolf, or small bear. I slapped a pressure bandage on the wound and hoped it would be enough.
After we slowed the blood loss she started coming around. She babbled hysterically "A wolf. A wolf. A wolf. A wolf. Out there. A wolf. The Lewis Farm. It walked like a man. A wolf. Can't be a man. Big teeth."
I calmed her and asked, "What's your name?"
"Okay, Patty, I want you to relax," I said as I covered her with the thermal blanket. "An ambulance will be here in a little while to take you to the hospital. You're going to be okay, I promise.
"I need to ask you a question, Patty," I said. "You were at or near the Lewis farm when you were attacked by a wolf that walked like a man. Right?"
"Yes," she said.
"I needed to make sure. I'll let the paramedics know what happened, just relax."
While we waited, I sat with Patty and lent her some moral support to help counter the shock she was experiencing. When the ambulance arrived I advised the medics of the particulars. I asked the medics which hospital she would be taken to, and once we knew where she was going, we left Buzz's heading to the Lewis farm. We cheated on the speed limit in our haste to get there and ended up throwing out the anchor in an attempt to stop at the driveway. We ended up finally stopping about half a football field past the drive.
We set up detection and surveillance equipment following the standard operating procedure, and waited to get a picture of the background energies (both magical and psychic). The magical energies were so high we had to adjust the scale until the equipment was set on logarithmic, the highest scale, where each additional number represented a ten-fold jump in the signal's intensity, and it was still at the high end of the scale. A one on logarithmic is roughly equivalent to the natural energy put out by a stadium full of non-magical or non-psychic people.
I immediately dialed the Paranormal Research Institute on the cellular phone and asked for a scramble code to ensure a secure conversation.
"Thirty-nine-Alpha," was the response.
I typed 39A into the scrambler and waited until I heard it engage. "I need to report an event," I said.
The dispatcher from the Institute asked "Who, what, when, where, why, and magic or psychic?"
I replied, "Gamma team reports the mauling of a female Caucasian, Patty Baker, approximately twenty years of age by a possible werewolf approximately thirty to forty minutes ago. Map coordinates three-eight-seven by forty-five, template A.K. two three oh four. Why? Unknown at present. The magic reading is at the high end of the logarithmic scale. No psychic energy to speak of. Victim Baker reportedly taken to Lake County Memorial Hospital."
"Report received. I will advise the Director. Do you request assistance at this time?" the voice intoned.
"No. We are reporting as per protocol and will be sending in reports as necessary."
"Well, what are we waiting for?" I asked the guys.
George slammed the van into gear and we began to trail the magical trace - an easy job, as it was humongous. The trace took us up and down the hilly roads until we had driven fourteen and a half miles to a large creek where the trail vanished.
"Why would the trail disappear here?" I asked.
"Maybe it's not a werewolf after all" answered Pete.
George queried the computer for a list of possible causes, supernatural and otherwise. The computer churned through the database for a while and finally beeped to let us know it was done. George typed a command and the printer sprang to life, chattering with our information. As soon as the printer quieted he tore the print-out from the computer and read "Eighty percent probability a were-creature of some type, fifteen percent says vampire, four percent minor demon, and one percent other."
I said, "Okay, so it's either a were or a vampire.
Would you print up a list of possible weapons that would be useful against either one."
George typed a moment and the printer clattered with the answers. He tore the sheet from the printer and read, "The most effective weapon against a were-creature is silver.
The effectives against a vampire are Holy symbols and oak or birch through the heart."
We set up the remote sensors in a picket line. Pete said, "A picket line is the most efficient use of available supplies. We used to use it when we were practicing anti-submarine warfare. I remember any time we used any more sonobouys than we needed to we were fined for waste of government issued equipment. What you do is to set the sensors in a line and then, at one end of the line you start another line at ninety degrees from the first line".
We then waited until dawn with the slim hope that something might show up before sunrise. Nothing. We drove back to the Easy Rest Motel to rest up for the next night.
In the evening we set out to check our remote sensors and expand the picket lines for even greater coverage than we had last night. George programmed the computer to interpret the data and triangulate the source of each disturbance. He also ordered the computer to give us a list of probable causes for every energy variations that occurred.
An hour after dark, the equipment went wild. The meters were pegged, and the computer was chirping and beeping insistently enough to wake even me when I am sound asleep. George hit a couple of keys and the printer sprang to life. The printout reported a large source of magical energy 500 feet ahead, coming straight at us.
"Get ready," George said, "Here it comes!"
I hoped the blessings George bestowed upon the van earlier in the day would be enough counter magic to keep the thing from attacking us. We would know shortly.
.... There is more of this story ...