The Lycanthrope (3)

by Ngozi Janet Akalonu

The Sheriff wobbled closer to the pit and with his left hand, signaled to his deputy and the other officers to be on alert. He was positive he had heard a deep growling sound coming from the recesses, and on closer look, had discovered a pit wide enough to hide a body. His discomfort was amplified with the restlessness of the horses; already three of them were whining and punctuating the still night air with their stomping hooves, a clear indication that evil was lurking somewhere really close.

Sergeant Richardson glanced up at the full moon and swallowed. This was definitely not a good idea. For a week now, a hideous man-like wolf had been reported attacking people and tearing them to gory pieces. Its attacks were random because the recovered bodies revealed It didn’t go after any particular target. The victims were mostly people – men, women and children – who happened to wander around carelessly in the woods at ungodly hours of the nights.

These attacks coincided with the full moon, and even though Richardson knew they were threading on dangerous grounds, their best chance of subduing this evil beast was when the silver moon was full and hung heavy against the night sky.

“I do not think it is here,” Sergent Richardson piped nervously, eager to leave the creepy forest. And as if to lend support to what he said, the horses bayed again, shuffling about restlessly. The Sheriff hushed him angrily and cocked his head in deep concentration, peering closely at the pit.
The growling was there again. Something was in that pit. It may not be a wolf, but definitely something carnivorous lurked in the safety of its darkness.

The twelve police officers were in the heart of the Nothingdale woods, the last place the hideous monster was spotted, and the mist and overhanging shrubs gave the entire place a foreboding appearance, something that should naturally scare any man off. But there was a half a million dollar bounty on the head of the monster, and the sheriff couldn’t pass that up or let some unknown lowlife from one of the rural villages claim the price when he had all the resources at his disposal and was in a better position to seal this mystery once and for all. His success would ensure his promotion too and a recommendation by the Mayor himself to the Governor.

The growl sounded once again. This time slightly more menacing than the last and the horses began their mad dances of panic. The sheriff inched even closer to the pit, his rifle cocked and fully loaded. The other officers scrambled around him and on another signal, everyone began a steady approach to the mouth of the pit, their chest hammering with their erratic heartbeats, their sweat standing like bulbous balls of water on their brows and their faces white with naked fear.

In a few seconds, they all stood in a semi circle around the mouth of the pit and peered in. there was silence now, everyone waited in trepidation. Even the horses had fallen quiet and for almost 5 seconds, the entire forest was still, save for the crickets and the chirping of the night birds.

Maybe if they weren’t so preoccupied with the pit, they would have noticed the shadow behind one of the huge oak trees, a shadow with bloodshot eyes and fangs the length of pointed daggers. There was another growl again but this time, it wasn’t from the pit.

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The detectives weren’t given much time to come to that painful realization as a huge monstrous form leaped in the air and landed with outstretched claws, slashing the head of one of the horses and severing it completely off its body.

The men screamed and began shooting blindly, fatally wounding some of their horses in the process. But the beast was impossibly fast, moving with deft speed among the men and ripping intestines and hearts out with fangs and unearthly claws. It jumped on a fat sergeant and bit his face off, dragging blood, gore and brain matters off a mangled skull. Men and horses began falling in a poll on their blood and internal organs.

The sheriff screamed and made to run away but he was obstructed by the beast as it pounced on him and slashed off his chest with one fell swoop of its powerful fist and claws, exposing the sheriff’s ribcage and his beating heart. The sheriff fell down helplessly, spurting blood from his mouth. He didn’t even feel a thing when the werewolf dug into his ribcage with its bloodied snout and began ripping off his heart with sharp pointed canines.

Sergeant Richardson lay behind one of the trees and watched the mayhem before him in shock. He was bleeding profusely, one of his legs was mangled beyond recognition. He saw the huge, muscular man-wolf tear and claw away at flesh and bones till all that was left of the 5 horses and 10 men were pulp, blood and distorted heaps of flesh. He watched as the werewolf stood straight in all its fearsome glory and gave a very loud howl into the night in the direction of the full moon.

For a brief second, the wolf seemed to turn and look in his direction, its bloodshot eyes searching, its fangs barred with copious amount of blood and saliva oozing out, and its nostrils flaring hungrily. It stayed still and Richardson was sure it must have sensed his presence. Truth was it didn’t matter anymore. The sergeant had lost so much blood and was fast losing strength and consciousness.

But then the Werewolf turned on its heels and disappeared into the woods.

The carnage was over almost as soon as it started.

And just before Sergeant Richardson lost consciousness, he heard the growl from the pit again and saw, right as the darkness closed in around him, a little harmless fox jump out and scurry away.

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