I wake up and the door had been blasted to pieces. Large sections are scattered throughout the cabin. I saw the fire in the distance, and the werewolf standing next to it. It looked nothing like what I thought it would. Not really a wolf or a man to be honest. More like a lithe shadow with claws, and a gigantic, bulbous, cancerous porcupine strapped to its back. Its hands dangled, reaching to the ground.
I realized instantly that my “grab the neck and control the head” was a no go. There was no sign of Pete too. I couldn’t help but wish the wolf got him and maybe it was over.
I found the tablet back on the stand. The screen was shattered but it started up. I crept to a corner with it held to my chest so no one would see the light. I took a couple quick peeks. No picture, no apps, just a symbol. It was a pole with a globe on top made of perfect interlocking spheres. I only looked at it for a second, before the wolf started marching around, and I set it down.
It was all growls and snorts. I knew I needed to do something, but honestly I was too scared to move. Pete’s voice startled me as he spoke right outside the cabin. “Oh yes Sir, he must have escaped, huh? Perhaps you could round the perimeter and try to find him? I know you must be starving at this point?” There was a howl in response.
“He was a powerful wizard, portly too, so he must have been extremely wealthy in his world, some sort of Lord, I imagine.” More growls and grunts. “I hope you realize Sir that I made every attempt to fulfill my end of the bargain. Now, of course, I realize I have failed in delivery, and for that I am prepared to make whatever amends you see fit. I still have a number of good appendages, but I hope and sense that some rapport has developed between us, and I wonder if a new deal couldn’t be made?”
Grunts, snorts, ending upbeat, sort of sounded like an approval. “Well, then my idea is this. Let me met with the Administrators when they arrive. I will explain to them that the man I met was a Technician from Earth, that he went mad and pressed the button, and that you showed up busted down the door and took him away. Now they will be shocked by the violation of protocol and be doubly surprised that everything I had told them about the wolf was true; I would love to see their reactions to that!”
The sneaky little bastard, I wanted to come out of hiding and just pummel him, but my own sense of self preservation wouldn’t allow it. Instead I just listened to him as he went on. “Now Sir once I wrap everything up with Administration, which really could arrive any moment, and then my people, I will come back and met you. We can agree on some sort of signal, I could leave here at this cabin, perhaps a marking on one of these trees? Then I could meet you back here, after procuring a suitable replacement, and I don’t want be to crass here but I think I can guarantee the finest substitute; my people have no idea of this sort of thing; they will be totally unaware.”
In the little weasel’s monologue I spied my small hammer on the other side of the room. I crawled across the floor and grabbed it. It wasn’t much, but it was all I had. Maybe it wouldn’t do anything to the monster, but I bet it could take a chunk out of that little maniac.
“Now Sir,” Pete said, “I have an admission here that I don’t dare hide any longer. I hope this is a sign of how much I respect you. I have now violated the Ritual of The Sacred Fire. I have been interrupted and ruined by this wizard. I have no idea what sort of punishment will be dealt out to me. Complete abandonment would mean death, that is explicit. But seeing as how I am still here, and the fire was obviously broken, by the wizard, then there seems no real way I can be seen at fault, right?”
There were more grunts and some shuffling. I held as fast as I could to the door. The thing’s awful shadow passed across it. I heard the sound of running, and almost wet myself in fear at the thought it was coming back to check the cabin. The steps got quieter and further away. I waited for some time in this skin bubbling quiet. I tried to wake myself up, but there was nothing happening there. That reality was separated by a giant deadly glacier.
My wife feel asleep. I knew that. She could fall asleep so fast. I hadn’t slept good in days, this could be the deep one I knew. Out of nowhere Pete’s airy whistle broke in over my thoughts. It almost sounded like he whistling Yankee-Doodle. That drove me nuts, like he was just waiting on the bus or something. He started walking around as he whistled and I watched as his shadow grabbed another log and tossed it on the fire. He was so calm now. I started to think maybe the wolf had listened to him.
I was just about to jump him and give him a good thrashing, when I heard the sound of its pounding steps coming back. It was hacking and growling like it was really gassed.
“My Lord,” Pete cried. “What have you done? You sentimental beast, dinner? I told you, you really must go. Administration will be here any moment…Really I don’t know what is taking them so long.” There was grunts and whines from the thing.
“Oh dammit, listen let me check the cabin for him, one last time. But if he ins’t there you have to go, do you understand? I couldn’t stand to see what they would do with you.” The unmistakable thud of his marching approached. I had no idea what to do. Honestly, my plan at that moment was just to blast him, and go from there.
I heard his slow climb of the steps to the cabin. He peeked in for a second and I could have whacked him. He stepped back out though. “Listen friend. Keep those spiky ears peeled, all right? First sign of them you got to go, got it?” There was a loud howl in response. “Okay, sheesh, calm down old boy.”
He ducked back in and that;s when I jumped. I guess I’m still a coward cause I couldn’t bring myself to really sucker him with the hammer. So instead I tried to swing him around and smash him into the wall. This was stupid. His strength was incredible for his size and missing leg, he dead-bodied me mid-toss and began screaming. “He’s in here! He’s here! He’s here!”
I yanked on him as hard as I could and blasted him right into the wall. There was a horrible pop in my back when I did this though. I was stuck at forty-five degree angle now. Pete dove to tackle me. No other options, I swung hard from the waist with the hammer. I got him right in the neck and he went diving for the floor. “Help,” he screamed.
I couldn’t hear anything now. The cabin was pulsing with panic. It grabbed me by the leg and pulled me out. I couldn’t open my eyes. I was way too afraid to look at it. Its hand was freakishly cold and clammy. It squeezed on my leg and I knew that in a second it could snap it like a chicken bone.
I kept my eyes closed, forcing them shut with all my will. That was the only real option. I was being twirled around like a dirty towel. Then it was time for a flight. I crashed with a hard whack to the ground. I was sure something was broken, but I was just a brain, my body was done. I watched through half open eyes as the hulking shadow marched back for the cabin.
I could hear Pete moaning inside of it There was growls and even a bark. The thing came back out visibly shaking, Pete’s small body draped over his shoulder. I couldn’t help but look at him now. The wolf was almost cartoonish in its hulking grotesqueness. Its deep black fur made it looked like it was pressed from thick pool of oil. Red orbs rolled in its eye. A thick stream of silvery drool dangled from its mouth.
It set Pete down next to the pile of downed trees and the headless carcass of what looked like a gigantic deer. There were all the furnishing of a well set up camp too, fire, tree fort, a giant pile of sticks and limbs. He made a giant leap back for me and picked me up easily and began to smell me. It didn’t help that all I had on were my boxers, which we ripped from me with one jerk.
I was screaming and crying by this point. The thing just kept rolling me around, smelling me like a cigar. The drool coated me with a thick gel. “Britney!” I screamed. “Wake me up!” The thing tossed me to the ground and went bounding for the forest.
My body was so broken, it was like I didn’t have bones anymore just a skin bag of chunky sludge. I tried to stand up but came crashing back down. Something was seriously wrong. I tried to drag myself across the floor but started to black out. I looked up, and for the briefest second thought I saw her watching from behind a tree, but when I tried to focus she disappeared.
I probably didn’t crawl five feet before he was back. He clenched a giant bundles of weeds and wild grasses, which he promptly began to rub all over me, and shove in some not very nice places. As an I amateur Chef, I soon deduced he was preparing to roast me.