Federal Special Services

Adventures in

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The Night of the Werewolf

Part 4

Sean kept scanning the area looking for either the returning homeowner or an unwanted guest. Instinct or blind luck made him look left in time to see a dark shape break from cover barey twenty feet away and move toward him in a blur. In one nightmare moment he saw what looked like a wolf, only half again as large, covered in short fur so dark as to be nearly black with hind legs a little disproportionately long, so as it raced toward him its head was very low to the ground. Sean started to move and the slashing jaws of the creature caught him in the leg as it moved past. He felt a tearing pain in his calf as the wolf spun around, legs scrabbling in the dust as it sought to reverse direction.

Sean grimaced from the wound and suppressed a shout. Seeing that the door was a few feet away and the wolf was looking to close fast he judged that he could make the door before the wolf could return to take more out of his hide. It was a gamble, but one he decided to take. He turned, and ran.

Alison stood at the door holding it open as Sean limped toward it as fast as he could. He stumbled through and she slammed the door, a second later a weight hit the door and it shuddered open a few inches. The blood- flecked maw of the wolf pushed in at the bottom of the door. Sean lent his weight to the door and together the two pushed it closed and dropped a bar in place. From outside a howl, of frustration perhaps?, went up, and then there was silence.

"Sit," said Alison shoving Sean into a chair. In a quick businesslike fashion, she exposed the wound, tore several strips from the blanket on the bed and began to bandage Sean.

Sean watched her skilled hands clean and dress the wound. "You've done this before, I see."

"When you work with wild animals, you have to learn a little about things like this," she said. "Done." Then the reaction set in and she began to shiver, "Oh, who are they? Why would they do this? And who are you?"

Sean pulled himself up and limped over to the window to look out, ready to take a shot should a target present itself. "They, are specially bred wolves by your employer. He called it some kind of experiment, an army of the future for an interested party.." Squinting, he leaned forward, but then sank back from the window.

"That's awful!" she exclaimed.

He turned to face her, "My name is Sean Lincoln, Federal Special Services." He looked down at his leg, "But I would have been dinner if it hadn't been for you, thanks. It feels better already." He limped over to the other side and held up his hand asking for silence, as he listened.

Silence was what he got, inside and out. Minutes ticked by tensely as Sean sat, mind racing and leg throbbing. Then faintly ... a voice. Singing something about someone named Georgina, apparently, a man was coming toward the shack.

Sean peeked out to get a look at the man, and to see if he was armed. Satisfied that the wolf had left, Sean lifted the bar and opened the door, leaning in the door frame he called out. "Pard'ner it ain't safe out there! Hurry on in!" Hopefully the sight of a bandage and friendly tone would quell a potentially volatile situation.

The man had rifle slung across his back and was leading a donkey. A surprised expression crossed his face when Sean stuck his head out the door. Then fear appeared on it, and Sean leaned back as the wolf shot out of a blind spot near the shack's corner, mouth agape. Again, pain shot through him as his other leg was savaged by the wolf.

Sean whipped his pistol around and squeezed off a shot at the wolf. The shot slammed into the door missing the wolf who was backing off. A second later, the boom of a heavy rifle was heard outside and the shack wall shook frome the impact. The wolf gave a quick bark like sound and Sean could hear and see it charge at the newcomer.

Sean shouted at Alison, "Is there more ammo here somewhere? Or another rifle?" then braced himself against the door frame and fired again missing the wildly moving wolf. As he aimed again, he heard Alison rustling around in the shack. Outside the wolf completed its charge tearing a chunk out of the newcomer's arm as it went. The donky bolted running straight at the shack in its fear. The newcomer tried to bring the rifle around and get a shot off at the wolf, but couldn't sending a bullet into the air. The wolf bit the man and Sean heard ribs crunch, then Sean fired again missing once more.

The wolf dropped the man and turned back to the shack, howling furiously, it charged back.

Sean leaned forward and grabbed the donkey pulling hard to get the frightened animal into the shack. The arrival of the wolf and the claws it put across the critter's flank gave the beast the urging it needed and it bolted into the small shack. Sean fired at the wolf as it tried to follow the animal in and although he missed the wolf backed away and they managed to slam the door again.

It was crowded in there with the panicked but rapidly calming donkey.

Sean called out to Alison, "See if you can calm her down and see what she's carrying." He approached the window and looked out at the man, keeping an eye out for the wolf. Glancing down at his empty gun, Sean holstered it and walked looked around the shack for a weapon, settling for a poker over by the stove.

The wolf was nowhere to be seen. Sean turned back to Alison who was holding a box of bullets and a small bundle of dynamite.

Glad to see the bullets, Sean opened the box to discover that they looked like they fit the man's rifle which was still outside. He approached the window and tried to see where the man lay and the location of his long gun.

The man had crawled a short distance toward the shack, but was still thirty-five feet or so away from the shack. His gun lay nearby.

Sean turned to Alison. "We need that rifle, I have to go get it." He stuck the poker into the stove coals and detailed his plan to Alison. After the end of the poker glowed red he withdrew it and approached the door. "You can keep an eye on me from that window," he pointed to shutters, "you'll be safe behind that."

Testing his leg, Sean went to the door and readied himself for a sprint.

"You'll be killed!" said Alison, "there must be another way. Is any of this useful?" She had laid out the contents of the donkey's pack on the table. There were ten sticks of dynamite, a pickaxe, a coil of rope, some food, a coffee pot and some coffee, ammunition for the rifle and some rock samples.

Sean looked at the array of gear and smiled. A few moments later, a pickaxe trailing a rope sailed out the window toward the rifle. It fell short and was pulled back by the rope into the shack, where a moment later it sailed out again.

Eventually, after a number of stops and starts, the rifle was pulled to a position just under the window, and then hooked up to stick up by the window. There was no way to avoid it at that point. Sean had to stick a hand out and grab the rifle as fast as he could. He did and a bare second later jaws closed on air where his hand had been. But they had the rifle in the shack. Sean quickly reloaded it and felt better than he had in a long time.

Outside, night had fallen. All was darkness and silence.

Whether it was the dinner of beans or the wolf outside, Sean's night was restless. He glanced over at Alison on the cot and was reminded of the seriousness of their situation. He fingered the rifle and knew that the morning would require something drastic.

Morning came and with it came light, as it typically does. This convinced the two in the shack it was time to make the breakout attempt. Sean decided that a depression about ten feet behind where the body lay was the most likely spot for the wolf to be hiding. Carefully he prepared himself. The rifle and dynamite were laid near to hand by the window.

He fused the dynamite and with a quick smile at Alison lit it and lobbed it. Amazingly, both the throw and the fusing were spot on. So was his guess as to the lair of the wolf. The dynamite exploded and the wolf was thrown out of the depression with a howl.

The wolf landed hard, stunned but not down. Sean grabbed the rifle, now was not the time for mercy. He sighted and fired. The bullet hit the beast in the forequarters. The wolf squealed and leapt down into the depression. There was silence again.

Sean decided to try it again. This time as soon as the dynamite was in the air, the wolf broke cover charging the shack. Sean lifted the rifle and fired catching the charging animal full in the chest.

The beast hit the wall of the shack, then turn and raced sideways. Sean fired again and the wolf dropped rolling to a stop in the dust.

Two glasses clinked in celebration as Sean proposed a toast to the end of harrowing adventure. The rail car sparkled from Max's obsession with cleanliness. "To the United States," he smiled, "and the end of the werewolf." Sean leaned forward to refill Alison's glass and set the champagne atop the mahogany desk before returning to the couch. "It is a shame Tezlowska disappeared, what will you do now?"

"Well, with the dissappearace of 'Professor Miracle,' the sideshow needs a new manager. The gang has suggested I do it. I'll need a new strongman, too." Alison sipped her champagne. "The hidden cage in Wan Lo's wagon was pretty clever."

"That's right, did I ever thank you properly for saving me?" Sean said with a charming smile.

"I'm not sure you did," she smiled back.

Sean leaned forward and turned out the light.

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