Monday, January 27, 2014
A Blast from the Past (is a bite in the ass)
“Well?” Agent Mulder demanded. He shook the picture, like that would bring it into focus. “What are they?”
“Fugly,” Ewan said. “The bears around here must’a got their paws on some really rancid pic-a-nic baskets.”
“Those aren’t bears.” Comic Book Guy had decided to display his meager store of knowledge. “Those aren’t any kind of creature that appears in nature. Those are werewolves, created in a lab. Humans mutated into monsters.”
“If you say so.” It might even be true. Dante had no idea where his sire had dug up his hairy goon squad, though he’d been trying his damnedest to find out. Ewan knew even less. “Or they could just be Texans. Hard to tell from this angle.”
Freddie stepped up to the bed. “Tell us about the Doctor.”
“Sure. My favorite of the oldies is the Tom Baker version. Always liked the scarf. David Tennant was a hoot. Never much cared for the new one.”
Freddie smacked him hard across the face. Velma flinched. “Geez, dude,” the kid in the Free Weed shirt said. He needed a name. Ewan picked Shaggy. “I know he’s a werewolf and all, but geez. Oppressive much?”
“They’re monsters,” Freddie said. “We can’t afford to treat them like they’re human.”
“You think I’m one of those?” Ewan nodded at the photo in Agent Mulder’s hand. “Hell, you might as well kill me now. I’d drink bleach before I’d let myself turn into something that unsightly.”
“Works for me,” Agent Mulder said. He pulled out his silver knife. Ewan tensed to shift.
Unexpectedly, Velma threw herself across the bed, and Ewan. “You can’t! We have to wait for—”
On cue, the door opened. Silent Sam in the glasses returned, with another male. Ewan tensed in a different fashion. This wasn’t some stupid kid chasing after noises in the dark. This was a grownup with mileage on him, a hard life spent on the never-ending trail of inhuman things like Ewan.
A hunter. A real hunter.
He stalked up to the bed. Velma scurried away. The hunter leaned in close enough for Ewan to smell the strong motel coffee on his breath, and peered hard into Ewan’s eyes. Wolf and coyote shifters tended toward yellow eyes. Being both, Ewan’s gene pool had got a double dose.
The hunter grunted, satisfied, and pulled back. “You kids did just fine,” he told his team. “He’s a werewolf, sure enough.”
“He mentioned someone called the Doctor,” Freddie said, in the weaselly tone of an omega wolf looking to advance up the ranks. “Beyond that, he wouldn’t talk.”
“He’ll talk to me. You kids take off for awhile. Grab some coffee or something.”
Shaggy was out the door before he finished the sentence. The others lingered. Freddie opened his mouth to speak, but Velma beat him to it. “I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t. We won’t leave you alone with a monster.”
“I’ve been hunting shapeshifters since before you were born. But if you insist … all right. You get to stay, but you stay out of my way. You got a knife?” Velma swallowed hard and produced a Taser. The hunter grinned. “Even better. The rest of you boys scoot. I’ll let you play with whatever’s left.”
Freddie, Agent Mulder and Comic Book Guy obediently filed out of the room. Silent Sam stood firm. His body language made it clear he wasn’t going anywhere. The hunter shrugged minutely. Silent Sam closed the door and planted himself front of it, arms crossed.
“Now let’s get down to business.” The hunter stood at the foot of the bed. He hadn’t shown off any hardware yet, but that was sure to follow. “My name’s Abel Cochrane. I doubt if that means anything to you.”
“’Fraid not,” Ewan said. “We don’t get many hunters in the Peak. Most of ‘em know better. Last one we had … ”
The sudden narrowing of Cochrane’s eyes gave the game away. “Was you,” Ewan said in realization. “I wasn’t there, but everybody heard about it. Vern and the Mayor got hold of you and—”
He snapped his jaws shut right about the time the hunter scowled. Stripped you nekkid, dumped a gallon of purple paint on you, and sent you outside in your birthday suit with a couple of fake fairy wings. Yeah, he could see why a human wouldn’t want to relive that particular Kodak moment.
The hunter growled down in his throat, like a wolf. “I spent a month in lockup,” he snarled. “Indecent exposure. Then there was”—he shuddered—“the hundred hours of community service. The whole time I pondered on what I was going to do to you filthy animals when my life was my own again.”
“We have a new Mayor,” Ewan said. “That’d never happen now. Live and let live and all that. Bygones?” He smiled appeasingly.
“I don’t think so. I’ve got a score to settle with ‘Vern’ and ‘The Mayor.’ They can wait till last. Between now and then I plan to wipe out every clawed, hooved, feathered, beaked and furry freak in your misbegotten town.” He pulled out a pistol with an abnormally wide barrel and aimed at Ewan’s forehead. “Starting with you.”