Below is part II of my detective short story from my writing group. If you missed part I, you can read it here. As always this is a first draft and if spooky season themed writing is not your thing, no worries. To toot my own horn for a second this piece did get me writer of the week!
Prompt: Write a story or poem where the issue appears to be magical but is actually mundane.
TW: This story does involve murder and gore.
July spent the next two days reviewing all the places the victims had been killed. It wasn’t a large area, mostly around the west part of town, near the train stations, church, and cemetery – conveniently where all the largest homes were located. He bet this was the original part of town, old money.
At dusk, the night of the full moon he took two potions from his kit, one for invisibility and one to dampen scent. Just because he believed that these people weren’t killed by a wolf shifter didn’t mean he wanted to take any chances. The potions were designed to last 8 hours. Fingers crossed that they kept him safe if he needed them.
The town, it seemed, went to bed early on full moon nights, as the moon rose things were quiet. July could just see the glimmer of the harvest moon over the graveyard when a howl split the air and then a scream. Running towards the church, July skidded to a stop in horror. A young woman had come out of the sanctuary and now was bleeding in the hold of… Dig? The gravedigger was wearing a glove that appeared to be made out of the paw of a bear on his right hand and with it he was mauling the woman while with his left hand he was covering her mouth, muffling the scream.
July was moving forward to put a stop to this madness when behind him he heard a deep rumble of a growl. One that made him freeze instantly and caused the hair on the back of his neck to rise to attention. Dig, distracted by removing rings from the dead woman, didn’t hear it. Turning his head just enough to look, July saw a werewolf. The creature was 7 feet tall and covered in slick black hair with bright eyes, brighter teeth and gleaming claws.
The creature stepped forward. July held his breath, the potions should stop it from seeing or smelling him but those ears looked keen. July’s heart pumped traitorously loud in his chest. The ears flicked towards him and then the wolf was past, the shifter nearly silent despite its size. Just behind Dig the animal snarled and Dig spun to find himself facing slathering jaws.
The murder gasped, trying to scream but the werewolf had shoved one might paw up under the man’s ribs, puncturing the diaphragm. When the paw was removed, so too came the heart and lungs. Dig crumpled to the ground next to his victim, her jewelry still stuffed in his pockets and glinting bloody in his hands. Despite his best efforts, the smell and his overwhelming fear, July gagged. The wolf’s ears flicked towards him and then back to his prey.
Certainty washed over July, the werewolf knew he was here. If nothing else, the beast could hear him but he didn’t seem too inclined to attack anyone else. Instead he seemed to snort in satisfaction before loping off into the night. July followed the bloody tracks to Spellman Undertaker’s home. When he arrived, the wolf was gone and the undertaker was dieing, gutted and stinking. In his office was an open safe, filled with jewelry that July imagened the local people were supposed to be buried in.
“Well Mayor Tim, I think you will find that your murder problem has been solved.” Tim still looked stunned, the loss of two oh-so helpful and loyal community members had hit him hard. “I cannot confirm who the wolf is but I’d be happy to stay if you would like.”
“No, no. The town can’t afford it. Not, not after this. We have to find a new undertaker…” Tim began to whisper to himself, “some of that jewelry was supposed to be in the ground when Spellman was a boy. Oh! They have robbed us for generations.” Leaving the distraught mayor to his thoughts, July slid his payment into his jacket before heading to the train station.
Let me know what you think of this story. I am considering working on it more as there are unanswered questions, such as who the werewolf actually is. Let me know if that is something you are interest in. I will see you in the comments. Happy autumn!
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