Fredrick woke the following morning next to his brother's corpse, and shot to his feet, trying to recall everything that happened the night before. Remembering the encounter with the strange beast, he glanced around to find its body, also remembering him shooting it in the head before passing out. He looked over at the root it had fallen over, but did not see the body anywhere! Feeling as though he may have dreamed it all, Fredrick then looked at henry's body again, shuddered, and realized that it was all reality. "Where has the body gone?" he thought to himself. Not knowing exactly what to do about the missing beast, he instead went for help about Henry, and retrieving the body from the forest.
It was not hard to find the trail back to town, for it was not far-off, and Fredrick soon found himself riding on a wagon, with henry's corpse on the back. "What the hell happened to him?" asked the driver, George Clerval.
"We were attacked!"
"I should hope so. People's throats don't generally spontaneously split open."
"We were attacked by a monster George! It was a large man like wolf!" Fredrick realized how hard his story was going to be to believe. "We were hunting, and it took our deer, and then came after us."
George was not entirely convinced, and Fredrick could tell this by his unemotional face. "And where is this creature now?" he asked with skepticism.
"Well, you're probably not gonna believe this..."
"Probably not, but go on."
"I shot it, in the head, and its body was with me, but when I woke up this morning it was gone!"
"Well Fred, it probably ran off with its pal’s Chupakabra, and the Sand Man." George chuckled to himself, but immediately went back to his cold solemn face.
"I know it's hard to believe, but it happened." Unfortunately the story was not any more believable for the people back in town, as he tried to explain the situation to them.
"Who the hell ever heard of a monster in these parts?" one man said.
"I have no idea what killed Henry, but don't you be makin stuff up Fred!" said another. Nobody knew what conclusion to come to, but many started to go towards the idea that a bear killed him, and that Fred was simply driven mad. Eventually he was forced to give up trying to explain it to people, for it seemed like a lost cause. Fredrick left the town center in dismay, and went into the saloon for a drink.
“Yall here what happened in Gettysburg last week?” Said one of the men at the bar. Not caring about the goings on at the battlefront, Fredrick ignored him, and ordered his drink. He felt conflicted, since nobody seemed to believe his story that he was sure happened. Not knowing whether to put it all out of his head and call it a vivid dream, or believe it himself and hunt down the creature responsible for his brother’s death. So much was going through his mind he did not even notice the light tap on his shoulder.
“Excuse me friend?” Asked a rather tall, frail man standing behind him. “But is your name Fredrick Lobright?” The man had a kind looking face, that was undoubtedly older that Fredrick’s, and much thinner. The top of his head was bald, with a patch of gray hair running along the sides.
“Yes, it is. Might I ask who’s asking?”
“Gordon Deblive! I need you to come with me, friend.” He gestured towards the door.
“Why?” Asked Fredrick, slightly baffled by this random stranger.
“Because, I believe you!” Fredrick’s eyes widened, overjoyed that he finally found someone to believe his story. He got up and followed Deblive out of the bar. He began leading him down the street, toward the outskirts of town.
“Where are we going?” Although he was happy to have found a believer, he was still skeptical of the stranger.
“To my house, I have much to tell you. The next full moon will be in the sky in one month’s time!” This was the last thing Deblive said on their way. He led Fredrick right out of town, and into the forest. After a bit of walking along the path, they veered off and came to a small old, but clean looking shack. There were iron bars across the windows, and it looked as though the front door was made entirely from metal. Fredrick assumed that this was Deblive’s house, and assisted him in pushing open the immensely heavy door. Inside the shack there was a very tidy, organized small room comprised of a large round rug, a cook stove and cabinets, a bed, a chest of drawers, and a wash bin. It looked as though every detail of the room had been cleaned to the point of perfection. “Welcome to my home Mr. Lobright.”
“Please Mr., call me Fred.”
“Alright then, Fred, welcome to my home. Follow me please!” he walked to the other side of the room, but Fredrick was not sure of where he was being led, since that was the only room in the house he knew of. “You might want to move off of the rug. It’ll make my job easier.” He moved off of the rug and stood next to the bed, still confused. Mr. Deblive bent over, grabbed the edge of the rug, and walked it in half, revealing a large wooden trap door in the floor. It was then clear to Fredrick where he was being led, and he helped open it up. The trap door landed on the ground with a loudbang, and Deblive slipped down the hole it made, followed by Fredrick. He took a match out of his pocket, and struck it on the wall. He tossed the lit match into what appeared to be a bowl, and a brilliant flame emerged, brightening the room.
This new room appeared to be larger than the main room up top, and it was filled to the brim with odd things Fredrick had never seen before. A large clear vase full of what appeared to be dried flower petals sat on top of a stack of large books, strange magnifying glasses lined one of the many small wooden tables, and bookcases lined the walls. Papers were scattered about, and there was even a set of swords and guns mounted on one of the walls. On a pedestal sat a tablet, which appeared to be filled with the cycles of the moon and when they were to take place. “This place is very interesting Mr. Deblive, but what is it for?” He was mindful not to bump into anything.
“Research Fred. It is for research.” Deblive ran to one of the many bookcases and pulled down a very large book, but it was not dusty which would mean it was most likely used often. He slammed it down onto a table, and opened it to an already marked page. “The precise research which is going to help you with your predicament!”
“Yes! You want to avenge your brother’s death but you are not sure how! You need to hunt a beast you know nothing of!” He was beginning to speak very fast, but as if he knew exactly what he was talking about.
“Well, yes I suppose that is my position. But how could you help me?” Fredrick asked.
“Because I know exactly what you’re up against friend! And I can help you hunt it down.” He grabbed Fredrick by the arm and pulled him over to the book. The title of the page was labeled “Lycanthropy”. “You might not believe it Mr. Lobright… I mean, Fred. But you and your brother were assaulted by a werewolf!” He spoke this with the utmost pride, and Fredrick was unsure of how to react. At that point he was ready to believe anything, for he knew he had no choice but to.
“A werewolf you say?” Though he did believe the man, he was only part sure of what that entitled.
“Yes. It is all perfectly clear! It explains the beasts immense proportions, your description, and the disappearance of the body.” He took the book from the table and showed Fredrick a sketch that matched his description of the creature. Underneath the sketch was the wordLykanthropos. “Is this what attacked you?”
“Yes! But what doesLykanthroposmean?”
“It is the Greek word for lycanthropy, or, the ability to change into a wolf!”
“But the beast that attacked me wasn’t a wolf, it was a man like wolf.”
“Yes! The word werewolf and lycanthrope come from two different roots meaning man, and wolf! Werewolves, also known as lycanthropes, are not wolves, but man-wolves! Wolves with manlike proportions and superhuman strength!” He said all this as though Fredrick was an idiot who had no clue of what he was talking about. Deblive slammed the book with the sketch shut, and threw it onto the table. He was beginning to get very into the subject, and began scurrying around gathering various objects from the room. When he was done gathering everything, he dropped them onto the table alongside the book. Among the many objects was a knife, a small wooden box, a handful of the dried flowers from the glass container, a box of matches, and a single shot Philadelphia Deringer pistol.
“What’s all this for?” Fredrick picked up the box and opened it up, revealing percussion caps and a handful of silver balls for the gun. “Are these silver? Isn’t silver too heavy to be fired out the pistol?”
“I have here a box of powder bags measured perfectly for those bullets!” He took another small wooden box out of his pocket and handed it to Fredrick. Noticing his confusion about some of the other objects he explained their purposes. “Those dried petals are from wolfsbane. When the plants are alive they repel werewolves, to an extent, but when they are dried and burning, they attract them!” Deblive took up the box of matches. “When you have yourself situated, and the moon is bright in the sky, light the dried petals on fire, and the smoke will help attract the beast.” He took a burlap bag from the wall and tossed the matches and petals in. Then, continuing the explanation, he took up the knife and box of bullets. “These are all made of silver. Use the knife if he attacks you, and the gun from a distance. I apologize for not having up-to-date weaponry.” After throwing the box and knife into the sack as well, he handed Fredrick the pistol and closed it up.
All of these explanations were weaving through Fredrick’s head at once, and he feared forgetting any of them. He slipped the gun into his pocket, since he had no appropriate holster, and took the bag from Mr. Deblive. “Are you going to be coming with me?” He asked. Even though he already knew the answer, the entire job terrified him.
“Me? No I cannot. I am too old to be gallivanting in the woods with werewolves.” He chuckled to himself at the thought of it. “No my friend, I have helped by providing my knowledge of the subject, my tools, and by my faith that you shall return safely. Besides, I am extremely squeamish.” Deblive’s face was kind, and Fredrick felt somewhat safer and more content knowing he had someone who believed his story, and was willing to help. The two of them climbed out of the basement and covered up the trapdoor. Looking out the window they saw that the time had passed before them much faster than they expected.
“Mr. Deblive, if the next full moon is not for another month, then why did you hurry me here today?”
“Because I am leaving tomorrow to visit another town, and I will not be back until after the next full moon.”
Fredrick realized that he was extremely hungry, and had not eaten anything substantial since the day before. “Do you have anything to eat? I hate to impose, but I’m starving.” He looked toward the cabinets above the stove, hoping Mr. Deblive would let him eat something.
“I’m sorry friend, but I don’t have anything to eat in the house right now.” He walked over to the cabinet and showed that there was nothing inside, besides some cobwebs. “But you can stay here tonight if you’d like.”
“No, I really best be going back to my own home. I need to work on organizing my brother’s funeral. Well I can’t thank you enough for all of the help you’ve provided me, and I wish you luck on your trip!”
“Thank you kindly. And I wish you luck on your hunting expedition!” They both laughed a bit, and eventually Fredrick left for home.
Though the moon was not full, he was slightly afraid while walking back to town through the woods, and had no idea as to how a man, who knew that much about werewolves, could live all alone out in the forest.