by Edison T. Crux
Season 3, Episode 3: The White Wolf
Will and Eliza drove down one of the nice neighborhoods in Elkhorn.
They were in Eliza’s new car, a sporty little Ford Fiesta. It was a present for passing her driving test and keeping her grades up, and it gave them the freedom to get around quicker (and warmer) than they could have on bikes.
“That was nice of your parents,” Will commented.
Eliza shrugged. “I guess so,” she said. “Although my dad made sure it had a GPS tracking device built in. You know, ‘in case it gets stolen.’” She made air quote with one hand. “Really he uses it to keep tabs on where I go.”
Still, it was more freedom than Will had. He sank into the leather seat and tried not to be jealous of Eliza’s easy, mundane life.
Will recognized the area they drove through. Although it had been years, this was the road his parents took when they visited Grandpa Connor and Grandma Eleanor. It brought back memories of Christmas gatherings, summer barbecues, and the occasional sleep over. Will didn’t see his grandparents often as a child—they were always busy, even in their later years—but in the past this road led to happy memories.
Now, it gave him a pang of regret. His grandparents were dead. Most of their house burned down. It reminded Will how much he’d lost over the past few years.
Instead of continuing to Grandpa Connor’s house, Will and Eliza pulled into the driveway of Sara and Cory Field. Sara greeted them when they rang the doorbell, and led them inside with a warm smile. She was a thirty-something Hispanic woman with short brown hair and tattoos sneaking out from under her sleeves. Apparently Sara was a family friend of the Fillmores, and was happy to talk with the sheriff’s daughter—she even had a tray of snacks on the coffee table.
Eliza helped herself to a sugar cookie, but Will didn’t have much of an appetite. He wanted to hear about Sara’s recent encounter.
Sara furrowed her brow. “Yes. That.” She hesitated to begin. “This was back a few weeks ago. I had just pulled out of my driveway to go to work—I’m a third shift nurse over at Lakeland—and I saw it sitting in the middle of the road ahead.”
“It?” Will inquired. He needed to hear her say it. Needed her to describe the Beast. Needed to be sure this wasn’t a misunderstanding, that she didn’t just see a regular wolf, or perhaps a bear.
Sara took a deep breath. “Were you two at the Fair?” she asked. Once both the kids nodded, she continued. “Yeah, so was I. I only caught passing glimpses of it then, but I felt when it was close. This time… I saw it clearly.” Sara stared at the cookie in her hand, not eating but hesitant to continue. “It was the Wisconsin Werewolf. The Beast. Whatever you want to call it.”
“Can you describe it?” Will still held out hope this was a mistake.
“Of course I can,” Sara chuckled. “The image is burned into my memory. It was the shape of a wolf, but much bigger. Sitting on its haunches, the thing’s head would have been at eye level with me, and I’m five-six. It had smooth white fur, and its eyes…” She shivered. “they didn’t look human—they were slitted, yellow, and seemed to glow—but something in that gaze felt like more of a man than an animal. I can’t explain it.”
Sara wasn’t the only one getting chills. Will felt a tingle of worry creep up his spine. One thing caught his attention. “You said it had white fur?”
“Mmhmm,” Sara confirmed. “very white. In fact it almost glowed against the night.”
Interesting. Will took a sloppy left-handed note of this in the spiral notebook he brought. “What happened next?”
“Well, I swerved out of the way,” Sara explained. “Went halfway on the sidewalk to avoid hitting it. But the Werewolf… it didn’t even flinch. I stopped the car—heart pounding—and looked back to make sure it really was there.” She sighed. “To be honest, I hoped I imagined it. That I would look back and see nothing. But nope, it was still there. The Werewolf turned to look at me. We locked eyes for a moment… and I peeled out of there as fast as I could. I called my husband from the road, told him to be on the lookout. I don’t think he slept at all that night, but thankfully neither of us saw it again.”
“That sounds scary,” said Eliza.
“Yeah,” Will agreed. “Thank you for sharing this with us, Sara.”
They exchanged pleasantries and left. As Will got into Eliza’s car, his mind raced. He believed Sara. She struck him as the kind of person who was upfront with facts, whether they were easy to swallow or not.
The next day, Will and Eliza met with a kid named Patrick after school.
Patrick was the kind of guy Will avoided at school—good-looking, cocky posture leaning against a wall, the flicker of an arrogant smile dancing across his face as pretty girls walked by. He reminded Will a bit of Mason McCree. Patrick exuded a similar, alpha-male attitude.
That is, until Will and Eliza approached.
At the sight of them, Patrick’s eyes darted around. His demeanor stiffened, as if the principal were approaching instead of a couple kids his own age.
“Hey Patrick!” Eliza greeted him warmly.
Patrick stared at his boot, which slid a pebble in circles on the ground. “Hey.”
Eliza carried on, as if oblivious to his clear discomfort. “This is Will. He’s the one I told you about, remember?”
“Yeah.” Patrick glanced at Will for a second, then looked away just as fast.
Will took out his notebook. “I heard you, well… saw something. Is that true, Patrick?”
He looked both ways, making sure nobody else was in earshot. “Alright look, so here’s how it went down. Me and some of the guys, well—they like to get up to mischief, you know—so we got together and, ah—well shit, I feel like a tool saying it, but we went to cause trouble at that Hazel Ridge Cemetery. You know, bust up flowers, knock over old headstones, stupid shit like that.”
“When was this?” Will asked. He kept the anger out of his voice, and stuck to the facts. He wasn’t here to get the kid in trouble for vandalism, as much as the thought of this punk disrespecting the dead bothered him.
“It was New Year’s Eve,” said Patrick. “Well, I guess New Year’s Day, technically, ’cuz it was after midnight and all. We may have had a few drinks—it was a holiday, right?—so then we head out to the cemetery. For awhile it was pretty fun. You know, just goofing around, making a little ruckus?”
Will responded with a look that clearly said No, I don’t know. Nothing about this is funny.
Patrick gulped, then continued. “Anyway, I heard this growling noise behind me, and I was like, ‘oh shit! What was that?’ And everybody laughed. They all just figured someone in the group was trying to spook us.
“But then I looked—and damn!—that was not a kid playing a prank.” Patrick cleared his throat. His hand took on a nervous tremor talking about it.
“Can you describe it for me?” Will asked.
Patrick still wouldn’t look at him. “Sure. It was this ginormous wolf—like, we’re talking movie monster huge, here—it was all snarling and growling. It stared us down from between the graves, and it was way taller than the headstones.”
On a whim, Will asked, “What color was its fur?”
“Oh yeah, it was white,” he said. “Just like the snow.”
Very interesting, Will thought. He continued writing as Patrick spoke, and underlined the note on fur color.
“So everybody else, they book it outta there,” Patrick went on. “But I couldn’t move. I was, like, frozen in place. That thing looked straight into my eyes. Then, it straight up pounced at me, dude. Cut me up real good before I got away.”
“It hurt you?” Will was intrigued.
Patrick lifted his shirt, revealed four thin red lines across his abdomen. They appeared mostly healed by now.
“I mean, they don’t look like much,” he admitted. “Seeing those claws, I would’ve thought I’d be torn to pieces.” As if trying to play it up, he added, “Hurt worse than it looks.”
So this creature—Will began thinking of it as the White Wolf—could physically harm people, after all. That confirmed it was a being of at least moderate strength—and that it posed a real danger.
Patrick shuffled his feet. “So, like… I’m sorry, I guess,” he muttered.
“Sorry?” That seemed like an odd response to Will.
“Yeah.” Patrick cast a lightning quick glance at him. “You know… for kicking over graves and stuff. Can you, like… forgive me?”
Will stared at him for a moment, puzzled. “Why do you care if I forgive you?”
“Oh, c’mon,” Patrick scoffed. “I’m not naive, man. I know what people say. You… you are that thing. You’re the Beast of Bray Road. The Wisconsin Werewolf. Whatever—that’s you. Everybody knows it, man.”
To this, Will said nothing.
Patrick fiddled nervously with his the hem of his shirt. “I’ve felt you watching me ever since. Like you’re following me, judging me. I can’t go out without that sense of being watched. That’s why I agreed to this ‘interview’ thing. Can you just forgive me, man? And leave me alone?”
Will closed his notebook, and stowed it in his backpack. “Sorry, but that was a different Beast,” he said. As Will turned to leave, he said over his shoulder, “But if it was me, I wouldn’t forgive you, Patrick. So just… stay out of trouble, and be grateful you got away with only a few scratches.”
Later that afternoon, they were back at Eliza’s house—only now they were in her brother Nick’s room.
Nick was several years older than his sister. His room was in stark contrast to Eliza’s; Nick had posters for heavy metal bands, piles of clothes in random places, and a tricked-out gaming computer with a monitor the size of a TV. Will and Eliza sat on his bed (after moving a cluster of cables), while Nick spun around on his swivel office chair.
“Yeah, I saw it alright,” Nick admitted. “I was coming home from a friend’s house late one night—”
Eliza chuckled, interrupting him. “Right, a ‘friend’s’ house,” she snickered. Looking at Will, she said, “He was with his girlfriend.”
“Shut up,” Nick said. He took an M&M from a dish on his desk and pelted it at her. “Look, it doesn’t really matter where I was, because it all happened when I was nearly home anyway. I was driving up Bray, and I just rounded the bend where the woods clear and you can see the house, right?”
Will nodded. He knew the place.
“Right, so there I was, driving along, and I saw something bright in the corner of my eye. That’s when I saw it, alright.” Nick crossed his arms with a solemn look on his face. “The Beast. This was the first time seeing it with my own eyes, but it looked the same as everyone said it did. Big, gnarly bugger. It was pacing back and forth across your roof.”
“My roof?” Will was caught off-guard. “It was on B.R. Amon?”
“Oh yeah, totally,” Nick confirmed. “It was like it was guarding the place, or watching for intruders or something.”
That made Will nervous. Knowing there was another Beast in town was bad enough—but for it to be lurking on his roof? It gave him an ominous feeling. “When did this happen?”
Nick rummaged in his pocket. “I can tell you exactly when, hang on.” He thumbed through his phone. “February 6th, at 12:58 PM. When I saw it, I pulled over and took a video of it. Here, check it out.” He handed over his phone. “Just, er… don’t look at any photos before that.”
Will started the recording. Eliza pressed herself close to see the small screen.
On the video, you could hear Nick’s heavy breathing as he tried to steady the camera. He zoomed in above B.R. Amon, where a wispy white cloud moved back and forth across the roof.
“It was a lot clearer in person,” said Nick. “Don’t know why it didn’t turn out better on there.”
Will had a guess. When he was the Beast, he was an etheric being—more like a ghost than a flesh-and-blood creature. The similarities between himself and the White Wolf became clearer with each sighting.
Suddenly, the wisp disappeared from the video. The recorded Nick said, “What?” and zoomed back out. The shaky view panned back and forth, looking for where it went.
Then he found it.
Recorded Nick turned the camera out the driver side window, and it was right there. The White Wolf—now perfectly clear on film—was directly outside the window, glaring in at Nick from a distance of less than a yard.
“Holy shit!” the recorded Nick exclaimed. The phone flew out of his hand and landed on the passenger seat. They had a great view of his car’s ceiling while Nick continued to chant, “Shit, shit, shit!”
The camera moved again once Nick parked in his driveway. He pointed the camera back where he came from, his breath heavier than ever. There was nothing to see—the White Wolf was gone. After another few seconds of searching, the video stopped.
“So that’s pretty much it,” Nick—of the present moment, not the recording—said. “I took a bunch more videos from my room later that night, but nothing showed up. That’s all I got.”
The phone trembled in Will’s hand. He turned back the video, pausing it during the only frame the White Wolf was in clear view. He could make out every hair on the creature’s head. He saw its sharp teeth protruding from its mouth. Most of all, Will stared into the White Wolf’s eyes. They were too familiar—animalistic yet dangerously intelligent. They were the eyes of a monster with the cunning of a man.
Will had stared down eyes like these before. In fact, he had even seen through them.
That’s why he trembled.
Will didn’t know how the White Wolf was here, or why—but he did know one thing.
They were in very real danger.