Rise of the werewolf, p.1
Rise of the Werewolf,
LYCAN FALLOUT 2 - Fall of Man
©2014 Devil Dog Press LLC
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living, dead, or otherwise, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission of the author or Devil Dog Press LLC.
Printed in the U.S.A.
To my wife and best friend, a simple ‘I love you’
To my beta readers, Kimberley S., Vix K, and Susan D., I just want to give you all a hearty thank you for your invaluable help!
To the men and women of the armed forces and the first responders, you are never far away from the Tufo family’s thoughts. Thank you for all your sacrifices and service.
Table Of Contents
Chapter One – Mike Journal Entry 1
Oggie went just about nuts jumping up and down on me as I walked back on shore. Maybe he knew just how close I’d been to saying, “fuck it.” I got down on my knees and grabbed Augustine “Oggie” Purpose’s massive head in my hands. I pressed my face close to his and wept for Tommy. The boy had been a major guiding force for the majority of my life, really all of my life if I thought back on all he’d said. Even Oggie here had been a gift from him to get me moving off my ass and rejoin a humanity that I’d had no desire to see again. Oggie let me drench his face in tears (that seemed of an endless supply) before he licked mine; I guess to return the favor.
Bailey seemed unruffled as I stood completely naked. She had started a small fire in my absence.
“You will need clothes if you wish to hunt Lycan,” she said as she tended the flame.
“And what of you, Bailey?”
“It is my place, much like BT, to be by your side.”
“If you remember correctly, that didn’t work out too particularly well for him.”
Bailey looked at me queerly. “He lived a long life, surrounded by family and loved ones, and he had an incredible tale to tell his children and then their children. Would you deny me that?” she asked.
“I would not.”
“When do we start then?”
“I suppose we already have,” I told her.
“You are probably going to want this then.” She handed me my sword, the one Azile had forced from my hand before I could kill any more. I was thankful she had cleaned it up before giving it back.
“Yeah, it would have been a bit more difficult without this. Thank you.”
My clothes were a total loss. The parts that were not shredded were so covered in a thick layer of viscera as to be unrecognizable. Naked was one thing, barefoot was another. I grabbed my boots and headed back towards the water, this time Oggie made sure to stay right at my side. I was fairly convinced he would bite me if I attempted to go any further into the lake other than the shoreline. He watched as I scraped off all manner of biological matter with the flat side of a rock, that would have been perfect for skipping had I been in a more agreeable mood. As it was I was close to two hundred years old and lost damn near all that was dear to me. I had Oggie, that was it. Was that enough to do what needed to be done? Was the hate I felt for Lycan due to Tommy’s death enough? Bailey and I had an alliance, but that was more out of necessity and obligation rather than regard and respect (on her part anyway).
Azile the Red Witch. What did I feel for her? Desire? Betrayal? It was complicated like every damn relationship I’d had with a woman. If I cared to think on it, it amazed me that men and women could even procreate. We are almost as different a species as dogs were to cats. I looked at my boots. They would never come completely clean—they would always be stained much like my soul. I snorted.
“If I had one,” I said sourly. “At least they’re serviceable.” I held the boots out to the waning sunlight. “Again, much like my soul.” I half-laughed once more.
Oggie visibly relaxed as I stepped away from the lake and went back to the fire. Bailey had pulled up some logs she had found for us to sit on. I noticed there were two and they were on opposite sides of the fire.
Had I been in a better mood, I would have sat on the same log with her just to gauge her reaction. I placed my boots as close to the fire as I could without melting them. I could deal with the nudity well enough; it was something about the possibility of stepping on thorns or some ancient discarded rusty nails that bothered me to no end. Maybe I could fashion a banana hammock for my other delicates.
“How are your wounds?” Bailey asked after a moment.
I grunted. My body was crisscrossed with deep puncture wounds, scrapes, cuts, welts, and bruises. I was pretty sure I had a broken rib or two as well. I looked like I’d been tossed in an industrial dryer with bowling balls and broken bottles. I’d taken the old saying, “death by a thousand cuts” a tad too literally.
“I have an extra tunic. Would you care for it?” Bailey asked.
I’m sure she wasn’t appreciative of the view. I was sitting on the log she’d provided, my knees were apart, and I had a hand on each of them as I stared deeply into the fire waiting for it to yield answers it did not possess. The oncoming chill did not affect me, nor did the nakedness. It was a further shedding of my humanity, which would bring me that much closer to my enemy, and by understanding him I would be better prepared to kill him. Ultimately, I did not believe I could do it, not without Tommy. He was the strongest and if he could fall then any of us could. I was planning on running in full tilt and killing everything within sight as fast as I could before I yielded as well.
“Michael?” Bailey prodded.
As I looked up, our eyes locked. “Sure.”
She reached into a small pack she had and walked around the fire to hand me the garment. “You fought valiantly today,” she said as I put on the tunic. Because of Bailey’s size it looked more like a poncho on me.
“And still it wasn’t enough.”
“You saved that town.”
“Let’s get a couple of things straight, Bailey. I didn’t fight for that town. I fought for my friends. I don’t give a fuck about that town. I’d rather it had burned to the ground with every inhabitant in it rather than lose Tommy, Azile, or you. If none of you had been here, neither would I.”
“What you plan on doing next will help these same towns you despise.”
“Again, I’m not doing this for them.”
“Your friends, then? I do not believe the Red Witch would desire you to be so foolhardy.”
“What I do now I do for me. For maybe the first time in my life I am going to do what I desire, and for my own selfish reasons. I will kill Lycan until my revenge is sated or I have died trying.”
“Revenge can never be sated. It is an ever-expanding fire th
“I don’t need a regulator. If you wish to go home I will not attempt to stop you.”
“I am here, is that not enough answer? Our reasons for this quest may be different, but we desire the same outcomes.”
I looked long and hard at her. Maybe I was looking for a fight; maybe I wanted to force her away; tough to say. How could I argue with her words, though? We both wanted the Lycan dead. I would hold up my part, and looking at her led me to believe she would as well.
Bailey and Oggie went hunting, the sun gone upon their return. I had not moved much more than to put more logs upon the flame.
“Oggie is an incredible rabbit hunter,” Bailey said as she flashed a pouch full of the small animals.
“He didn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart. He fully expects his fill.” I smiled as I scratched behind his ear. Oggie watched diligently as Bailey skinned the rabbits. I fashioned a crude spit; and within ten minutes, we had meat roasting on an open fire.
Oggie and I shared a meal—and by share, I mean he ate the vast majority. Somewhere inside of me, the machinations were telling me I was hungry; but the only part of me that mattered in this regard—namely my stomach—said otherwise. The thought of eating food seemed more of a chore, but Oggie had no such compunction. The night was dark but clear as we were afforded some visibility by the waning moon and the stars. We were now one night removed from the battle. Time was moving on. I knew enough to realize it waited for no woman, man, child, or even an Old One. I was staring up the hill at Tommy’s final resting place when Bailey spoke.
“Would you like me to take first watch?” she asked.
“I’ve got it,” I said absently, not looking in her direction.
“There is a greater chance that intruders will not come from the top of that hill.” I don’t know if she meant it as a jest or a barb as she honed in on my fixation.
She lay down, resting the back of her head against the log, closing her eyes. Within a few moments she was asleep. She was a warrior through and through; only those who fight know how to go to sleep on a moment’s notice. I looked at her for a second to make sure she truly was asleep before I began my vigil on Tommy’s gravesite again. Oggie was sleeping with his legs in the air and was snoring loud enough that I could not have detected anything if a herd of moose was passing by while they bleated out their mating calls.
The fire had calmed considerably, and the night was at its darkest. The witching hour—if one was to believe in that—was upon us when I saw a small, unearthly light emanate from where Tommy was buried. I stood quietly, trying to focus my eyes. Was I hallucinating? It was a strange blue with flickers of red around the edges. Was this Tommy’s soul looking for its body’s final resting spot? Was there some unknown lore even now reanimating Tommy? Was that possible? I sat back down, grabbed my boots, which had thankfully dried. I put them on and moved with as much speed as stealth would allow. I did not want to awaken Oggie or Bailey or alert whatever or whoever was up there. And what exactly was I heading for? Would a headless Tommy be up there waiting to exact his revenge upon me for letting him fall in battle?
With each step I expected the light to either dissipate or reveal its true nature. A trick of the light, so to speak. I was within ten feet when the answer was revealed.
“Azile. I should have known.” The disappointment was evident in my tone.
She stood with her back to me. She was staring at the disturbed dirt, a ball of light roughly the size of a softball impossibly hovering above it. The radiance of her magic illuminated the ground of Tommy’s final resting spot and nothing else. Her cloak, which I knew to be a deep red, was as dark as the surrounding night.
“I am sorry for your loss.”
“My loss?” I asked with hostility. “Is his death not yours as well? Aren’t you the one who sought him out for this war? He’d still be alive if not for you.”
She finally turned. Her damned ball of light now lit me up like I was on a Broadway stage. “What are you wearing, Michael?”
“Get the damned light off of me, Azile,” I growled. She did as I asked.
“Do you not like what it reveals?”
“You knew what you were getting when you actively recruited me. I have never hidden who or what I am. I am a broken man with no soul, and I am not sorry for anything I did last night. My only regret was I did not do enough of it.”
“There were women and children in those whom you butchered.”
“Butchered? Aren’t you mighty fucking pious! The Red Witch giving me a lesson. You were not named for the color of your cloak. What are you going to do with all those infected humans? Feed and clothe them for the next twenty-nine days? And then what…let them go? Hell, I spared the inhabitants of Wheatonville. I feel no guilt for those I put down. For that’s what I did, I put them down like the rabid dogs they were. They cannot be cured, Azile. You told me as much. Once those humans were infected by the Lycan and saw the light of their first full moon they were doomed. What you are doing is worse.”
“Somehow, in your twisted view of the world, not slaughtering them in the streets is worse? Perhaps I should have listened to Tommy when he said we should leave you alone.”
“Infinitely worse,” I said as I turned to head back towards camp.
“You’re giving those poor souls hope where there is none. They are already dead—someone just hasn’t had the nerve to slice their throats. Now they must live with the guilt of their killings.” And with that I started to head back down the hill.
“This is not over, Michael. You cannot go and bury your head in the sand like you have for the last hundred years.”
I turned back to face her. “Bury my head in the sand? That’s the last thing I plan on doing. I am going to soak the ground in blood, Azile. Wherever I go, I am going to lay waste to anything and all that get in my way. You wanted me? Well, you got me, in all my magnificent glory.” I was standing with my arms outstretched. “Lycan children, if any survive when I’m done, will always fear me. I will be the monster in the back of their lair or under their bedding when they lie down for the night.”
“I believe you may have gone mad.”
“That’s the first fucking thing you’ve said right tonight.”
“I can stop you.”
I rushed towards her in an instant. We were nearly pressed face-to-face. “Do you think so?” There was a momentary flash of fright and anger on her features. Her lips began moving silently. I had a funny feeling that I was about to get some sort of high-energy testament to just how powerful she was.
“Do not continue your incantation, Red Witch.”
Bailey had somehow silently come up next to Azile while we were locked in verbal combat. The razor sharp tip of a bayonet was lightly pressed against her neck. A mere fraction of an inch movement would sever her carotid artery. Azile stopped muttering. The charge of energy I felt building up dissipated. Oggie was a few steps away; the usually carefree pup was bristling, making the already big dog look double his size.
“He will get you killed, Bailey of the house Tynes,” Azile said without turning. To do so would have caused the tip to scrape against her neck.
“It is my choice to make, is it not? Freewill being what it is.”
There were long beats of hearts as the three of us stood there, each of us waiting for the next to make a move.
“I yield,” Azile said, placing her hands out.
Bailey took a second longer to pull her blade away. Oggie also seemed to realize that whatever had been building to a head had passed. He whined, wanting desperately to go and say hi to someone he knew and loved but would have torn into if I had commanded it.
“May I?” Azile asked, looking over towards Oggie.
The petty part of me wanted to say ‘No, go fuck yourself.’ I nodded tersely instead. “We done here?” I turned before she could answer
“Michael.” She stood from scratching Oggie’s head.
“Round two?” I sighed.
“I brought you some clothes.”
“If it’s that burlap crap, you can keep it.”
She went over to her horse and retrieved some things out of her saddlebag.
“Jeans and a flannel shirt? How?”
She did not answer as she handed them to me, a soft, sad smile on her face. “You both will need these as well.” She handed me two weapons and Bailey a small bag.
“My hand axe. I’d forgotten about this.”
I had purchased the ornamental weapon in Robert’s Land seemingly decades ago. The blade was sharp enough to cut paper and had been dipped in silver. The handle had a carved wolf’s head emblazoned on it. I don’t know why I’d felt such a need to purchase it but I had.
“A rifle,” I said as I hefted the thing. It had been a long, long time since I owned one. I couldn’t help but notice it had a fair amount of dried blood on the side of it. I hoped it was Lycan, but I wasn’t confident of that. I ejected the magazine and looked to Azile.
“There are ten rounds.”
I wavered between vast excitement and huge disappointment. This was like being a kid back in my time and receiving the most advanced gaming system known to man as a gift and only having one game to play on it…forever.
“Use them wisely,” Azile said needlessly.
“I was going to shoot some bottles off a fence, like a video montage on an old Western movie.”
Azile scowled. “Do not leave the axe behind again. It’s important somehow; you may find you will need it.”
“And what of you, Azile? What will you be doing?” The fight had drained from me. It had been replaced with an acute pain, especially this close to Tommy.
“We are still on the same path, you and I. How we walk it is the only difference.”
I nodded to her in thanks for the clothes and the axe. “Oggie, let’s go.” This time I did make it back down the hill without stopping. I had no more tears to blind my way.
“Was it wise to let her go?” Bailey was following a few steps behind.