Dried blood crunched underneath the heavy boots of the detective. He ducked underneath the barrier tape and gave a nod to the two younger officers standing before the body. As they moved aside, the man took a closer look at the scene of the crime.
‘Little old lady got mutilated late last night,’ said one of the younger officers. ‘Do you think it could be that werewolf of yours, Jim?’
The older man furrowed his brow. The victim was like all the rest – limbs torn off, organs missing, and no signs of any struggle. She was taken by surprise by something she stood no chance of escaping.
‘I do,’ said Jim. He turned away from the corpse and lit a cigarette. ‘No human kills this way. This woman was eaten.’
The younger officer swallowed nervously. ‘Thought I’d be dealing with people, not monsters. Ain’t that what your lot is for?’
Jim sighed, exhaling a cloud of smoke that hung in the air. ‘It is. So why don’t you get HQ to contact me if we get any further leads. I can’t do anything with these leftovers.’ Flicking the remains of his cigarette onto the ground, Jim stepped back under the barricade tape.
‘W-wait just a minute! They told me you’d help me deal with all this! Where do you think you’re going?’ the junior officer shouted.
‘To get a drink, where else?’ Jim replied, giving a lazy thumbs-up over his shoulder. ‘You never know when it might be your last.’
Jim swirled the contents of his glass, watching as the golden whiskey danced between the gaps in the ice. ‘First, we get bodies showing up in Mayfair, and now they’re bloody turning up here in Soho. I just don’t know, Vic. I don’t think we’re dealing with just one wolf anymore.’
The barkeeper raised a curious eyebrow but remained focused on stacking glasses. ‘You’d know more than me, Jimmy. I see a lot of faces through here, sure, but I ain’t ever seen no wolf.’
Jim set his cup down on the countertop and leant closer to the barkeep. ‘You honestly think he would just walk in ‘alf bloody wolf and ask for what, a pina colada?’ Jim leant back, rubbing his face with his hands.
‘So? What the ‘ell were you expecting I might have seen when you asked?’ Vic replied, shaking his head.
Jim looked at Vic through parted fingers. ‘Yeah, that’s fair. I dunno. Some big hairy bastard, maybe?’
Vic chuckled. ‘Well, I’m looking at one right now as a matter of fact.’
‘Ah, very funny there Vic. Yeah, I’m London’s wolf. Case closed right there,’
‘Come off it, I ain’t talking about you. I’m talking about the table by the window. Take a look for yourself.’
Jim turned around and spotted the large figure that sat alone at the back of the tiki bar. He had a huge, thick black beard that almost touched the table. And his hair was perfect. But what really caught his attention was the man’s deep yellow eyes that were staring straight at him.
‘Look, he ordered a pina colada as well, eh? Just like you said,’ chuckled Vic.
‘I’m going to go talk to him,’ Jim replied plainly.
‘Wait, you’re joking right? Listen, nobody fucks with that guy. Jimmy!’
Jim reached into his pocket and felt the cold sensation of steel against his palm. Gathering his resolve, he moved towards the man at the back of the bar.
‘Excuse me,’ he asked the bearded figure. ‘My name is Jim and I’m with the Supernatural Investigation Unit. I mainly handle forensics, but it seems they have me doing a spot of recon today. I’ve got a few questions for you if you wouldn’t mind. Can I start with your name?’
The bearded man looked up at so-called detective who stood before him, tracing him up and down. His yellow eyes were an unnatural hue, and Jim needed little more affirmation that he wasn’t human. The only question that remained was what kind of monster this was.
‘My name…’ he began to speak in a coarse growl. ‘No. To someone like you, I am simply The Werewolf of London.’
Jim’s eyes widened. ‘So, was that you over in Mayfair as well then?’ he asked.
The man stared him true in the eyes. ‘Aye, that was me. And it’ll likely be me the next time, as well. T’is a curse, you see, and a cruel one at that. But none of that is important.’ He stood from his seat slowly, reaching into his coat. The Werewolf of London placed a fifty-dollar bill on the table and turned to face the barkeeper. Vic gave the man an assuring nod, before turning to greet another customer.
‘Just who are you?’ Jim asked.
The man glanced over his shoulder. ‘Will you walk with me, officer? My tailor is expecting me, and I don’t like to be late.’ He reached for the door, which jingled the greeting bell as it swung open. The afternoon sunbathed the bearded man in a warm glow, his piercing yellow eyes staring right through Jim.
‘I’ll follow you out, let me pay my tab,’ he said wearily. Jim turned and dug through his pockets for some spare change. He slapped a few coins onto the countertop to get Vic’s attention.
The old barkeep shook his head. ‘You’d better stay away from him,’ he sighed. ‘He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim.’
The two walked in silence at first. The wolf had little to say to the officer, and Jim had no idea how to broach the subject with him. Right now, he felt like something of a hostage.
‘I didn’t know monsters and tailors worked together,’ said Jim.
The man didn’t even turn his head as he spoke. ‘There is a lot about us that you humans do not know. Just as there are still many things I don’t know about you, despite spending most of my time as one,’ he sighed. ‘Fickle creature, all in all, but some of them are true to themselves.’
Jim pocketed his hands. ‘Alright then. And is that why you tore apart that old lady?’
The older man growled.
Sweat formed on the detective’s brow. ‘How about that teenage girl in Mayfair?’
Silence. The sun hung just over the horizon, slowly falling behind distant mountains. The bearded man came to a stop before a small corner store. ‘Come in, we won’t be long.’ He opened the small wooden door and stepped inside followed by the cautious officer.
‘Ah, Florian,’ said the tailor. ‘Is it that time already?’
Florian removed his coat, hanging it over a hatstand by the door. ‘I’m afraid so, my friend. Do you have my order ready?’
The tailor faced away from the bearded man. ‘I have it out the back, let me go and grab it for you. Do you want a coffee while you’re here?’ he spoke solemnly.
‘Not today, I don’t want to keep my guest waiting,’ he pointed towards Jim.
The tailor looked at the officer with disgust. ‘This phony? He hunts your kind, Florian.’
Florian nodded. ‘And that is exactly why, Rickert.’
Rickert grit his teeth, his eyes trailing to the ground. ‘I’ll go and get that suit for you now…’ He disappeared into the backroom, leaving Jim alone with the werewolf once more.
‘Are you going to kill me?’ he asked bluntly.
Florian sighed. ‘You really do know nothing about us, do you? Who exactly do you protect, officer?’ he sneered.
‘Average citizens. People, not bloody monsters,’ Jim spat.
The werewolf let out a defeated sigh, pushing open the entryway door. ‘Wait outside. And don’t bother trying to run. I’ve got your scent now, so you won’t get far.’
Jim furrowed his brow. ‘Sure. Could use a smoke anyway.’ He brushed past the taller man and stepped outside. He struck a light and looked up at the sun, which was little more than an orange glow in the distance now. He reached into his pocket and revealed his snubbed revolver. Sliding out the cylinder, Jim emptied a set of six silver bullets into his palm. He took a drag from his cigarette, burning a white tail that blew away with the wind. Slowly, he reloaded each silver bullet into the cylinder and clicked it shut.
The door behind him swung open, and Jim quickly pocketed the weapon. Florian stepped outside dressed in funeral attire. The deep black suit, pants, and tie along with his dark beard and hair made the man almost blend in with the encroaching night.
‘Who died?’ said Jim with a smile.
‘Follow me,’ Florian growled, turning his back on the officer, and walking further down the street.
Jim chased after the werewolf. ‘Hey now, it’s about time you explain a few things. That guy called you Florian, and you said you’re cursed. You aren’t a real werewolf, are you?’ he shouted.
Florian stopped before a long alleyway, turning to face Jim. ‘Down here,’ he said plainly, not waiting for any reply from the officer. He turned and disappeared between the buildings.
Jim followed slowly behind, drawing his weapon, and gripping it tightly in his hand. The alley
‘This is the next body. It’s already a day old, but your colleagues have yet to find it,’ Florian spoke sadly. ‘I killed him last night. He drunkenly stumbled down here and asked me to call him a cab. I gutted him and ate him while he was still alive.
Jim felt his knees grow heavy. The stench of blood and waste overwhelmed his senses. ‘Just what the fuck are you talking about? You’re a monster. You think because you play buddy with Vic and the tailor, you’ll get sympathy from me? Not a fucking bit.’ He pointed the revolver at the centre of the tall man, knocking back the hammer.
‘I smelled the silver bullets in that gun the moment you walked into Trader Vic’s. The only way to truly kill a werewolf is to piece the heart with genuine silver.’
‘Tell me something I don’t know, monster. On your knees.’
To Jim’s surprised, the monster obliged. He slowly lowered himself onto his knees, pushing his fresh pants into the muddy concrete. Florian stared down the barrel of the revolver as clouds parted in the sky. The light of the moon slowly began to wash over the city, covering the duo in a lunar blanket.
‘At first, I was able to contain the bloodlust with animals. Before long, it just wasn’t enough anymore. I moved on to humans after a few years. My first was a murderer. Second a rapist. The third killed his own mother. All terrible people, and they are the ones I remember,’ he sighed, pain filling his yellow eyes. ‘I don’t remember the children, the mothers, or the fathers that I’ve killed. It has all become a blur.’
Jim inched closer towards Florian, keeping the weapon fixed towards his chest. ‘Who made you this way?’ he asked.
Florian shook his head. ‘I do not remember who, and I do not remember when,’ he answered. ‘But earlier when you asked me why I killed that old lady and young girl. I could not reply, because I do not even remember killing them.’
Jim felt his stomach begin to churn. ‘Why the hell was that tailor so friendly with you?’
Florian gave a slight smile. ‘Ah, Rickert. I helped him and his family start their business many years ago. They’re honest people.’
Jim shook his head. ‘And what is stopping you from killing them?’
‘I am,’ Florian replied sternly. ‘I am the only thing keeping the monster from consuming my body entirely. But I can no longer contain the bloodlust, and that is why I need you.’ Florian looked past the weapon and up at the officer. ‘Please kill me while I’m still human. I don’t want to die a monster,’ Florian asked.
Jim felt his heart pounding. ‘I thought you were planning to kill me,’ he asked.
Florian chuckled. ‘Sadly, I won’t have the chance.’
As the moon revealed itself in full, three loud cracks pierced the silence of the night. Jim stood holding the smoking weapon in his hand as Florian’s lifeless body slumped forward. He pocketed the weapon and turned away from the gruesome scene, exiting the alleyway. The cold nights air blew straight through the detective, who buried his hands into his pockets and looked up at the moon.
This story is inspired by the song Werewolves of London by Warren Evans, which can be listened to at the following link.
Author: Jamin lives and breathes stories in their many forms. With a taste for tragedies, he enjoys spinning tales about everyday people and everyday life, but with an element of surrealism that separates them from our world. At the heart of all his writing is the idea that being human is a gift to be treasured. Though the world can be wrought with suffering and loss, it is still a wonderful world indeed.
Artist: Sarah McLachlan is a third year Bachelor of Creative Writing student who likes to draw in her spare time. She wishes to combine both her art and writing skills to create a webcomic of her own one day, but she’s also open to illustrating for books and book covers. Sarah is also a major The Legend of Zelda fan and can be found drawing a lot of elves. You can find her at @hideriame02 on Instagram.
Editors: Jasmine Tait and Eliana Fritz