This is the second chapter of a novel I started writing, a while back.
We had heard weird shit about werewolves – strange beings sighted behind the softball field at the high school, hissing and otherwordly howling reverberating from the woods, a shambling misshapen creature lurching into the glare of the headlights as people were leaving Pep Band practice.
Now, most of these reports were coming, via email, from Wallace, Fife’s nephew, and he’s even more fucked up than Fife. So, we were talking all this with grains of salt. Still after a few weeks of this shit, plus Wallace letting Fife borrow his BMX bike for something he wanted to try, we decided to check it out. For research, we watched The Wolf Man, with Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya and Claude Rains. Awesome flick. We also checked out An American Werewolf in London and Dog Soldiers, both of which are pretty great. Shit, I should just buy Dog Soldiers on DVD.
Anyway, we saw those and attempted to determine that most effective way of contending with a werewolf (or lycanthrope, as they are sometimes called) should we encounter one.
Silver bullets were out, first off. None of us were fucking shooting fucking anything. Additionally, how the hell are you going to get a silver bullet in the first place? If we go to a gun shop and even ask about one, they’re just gonna bust our balls and then call the cops. We also figured that you could probably incapacitate anything, living or undead, with a silver bullet, be it The Mummy or some fiend made flesh. So, there was no real big deal. Silver bullets were out.
What we decided to do was get a case of Coors Light (silver bullet, get it?) drive to the softball field at midnight, sit in the car and, if we saw a werewolf, get the fuck out of there and figure out what to do once we calmed down. Made about as much sense as anything.
Right off the bat, we get a little behind schedule because somebody had to pick up Lou at Barnes & Noble and it turned out he was closing. We didn’t get out of there until around 1130PM. Then, we argued about whether of not we should keep the Coors Light in the trunk. If we kept it in the trunk, it would be really super cold all night. However, if we hit any major bumps, it would get all fizzy. Also, if there was a werewolf, there was a chance that someone might get attacked going out to the trunk to get beer. Still, we decided to keep the beer in the trunk and be extra super careful.
We got to the softball field at around 1215. The field is kind of recessed into this little valley that is bordered by really thick woods. We discovered that regardless how close we parked, we still couldn’t see the field from the car. We all had to get out and sit on the hood with our hands in our pockets because it was cold as fuck.
By about 130, we had exhausted the conversation, so we just sort of sat there for a long time. Just quiet. Nice and quiet. Very, very dark. You could barely make out the marks and features of the softball field, sunken into its dark pit like the empty socket of some evil grinning skull.
Yeah, it was just like that. Man, it was cold, too.
Eventually, from the cold, my breath turned into a steady stream of light mist, running up over my face. Pretty. I could feel the moisture in my eyebrows and between my eyes. It was neat. Sometimes, I could make designs. Blow out through the corners of my mouth and see if I could shift to the center. Turn the cold breath from two bursts coming out of the sides, like out of a bull’s nostrils in the cartoons, to one steady stream running up over my eyes. Playing with my breath. Playing with my breath. 2 o’clock in the morning and I was playing with my breath.
Soon, however, in the deep, New England cold and quiet, through the mist of our breath, we began to see shapes. We could just barely make out some kind of figure along the side of the field, by the chain link fence, deep center. An ugly shape, like an overstuffed plastic sack or a pile of muck. Slick and shiny, featureless. Whatever light there was, and there was very little, was reflected off of its skin. Strange.
It kind of, I don’t know, slid, end over end. Like it was folding in on itself. Becoming longer, stretching in some very obviously painful manner before shrinking and contracting. It would be still for several seconds, before twisting itself, again, into some horrible shape. Soon, it lay flat in the darkness, in the tall, unmowed grass.
It made no noise or sound at all. None of us ever directed our attention towards it. We all just sort of started staring at it at about the same time. It drew us in. It asked us to notice it. We did. T
here was no way it could not see us. It couldn’t miss us. Lou would occasionally make scratches on his clipboard, but that was really the only sound that night that I can distinctly remember. I recall, mostly, how fucking cold it was and how we stopped drinking beer right after 2AM.
After a few minutes, we all seemed to just, I don’t know, realize, that the thing had disappeared into the grass. It could be anywhere. Fife dashed back, opened the driver’s side door and flipped on the headlights.
The sudden brightness made my head hurt.
We looked down at the ragged field.
Nothing. Just tall, ugly grass and baselines.
We stared and we waited for a long time.