Werewolf Part 6-Obligation
Copyright © 2001
Saturday The Cormier Post Dec 29,2001
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS CLOSE IN ON ROGUE DOG PACK.
It was reported that Animal Control Officers are closing in on the dog pack that has been killing sheep and worrying other livestock in this area. continued on page ten
Robby Hansen and Wil Wilkins were out for a walk on the Saturday following Christmas. Wil's actual first name was Paul, but in order to avoid confusion, Robby had started calling him Wil, because his mother's boyfriend was also called Paul.
Robby had never been much of a walker, he tended to take life at a faster pace than his friend did, and he ran at least two miles every morning before breakfast. But he had come to enjoy his quiet contemplative walks with Wil, and Wil would occasionally join Robby on his runs. Riding his bicycle, and sneering playfully at Robby's efforts.
Robby being somewhat of a practical joker at times, Wil was carefully keeping in front of him, knowing that otherwise he might end up with a face full of leaves. They came to the edge of the woods on the opposite side to where they had started, at Robby's house. There was a small but well kept farmhouse, only about a hundred yards from the woods. Wil said, "What do you think about asking for a drink of water, I'm thirsty."
Robby said callously, "Suffer. It was your turn to make sure we had the water bottle."
"You're not thirsty, too. Can't you just feel that nice cool water sliding down your parched throat." Wil laughed as he avoided the swat that Robby aimed his way, but taking that as consent, he headed for where he could see a man sitting in front of the house.
Seamus Riley watched the two boys approach. He recognized one and anger slid onto his face. Wil could see the anger as he got closer and he hesitated a little, but mustering up his courage, he asked, "May we have a drink of water, sir?"
Seamus looked at him ignoring Robby, "You may, but your Friend is not welcome to anything from my house."
Wil looked at him, astonishment in his face. He asked, with a single word, "Gypsy?"
Seamus answered him with three, "Aye, a Gypsy. If you don't want a drink, get off my land, and the sooner he's off the better." He heaved himself to his feet and headed for the sheep pen, and the comfort that they gave him, the presence of a werewolf, disturbing his peace, and bringing reminders of the far past.
Back at the edge of the woods, Robby looked back, "Boy, what a grouch. I gather he's one Gypsy who doesn't consider us as Friends."
Wil felt ashamed. He said in a low voice, "We do not all like Friends. Like any people some hold grudges against you, whether real or imagined."
Robby slapped him on the back, companionably, "Don't apologize because one of your people doesn't like us. I certainly wouldn't, if you got beat up by my fourth cousin on my mother's side."
Robby was undisturbed by the greeting he had received from the old Gypsy, but was aware that Wil was upset. His attempt at reassurance seemed to have helped. He was following Wil and they were about one hundred yards into the woods, when Robby stopped suddenly. His better than average hearing had picked up something that Wil hadn't. Wil felt Robby stop and turned around and saw him concentrating very hard. Then his face went grim. "Dogs, lots of them back at the farm. It must be that dog pack. You know these woods better than I do, head for the closest phone and call 911."
Wil protested, "What about the farmhouse?"
Robby shook his head, "No telephone lines. Unless he has a cell phone, he doesn't have a phone. Go, there's no time to argue."
Obediently, Wil headed for the nearest phone, at a run. He figured that where they were, the Ronson's place was probably the closest place with a phone. He was worried and he knew that Robby would be going back to the farmhouse.
At a dead run, Robby crashed out of the woods and toward the farmhouse. He could see the shepherd, in front of his sheep pen an old two barreled shotgun in his hand. Seamus fired one barrel of the shotgun into the air, but it didn't do much good. A couple of the smaller dogs took off, but the rest remained.
Robby wasn't worried about the sheep, he was worried about the man. His mother, who was a cop, had told him that the pack was getting bolder and the Animal Control officers were trying so hard to catch the dogs because they considered that they could easily pose a danger to humans.
He stopped, a dozen feet in front of Seamus, facing the dogs, not even breathing hard. Absently he was proud of that. He asked, "How many shells do you have left?" as he heard the sound of a shotgun being opened.
Seamus said with despair, "Only two. I was supposed to receive my monthly supplies early this morning and that would have included a couple boxes of shotgun shells, but they didn't come."
Robby looked at the dogs. He knew that some of them would take off when he changed into a werewolf, but those who had gone completely rogue would not.
He began to chant a very very old mantra,
For every were
There comes a time
When life meets death
Do not sorrow
I will be there waiting
In the world beyond
Where all things start anew
Seamus was chilled by the words. He remembered his granddad telling him about them. "Seamus, if ever you hear these words, know that the one saying them, our Friend a werewolf, is gathering all the energy available to him, because he is going into a fight he does not expect to live through.
Robby felt the calm flowing through him as he repeated the mantra three more times, in languages he did not understand, Gaelic, Latin and Sanskrit. Seamus with the sense that knew a werewolf in whatever form, saw the light gather around the boy, and flow into him.
And then the boy changed into his werewolf form, his strength concentrated so he would be even stronger and faster and more powerful than normal. For a time. Werewolves were the top of the canine world, and the savage growl he gave and sudden werewolf scent spooked five of the dogs into a run. But the other five dogs, true rogues now, only became more dangerous.
He moved to one side to face the three largest and most dangerous, hoping Seamus could take out the other two with his shotgun. And then he attacked, going straight for the throat of the largest dog.
The fight was brief and savage, and Robby killed all three of them, but was savagely mauled in the process. With the last of his energy, he changed back into human form. Seamus was on his knees beside the boy. Despite the pain, there was a little twinkle in Robby's eyes, as he spoke in a whisper. "Glad you know how to use a shotgun. Would've hated to go through that fight and found you dead."
Then he closed his eyes, darkness claiming him.
Back home after three weeks in the hospital, Robby was lying on his bed, feeling old and very decrepit. He could make it to the bathroom, and back, just, but he didn't think he'd be going downstairs for a while. He'd been incredibly lucky, he'd had half a dozen bites that had come within a fraction of an inch of being fatal, and of the almost two dozen other bites none had been particularly dangerous, just painful. He'd bear a scar on his neck from the bite that had come close to severing his jugular, but the rest of the scars were all in areas that wouldn't show, not that he cared.
Teddy, who was being a very adoring slave to his older brother, showed up in the doorway, carefully carrying a milkshake in his hands, tongue stuck out one side of his mouth, in concentration. With triumph he set it down on the table, which had been put within easy reach of Robby's hand. He said, "Mommy said that if you don't wanta keep having to go to the bathroom, you'd better stop with the milkshakes."
"Unfortunately," said Robby, "Mommy was being a worry wart and wasn't paying attention to what the doctor was saying. He said that I was supposed to start getting up, and having to go to the bathroom is the best incentive I can think of at the moment."
"Who's taking my title in vain," Hary said, coming to the door.
"Me, I was just telling Teddy that you were being a worry wart, and weren't listening to what the doctor was telling you. He said I was supposed to start getting up, not stay in bed." Robby explained.
"Yes, I was just reading the instructions that he sent home with you, after I sent Teddy up with your milkshake and I saw that." she said.
"Yes, and I was saying to Teddy that having to get up and go to the bathroom is the best incentive to get up that I can think of right now. Now before you run out on me and refuse to answer my question like everyone else, I want to know what happened to the other dogs who were at the farm that day." he asked.
"I figured that you would get to that question, sooner rather than later. The doctor, not knowing what you are, or how much of brat you can be, thought you might be traumatized if you were told. As a police officer and a long time friend, I didn't have the heart to kick him in the shin and tell him he was being ridiculous. Ted told me that as far as they know they got all of the dogs and all of them have been destroyed."
"Good," grunted Robby. "I don't have objections to dogs, but five of them were complete rogues, and the others weren't far behind. Luckily they were still afraid enough of werewolves to run."
Teddy gave a huge yawn and looking at him Robby could see he was sleepy. "I think you need a nap sport, you look really tired."
"I am," Teddy said earnestly, "I hadda lotta trouble gettin' to sleep, I was so 'cited that you were coming home."
"Well come on up, and join me in a nap," and as Teddy went to jump up, Robby said, "Careful, I'm very fragile right at the moment, treat me like an egg."
Teddy considered for a moment and then after climbing up onto Robby's bed, he changed into a puppy. It would give them more room. Besides, he could get some petting that way.
Robby was fast asleep and Teddy was roused from his nap when their mother showed Seamus Riley in. Looking at the sleeping boy and the puppy lying by his side with his head turned to look at the door. He was somewhat agitated and he hadn't noticed that Teddy was a werewolf. "I could come back later." he said with a little bit of pleading in his voice.
"No," said Hary, "it's almost supper time, so I'd have to wake him up in a few minutes anyway. Teddy get your brother up." Teddy yapped a couple of time, and she recognized it as a question, "That's all right, you can change in front of Mr. Riley, he's a Gypsy."
Carefully picking his way over Robby's legs, Teddy jumped to the floor. It took him a couple minutes of concentration but he finally changed back into a boy. He said, "That's still real hard, Mommy. When will I be able to do it as easy as you and Robby?" he asked.
Seeing the surprise on Seamus's face, she chided him, gently, "Not paying attention, were you Mr. Riley? You've really come a long way since Christmas, Teddy, but at your age it's going to take another six months or a year before it starts to become easy." She started to leave, and he reached out and took her arm gently, and said, "Please stay, I have something to say and I'd like you to hear it as well."
Teddy in the meantime was waking Robby by gently pulling on his right ear, his head being one of the few places where he could be assured of not touching a sore spot. When Robby opened his eyes, he said, "We've got compny, Robby."
Unlike most children, but like most almost adolescent werewolves, Robby didn't go through a half-awake stage in which he could luxuriate for a time. He was either asleep or completely awake, and his bright green eyes took in Seamus Riley. His lips curved into a smile.
"I'm sorry for the way I treated you that day, and I came to try to explain why." He looked at Robby and then Hary, "Thirty years ago one of your folk, a doctor she was, treated my wife who was expecting a baby. She was arrogant and careless and because of her, both of them died. The hospital board disciplined her, and if she had been sorry for what she did, that would probably have been it. I would never have liked her but I wouldn't have held it against your folk. But it didn't change her, I saw her briefly after the hearing and she was as arrogant then, as she had been before. I had not seen a werewolf in the intervening years, or perhaps my feelings against you would have changed, and then you showed up on a bad day for me. It was thirty years to the day that my wife and unborn son died and the black grief had a hold of me, and I was of no mind to forgive you or your folk."
Robby gave a little grimace, speaking softly, "I lost my father three years ago, so I know how you must feel. On certain days, the grief just pierces you through and through, and there's nothing you can do about it, but let it take its own course. I have a large number of relatives so that helps, and the bad days are coming less often now, but I know that to the end of my days, they will always be with me."
Then his eyes suddenly were glinting with mischief. "A new father would help. The days would still come, but they would be more bearable. So, when are you and Paul getting married Mom? I've been alert enough for the last week to watch you and Paul talking very earnestly, and since I was out of danger by then, it had to be about something else. So what date did you set."
Hary grinned at Seamus Riley, "Mr. Riley, I think I just got set up," Seamus couldn't help it, he laughed. "All right, Robby. We decided on February 14. It's a new moon, so those of the clan with kids can come, without having to worry about them changing, and by then you should be well enough to walk me down the aisle."
Teddy, by then had got bored with the talking and had gone over to his own bed, and was playing with a couple of his toy cars, and he didn't realize what had been said.
"Teddy," Robby called, and the younger boy looked up.
"Yes, Robby?" he asked.
"Come on over here, I've got something to tell you." Robby said mysteriously.
Teddy got off his bed and came over, Robby took him by the arm and pulled him close so he could whisper in his ear. "Mom, just told me that she and Paul are getting married in less than a month."
It took a moment for the little boy to absorb the information, then his eyes lit up and he looked at his mother, "Really, Mommy, are you and Paul really getting married?"
When she nodded, Teddy jumped up and down and yelled, "Yippee." and then spun around half a dozen times in glee, and then launched himself at his mother, who scooped him up, and rubbed her nose on his and he giggled. "It took you long enough, Mommy."
She groaned, "Oh no, another Robby, one was bad enough. Come on Seamus and help me finish supper then you can join us in eating it."
Helplessly he followed her out of the room, looking back at Robby, who shrugged, "She's a cop, Seamus, if you don't stay, she'll come after you with that great big gun of hers and march you back to supper."
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