The screaming pierced the quiet sunrise.
I sat up slowly, my husband shifting in bed. He was already standing and throwing on a jacket when I finally came to my senses. I grabbed mine as well and got his bag from the floorboards and we ran to the door, tripping over our boxes we still haven’t unpacked yet. Several other neighbors were out as well. People whispered and cried, asking my husband if he knew what was going on. He ignored the questions and walked faster. A regular imbecile.
I jogged slowly to catch up to him, clutching my head. It felt worse every step I took. “Charlie?” He grunted. “Why are you so grouchy?” He shrugged. “Are you tired of solving cases?”
He sighed and smiled softly at me. “No, Sam. Just tired. It’s two in the morning.”
“Charlie! Over here!” We turned our heads to the source of the voice and broke into a run. Charlie's friend Jack was holding a flashlight into Wilson’s door. Charlie hit the door, banging it into the wall and kneeling beside a lump on the floor. I took the light from Jack, covering my mouth when I stepped on a puddle of blood and a piece of flesh. Charlie grabbed the light from me.
“You can go home if you’d like. Might be best.” He said without looking at me. He grabbed syringes and bottles and medicines out of his bag and took Wilson’s pulse. “He’s dead.”
I rolled my eyes. “You don’t say.”
“This is no time to be sarcastic, Samantha.” He took blood from Wilson’s arm and set it aside, examining everything on the ground and the walls and the body.
I swayed around for a little while, waiting for him to finish getting whatever he needed. I wanted to sleep; my stomach felt weird and my head was pounding. People had started leaving and some were sleeping on the porch. I kicked my friend Helen and she jumped up.
“Go home, Helen.”
“Did he figure anything out yet? I was so scared when James came and told me found the body...”
“No, he’s just… investigating.”
Helen laughed. “Alright, goodnight Sam,”
I smiled as everyone left. Charlie walked out and closed the door behind him, saying quickly, “I’m done.” I followed him back to our house.
I woke up to a loud crash. I heard the yelling from three rooms down and snuck through my door to listen. “That makes no sense! Well, why else would it happen again? People don’t kill each other here, they all love each other! They’re best friends! No one would violently kill Wilson in any way if they knew him well enough, and your suspicion is ridiculous!” I smiled and put on my robe, walking out to Charlie’s study. “No one will ever believe you, you idiot, there’s no possible way!” Another crash. He turned and saw me in the doorway, ran a hand through his hair, smiled and walked past the upturned tables and broken glass and still falling papers to kiss my cheek. “Morning, Sam. Did I wake you?”
I shook my head. “What suspicion?”
“What suspicion did you have? About the deaths?” In the last three months, four more people have been killed, but it has been about a month since the last death. I wish I had written down the exact dates, maybe that mattered, but I thought I’d leave that to Charlie. He hasn’t been able to figure out anything. I walked over to his microscope, picking things up on my way, and heard him mumble something. “What was that?”
He looked at me with tired brown eyes and took a sip of coffee before repeating his answer. “Werewolf.”
I laughed probably a little too loud. He didn’t smile or flinch or anything, just took another depressed drink. My laughter faded. “You- you’re serious? A werewolf?”
“It’s the only explanation. One night a month, someone gets killed. People here don’t attack each other with hatchets or knives. If they murder, they do it by guns or poisons. I’ve been here long enough to know that. It’s clearly a werewolf.” He buried his face in his hands, rubbing his nose and temples.
“But Charlie they… werewolves don’t exist!” I leaned on the table and crossed my arms. He really was ridiculous. “Why can’t you be more like… like Sherlock Holmes. He has reasonable solutions to cases just like this.”
“I’ve spent my whole life reading those stories and I can’t think of anything else that would be a possibility. It’s a werewolf.”
I scoffed. “Ok, so who is it?”
He looked at me for a long time, then shrugged, sniffed, and walked to his chair. “Who do you think it is?”
“I don-” He is a lunatic. “Charlie, be honest. You really think this is it? A werewolf?”
“Yes, Sam, I do.” He stood and pushed me aside to look in the microscope lens. “You promised to help me with my cases. You said you would support me and my assumptions.” He stood up and looked at me. I could see in his eyes that he wasn’t lying. “And right now you're not. You really, really need to believe me. Especially now.”
I looked at him and smiled. “Alright, you think it’s a werewolf? It’s a werewolf. I believe you.”
“Do you really?”
I put a hand on the side of his neck and kissed him quickly. “No. But I have to go to Helen’s to help her with an overnight project. So you stay here and find out who the mad wolf-man is. I’ll see you in the morning.” He smiled and turned back to his science as I left to change.
The sun was beginning to set. Helen and I sat in the small coffee shop, drinking and chatting. She laughed when I told her the news.
“A- a werewolf? He thinks it’s a-” She put down her tea and threw back her head, howling. I laughed too but shushed her.
“You can’t say anything, I don’t want anyone to know!”
“Oh, you- you don’t want anyone to know your husband is a lunatic?”
“Well, would you?”
“So he is a lunatic, you admit it?”
I paused. Yes, he was a lunatic, but I still loved him. He was just like Sherlock Holmes; anti-social and somewhat rude to strangers but… a normal human being to his friends. And I was his friend, his best friend. I wouldn’t have married him if I didn’t love him. Some people think I married him to be famous, but he wasn’t famous when I married him. So yes, I admit it, sometimes I wanted to rip his heart out. But there was something… sweet about him. Something I don’t see in anyone else. He cares about people. He may not show it all the time, but he genuinely cares. Before I could answer, our waiter came and asked if I was Samantha Spade.
“Yessir,” I sighed.
He chuckled. “Has your husband solved this case yet? You know, people have died, he better get crackin’.”
“He’s trying the best he can.”
“There’s been people saying that he’s the murderer. That’s why he’s always there when it happens and he’s not solving anything about the deaths. Just how to hide it and come up with a reasonable story.”
I stood and threw my napkin on the table, my head racing. “You, sir, are everything that’s wrong with society. You foul, loathsome, disgusting, gossip-loving-”
“Don’t you ‘Sam’ me Helen!” Grabbing my purse, I stormed over to the door. Without turning, I felt several people look at me when I yelled, “And just because you did, you’re paying!”
I wasn’t feeling well anyways.
I woke up the next feeling more tired than ever. I knew something must be wrong with me being sick like this all the time, but I didn’t care. I looked over and noticed Charlie was already out of bed when I remembered I had to pick a package up for him. I tripped over a box, swore at it, and kicked it over before leaving the room. “Charlie? I’m leaving!” I waited for a second and shrugged when he didn’t answer. He did that a lot; probably in one of his trances about the case.
At the post office, the woman working there and the man she was helping eyed me just enough times to make me uncomfortable before asking if she could help me.
I walked forward. “Yes, I have a package for Charles Spade?”
She smiled sourly and bent down, coming back with a small box. “Has he solved anything yet?”
I shook my head. She never held the package out to me, so I waited.
“You know, we wanted him to move here so he could solve cases. And he hasn’t done that yet. We’re starting to think he’s a fraud.”
I felt heat rush to my face. “He’s not a fraud. He’s trying.”
“He better try harder.”
“He’s trying as hard as he can! You know, I’m not sure why anyone would want to move to this stupid town, you’re all rude, decietful people!” I snatched the jingling package out of her hands and walked to the door, forcing it open too hard. “Good day!”
“Of all the things to say…” I walked up the long cobblestone path to my house and passed a scrappy young boy trying to sell newspapers from yesterday.
“Buy a paper, miss?”
“No!” I replied too harshly.
“But miss, my mother just died, and my father’s real sick…”
“I know your parents, they’re perfectly fine...” The little newsboy followed me the whole way, telling me made up stories about his unfortunate life. Bolting through the door, I called Charlie’s name a couple of times. I went back to the study, extremely annoyed when the boy followed me into his room. I cracked open the door, seeing everything was messier than the day before. It’s when I saw the thick red liquid all over the floor that my anger turned to horror.
“Go get the doctor,” I said to the little boy. He ran out immediately and I walked over to Charlie, lying upside down on the floor, my eyes watering. “Oh my…”
I put my fingers on his wrist and closed my eyes. Placing my hand on his shoulder and not daring to turn him over, all I could think was “Who is that darn werewolf?”
We’ve hired a new detective as soon as Charlie’s death was publicized. The town voted, me against, and they found someone all the way from Europe. So he came across the ocean to find out what has killed all these people.
What my friends don’t realize is I’m much closer to solving it then he is. Charlie did most of the work, all I have to do is find out who the werewolf is. I’ve taken hair and saliva and blood samples from every corpse and place of death and they all match each other. The problem is, I can’t get people alone to test them because they all think I’m crazy. Who knows if it would be the same anyways… maybe werewolves aren’t really the person. Maybe they’re being possessed or something… I need my husband, he would know.
Most people in town don’t like the new detective; he’s kind of… well, he’s an idiot. I don’t like him. There haven’t been any deaths since Charlie’s, so of course everyone thinks it’s him. I think that's absurd, he wouldn’t do that to himself. And I told everyone that, so now they think it’s me. Some have also said it was the newsboy, Johnny, but I don’t think it’s him.
I have questioned a few people; Helen and her husband, Jack, the new neighbor Robert who moved in across the street shortly before us, my cousin Mary and even the new PI. None of them have any information, and I started reading books about medieval monsters. Apparently, a werewolf doesn’t remember anything from the night they change. So that’s really going to help my case.
So onto Plan C… I’ve figured out that tonight is most likely going to be a full moon. I’ve packed my husband's gun with the silver bullets that were in the package the day he was killed, a knife, and a piece of steak, just in case werewolves like steak. They might, you never know.
I’ve tracked the pattern of the monster and, guessing his next house, dropped the steak there. Of course, it happens to be Helen’s, so they’re staying at my house tonight. In case the steak doesn't work, I’ve heard werewolves are attracted to blood. So, I’ve found a dead dog in the woods. I have no idea whose it is or where it came from, but it works, and I’m betting the werewolf killed it. I smeared its blood all over myself and Helen’s porch and kitchen, preparing for the final day.
As soon as the sun is down, I hide in the kitchen with my gun loaded and cocked. Covering my mouth to quiet my breathing, I hear distant yelling. I roll my eyes. Idiots. If they would just shut up… it might not come to me if they don’t shut up.
I wait and wait and wait. Pretty soon, my head starts to hurt. I pressed my hand to my hair and dropped my gun. My arm started to tingle and I felt dizzy. I put my head back and closed my eyes.
When I wake up, I’m in Helen’s kitchen. I shuffle my hands around and find my gun. When I stand to see what time it is, a body in the hallway catches my eye. I run over and see the door is wide open and our new neighbor, Robert, is on the ground, his stomach ripped apart. I throw my gun. “I missed it! I can’t believe it…” I hear a footstep behind me. I grab my gun and spin around, and Helen’s husband is staring back at me and holding a gun.
“Sam,” He nodded his head but I didn’t drop my gun. “Why is there blood on your hands?”
I drop my eyes to look at them. “I’m attracting the werewolf.”
“Oh yeah? Did you find it last night?”
I shook my head. “I fell asleep. I wasn’t feeling well.”
He nods. “Get up.” I furrow my brow and he raises his as he yells. “Get up!”
I stand slowly, both our guns still pointing at each other.
“He knocked the gun out of my hands with his own and turned me around, touching the gun to my back. I almost fall from dizziness but I feel a hand wrapped tightly against my arm. I turn to my right and see the new detective standing there, the most serious look I’ve seen on his face. They bring me out and the whole town is waiting on Helen’s lawn, staring at me. Most of them had guns and were blocking any way to get in or out.
“What’s- what’s going on?”
Helen walked forward, her eyes red and swollen. “Sam, when you came did you happen to record anything for evidence.”
I swore under my breath. “No, I didn’t think about that…”
“Well, you’re the detective’s wife. How can we find out?”
I rack my brain for anything, not thinking clearly. “Blood.. Blood or saliva samples. That might work.”
The next thing I know, I’m in Charlie’s study. It’s haunting being in there. I haven't changed anything since his death.
“Sam, if you fell asleep, why are you covered in blood?”
I looked down at my shirt and remembered. “There was a dog. I didn’t kill one, I found it. I found a dead dog and I… this is his blood! On me, on the porch and in the kitchen, that's all the dog’s blood."
“And why were you not killed? I mean, if you were covered in blood and you were there without fighting, then why wouldn’t the wolf kill you?” She leaned on the table and looked at me.
Suddenly I realized what she was going at. “You don't- you’re not blaming this on me, are you? You think it’s me?”
“This doesn't look good for you, Samantha. You know that.”
“I- Helen it wasn’t-” My voice and thoughts triled off together. It all made sense… it was me. I’m the werewolf. I don’t remember any of the nights that anyone was killed. I don’t feel good at all half the time, especially the night of deaths. Charlie knew… he knew it was me, but he didn’t want to say anything, he knew I would be killed. That’s why… the silver bullets. He ordered the silver bullets… was he going to kill me? But... I killed him. I killed my husband and the other towns people.
It would have been better if he had killed me first. Better for everyone.
There was no way it was me.
I shook my head. “Please, give me a month. We can prove it. We can find evidence. We can-”
“We already have evidence, Samantha.” Helen grabbed two test tubes and held them up. “It’s the same, alright? You did it, would you just admit it?”
I felt my eyes water and my breath got sharper. “I don’t… werewolves don’t remember... just give me one more chance, please…”
“We did give you a chance. You and your husband, and you didn't protect anyone. You’ve killed nearly ten people.”
Helen’s husband walked up to me and pointed something at my face. I was too dizzy and my eyesight was blurry. “We’re sorry, Sam. You’re just... too dangerous. We can’t have that in our quiet, little neighborhood.”
I let out a small cry and heard a loud crack. Everything went black.
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