The night came, and with it a chill
That bit to the bone and wouldn't let go –
Or so John Burgher told himself.
After his visit to Chase's shop,
He gathered – with effort – another five men
To carry out their boss's plan.
Fear is a potent thing; the unseen wolf
Had frightened them… but not as much
As Simon Chase, the monster they already knew.
Burgher wrapped his muffler 'round his throat,
A useless shield against the cold…
And, perhaps, the wolf also.
A simple plan it was: As usual,
A small number of Chase's men
Would lay in wait along the road
For unsuspecting victims… but
Tonight Burgher's men would be there too,
Guarding the men from a short distance,
Ready to aid them should the wolf attack.
Groups of two surrounding the group of three;
The wolf would not surprise them tonight.
Burgher and his partner found a hedge
With shelter from the wind but nearby;
A small comfort, but better than nothing.
They settled in to pass the night.
It seemed like hours passed. They heard no sound;
Neither wolf nor prey disturbed them.
At last they heard someone approach –
A couple of someones, drunk by the sound of it.
Their pulses started racing. Finally
Things began happening normally;
Chase would be pleased! They hunkered down,
Unwilling to risk a single noise
That might alert their prey to their presence.
The drunken songs grew louder;
John Burgher smiled eagerly…
He didn't know how he missed its approach.
One moment, music filled his ears;
The next, a blur filled his vision.
It ripped his partner's throat open
Before the man could so much as gasp.
Terror choked his own cries for help.
He sat helplessly as the beast turned,
Cocking its head as it studied Burgher.
Blood dripped from its snarling lips
Like drool from a newborn child.
Its nose twitched as it sniffed mere inches from his face;
The smell of the freshly dead on its breath
Threatened to steal consciousness from him.
But it was the eyes that held him spellbound –
Ruby red, they flickered like flames
As they glared at him through the darkness.
A growl gurgled in its throat,
Causing a new trickle of blood from its mouth.
It dripped on Burgher's shirt.
Burgher drooled, unable to swallow.
One momentary glance at his partner,
Throat ripped open, drove the horror home
And his voice returned – or would have.
As he drew his final breath, the one
That would have been a scream, the beast attacked.
Burgher watched the two glowing eyes
Close on him suddenly … too suddenly.
His muffler offered no protection…
None at all.