Finally finishing up this scene.
“Aiden, don’t give in to superstition,”
Benedict said. “Even to the eyes of faith
The truth can be obscured by simple fact.
I believe in things that can’t be explained,
And yet I find that logic underlies
The strangest things more frequently than not.”
A startled cry from one of Garrett’s men
Drew their attention. They found him
Kneeling, crossing himself and muttering
Incomprehensible prayers. He was
A young man, new to Garrett’s force, and he
Pointed at a large rock, his hand shaking.
The Father and the Constable stared, unblinking.
Pressed into the rock were two paw prints.
In each a tiny cross protruded, just as
Mud might squeeze between a man’s toes.
Garrett motioned for another man who
Came and led the trembling youngster away,
Then he and Benedict knelt to examine
The find. He traced the outlines with a finger
And said, “These were not carved, Father.
Feel for yourself; no tool makes marks such as these.”
Benedict brushed a print with his fingertips
And jerked away, then subconsciously crossed
Himself and touched a finger to his lips,
As though lost in thought. “No, they aren’t,” he said.
“May the Lord preserve us! I never thought
To see His judgment fall in this form.”
“What is it, Father?” the Constable asked.
“Have you seen prints like this before?”
“Only in books recording superstitions,”
Benedict said. “Rumors of such beasts
Abound among the country folk, those far from
Towns where logic might explain them away.
Some say the love of God pursues repentants
Like a hound of heaven; still others say
The judgment of God pursues the unrepentant
Like a hound of hell. I thought them merely
Folk tales but my eyes and hands do not lie.”
He shuddered slightly, a move not lost on
Garrett. He too began to tremble.
Benedict looked at him and smiled weakly.
He placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder
And said, “At least your faith is safe, Aiden.
These tracks were made by no earthly creature.
Earthly creatures, even werewolves, are merely
Flesh and blood. Have you ever heard of a
Werewolf capable of something like this?
Fear for the ungodly, my friend. This beast –
If beast be what it is – is no werewolf.”