Benedict’s eyes were drawn to Dietrich
As his piercing howl shook the sanctuary
And all the other wolves joined in.
The ghastly cacophony left him
Paralyzed, barely able to breathe…
And then his eyes widened in horror
As he watched Dietrich begin to change.
With his head thrown back in that chilling howl,
His back arched rigidly as though in pain,
His hands, his arms, even his fingers
Trembling with the effort of stiffness,
Benedict feared that Dietrich might die
From the unexplainable strain.
Then, as he watched, fur began to grow
On Dietrich’s face and hands… but he never
Moved nor did he cease his howling.
It went on for what seemed an eternity
And then, suddenly, Dietrich was no more.
In his place stood a wolf, far larger
Than any Benedict had ever seen.
It stared at Benedict, its eyes red
And glowing, its lips pulled tight across
Its teeth in a guttural growl.
Drool dribbled from its jaw, and where it
Struck the floor, a hissing curl of smoke
Rose up. The creature pawed the floor,
The claws of that paw drawing sparks
As they raked the wood. Then, without warning,
The beast darted out of the sanctuary.
Benedict could still hear it bellowing
As it charged to meet the thing
That once was Simon Chase.
After some moments Benedict croaked,
“What will happen? Will he be alright?”
The Hound will survive, the voice said.
The host may be another matter.
“But how can you let him die when he serves You?”
It was not I who called upon the Hound.
He serves Me in justice, not in revenge…
But now he battles one not of this earth,
One he was never intended to fight.
The outcome of revenge is never certain.
Benedict grew angrier with each word.
“Then will You not protect him from harm?”
I protect those whom I call to serve.
But you have called the Hound, so I should ask
Will you not protect him from harm?
The voice paused before adding,
He will be at the tobacconist’s shop.
Then all went dark, save for the moon’s light
Through the windows of the sanctuary.
The wolves, the trees, the mist, the altar,
The Presence… all vanished, save the Cardinal
Sprawled unconscious on the floor.
Benedict was motionless for but a moment;
Then he ran to the cell for a blanket
And the kitchen for the largest knife there.
Quickly he returned to cover the Cardinal,
Then he rushed desperately into the night.