Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
My name is John Dawson, and I was a beat cop for twenty-two years for a small town in rural West Virginia. People talk and stories get passed around, especially in small towns with few ears but big mouths. Sometimes, the people knew a crime was going to happen before it would, and I was often warned to patrol certain houses for a while; sometimes nothing happened, and sometimes I would break up a domestic disturbance. I never took that as a psychic thing but just people who know other people so well that they could spot the signs, like nosy old ladies with nothing better to do.
I’m going to explain to you the oddest thing that I ever had to investigate, and it changed my life forever. Words are sometimes hard to find when you’re talking about trauma, and this I know well from years on the force. The best way I can think of describing is that it was enormous, and covered in gray fur, like a wolf. A werewolf.
The night started off normally. I was driving around aimlessly, watching for bad drivers or some other event that could randomly happen in a small, unknown town. The radio blared, making me jump a little since it had been quiet that night.
“Unit 512. You close to Dempsey’s?”
“10-4. What’s going on?”
“Neighbors have reported someone, or something, prowling around the building. Possible 459.”
459 means burglary. Oh joy. I was hoping for some kid causing terror, not some armed, desperate, lunatic trying to break into a gas station at two in the morning. I drove over that way and searched around the building. In the grassless mud, I saw some enormous paw prints. They were bigger than my palm. Coyote prints aren’t nearly that big, and wolves have been extinct in this area for over one-hundred years now. I thought maybe the coyote had sank in the mud a little so the print spread out, but it didn’t appear that way.
“Station, this is Unit 512. All clear.”
“10-4, Unit 512.”
I chose to not mention the tracks I found, but it stayed in mind. What could make prints that big? Also, the callers thought it was a man, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have bothered calling the police over some animals sniffing around a building. I went back to my aimless wandering of the roads, got some food from a fast food joint, and continued.
I was parked by an empty car wash, watching tractor trailers amble by every few minutes, eating my dinner. A flash ran past my passenger side door. Beside there, was a vast empty parking lot that went to another street. I looked around and didn’t see anything. Out the driver’s side door, I saw the biggest wolf I had ever seen, sitting on its haunches and staring at me. After a few seconds, it ran off behind the car wash and probably into the woods because it didn’t come back. After snapping back to reality, I put the car into drive, heading down road.
I’ve been shot at by a drunken redneck hell-bent on getting revenge on his wife’s lover but even that didn’t frighten me in the way that seeing that wolf frightened me. When you see something that you know for sure isn’t an illusion or a trick of light, your brain just has trouble accepting it. I drove around for a while, half-expected this thing to run out in front of my headlights.
“Unit 512. There’s a 10-57 over at 22 Brooks Lane. Can you be over there in 5?”
10-57 means missing person. It was turning into a night for the record books.
“10-4. Be there as soon as I can.”
On came the lights, and down went the accelerator. When I got there, I found a man and woman standing on the porch of their old coal camp house. The woman was crying with such fervor that I knew I wouldn’t get much from her. The man was pacing; he was clearly distraught as well.
The man walked down and introduced himself as the husband.
“My daughter Cassie. My wife went in to check on her before she went to bed and Cassie’s window was open. Some of the stuff in her room was knocked around like there was a struggle. Neither of us heard anything.” I was writing all of this down in my notebook.
“I’d like to go look, if that’s okay with you.”
“Sure. Not a problem, officer.”
In the room, I found large claw marks under the window. From the pattern, you could assume this happened when it climbed back out. Quite a lot of her toys were knocked around and her bedding was essentially shredded. In disbelief, I stared. This was about five miles from where I had seen the wolf but it was the first thing that popped into my head. I couldn’t help but ask.
“This looks like an animal got in here. Did you hear any howling?”
“Yeah. I did. It sounded like one of my neighbor’s dogs so I didn’t think of it. What do you think it was?”
“Not sure yet, but I’ll add this to the notes. I’m going to have some more people come by and look.”
After a couple hours of checking the scene, the small forensics team left. They found some strands of thick, gray hairs around the room but no blood. They told me they thought it was an animal too but they needed more evidence to officially call it that. I had about three hours left of my shift, so I went back to driving. I was driving along this section of town that used to be part of a coal mining community back around the early 1900s. A lot of the houses are dilapidated and left to rot by the coal companies. I drove past one when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I stopped when I realized what it was.
In between two abandoned houses, I saw the wolf sitting on its haunches with an unconscious girl in its jaws, grinning. That grin didn’t appear to be an animal grin, but like a human, a human who is overjoyed in its success. My instinct was to give chase, regardless if its beast or man. With my Beretta and went after the thing. I’ve never seen anything run that fast. In a flash, it was up an old oak tree. I didn’t want to shoot because it had the girl and she might still be alive.
“Little girl!” I couldn’t remember her name, “Are you okay?” I yelled up the tree.
“No, she’s not.” Said a gravelly voice back to me.
Startled, I shouted, “You’re a man?”
“Oh yes. Yes, I am. This meal will fill me for a while too, Officer Dawson. I can’t wait.”
From the top of the tree, it leaped across the back yard onto the hillside and bolted toward the peak. I fired three times but missed. It didn’t take long for the wolf to climb over the peak and be out of sight. I was several yards from the car, so I grabbed my cell phone and called the station.
“You won’t believe this! I just saw the girl! She was in the jaws of some wolf like thing!”
“Wolf-like thing?” the station officer asked.
“Yes! It spoke to me and it knew my name!”
“Dawson, there’s no way..”
“I’m telling you, it did! It went up the hill behind some abandoned houses near the old Campbell Mine Camp!”
“I’ll get a copter out there ASAP then. As for the wolf, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. For your sake.” He said as he hung up.
They sent a copter out, and they did find the girl. Her mid-section was devoured, just bones remained from the chest down. The funeral was rough. The entire, small police force that we had attended and we saluted the girl as she was sent off to the great beyond. My wife hand-made them a picture frame with multiple pictures of their daughter, Cassie. She was Cassie’s homeroom teacher and was absolutely destroyed by what happened. It’s been five years and I still don’t think she’s completely over it.
The last even to occur happened over a week later. Chief Workman gave me a paid week off over the few days prior. The events of the vicious murder of Cassie had finally started to simmer down. I was cruising through the business section of town a little after midnight, looking the front and back ends of businesses.
“Unit 512. Come in.”
“This is Unit 512. Go ahead.”
“Got a possible 187 down on the far end of Miller Hollow. A driver by said they thought they saw a body in the ditch but didn’t want to investigate.”
A 187 means murder. Dead body. Great; a good way to start things off after my mini-vacation.
“10-4. I’ll go over that way now.”
Anxious but I had a job to do, I went over there to the approximate area. I searched down the road they said the body was spotted, and I found it. The body was covered in deep slashes, all over his body, and to top it off, the head was missing. I shined my flashlight around, trying to find a sign of what might happened or the head. Several yards up the hillside, I saw a tall naked man grinning at me. He took off running up the hill, and I never saw him again. The creepiest thing about him… those large yellow eyes.