The Perpetual

By Charles Matthias

Part VII

The body felt warm still in his hands, they gripped about the flesh strongly as the blood pooled about his feet. He took a step back, laying the body gently to the floor, draping one of the arms across the man's chest. The pulsating wounds gurgled blood and tissue as they continued to fester in the open air. The figure looked down at the work of his own doing, the first act of his mind and body. It felt somehow right that it should be so. Still, other activities, other actions came to mind, things that he could not explain. How could they be true just as he was true now? Images of a horrendous nature, completely foreign to what should be! They were certainly not productive, but they kept returning. He would make do with them, let them speak to him, and he would smirk at their foolishness. His way was better.

He turned his head, staring at the body that was cold to his touch. There was nothing he could do for it, unlike the other who had been with him. He licked the flesh, feeling the tenderness as it touched each of his teeth. He probed down the chest, reaching up one hand, severing the flesh from sternum to navel. He saw the juices overflow, which he lapped up savoring the sweet flavor. This was right, this was dead, and there was only one thing that could be done with the dead. He let the flesh fill his mouth, before he bit down hard, tearing this way and that, swallowing bite after bite, filling a hunger. The blood and juices splashed over his face, drenching his nose, clouding the aromas. He bit harder, faster; tearing into the entrails as each slipped from the widening maw in the middle of the cold flesh.

The flesh gave way, and soon he tore into the stringy muscle, pulling it apart, as the entire area became drenched in the wash of the dead blood, clotted at times, but never completely stopped. He felt his fur grow slick with the touch of the blood, till it seemed to stain him from its touch. He did not care, the feast continuing; his mouth ever full of some delicious treat. His jaw finally snagged on a thick and recalcitrant bone. He ripped it with one fierce pull from it's socket, and began to gnaw on it a bit, breaking the milky whiteness drenched in red with his teeth. The succulent juices flowed onto his waiting tongue, which relished the sweet flavor. He reached for another bone, snapping it in half as he tore it from its position, tearing a chunk of uneaten flesh with it. He sucked the rest of the marrow free from its encasement, and then ate the flesh in three large bites.

He finally leaned over the other table, his stomach full from his meal. His fur had been stained by the overflow of blood. He felt minor pulling sensations as he flexed his muscles. He did not particularly like that idea, and began to lick the sweet taste from his own hide. With each meticulous stroke, more and more of the blood was washed from his body, though his fur was still a bit sticky. He continued, not caring how long it took him, or of the scents in the air about him. He checked over each part of him, being careful to make sure that he was immaculate in appearance. As a last touch, he licked the last speck of it from his nose. He then breathed an exultant sigh, looking to the apeture that stood wide before him, bringing to him all sorts of interesting flavors and fragrances.

Thibaudet sat in the chair on the bridge rather proudly. Here he was sitting in the Executive Officer's chair, being asked all sorts of questions by both the captain and his chief security officer. He had given himself quite a positive image when he had solved the mystery of Ascot's hijacking. It seemed obvious to them all now that Ascot must have suspected a werewolf when he had seen the injuries on Tembo's body. The image of the tobacco-chewing security officer lying there on the floor with slash marks on his chest and face was hard to imagine, but both Dutton and Rhodes testified to it. Still, the man had been seven feet tall and built like a football player. Clearly, he had been tough, but apparently one of the crew had been tougher. He did not like to think about death so much -- he was a physicist after all -- but here they were faced with two deaths within seven hours of launch. Surely things could only get better from this point on. It was only a matter of finding Tembo's killer and locking him away.

Of course that would be the trick. The location of every person on the ship had to be accounted for. Thibaudet was trying to help Rhodes and Dutton concoct a cohesive list of names that could be ruled out. He tried to rule himself out, but without anybody who could vouchsafe for him, he was going to have to admit that he was also a possibility. Of course, he knew that he hadn't done it, but until they had proof, there was nothing more that he could say about it. Other than to reiterate his innocence.

"It can't be BlackTiger," Dutton pointed out as they looked over the list of names. They had split them up into four groups, Officers, Security, Scientists, and Shapeshifters. Two names that had been quickly scratched off were Rhodes and Dutton, both of whom had alibis with respectable people. The next to get marks off had been Lt. Lucille Penny, who had been on the bridge the whole time with Rhodes. That left the eight Shapeshifters, the ten scientists, four from the security team, and three officers.

"Why not BlackTiger?" Rhodes asked, as if he did not want to mark off any of the Shapeshifters.

"Because I was escorting him to one of the detention cells when the whole thing happened," Dutton remarked dryly.

"I see. Then that brings the Shapeshifter list down to seven possibilities. We seriously doubt that Ascot could have taken part in the event, so we'll put a question mark by his name as well," Rhodes marked the sheet as he talked, obviously deep in thought.

"I hope you didn't leave Tembo on the list," Thibaudet queried. He remembered as a kid the difficulty of counting how many people there were in a group because the person counting more often than not forgot to include him or herself.

"No, we left him off for obvious reasons. As far as that goes, I guess we can take Ziegler off the list as well. He was standing guard here at the bridge when Ascot came up." Rhodes scratched that name off as well.

"Oh, take Dr. Jansen off. He's the one that BlackTiger attacked in the Greenhouse. I know that there were more of those Shapeshifters there as well, but I can't really remember who any of the others were."

"So that leaves us with nine scientists, and seven, maybe six Shapeshifters. We still have three of the security guards in doubt, as well as three of the officers. That's still way too many people that we don't know about."

"Why don't we go through each of them individually and try to determine where they might have been. That might give us a better idea of who it could have been," Dutton suggested.

"Sounds fair, let's start with the officers. I seriously doubt that any of them had a part in it, and I'd like to hear any reason that they might have. Let's start with Dr. Xenakis."

Dutton sat back in thought, "Well, he was in his office after the Ascot affair, but I don't know if he would have been before then. He would certainly have access to items that could have done that sort of damage to Tembo; a scapel could very easily have severed the flesh like that. However, I can't see him actually wielding one of those things to be dangerous about it, he's too inept."

"And you have him as your doctor?" Thibaudet stared in open mouth amazement at the stated opinion of Xenakis's grace.

"He's a good doctor, he just tends to forget that on occasion," Rhodes replied drily. "However, I am apt to agree with Max on this one. I just can't see him being anything remotely dangerous, even if he was wielding a scapel.

Thibaudet was taping his chin in thought as his eyes searched the bridge, noting the various panels and bulkheads that surrounded them, even the tripartite vide cameras that moved back and forth on their swivel bases at regular intervals. He pondered something that had just occurred to him, something that he was sure might be important. "How does Tembo get his tobacco on board? It is against regulations to have that stuff on scientific vessels you know."

Rhodes shrugged, "He just gave it to Xenakis for safekeeping. Xenakis could pass it off as a medical drug, and nobody could complain. He'd give it back to Tembo after the trip would get underway."

"Good old boys aren't we?" Thibaudet smiled at the little corruption that he had discovered among the officers of the shuttle.

"Hardly, just common courtesy to a damn fine chief security officer who unfortunately isn't here with us anymore," Rhodes replied stiffly, obviously not appreciating Thibaudet's implication. "How is Tembo's tobacco important in all of this?"

"Did he comment on any weird taste or anything about it before he, well you know, died?"

"Not that I recall." Dutton shook his head. Rhodes was similarly in the negative.

"Well, I was just thinking, Xenakis could have poisoned it with some sedative or something, and then when Tembo finally collapsed form it, he could easily slice him up in a vital spot in such symmetrical claw like patterns."

"But why?"

Thibaudet shrugged, "I don't really know, it was just an idea. You said yourself that he hasn't done the autopsy yet. Perhaps he's waiting for the sedative to burn up in the blood stream or something."

Rhodes sighed, "I'll put a question mark beside Xenakis, but I think your theory on him is a little far fetched. In my opinion, Xenakis is just too squeamish. I love the man to death, but I think that if I ever go into space again that I am going to get a new doctor."

"That might be a good idea."

"Well, anyway, what about Danielpour?" Rhodes asked. He then looked over his shoulder at the sleeping figure of the communications officer. The headphones were lying limply about his neck. Rhodes grimaced, "Hey Malcolm? Has the information I asked come through yet?"

Danielpour nearly jumped from his seat, his eyes still groggy, "What?" his voice was quite slurred. It was obvious that he had been sleeping pretty hard.

"The information I requested, has it come through yet?" Rhodes reiterated.

"Oh, let me check," Danielpour set the headphones over his ears. He sat there for a minute, slumping in his seat, head lowering a few times, only to jerk upwards at the last minute. He finally shook his head, and put the headphones around his neck again, "I need to get some sleep," he muttered as he turned his back to them, lying on his side in the chair.

Rhodes sighed, "What is taking them so long?"

"They probably are trying to get permission to send the information." Dutton suggested.

"What information?" Thibaudet asked, looking form one face to the other.

"Nothing you need to worry about. Now, what about Danielpour, where was he supposed to be?"

"Malcolm claims to have been sleeping. We found him in his room after you asked us to go collect him. I don't know about you, but about the only thing I've noticed him do this entire trip is sleep. He might need the sleep now because he wasn't really sleeping before. All the stress of killing Tembo might have finally exhausted his system," Dutton mused.

"While I admit Danielpour killing Tembo is more likely than Xenakis killing him, there is one problem with this. Malcolm has no access tot he type of weapon he'd need. About the only sharp implement that he could find would be one of the knives form the kitchen, and they are too dull to make the kind of cuts that Tembo had. I don't think he could have done it."

"I agree with the captain." Thibaudet jumped in, feeling a bit out of his league here, but not really wanting to leave to go work on his projects.

Dutton seemed to be debating that in his head for a few moments, the giddiness all but emptied from his system. He appeared to have recovered from whatever shock that he had received. However, his gruff exterior seemed to be more of a defense mechanism than actual moodiness. Thibaudet figured that he was only acting normally, but underneath he was still wondering about whatever it was that he had seen. Pierre was innately curious about it, but did not feel that it was pertinent to the present discussion.

"Still, I'd leave a question mark by his name. We can't be sure where he was, and he is awfully sleepy, more so that one would expect when he'd already gotten some sleep, more so than most of the people on the ship."

"Fine, I'll put a question mark by his name." Rhodes pencilled that in, a though he made it rather faint. It was obvious to Thibaudet that Rhodes thought that Dutton was overreacting. Pierre was not sure fi he could completely relate. These people had known each other for years, and he had just met them. He felt a bit like an outsider, not sure whether he should say something or just keep quiet. However, he had solved that mystery about Ascot, so his opinion was obviously welcome. However, it would be best to wait until there was a good place to jump in.

"Now I guess that leaves Kilpatrick?" Dutton surmised.

"That's correct."

"Well, this one should be interesting." Dutton smirked, which made Pierre wonder even more just what was going on it that man's head.

The sound of voices was indistinct, as was the scent, but it was strong enough to attract his attention. He had to move cautiously and slowly, so as not to arouse suspicion. The floor beneath him was irritating, because his feet made clicking noises every time he took a step. Walking softly though, he was able to muffle the sound a bit, but there was not way that he could get rid of it completely. However, he had to approach, it was the right thing to do. He did not know why he knew, but it just felt good to do so.

He moved closer, listening to their voices grow stronger in the eddying currents of air.

"I think that Kilpatrick's story is suspicious," Dutton began. Before he could continue, Rhodes had cut him off.

"Now wait a minute, he said that he got up and was out walking about to clear his head. You all didn't find him in his room, I think that fits with what he said."

"Yes that is true, but he lied about something. Xenakis said that he saw him heading to the Greenhouse, but when I asked him if he'd been to the Greenhouse he'd said no." Dutton pointed out.

"Assuming that Philip got it right that time," Rhodes reminded him. "Remember he was running to the bridge, and he might have thought that he saw somebody that was going to the Greenhouse."

"I think we have to give his story credence, because Kilpatrick did not like answering that question. I think Samuel is hiding something that he doesn't want to admit to the rest of us. Perhaps Tembo found out about it, and was blackmailing him. They go to meet in the Engineering Room, and well Samuel doesn't like the arrangement, so he bumps Tembo off. Then he goes to the security room, smashes all the cameras and sneaks off with one of the supermagnets while Bowman is in the restroom. Then he just buries the evidence that Tembo had in the Greenhouse. I think that is as plausible a story as any."

Rhodes seemed to be deliberating over the facts, "It would explain a few things, and it does sort of fit when you think about it. However, there are a few things that bug me. I thought you dug up most of the Greenhouse already, if he buried something there, shouldn't you have found it?"

"I think Kilpatrick found something, but he swapped it real fast for a piece of lint. I could be mistaken about that, and we might just have missed it, but the Greenhouse would be the best place to get rid of something like that don't you agree?"

"Still, Max, are you so ready to admit that your former boss was corrupt enough to blackmail a fellow officer?"

"I don't want to admit it, but if it fits the facts, then we have to consider it. I think given Kilpatrick's lying, that it is a distinct possibility, more so than Xenakis poisoning him.

Thibaudet glared at Dutton for attacking his idea, but he had to admit that it was pretty silly and improbable. "However, I don't think something fits," he finally said, noting something in the story that seemed a little far-fetched.

"And that would be?" Dutton glared at him, obviously intent on his theory of Kilpatrick killing Tembo. It was apparent that Dutton did not like the man, or at least he was pretending that he didn't like the man. Who could tell?

"Well, the infirmary is on the second floor isn't it?"

"Yes, right below the bridge actually." Rhodes nodded.

"And isn't the Greenhouse on the third floor?"

"Actually, most of the third floor is the Greenhouse," Rhodes replied whimsically. "What's your point?"

"Well, my question is, how could Xenakis have seen anybody that he knew was going to the Greenhouse if he came straight from the infirmary?"

Dutton sat on his haunches, a look of puzzlement crossing his face. Rhodes smiled a bit, looking a bit pleased that there was some evidence that would exonerate his second in command. "That is a good question. I guess Xenakis must have been mistaken. Perhaps he did see Kilpatrick, but he probably assumed that he was heading to the Greenhouse. Kilpatrick could have been going anywhere! There is no reason to assume that he lied."

"Perhaps Xenakis wasn't coming from the infirmary, but from his room or something. He could have gone to his room to get something and then heard the message while he was over there. He then might have seen Kilpatrick heading up one of the stairs that leads directly to one of the Greenhouse entrances." Dutton pointed out, doing his best to throw a shadow of doubt over Kilpatrick's character. Thibaudet wondered why the man was doing this, he seemed bent on a mission to prove that Kilpatrick was the killer, but the only evidence he seemed to have was that he might have lied about going to the Greenhouse. It was obvious that Dutton was grasping for straws and didn't want to admit it.

"How do you propose we find out whether this is true or not?" Rhodes asked curiously.

"Well we ask Dr. Xenakis of course. If he says that he was in the infirmary, than he was obviously mistaken. If not, then I think that Kilpatrick is still a prime suspect," Dutton insisted.

"Fine, we'll have to remember to ask Dr. Xenakis about that?"


"No, I want to go through these names first." Rhodes responded, motioning for the man to sit down again. They had a lot of names left to cover. Thibaudet looked at what Rhodes had pencilled in, three question marks. They were getting nowhere by this method!

Each step had to be taken carefully, the stairs proving much more difficult to maneuver than he'd expected. He was so close that he could almost taste it in his mouth. However, he did not want to alarm them quite yet. Stealth was the only way to go. Each step took a few moments, his claws tapping lightly on the slightly roughened texture. It was a little hard on his toes, but he cared not, his goal was all that mattered. A little pain now would be rewarded by things that he knew were right and good.

The voices sounded as if they were next to him now. He peered over the top of the new level that came into view. Nobody was directly in sight, but across from him, through another aparature was the sound and scents that he had been following. He could only see one figure, that of a figure reclining, eyes closed, mouth hanging open absently. How odd. He felt his hot breath coming from his mouth all the more. He could almost taste it, even the blood and meat he had supped upon could not compare with this, the sweetest fruit of all: doing what he knew to be good.

He put his hands on the side of the floor above him, and slowly worked his way up to the next floor. His fur was still a bit slick, but he did not slip, nor did he get tangled up. It was still a mess, but it was much better than before. He was careful not to let his toenails scratch at the floor as he stood back to his full height. His task was but meters in front of him, awaiting him. He could hear the beckoning call those voices calling out to him longingly, seeking his help, and asking for him to do what was right. He would oblige them with the fullness of his heart.

"Why bother?" Thibaudet asked finally.

"Because we want to find out who did this." Dutton replied testily.

"But you've discussed three people and you've not come to a conclusion on any of them. How is that going to be any different for the others?"

"Well, it's got to be one of them!" Rhodes exclaimed.

"Unless you have another idea." Dutton ribbed him sullenly.

"Well, I just think that you all need to get statements first before you can really say one way or the other on any of this. I mean really, if you know where they claim to be, then perhaps you can corroborate it with what you already know and then make reasonable conclusions." Thibaudet thought it was a good idea. It certainly would be what he would have done, and be doing right at this moment. While they were looking for clues, they could also talk to people and get stories down. If they fit, then there would be little reason to suspect them, but certainly not everybody's would fit, and there might be an account of somebody seeing a person leave unexpectedly. If they would just ask about, then perhaps they could come to an answer faster and less painfully.

Rhodes nodded, "We were planning on doing that anyway, but only after we know what we can ask them. That is what we are doing here, formulating a list of questions that we can ask."

"All I see are question marks."

"I have a good memory," Rhodes rebutted.

Thibaudet shrugged as he sarcastically remarked, "Okay, I guess I don't know much really about all this investigative stuff. I'm just a scientist who has to eliminate the impossible from the improbable eight hours a day."

"Oh knock it off," Dutton grumbled. "What do you know?"

"What do I know?" Thibaudet seemed surprised by the question. "I know that we are overlooking something very important here. Whoever killed Tembo did it with a series of four parallel slashes of about equal length on the face and chest. Nobody in his or her right mind would bother cutting somebody that many times, when a simple cut across the neck would suffice. I think that whoever did this made those slash marks on purpose."

"Why would somebody do that?"

"I don't know. But they had to be pretty messed up in the head. Could the slashes have been done all at the same time?"

"Perhaps, as I said a Freddie Krueger impersonator," Dutton remarked.

"Or one of the Shapeshifters perhaps?" Rhodes whimsically suggested.

Thibaudet must have really let Darkwolf's words get to him, because he was beginning to sound quite irrational, even to himself. "Perhaps it is a werewolf or something? As far as we know, it would be a perfectly reasonable explanation of what has happened here. Tembo died shortly after we reached the full moon, why not a werewolf?"

"This coming from the scientist, who has to eliminate the impossible form the improbably eight hours a day," Rhodes muttered to himself.

Dutton rolled his eyes, and then stared at him hard, "Look Pierre, I hope you don't seriously believe that. There is no such thing as a...." his eyes had moved past Thibaudet and became immovably locked on something behind them. His whole body began to quiver, and after a moment he began to scoot backwards on his rear, away from the two of them. "Fuck...." was all he could manage as his lips trembled, and his hand reached for his sidearm.

Both Thibaudet and Rhodes turned about in their chairs, to face something that should not exist. In it came through the open doorway, stalking the sleeping figure of Danielpour who remained blissfully unaware of what was bearing down on him. It was huge, immense beyond belief; at least eight feet in height, towering over all of them, making them shrink like mice into obscurity. It was covered in sticky dark fur, with a long billowing tail that reached to its ankles. It walked on its toes; sharp claws making clicking noises as it stepped. The shape was humanoid, and the body which was covered in fur, with a tail and digitgrade feet, could have easily been mistaken on a dark night for a large man, except for what sat atop it's broad shoulders. The head was monstrous, fangs extended as the creature leaned over the unsuspecting Danielpour; ears upstanding on either side, laid flat back against the skull, and the black nostrils flaring as he breathed deeply in the excitement. There could be no doubt in any of their minds, this was a werewolf.

"Malcolm! Look out!" Rhodes shouted, as he drew his own weapon. Malcolm was still too move. The beast swung the chair around, and then with one swipe slashed open Malcolm's chest. Danielpour sat bolt upright in his chair, his eyes wide with terror, his arms coming up to feel the sickly splatter of his own blood on his lap. He tried to scream, but there was no sound in it as he began to cough up blood, before finally toppling out of the chair at the werewolf's feet.

Thibaudet fell from his own seat, scurrying backward into the bulkhead, his whole body trembling by what he saw. There was no time for reflection, no time for a scientific appraisal, no time for even a cursory glance, only time to run. The only problem was the werewolf stood before the only entrance like some messenger of death. It had come, and there could be no doubt about it, they were going to die.

Rhodes was more composed however. He had stood from his chair, and aimed his sidearm at the beastís head, and fired off a quick shot. The creature put up a hand to its ear, which had been nicked by the blast. The creature though, had continued to advance upon them. Rhodes took a step back, putting the chair between him and the creature. He aimed a bit lower, and fired again, hitting the creature in the shoulder. This time it stumbled backward, the blood oozing out through the werewolf's paw as it tried to hold it in.

Dutton finally got up to his feet, pulling Thibaudet with him. He fired into the beastís chest, emptying his clip into it, not willing to take any chances. The beast took each bullet solidly; shaking and howling in rage as it was pummeled. Rhodes stepped back to join the others, his eyes not moving from the creature, "Can you believe what we are seeing?"

Both shook their heads, Thibaudet remembering something else that was important. He tried to find his voice, but he couldn't seem to get any words out, except a low moan of fear. The creature was still alive; if everything he'd heard was true. He tugged on Rhodes's shoulder, indicating the door with a finger. Rhodes nodded, seeing the creature stir. He fired another bullet into it, seeing more blood pour out. It was then that they noticed that the shoulder wound was no longer bleeding.

"Oh shit." Dutton murmured, his knees beginning to knock together. The creature propped himself up, and stared at them, his teeth glistening, and his tongue thirsty. There was no time for escape, within mere moments it was standing again, the injuries it sustained appeared to be healing before there eyes. Thoughts of impossible or how were saved for later as their own lives hung in the balance. They watched as the creatureís muscles tensed up. It then jumped at them, claws outstretched, ready to snatch them up to kill them too. They held no illusions about their chances, but they took them anyway. All three jumped out of the way, towards the door.

Thibaudet felt the barest touch of the creature, not enough to leave a mark, but it had for the briefest of moments come in contact with him, a moment that he would not easily forget. Rhodes turned about instantly, and shot the creature again, sending it sprawling with the force of the impact. Dutton, out of bullets, just ran for the door. Thibaudet was quick on his heels, out the door and into the hallway. Rhodes was out the door next, while the werewolf was picking himself up again. Rhodes closed the door, and then pointed with his gun down the hallway, "Run you idiots! Run!"

The three of them dashed madly down the hallways of the third floor, turning about an intersection when they heard the door behind them open up, and the sound of panting and the clicking of claws on the floor coming after them. The creature was much faster than they were, and they were not going to have any chance of escape unless they acted fast. Rhodes pointed at the first door they came to, and the three dashed in. It was the Greenhouse, and there were only two people there, one of them an older male digging in the dirt and the other a young woman who was siting on the ground looking like she was going to cry.

Of course, none of that was as important as stopping their pursuer. Rhodes closed the door quickly, and it wasn't two seconds more that the creature slammed into it, the face snarling in the glass plate. Rhodes saw one of the paws reach down towards where the latch was. He quickly pulled his card from his pocket and slid it through the access panel. He pressed a red button, disabling outside access. "Quick, close the other three doors. I've got to disable them."

"What's going on?" the man asked, and then he saw what was snarling behind the glass, and he began to shake, "What's that?"

"Don't talk, just help!" Dutton shouted as he ran to the opposite door. Rhodes ran down to the door at the opposite end of the Greenhouse, Thibaudet speeding ahead of him.

The girl stood there, seeing the creature in the glass bang on the door a few times before taking off down the hallway towards where the captain was heading. She then chased after him, hoping to help him, in case they were too late. "Hurry up, it's heading your way!" she shouted, not sure how else she could be of immediate help.

Thibaudet was the first to reach the door, and he closed it immediately. A moment later and there was the werewolf staring in at him, the paw reaching for the button. Rhodes tossed Pierre the card, still a few meters away. Thibaudet took the card, slid it through the slot, and then pushed the red button. The creature began to bang on the door a few times, and then he was off down the hallway again. Thibaudet ran to the door opposite him across the Greenhouse.

"Hurry, he's almost here!" the man said who stood by the closed door. Thibaudet saw the werewolf get there a moment ahead of him. The werewolf though didn't stop to even try the door, but saw what Thibaudet was carrying and was off down towards the last entrance. Thibaudet didn't take any moment to think about it, he slipped the card through the slot and then dashed towards the fourth and final entrance. "Hold that door shut Dutton!"

Dutton nodded, putting his back against one side and his arms locked tight on the handle. Rhodes, the girl and the other guy all ran to help him while Thibaudet pushed the red button locking out the third door. He then dashed as quickly as he could towards the others, but he knew that he was going to be late. He was only halfway across the large field when Dutton screamed for help. The girl was the closest, and she pushed on his back, as the werewolf pushed the button to open the door. It tried it's hardest to open against the combined force of Dutton and the girl, but it did not move very much, just enough for the werewolf to slip one of it's claws through.

Apparently, that was enough for the werewolf, who began to push the door inwards, sliding into the wall, and making a larger and larger opening for it to slip through. Rhodes arrived next, leaning into Dutton's back, stifling the werewolf's advances even further, but still it was not enough. The creature reached one of its thick furred arms through and raked Dutton's left arm with its claws. Dutton let out a howl of pain as the blood began to flow, and his hand became too weak to hold against the monster.

Thibaudet continued running as fast as he could, all the action seeming to move so slowly for him, yet so unstoppable, as the distance between him and the door became insurmountable, greater and greater with each passing meter. He held out the card, as if that would bring him closer to his destination, anything to stem the perpetual advance of the werewolf. If it got into the Greenhouse, then they would all end up like Danielpour had, sliced to ribbons.

The man picked up a shovel from a small utilities closet that was next to the door, and then began to hit the werewolf's arm with all of his strength. The creature let out a howl of anger, pulling its arm back from the heavy blows. The arm finally slipped back through the door, and it slid shut again. The werewolf then began to push on it with his other arm, but it was too late. Thibaudet reached the panel, and slipped the card through the slot. He then pushed the red button, sealing all five of them in the Greenhouse, and the werewolf outside of it. They were safe.

Part VII continued!

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