By The Light Of A Silvery Moon – Lukah’s Tale.

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BY THE LIGHT OF A SILVERY MOON
By Mad Max 2001
Book 1 Lukah’s Tale
By all accounts, at least those which yet remain, Lukah Ivanych Ryzek was nothing more than your typical little boy who grew up in a traditional Romanian household sometime back in the early 17th century. His father was a stern and austere man of little humor whose habits consisted chiefly of drinking, cursing his fate, and beating the living hell out of his wife and children for no apparent reason.
Mainly it was his children who bore the brunt of his ire. Lukah had three siblings, an older sister named Giesette, and two younger brothers whose names were Nikolas, and Piertre. Little information remains to this day about Lukah's brothers but it is said Lukah believed that Giesette had hung the moon especially for him. He doted upon her tirelessly as she doted upon him in return. Oftentimes, Giesette would sneak past the room where their parents were either sleeping, fighting or fornicating, and slip unseen into her brothers' tiny bedroom where she tutored the three of them in reading, writing, and the finer points of surviving in the harsh reality that was Romania in the formative years of the 17th century.
More often than not, however; her mission was to put homemade salve on the welts and contusions on, Lukah's back where their father had used a heavy leather strap that he enjoyed using for the purpose of teaching his son’s the meaning of the word discipline from time to time lest they dared to forget.
Lukah’s mother, Penda, disapproved of her husband’s actions but not once did she ever dare to try and stand up to him lest he should turn and take his anger out on her instead. Penda could do nothing more than watch helplessly as her husband brutalized her beloved sons in his drunken rages.
Lukah was never happier then than when the day finally came that he was old enough to tend to the family’s little flock of sheep. This new duty meant that Lukah would be required to be out in the pastures tending to them for weeks at a time until his father finally decided to come and relieve him for a few days. Since Lukah would be taking the place of a hired man it also meant that he would receive a small allowance that amounted to half of what the hired man had made.
“It's because you are family and you must pay me for your room and board now that you are a working man.” Was the reason his father had given him when Lukah finally worked up the courage to ask him about it.
Young Lukah thought that this was nothing more than a cartload of sheep dung but he dare not say so within the hearing of his father. He was 13 years old now and Lukah figured that before too long he could have enough money put away that he would be able to leave the company of his loving family, and set off to make a life of his own.
The young man often dreamed of one day becoming a world-famous sea captain. In his dreams, Lukah would sail his ship across the boundless oceans to far and exotic lands such as America or the mysterious islands in the South Pacific. On those nights, young Lukah would lie awake at night and daydream of lucrative trade deals with tribes of fierce cannibals and of the charms of half-naked island women whose beauty surpassed that of the rarest orchid.
Some nights Lukah would sail his world-famous ship around the Cape of Africa where he would boldly trade with noble savages for gold, ivory, and exotic furs. Many times he fended off the unrelenting attacks of marauding pirates off of the Barbary Coast until the barbarians learned to fear the impact of a 21 gun salute from his broadside battery.
Lukah knew in his heart that his destiny must lie upon the bounding brine across the depths of the world's oceans. He knew that one fine day he would stand at the helm of his own vessel as he shouted orders out to his crew of salty and seasoned sailors as he steered the ship to wealth and fame through the teeth of fearsome gales and hurricanes.
Such was the nature of the dreams that Lukah was dreaming on the night his life tacked into its own course in spite of him and every dream he had of ever dreamed would shatter into a thousand tiny little pieces as the night was shattered by the unmistakable sound of a wolf howling off in the distance. At the sound of the wolf's cry, Lukah sat bolt upright and strained his ears to listen. Quickly he threw several more pieces of wood onto his little campfire.
Out in the meadow, he could easily see the ghostly pale images of his little flock, and the loyal old family sheepdog, Mongol who was out there with them making sure that none of the sheep wandered off away from the safety of the flock, and that nothing wandered in amongst them.
The sheep, for their part, did not seem to be too concerned about the wolf's cries so Lukah didn't feel as though he should be too concerned either. All the same, he added one more chunk of wood to the fire. But only because he felt that it was necessary,
"To take the chill from the night air." he said bravely to himself as he tried not to think about how scared he really was. Lukah picked out one large piece of firewood roughly the size of a man's arm and carried it with him as he made the rounds just to make sure that all was well with his flock.
When next Lukah heard the wolf howl a few minutes later he said to himself that the sound was coming from further away. But to tell the truth, Lukah was unable to tell one way or the other. When that truth began seeping slowly into his conscience he told himself that
"At least the wolf did not sound as though it was any closer either." he whispered to himself.
Unbeknownst to Lukah, however; the wolf was coming closer with each passing second and it was looking for him..
He was never so happy to see the moon rise before when at long last it cleared the tops of the majestic Carpathian Mountains and peered down upon his little meadow; bathing it and the trees of the nearby forest in its silvery light. This made it much easier for Lukah to see his flock and he took some comfort there.
Although the moon had risen an hour before, it was only now becoming visible above the craggy tors that had kept it from his sight. At first glance, Lukah was greatly comforted by the silvery sheen of the soft moonlight but as it rose above the mountains and hung there full in the night sky, Lukah could no longer say to himself that he was not scared by the wolf's distant howl.
He had heard numerous tales about the dreaded beast that men called werewolves. Monsters in the shape of men that roamed the land when the moon was full killing unwary little shepherd boys and eating their beating hearts right out of their mangled chest cavities.
A mere wolf was not enough to scare Lukah, but the mere thought of coming face to face with a werewolf was more than enough to do the trick. He leaned over and added several more pieces of wood to the fire, never realizing that this would only make it impossible for him to see anything beyond the circle of the flames. Or that it made him visible for miles around.
When the wolf howled now for the third time it was painfully obvious to Lukah that it was much closer to him than it was before. Just a month before to the day Lukah had heard someone telling the tale of a shepherd that had been killed and then partially eaten by a werewolf only 30 miles away from his own flock.
In the preceding months before that attack, there had been rumors that there may have been others as well that had become the prey of a werewolf. Hunting parties had of course been sent out and one of them had been fortunate enough to identify one of the monsters and they had unceremoniously put it to its death with a single bullet made of pure silver straight through the beast's heart.
Just then Lukah would have given anything and everything he owned to have a pistol in his hands or even a rifle. A few cannon would suit me just fine he said to himself, As long as it was loaded with silver bullets or balls. Sadly to say, however, he did not have any such thing. But by the same token, he was far from being unarmed or defenseless.
Since a time far beyond the memories of mortal men, Romania has been a breeding grounds for monsters, or so it often seems. But the reality of it is that there were only two types of monsters that are known to be native to the country, and those, of course, were vampires, and werewolves.
Baron Von Frankenstein’s famous monster would not be created until the 20th century. And since that monster was actually the creation of a mad scientist and not a natural-born monster like the other two aforementioned beasties of the night is, he isn't counted in such a census.
Even though Lukah's father only cared whether or not his oldest son got eaten alive by a werewolf, or had his life's blood drained out of him by a vampire because it would mean he would have to pay another hired-hand twice the amount of money as he usually paid Lukah to guard his sheep. Penda did care though and worried about him. When Lukah had taken on the job of tending their flock Penda had given him what was known as the Good Shepherd's Cross. And 8-inch wooden cross that would Ward away any vampires as long as he held onto it. But if one had a werewolf to deal with then there was a 6-inch silver blade that could be exposed for use by simply taking the bottom of the cross with served as a type of sheath for the silver blade and pulling it off. A small silver knife was hardly any defense against a werewolf as anyone might guess, but it was far better than nothing at all and Lukah knew it. And so he discarded the club for the cross his mother had given him for protection against the bloodthirsty Monsters of Romania. Lukah held the tiny silver knife in his trembling hand as he added still more wood to his fire which was already rather large. The big silvery orb of the full moon rode high overhead now, yet Lukah had not heard the wolf howl for well over an hour. That could mean that it was very far away, or it could mean that it was now very close by. He would have given anything to hear another howl, preferably one from a great distance away. But all he heard was the crackling of the dry wood burning in his fire pit, and the faint rustling of leaves in the trees. Merely this, and nothing more.
The long black ghosts of the Shadows cast about him by his campfire danced capriciously along the ground and in the trees keeping the rhythm of the flickering yellow flames feeding hungrily upon the sticks of dry wood that Lukah had heaped upon the fire. If he had only known how close he had come to following another of fates pathways. If he had only known, that as he sat huddled by his fire thinking how lucky he was to have gathered up extra firewood, that day a pair of golden eyes glowed nearby with the faint firelight which reaches them even from that distance. His name was Viktor Chernov and he had been drawn to the firelight like a moth to a candle.
His search of the surrounding Forest had been unfruitful and Viktor was beginning to feel the sharp pangs of hunger growing in his belly when a stray flicker of light had caught his attention and brought him to where he now stood in hiding beside the large trunk of an old elm tree. Viktor used its shadow for cover as he observed the young Shepherd boy huddled beside the fire. He could see that the young man was clutching something shiny in his small Fists. If Lukah had only known that it was the size of his fire that had betrayed him and would now be his undoing he would probably have banked it. But it was far too late for him to save himself from his own folly.
The wind, which was at Lukah's back, blew between Viktor and the Sheepdog, Mongol who might have warned Lukah of the werewolf's presence (for all of the good that would have done him), however; it turned out to be for the best that he remained ignorant of his peril until the very last moment.
The werewolf slid along in the deep dark shadows of the trees as silent as a shade, invisible in the low light of the silvery moon and the starry night sky. The hunger was gnawing away at his mind now and Viktor knew that he had to eat soon or suffer terribly.
During most of his days and nights, Viktor Chernov worked as an actor for his daily bread. He was a member of a troupe of talented men and women who traveled around the countryside from village to village, and town to town putting on the latest plays for people who otherwise might never have the chance to see them. None of these people would have guessed that their old friend and favorite actor was not only old but extremely old. He had even once met William Shakespeare himself when he auditioned for the part of Iago in Shakespeare's newest play, Hamlet. Viktor had barely changed at all in the past 135 years that he had roamed across Europe and Asia hunting, killing, and eating human beings.
Viktor Chernov was a werewolf and had been a werewolf since the fateful night many long years before when a hunting party, of which he had been a member, was attacked by a pair of werewolves that were hunting in tandem. He alone had escaped, but not unscathed.
One of the werewolves had gotten ahold of him and had torn into him pretty good. Another member of that ill-fated hunting party had hit Viktor's attacker in the back of its fearsome head with a flaming limb from the fire. While the blow itself was of little consequence to the monster, the fire that quickly spread through its course silvery black fur demanded its immediate attention. As did the man who had done it to him. The now enraged werewolf turned away from Viktor Chernov to take his vengeance upon the soon-to-be-deceased gentleman who dared to challenge a nightmare with nothing more than a burning stick in his hands. That man was Viktor's father.
He fought the monster bravely but his best efforts were futile against an opponent who outmatched him four to one in his wolfen state. The werewolf ducked as the man swung his club, taking a mighty blow upon its shoulder with no more notice than a fly landing there. The monster pounced like a lion upon the Elder Chernov and they grappled mightily hand-to-hand. But not for long as the inhuman strength of the werewolf quickly overcame that of the weaker human being.
Viktor had wisely used the distraction which his father had sacrificed himself to provide and crawled away into the black shadows, melting away Into the night. He crawled but a short distance before he came to a fast running stream, and as he slipped down the banks into the swiftly flowing current he heard his father's horrendous screams of terror and pain end abruptly. He watched as the werewolf sank It's large sharp canine teeth into his father's throat and ripped it out.
His father had given his life in order to save his only son who now floated away downstream like a chunk of driftwood. The two werewolves had plenty of food to choose from among the bodies of the other five members of Viktor's hunting party so they need not bother with him nor did they even remember him. It would have been much better for him, he had often thought since, if they had killed him as well.
He had very nearly died from his injuries, but Viktor was soon discovered lying on the banks of the stream by an old crone. He was weak, freezing cold, and delirious, barely even alive. The kindly old woman took him back to her home using her sway-backed old horse and a homemade travois to drag him with. The old woman had sewn Viktor up and dressed his other wounds which were numerous. The werewolf had separated his left shoulder, broken his right arm, his right leg, and his left wrist. He had then further compounded the damage by crawling away from the scene and into the stream.
The same stream that carried him away had also washed his wounds clean of dirt and infection. But not all of the infection, unfortunately, for the bites and claw marks which he now bore in his right shoulder where the means of entry for an enzyme secreted by the werewolf for reasons unknown to modern science. That enzyme was now alive and well in Viktor's bloodstream and changing his cellular structure. As he lay recuperating in the old woman's feather bed, Viktor's genetic code was being rewritten within.
He now had a second code which had attached itself to the first and suspended it in place indefinitely. Viktor was now a much different man than ever before because that strange enzyme was actually what had saved his life by making him immortal. By turning him into a werewolf.
He was slowly recovering under the old woman's care when fate stepped in and forged yet another link. The second link in a long chain of tragic events. Viktor had come to like the old lady very much over the past 28 days that he had been her patient and he was determined that he would repay her kindness with heaps of silver and gold just as soon as he was able to get around on his own again. Unfortunately for the both of them, however; those plans never got a chance to materialize. On the 29th evening of Viktor's convalescence, and the 30th day since the attack that claimed his father's life, the moon rose full and bright overhead once more casting silvery gray shadows upon the land below.
Inside of Viktor's newly recoded body, the pull of the full moon set off a chain reaction. Within his new cellular structure that code responded radically to the second genetic code. In a matter of seconds, Viktor had gone from being a human being to a beast known as a lycanthrope. Or in layman's terms, a werewolf.
First course dark gray and brown hair had sprouted all over his body his ears became elongated and pointed his fingernails sprouted into 3-inch long razor-sharp claws as did his toenails. His face underwent the greatest change of all as his eyes sunk in too deep recessed pockets and his nose and mouth became an elongated snout much like that of a dog or a wolf. Is new snout was chopped full of razor-sharp canine teeth made especially for ripping human flesh from bone. Viktor's wounds had healed instantly. The old woman who had nursed him back to health had taken one look at her patient whose paralyzed now glow blood red in the Light of the Silvery Moon which shone full and bright through the open window of the bedroom and she had mercifully spared herself a horrible death by dropping dead from heart failure she had literally been scared to death. As much as he was in her debt, Viktor was also never one to let perfectly good food go to waste. So naturally, he ate her.
The old lady had been only the first victim of many down through numerous decades and now Viktor crouched in the Dark Shadows preparing to pounce upon another unsuspecting victim and devour its vital organs in order to feed his need for human flesh and blood. Viktor's hand fell upon a good-sized stone that was lying upon the ground in an idea came to him. Picking up the stone he hurled it out any high-arc over the head of the young Shepherd boy and the heavy Rock landed behind Luka with a dull thud. Lukahs head spun around sharply at the sound and his eyes trained to make out anything in the darkness beyond the circle of light from his campfire but his contracted pupils made that all but impossible.
Seeing his chance to spring while the boy was distracted by the clever ploy of the stone Viktor leaped out of his hiding place at the edge of the trees.
He closed the distance between them as quickly and soundlessly as a cat so that Lukah never heard him coming as the werewolf closed in for the kill. Nor would he had it not been for a tiny twig that had been blown out of a tree branch just days before. The brittle twig snapped under the werewolves foot as he launched himself across the remaining distance separating his gleaming white teeth from the soft, tender flesh of Lukah's exposed throat. At the sound of the dry Twigs snapping, Luka who was already wound up tighter than the mainspring in a cheap watch, spun back around with the small silver knife held out defiantly in front of him. The sudden change from dark back to the relatively Bright Light of the campfire Dazzle Lucca's eyes which had dilated to help him to see better in the dark all he could see was an instant blur of movement streaking towards him from Over the Top of the fire before the werewolf slammed into him. Its teeth missed his throat by mere inches and a white-hot pain exploded and Lukah's head is too powerful jaws closed down upon his shoulder. Acting purely on Instinct Lukah had thrust silver knife towards his attacker as its weight and momentum knocked him flat on his back. The werewolves teeth were torn from his flesh which intensified the pain in Lukah's shoulder as it rolled over him and came to arrest lying crumpled in the grass. Lukah looked at the still lifeless body of the werewolf then at the Good Shepherd knife he still held in his hand. The fragile but extremely sharp silver blade had been snapped off where it joined with the handle. Looking back over at the werewolf's corpse he could see the gleaming silver tip of his blade protruding from the monster's back, squarely over where its black heart would be.
Lukah looked at the broken knife, then back to the body, to the knife, and then back to the body again. He thought he felt something warm running down his chest and arm and he looked down at the shredded shoulder of his shirt and in the bright firelight, he could see that his shoulder was just as torn up as his shirt was. "These stains will never wash out." he heard himself say as he passed out cold.
He awakened just after Dawn to find the sun peeking over the low rolling hills to the east, and Mongol licking at his face and the bloody wounds on his shoulder. Lukah grimaced from the pain in that shoulder with flared up anew as he pushed the big shaggy sheepdog away from his face. For a moment he thought that last night must have been a dream. That is until the sight of his bloody and badly mauled shoulder and the attendant pain that was screaming at him brought the memory of the werewolf's attack rushing back to him like a floodgate bursting in his mind.
As he pushed Mongol away and rose slowly into a sitting position he looked around at the scene in the meadow. Albeit slowly so as not to aggravate the deep gashes in his shoulder any further. In front of him, the last small fragments of unburned firewood were slowly smoldering away to ashes in the fire pit. Several feet behind him lay the naked remains of what had once been a man known simply as Viktor to those who met him.
Mongol has gone to investigate the body himself and with a show of the sheepdog's natural disdain for the wolf, hiked his hind leg and urinated on Viktor's head and shoulders before turning around and boldly scratching dirt in his face with his hind feet. "Go on Mongol get away from there! Go watch the Sheep! Go!" he ordered and the big sheepdog ambled away to do as he had been told by his master. Lukah climbed stiffly and unsteadily to his feet, the pain throbbing like a beating heart in his raw and oozing shoulder wounds and he moved closer to examine the lifeless body of Viktor Chernov and stared down at the corpse with revulsion. It was the first one he had ever seen before.
It would not be the last.
The man who appeared to Lukah to be no more than 30 years old seemed as though he might have been asleep. But the rigor mortis that had already set into in the arm Lukah had attempted to raise up, coupled with the half inch of a solid silver blade from Lukah's knife sticking up through a small bloodstain on the man's chest. Directly over his cold dead heart.
Lukah fell to his knees beside Viktor's body and retched the contents of his stomach out onto the dew-laden grass. That's when the shakes came and Lukah cried uncontrollably his chest wracked by great heaving sobs as he realized just how close he had come to being werewolf chow.
Once the shakes and the crying fit had passed, Lukah began to assess his situation, and examine his options. On one hand, he could report the attack to his father, who would probably beat him half to death before he reported it to the Council of Elders, who might not believe his story either and beat him as well. Possibly even to death. Then there was the very real possibility that the council would believe his story and decide to kill him just to make certain that he was not also going to turn into a werewolf as a result of the wounds which the werewolf had inflicted upon him the shakes finally passed Lukah begin to assess the situation.
On one hand, he could report this to his father who would probably beat him and then revolvers reported to the Village Council of Elders who would either not believe his story and beat him possibly even to death. Then there was the very real possibility that the council would believe his story and want to kill him just to make sure that he was not going to become a werewolf as a result of his wounds. Or, since there were no Witnesses alive to tell anyone what happened besides himself Lukah could if he was so inclined to clean and bind up his wounds inflicted by the werewolf's teeth.
Or, since there were no witnesses besides himself, Mongol, and the sheep, Lukah could clean up the wounds himself, dispose of the werewolf's body, and tell nobody anything about it. Lukah spent all of 2 minutes mulling it over before reaching a decision. Viktor Chernov's body slowly but surely turned to ash and eventually became as dust in the wind over the immense pyre that Lukah built to dispose of the evidence.
First, Lukah removed his bloody shirt. Carefully he pulled away the strips of homespun material that had dried into the deep gashes and puncture wounds on his shoulder. Some of them he had to cut away from the shirt and use hot water which he boiled in a pan set upon Viktor's funeral pyre to soften up the dried blood that held before he could remove the pieces of cloth from his wounds. It was a very slow and painful process, but by using the rudimentary first aid kit from his supplies he was finally able to clean out the wounds of filthy cloth.
The first aid kit was intended for the benefit of the sheep. Even so it served his purpose. A couple of the deeper gashes would require stitches, but since that was out of the question, the wounds would just have to heal on their own.
At first, Lukah had been worried about having to face his parents in two more weeks when he was scheduled to be relieved by the hired man for another 3 weeks during which time he would have to labor on the family farm. Lukah knew that with the shape his damaged shoulder was in he would not be capable of performing his chores without revealing those injuries. He had no doubt whatsoever that is Father would not hesitate to beat him senseless in order to find out what had caused them. And then he would be dragged before the council and his fate would be sealed.
But then, much to Lukahs relief, his younger brother came unexpectedly to tell him that the hired man had gotten into a fist fight with their father over his wages. The hired man had asked their father for a raise in pay to which the drunken, Ivan had replied,
"You are not even worth half of what I pay you now you stinking thief!" The hired hand had responded by breaking Ivan's nose and blackening both of his eyes before quitting and leaving to go in search of more gainful employment elsewhere. Lukahs younger brother, Nikolas had been sent by their father to drop off food and supplies for him and to inform Lukah that since Ivan had been unable to hire another sheepherder, he, meaning Lukah was going to have to remain in the field for 3 more weeks.
Lukah knew that at the low wages his tight-fisted father offered he would be lucky if he saw home before winter. That was when the flock was to be sheltered from the harsh snowstorms and freezing winds that could easily wipe out the entire flock with only a single bad storm. Lukah told his younger brother to return home and tell their father that he would stay out for as long as he was needed there. He did not see home again until the first week of November when he and Mongol drove the flock to their winter stables in the big barn behind the main house.
Lukah had spent a great deal of that time caring for his wounded shoulder and replaying the attack over and over again in his mind. He worried for countless hours on end over whether or not the dead werewolf had passed its curse on to him through the wounds it had inflicted. By his Reckoning the full moon would rise once again on the 2nd day of April and then, he figured, he would know the answer one way or the other.
All throughout the last day of April Lukah was anxious and tense. He felt like he could almost feel the weight of the as yet unseen moon pressing down upon him. Mongol felt it, even the sheep picked up on his agitation and milled about nervously as though they were expecting a predator or perhaps some other disaster to strike them at any moment. When Lukah went out to check on them the sheep and shied away from him and Mongol had barked and growled at him, refusing to come near his master. Something he had never done before. That was when Lukah knew for certain, but even still he chose to deny it in the slim hope that perhaps his encounter with the werewolf had ended with its death. Then as the sun begins to set behind the distant mountains bathing the new pasture land that Lukah had moved the flock to, in golden-red light, the sheep became even more nervous yet. It was all Mongol to do to keep them from bolting off into the darkness where wolves awaited to dine on lost and unprotected sheep.
Lukah's trepidation rose with every passing minute as he awaited moonrise. He began to feel a strange tingling sensation and a terrible itch beneath the bandages covering most of his right shoulder and so he removed them in order to examine the wounds and also so that he could scratch the maddening itch. Once he had to remove the bandages he leaned towards the campfire light so that he could see better Lukah was shocked to see that all of the wounds which had still looked pretty nasty the day before were almost completely healed already .
And that wasn't all there was to it either for there by the firelight, Lukah could see that the wounds were in the process of healing themselves at a rapid rate. Then suddenly they all disappeared all together, leaving not so much as a scar to be seen anywhere on his skin.
Before Lukah could whisper more than, "What the hell?" a thick coat of silver-black fur began growing all over the exposed areas of his body. His trousers fell off in tattered rags as his legs and muscles began expanding and lengthening beneath the luxurious growth of hair on his legs. When Lukah looked up and down along his brand new elongated snout he could see the top rim of the full moon as it slowly rose over the same mountains behind which the sun had vanished just a couple of hours before.
As he watched, his fingernails grew out into long narrow claws capable of cleaving through human flesh and bone like a hot knife passes through butter. Lukah no longer had to wonder. His questions had all been answered. Viktor Chernov's final act upon this Earth had been to, even if inadvertently, pass along his affliction to his final victim. Lukah had escaped a hideous and certain death, but a terrible price. He was now cursed forever to walk the Earth a horrendous bloodthirsty man-eating monster. One with the strength of four grown men, limitless endurance, super sensitive senses of sight, hearing, and smell.
And best of all, he was now immortal! For as long as he could manage not to stop any silver bullets with his heart or to impale it upon any silver blades like Viktor, whose ashes now fertilize the grass is in the lonely valley where he and Lukah had both met their separate yet conjoined fates.
"Cursed?" Lukah thought to himself," well perhaps in a pig's eye! I'm not cursed I'm almost a living God! No longer am I a mortal boy who tends sheet, but a walking talking nightmare come to life!" A long wailing howl pierced the night as Lukah threw back his head and paid homage to his new master in the heavens. The big round glowing disc of the full moon. He then set off in search of the person who would be the first of a countless number of victims to fall prey to him each time the full moon rose over the next 200+ years to come.
In Lukah's mind, he had not been cursed, he had been set free. He instinctively transformed himself into a wolf and loped off across the rolling meadows, running with an effortless grace that thrilled the young werewolf to his very soul. This was freedom and freedom was good! Lukah stretched out his long powerful legs and ran full speed. He chased his Moonshadow as it raced ahead of him to the east.
In a grassy depression in a lush Green Meadow up ahead, a tiny campfire fed upon the dry branches that a lone shepherd fed into it from time to time. He was singing Romanian folk songs and playing his battered old guitar to his flock of wooly critters. The man, whose name was Gregor, believed that the music was good for the sheep's nerves. It also kept him from being quite so lonely during the long night watches. Gregor had only been employed on this job for two weeks following the end of his employment with Ivan Ryzek who did not want to pay a man a decent wage compared to what others were paying.
Gregor had made up the difference in his wages by smashing Ivan's bulbous red nose all over his ugly face before taking his meager possessions and quitting the Ryzek place for good. He felt sorry for the Ryzek children. And felt a little guilty for leaving right before he was scheduled to take over for the oldest boy, Lukah whom he really liked. But hey, he thought sometimes it's every man for himself and the devil takes the hindmost. Gregor took his old harmonica out of his shirt pocket and said,
"This one's for you Lukah." as he begins to blow a slow sad Romanian ballad that Gregor fancied was a favorite of the flock, as it was his own.
It is often said that one man's trash is another man's treasure, or to put it another way, one man's melody is an unbearable din to another. While the human and his flock of sheep may have been enjoying the music, to the super keen ears of the werewolf it was an unbearable screeching din of noise. It was also serving as a beacon and guiding the white-fanged killer straight to his first victim.
The werewolf could smell the sheepherder from nearly half a mile away as the light spring breezes played over his wolfen nose feeding him information. Lukah could even smell the man's sheepdog, a German Shepherd and he could not mistake the nasty smell of the flock. He could even smell the smoke of the campfire and the leftover mutton stew the shepherd had eaten for dinner and left sitting out. The stale unmasked smell of the man himself seemed somewhat familiar to Lukah but he didn't give it a great deal of thought.
His keen eyes glowing bright red in the moonlight spotted the flickering light of the small campfire head and the big wolf bounded over the last mile just over two minutes. Running silently across the ground on big padded feet neither the sheep nor the vigilant German Shepherd guarding them heard the killer coming until it fell roaring into the camp, plowing into Gregor at full force. Lukah had seen and recognized Gregor as he raced down into the hollow but it made no difference to him whatsoever I shall dine with an old acquaintance tonight mused the werewolf.
As the final seconds of the man's life ticked away, he blithely played his harmonica to the sheep. From an incredible distance of 20 feet away the huge wolf leaped at the back of the man as he morphed back into his werewolf form. Gregor never knew what hit him as the force of the blow landed upon the back of his head near the base of the skull knocking him unconscious. Mercifully the only pain that he even dimly felt as he sank into black oblivion was dull and seemingly had nothing to do with him at all.
The deep and everlasting darkness of death claimed him as the werewolf got down to the business of butchering him. Gregor's German Shepherds saw the werewolf attack and mistook him for a wolf which was what it smelled like to the canine's nose. A single backhanded blow broke the brave dog's neck instantly. He landed in a heap of fur 15 feet away and died without a whimper.
Lukah thrust his claws deep into Gregor's stomach reaching up underneath his rib cage until his arm was up to the elbow in the man's torso. He felt around inside until his claws found a large chunk of meat which he pulled out only to find that he had removed one of Gregor's lungs. The werewolf tossed it away with a growl and reached back up inside the bloody hole to search again. On the second attempt Lukah pulled out Gregor's gall bladder. He sniffed at it a few times before deciding that it was no good for eating and he threw it away into the grass beside the discarded lung.
On his third try, the werewolf hit paydirt, as it were when he pulled out Gregor's fat healthy liver which he popped into his mouth and consumed with great relish. Then, taking one of Gregor's legs in his claws he ripped it away at the hip as easily as a child will pull the wings from a fly and he set the thick fleshy upper thigh on the glowing coals of the shepherd's campfire that only a few minutes before had warmed the man. Now it cooked him providing the new werewolf with his first taste of barbequed human flesh. Reaching way back up inside of Gregor's chest cavity, the werewolf's groping claws found his heart and ripped it away from its moorings. Lukah popped the blood-filled muscle into his mouth whole and bit down on it. The hot blood gushed into his mouth filling it until it ran down his hairy cheeks and dripped onto the fur covering his chest.
To the newly minted werewolf nothing, he had ever eaten tasted as good and he knew that he was already addicted to the warm pleasure the same way a fat kid loves warm apple pie with ice cream. Lukah turned the roasting leg over in the hot coals before he fished out Gregor's kidneys and ate them greedily. Even though the leg had not been cooking for very long, the beast found that he was fond of blood-red meat. He tore off the other leg and put it on the fire while he devoured the first one. When the werewolf had finally eaten his fill he washed down the gruesome feast by dipping Gregor's own cup the partially congealed blood that had pooled up in his torso. Lukah left the cup inside of Gregor's mutilated body once he had drunk his fill and then he passed a bloody belch as he rose from his ghastly meal.
In the dark night, the werewolf could easily see Gregor's flock of wooly boogers staring at him in wide-eyed terror. The sheep, for the most part, were too stupid and too paralyzed from fear to run. Lukah tore through the flock as a scythe mows through ripe wheat. When Lensa Penske, the owner of the sheep, found the gory carnage a week later, the only animal that had not been butchered and strewn around the entire meadow was the dog.
Lukah spent the rest of that glorious evening running about across the moon-drenched landscape over the grassy hills, and meadows until near dawn when he returned to his own camp where he licked the blood from his fur while his own sheep watched in helpless terror. Mongol was of course beside himself barked at him from a respectable distance. The big English Sheepdog was content to keep himself between the werewolf and the flock. He did not try to attack the monster the way Gregor's dog had.
As the morning sun began to lighten the horizon a bloody-red tint that was a sure sign of rain, Lukah found himself lying on the grass naked and transformed back into a seemingly harmless shepherd boy.
"Guard the flock, Mongol," he said to the now thoroughly confused sheepdog who obeyed his command instinctively. Then while Mongol minded the sheep Lukah caught up on the sleep that he had missed.
The discovery of Gregor's mutilated and mostly eaten remains, not to mention his massacred flock caused a real uproar in the surrounding countryside. Hunting parties scoured the hills for any sign of the werewolf that had done it. Fortunately for Lukah the peasants who never were a very bright bunch as a whole, believed that they were searching for a mature adult suspect and so many of the heavily armed men scouring that part of the country completely ignored the innocent-looking young shepherd boy whose big English sheepdog did not seem to like him very much for some strange reason.
Even though the grim hunting parties full of heavily armed men had overlooked him, still Lukah did not have to think very hard to figure out that if he wanted to be around for a long time and enjoy the new life he had better radically alter his hunting techniques and range into areas further afield. He took to hunting what he thought of as, 'the invisible people.' Those folks who had removed themselves far from normal society and would not be missed for some time if ever, by anyone. He hunted at least 20 miles from his own home so that any further hunting parties raised were unlikely to search that far. The few that ever did as always did not give the kid so much as a second glance.
Over the next year, Lukah saved up his earnings until he decided that he had enough money to take him far far away from his family. To a new land for him to settle and hunt in. Lukah left Romania beneath the full moon at the end of August after staging his own death. This he accomplished by slaughtering a lamb and then scattering shredded, blood-soaked clothing around his campsite, and then he left several unidentifiable chunks of bloody red meat from the lamb beside the fire pit.
The men who later examined the site would determine that the lamb meat was all that remained of the boy Lukah who had become the latest victim of the same psychotic werewolf that had murdered and consumed several other sheepherders in the same area. Including the unfortunate Gregor. This was due to the fact that after the rising of the full moon Lukah had slaughtered his father's entire herd of sheep and Scattered their flayed and shredded carcasses all about the high meadow. He left Mongol his sheepdog alive. Over the course of the next eight years, Lukah wandered across Romania and parts of Hungary picking up odd jobs as he was able, and hunting his prey during the full moon.
Although many hunting parties had searched for him over the years, none had ever come even close to catching him. This was largely because of his method of ranging far and wide to hunt. Also because he never chose anyone who might be missed or whose death or disappearance would cause a big fuss with anyone if at all. Occasionally Lukah would hear news of his family such as his sister's marriage to a neighboring sheepherder and of his younger brother, Nikolas who took over the duties of running the farm after his father had died of pneumonia during a harsh winter 7 years after Luka became a werewolf.
He sometimes longed to see his siblings again, but Lukah knew that realistically he could not do this because he was dead to them in their minds and so dead he would have to remain. In time Lukah would all but forget them anyway as life went on in spite of his personal feelings and desires. Lukah who was never one to dwell for long on the things that he had little or no control over simply went along with it. Although his big dreams of being a swashbuckling sea captain with a tall sailing ship of his own to command would never come true now, he didn't dwell on it ever. Nor did he regret having inherited the curse of the werewolf from Viktor Chernov.
In fact, he revealed in it. He was now nearly Immortal, a virtual god of sorts with a certain power of life and death over the lives of the mere mortals around him. To Lukah they were now like cattle waiting for slaughter. That power was a very intoxicating potion to him and Lukah drank deeply of it with an insatiable thirst. On more than one occasion he had rampaged through small villages killing anyone and everyone in sight. In the quiet little village of Yevlostock, on the Northern fringes of the Carpathian Mountains Lukah had exterminated the entire population.
Every man woman and child was brutally murdered and their bodies defiled mutilated in many horrendous ways. The village had been burned to the ground every home, shop, and barn and no other structures would ever be erected on that site again. To this very day, there are reports by farmers and travelers who claim to have actually seen the ghosts of the slain villagers wandering around as though they were looking for their homes.
Following that nasty business, Lukah had moved down south of the Carpathia's into the lower rolling foothills just north of Bucharest where he took a job tending sheep for a man named Romanowski. The young man was building himself quite a farm. Lukah was happy enough with the job and stayed on with Romanowski for almost a year during which time Jetter Romanowski brought home a lovely young bride who would soon be pregnant with their first son. They would name him, Leonid. The days rolled quickly by into weeks for Lukah and he seemed to be doing well in the area as there were a large number of people around Bucharest who were just right for the picking if one happened to be an up-and-coming young werewolf on the prowl.
By hunting only the invisible people he managed to remain invisible as well. That is until one cold and rainy February night the Viscount Rinehart Van Helsing of Bavaria was riding along alone on a deserted stretch of highway. He was on his way to visit with his distant cousin Prince Vlad who was The Sovereign ruler of both Romania and hungry at the time.
Van Helsing had been riding for what seemed like days, but was really only a few hours, when darkness had fallen upon his journey, bringing grave misfortune along with it.
In those days there was a budding young highwayman, and scoundrel by the name of, Miles who was just beginning to make a name for himself in the area. Miles robbed wealthy travelers along a lonely stretch of highway quite similar to that which the Viscount was now traveling upon. Van Helsing was lost deep in his own thoughts when Miles stepped out into the road from behind a tree and put the point of a sword to the viscount's chest.
He forced him to stop his horse by grabbing its halter and hauling back upon it. After Miles had relieved the Viscount of his clothing and big bat purse filled with golden crowns, Miles had ridden away upon his horse leaving the Viscount only some of his own filthy louse-ridden garments with which to cover himself. That alone was bad enough, as far as the wet and miserable gentleman was concerned, but to add insult to injury the brash thief had tied the Viscount to a large elm tree beside the road so that he would be unable to alert the Prince's Royal Guardsmen while Miles made good his getaway. Miles had tied the Viscount up in such a way that his arms embraced the big tree. He had looped the rope that bound him over a low branch so that Van Helsing could do nothing but stand there in the cold drizzling rain.
"Well at least it cannot possibly get much worse than this," Van Helsing mused to himself as he tried to see the humor in the situation. Just then a jagged bolt of lightning split the sky turning the night into day. The bolt shattered an old oak tree that stood directly across the road from where the startled Viscount stood, setting the tree on fire. Van Helsing feared at first that the fire might spread and possibly even catch the tree to which she was helplessly bound ablaze. Those fears turned out to be short-lived however when the black clouds overhead burst suddenly open and extinguished the burning tree with torrents of cold driving rain whose drops were as big as the largest grapes.
The big elm tree which was almost bare of leaves provided a modest amount of shelter from the cold and pounding rain but not nearly enough to suit the miserable soaked man tied to its trunk. Looking upward into the night sky full of heavy rainclouds which hid the full moon from view Van Helsing said out loud okay so I may have been wrong but now surely it cannot get much worse than this? Van Helsing said addressing God. But man has been given into the hands of the devil and it is a fairly safe bet that the devil was rolling on the flaming floors of Hell laughing himself sick at Van Helsing's predicament.
Just then the wind began to howl and moan driving freezing rain into Van Helsing's back and the chill wind cut through the thin rag garments Miles had left him to wear. Now I know that things can only get better from here on out, Van Helsing thought to himself. Just then the devil in his fiery domain down below clapped his hands and grape-sized hailstones begin pelting the now thoroughly miserable gentleman tied to the big elm tree beside the deserted roadway. He danced a little jig and cackled with malicious glee as Van Helsing dropped his head, hardly even daring to think at all now lest he should invite any further calamity upon himself.
The hailstones that were pelleting his body and bouncing painfully off of his head nearly drove him insane but they finally let up after 20 minutes of steady downpour. The rain, the thunder, and the lightning, however; showed no signs of letting up at all. The deadly bolts of static energy flashed all around him at short and almost predictably regular intervals while the deep bass roar of thunder rolled across the hills and forest causing them to tremble in its booming wake. In the darkness and the pouring rain, Van Helsing could not see what had just run past him, but he had certainly heard it splashing along down the nearly flooded roadway. To Van Helsing's ears it did not sound like a man on foot and it was too late and stormy for it to be a horse so he dismissed it as having probably been a deer, or perhaps a wild boar running along the roadway for the sake of convenience. Over his rain-soaked, hail-stone lumped up head, the tall black storm clouds parted slightly, allowing the brightly shining silvery eye of the full moon to cast it's soft muted light down upon the sodden earth below. But only for a moment. Then the break in the clouds closed again and the moon hid its face behind the big storm clouds once more.
Whom it is that guides the fickle hand of fate is highly debatable. Some will say that God's hand steers the fates along, while others will say that Satan is at the wheel guiding the fate of mankind. Such opinions are invariably based upon the points of view of those persons who by fate, cosmic design or just plain old luck, be it bad or good were either lifted up by a so-called twist of fate, in which case those persons would inevitably credit God for their having received a great fortune.
Whom it is that guides the fickle hand of fate is highly debatable. Some will say that God's hand steers the fates, while others say that Satan is at the wheel. Such opinions are invariably based upon the points of view of those persons who by fate, cosmic design, or just plain bad luck concerned when he was plain bad luck bad luck whether lifted up by a so-called twist of fate in which case those would inevitably credit God for their having received a great fortune.
Or in the inverse case, those who were laid low by such cruel twists of fate would curse the devil in and in some extreme cases of misfortune, even God as well for their sad misfortune. So it can be said that just as the question of the half a glass being full or empty depends upon whether one is filling it or drinking from it, then the question of fate as being of an evil or divine nature may just as easily depend upon such trivial matters as who you are and where you are at any given time, and what you are. Or on a baser level; where you stand in the food chain. It is also said that it is an ill wind indeed that blows no one good. And so it was that the cold wind cutting through the Viscount's skin like a knife made of ice had kept his sent from being carried across the road at the precise moment that the animal which he had supposed was a deer or wild boar passed by him. And so that animal had passed him by completely unaware that he was there at all.
Now dear reader I'll leave it for you to decide, is it God who is driving, or Satan who is driving? Or is it possible that fate has an identity all its own? Careening through our lives like a runaway freight train, defying all logic with its often contrary and unpredictably random nature?
As Van Helsing turned his head to peer into the gloom at the sound of running feet he placed himself back on the tracks again and dead into the path of that runaway train which seldom, if ever, misses one twice. The wind that had blown his way the first time now blew a single stray hair from his bushy black mustache backward and up into his left nostril where the end of it brushed lightly as a feather upon the inner membrane of his nose. It was barely touching the tiny hairs inside the nostril which serve as a trigger for the noses expulsion system setting it off and causing a loud violent sneeze. On that dark and stormy night with the pouring rain pounding down upon the Earth and booming thunder rolling back and forth across the sky it's doubtful that anyone or anything could possibly have heard the Viscount's sneeze that night. But the runaway freight train of fate had arrived right on time. The sharp staccato sound reached the wolfen ears and an oversized black and tan wolf running along the road searching for prey came to a skidding halt in the mud.
The big wolf now stalked silently back along the roadway scanning slowly through the trees for the source of that sound. It was a sound that he knew had to have come from a human being. While many of God's creatures sneeze, only human beings say atchew! when they do it. Annunciating the action into an actual word. The swirling wind brought to his highly sensitive nostrils the scent of food and Lukah transformed himself into a werewolf again.
The giant beast moved slowly, closing in on the big old elm tree where his eyes could easily see even in pitch darkness, a human hand sticking out on either side of the trunk. He could also see the rope binding those hands to the tree as well. Lukah was both amused and at the same time curious as he moved around the tree trunk to get a better look at the dope on a rope who would be tonight's main course. Van Helsing sensed him more than heard him because Lukah moved as silently as a shadow. Looking back over his shoulder toward the road Van Helsing could just make out the shape of what appeared to be a man.
"Oh my sweet Lord!" the Viscount cried out with joy at what he thought would be his redemption from this unspeakable predicament." Please kind sir, can you please cut me loose?" he inquired but the shadowy figure neither moved to aid him nor did he speak. Van Helsing imagined that he heard an evil laugh coming from the figure.
"I can pay you anything you wish sir anything at all if only you will name it then I swear you shall have it. Anything at all just please cut me loose from here and shall forever be in your debt sir." The Viscount swore to the dark hulking figure and to God in heaven above. Knowing his own price could be negotiated he believed that all men could be bought if the price was right. Van Helsing gave silent thanks to God that his situation was surely about to improve. He didn't want to think it but still, the thought ran through his head that surely things couldn't possibly get any worse now.
That wily old Devil watching from down below in the seventh level of hell where he keeps child molesters, rapists, murderers, snitches, corrupt liberals, politicians, and policemen, IRS agents, rap musicians, and NFL referees fell out of his electric chair and smashed numerous lesser demons as he rolled in the coals of hell laughing himself sick at the Viscounts expense.
Just then a bolt of lightning struck the Earth behind him and in the brief flash of brilliant white light, Van Helsing found himself looking into the evil grin of a nightmare that had come to life and now stood face to face with him. Without a doubt, this just was not his day.
The viscount's mind snapped somewhere between the beginning and the sudden and bloody end of the shrill scream of terror escaping from his soon-to-be ravished throat. Mercifully Van Helsing never felt a thing. Lukah ate his fill and left the corpse still tied to the tree by its wrists.
The werewolf had been in the process of ripping the Viscount's legs off when a strange and wonderfully pungent odor came to him carried from afar on the night wind. Lukah propped the dead viscount's legs up against the trunk of the elm tree and with a single-minded purpose set off to track down the source of that alluring scent that was arousing him in a way that nothing had ever done before. The speeding runaway freight train called fate rolled on into the dark, stormy night with the devil at the throttle and it was wide open.
Ten miles away, in a tiny farmhouse very close to that of the Romanowski's, Lukahs current employer, a young woman by the name of Liesal Marmie sat rocking slowly to and fro in her mother's big wooden rocking chair. Her father had bought the chair for her mother when she was pregnant with her oldest brother Xavier. Ever since Liesal was a little girl her three older brothers had abused her sexually and physically. They forced her to perform sex acts upon them whenever the urge to do so hit them without mercy.
Her parents were aware of the abuse but not of its true extent and allowed it to continue simply by ignoring it altogether. Boys will be boys they said dismissing the problem entirely. Even though she was often forced to perform perverse and increasingly peculiar sex acts for them, Liesel was still in possession of her hymen. She was still a virgin. At least in that one place anyway. A used woman had no value to anyone of any worth in those days and so her brothers were restrained from deflowering her because then they would be stuck with her forever. And that was something that they did not want to see happen.
Now on this particular evening, Liesal was home alone knitting a new pair of oven mitts for her mother while the rest of the family was away for the night attending a big church revival meeting in the nearby Village. Although Liesel could have gone to the revival as well she had decided to take advantage of this rare opportunity to have some time to herself away from her family. Especially her three sexually abusive brothers who never seem to be quite satisfied and were always after her for one favor or another. For tonight at least there would be no favors, no sex acts for her to perform. Tonight she had nothing at all to do but rock in the rocking chair and knit while the storm outside blew the freezing rain against the window panes.
She had been in need of a trip to the outhouse, which was located in the back of the main house, for some time now but the hailstorm had struck just then on the heels of the driving rain and lightning. That had kept her in the warm dry house up until then, but now she felt as though her eyeballs were floating around in her head and she could put it off no longer without an accident taking place in the rocking chair. Setting her knitting side Liesel stood up and stretched the kinks out of her long limbs.
That was when she felt the warm wet trickle running slowly down her leg. Liesal reached up underneath her skirt and discovered to her dismay that her period had started and she had soaked through her dress to the wooden seat of her mother's rocking chair. "Damn it!" She swore to the rafters above as she hurried out through the back door to the communal 2-seated outhouse. She grabbed a damp rag on her way out to clean herself up with and some homemade absorbent pads filled with soft lambswool that were kept in a box in the kitchen for herself and her mother to use for just such an emergency.
Lukah had followed the faint and elusive sent that had somehow enraptured him and was controlling his every thought and action. He had long since known more than his share of women through a number of successive affairs, so Lukah was quite familiar with sexual arousal. And that was the spell that he seemed to be under. Only this time it was more like sexual arousal with a vengeance. It filled his thoughts. It drove him to race headlong, pell-mell through the woods and fields as he single-mindedly tracked down the source of that scent.
At that very moment, the source of that irresistible scent and of Lukahs sudden and compelling psychosis was entering the outhouse to clean herself up and strap on one of the pads made specifically for the purpose of containing her menstrual flow. As Liesel sat upon the bench, relieving herself and cleaning herself up a little she noticed that the rain had almost stopped falling altogether. She only heard occasional drops falling on the roof and the thunder boomed in the distance as the storm receded away over the Carpathian Mountains to the northwest of her.
Lukah had noticed that the moon was now shining down full, brightly Illuminating the dripping landscape around him. He had long since reverted back into wolfen form and as he ran full speed he was closing in rapidly on the source of that maddening sent. The scent of Virgin blood was the source of his madness but he had no way of knowing it. As Lukah entered the farmyard that scent became stronger still and his madness a frenzied fury of mindless lust. Lukahs single-minded purpose was a burning desire to mate with the source of that scent. He had narrowed his search of the farm down to the outhouse building and now he was slowly closing in on it.
Inside the outhouse, Liesal heard a noise outside that sounded like someone walking around in the mud of the farmyard. She peered out through a knothole in the door just as the storm clouds parted and the full moon shone down illuminating the barnyard. In the silvery moonlight, she could make out what appeared to be a large black and tan dog. The dog was coming towards the outhouse door sniffing at the air as it came. Closer and closer. Suddenly as Liesal watched in horrified disbelief the dog turned into a hideous man-like monster with a horrendous mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. As the monster reached for the handle of the outhouse door, Liesel quickly bolted it in a futile attempt to lock the monster out. The werewolf's claws grasped the handle and Liesel heard as well as felt it rattle the door in its frame. It rattled once and then it rattled again and then went silent.
The scent of the woman was especially strong inside the outhouse and it drove the lust-crazed werewolf straight up over the top. The door rattled a third time and then it was gone completely. Ripped away in one piece by a sex-crazed werewolf whose furry, oversized hard on lead him straight to her. With a blood-chilling roar, Lukah charged through the door grabbing Liesel firmly in his claws. The werewolf had his way with her until just before dawn when he ran away Into the woods, howling triumphantly as he went.
The next day Liesel's parents would find her huddled naked down inside the hole in the outhouse, covered with mud, feces, and flies. All of their best efforts to determine what had occurred would be nothing but a waste of time for at some point during the long night the terror and unreality of being forcibly and repeatedly raped by a werewolf had caused her fragile eggshell mind to crack far beyond repair. Her blonde hair had turned stark white during the course of the night, and she would die a blithering, drooling idiot incapable of feeding herself or controlling her own bowel movements. Her parents would keep her alive for a while, but only for the sake of the baby which she carried in her belly. For a time they used her as a wet nurse for the baby girl whom they named Arianna after her grandmother's mother. Once the baby was weaned from her breast, however; Liesal was conveniently disposed of by means of a fatal fishing accident.
In the meantime, Lukah had been forced to flee to Poland in order to escape the wrath of Prince Vlad whose royal huntsmen had scoured the length and breadth of Romania armed to the teeth with wolfsbane, their guns loaded with silver bullets. Several actual werewolves were flushed out in "The Great Purge" as were several innocent souls whose only crime was that they had been born with natural allergies to Wolfsbane. The Crown Prince's huntsmen had allowed them a chance to prove their innocence. If a suspected werewolf could survive a silver bullet to the heart then that would prove they were not werewolves at all. Needless to say, none were able to pass the test and Prince Vlad was satisfied that the murderer of Viscount Van Helsing, who was perhaps not his favorite relative but was still family, had been avenged.
Lukah continued to roam about Russia and Poland for the next dozen years or so before returning once more to his native Romania where he would eventually wind up working for an old man by the name of Marmie. Because of the time that had elapsed and because of his blood lust madness on that night, Lukah would not make the connection until one night many years later when by sheer chance he happened to see a large silver wolf turn into a young girl in the very same yard where he had raped Liesal Marmie 15 years before.
That girl's name was, Arianna, and this is her tale.

Charles Ramos Jr. 3/3/2019

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