Chapter Five – The Bastard and the Beast
Karl woke up with a thundering headache, it felt as if a bear had duffed him over. Given how sore his head felt too and the sporadic recollection he had of what happened in the young girls house it might not be that far off from the truth.
He was rather upset though to find that his sleeping quarters had been the local brig, or rather the shed behind the village elders house that served the same purpose. What was even worse was that the door had been locked form the outside, could they not see that he was the victim?
He began banging the walls, which did make his headache even worse but it was the best way to get the attention of someone outside.
Sure enough, after a short while an elderly man drew the shutter in the door away and looked into the shed, Karl remembering him as being something of a chief or mayor in the village.
“Ah, the drunk beast have awakened”
Karl was about to protest about the beast thing, but then his throbbing head and vague recollection of the evening before made him stop; he did remember something about violating the strange girl seeming perfectly fine to him. But he had not done it, had he? His head began to hurt more, no, he had been stopped but how and by what?
“Quite a trick you played on us yesteday, making us think you were heroes while you were the monster all along,” the old man said and nodded knowingly. “Although your companion denies everything and states that you are a normal man and that he “does not sense” anything strange about you whatever nonsense that is.” He pauses and looks seriously at Karl, “You don’t deserve such loyalty, a beast like you shouldn’t get human treatment. The way you wrecked poor Hannahs house while trying to get to her in the middle of the night was abominable, what were you trying to do,” he paused, “but considering we found you naked I guess I do not want to know.”
Karl was about to protest but then had to admit to himself that the old man had got most of it right, just not the part of him being a monster. Where did that come from?
“You probably thought that a village like us wouldn’t have heard rumors about your kind,” he said, his lips contorting into what looked like a snarl. “Werewolf, eh? I always held such things to be fairy tales told to children to scare them, if they were bad an evil man-wolf would come a tear them apart.” He looked sadly at Karl, “apparently they were not. The strength with which you demolished that house would have amazed me but the grisliness with which you murdered and ate poor Malakvev and Bostroj defies any human traits.” His eyes filled with hate and he continued.
“You almost tricked us and got away but your animal instincts got the better of you in the end,” he smiled bitterly, “too late sadly to prevent any of the deaths or your rampage. But we got you and you will be burned at the stake this evening.”
Karl was speechless, did these country bumpkins really believe that he was the monster? Apparently so as the old man left the shed with a last look that managed to combine disappointment, anger and sadness.
Alone again Karl had time to contemplate about his situation, and no matter how he saw it it looked rather bleak. Even with his superior physique, skills and mental quickness there was no way he could overpower all the villagers together. The troll might want to help him prove his innocence, but if doing so meant killing innocent villagers he would certainly hesitate, even if such glaring stupidity would lead to the death of a fully innocent man – him. Considering this they could not really be called innocents though, could they? In fact THEY were the criminals, not he who just got a bit eager when he had the chance to explore an attractive girls honeypot – okay, he had been more than eager but everybody makes mistakes – although he did not often.
He decided to try and get some rest, no matter how much he wanted to stand up and yell and try to break down the walls of his prison he had little hope of success. Better to rest and be ready to make a break for it when they would lead him to his execution. With that sparse yet slightly reassuring plan Karl drifted off to sleep.
His sleep was troubled though, although that was expectable give the circumstances, but he had a weird dream about the beautiful girl who suddenly grew large fangs and attacked him, but when he looked down his body it was that of the reptilian creature they had encountered earlier.
When he woke there were wispy tendrils of fog crawling into the shack from every hole and an eerie silence covered the town. It was almost unnaturally quiet, not even the animals in the barns made any noise, something unhealthy was clearly afoot.
A bestial howl pierced the deadly silence, the cry of a predatory wolf on the hunt. Then silence again until a heavy blow shook the shed and several of the planks began to slide and cracks form in the walls. The noise seemed to wake the village and shouts were heard from all sides.
Whatever it was hit the small building again, it did not sound like a hammer, more like someone hammering on the wooden sides with giant fists. But what would have such force? Sure, the trollkin was strong and had a natural ferocity, but Karl much doubted that he would try to break him out. Besides, the villagers were already doubting him and their involvement, they surely would not leave the troll unguarded.
Another blow and several of the planks gave way, splinters flying into the shed. Karl instinctively lifted a hand to protect himself and thus was not prepared when the large fist came in through the hole in the wall, grapped him and pulled him through. The whole was not really big enough for a man, although still formidable considering it was from a punch, and large pieces of wood got lodged in his clothing and a rather nasty sharp piece ended up in his shoulder, his arm falling limb. Still, he was out of the shed, but was the relative safety of the shed truly worse than ending up grapped by the large wolf-creature from before?