By Phillip G Cargile

Sleep eluded Father Conor MacCarthy as it had for decades now since he had taken charge of the church.  The sins of those men and women brought to him in the confessional were a daily burden that wore on him. Those sins that he knew were given only a momentary purging with his prayer, they would come back with even more demons to tempt those parishioners.  

He would pray those moments of woe away, knowing they would be burdened with new vexations. His monsignor advised him such would come and his effort to sustain his resolve to keep up the good fight would be waged with the weapon of prayer.  

MacCarthy’s demons manifested in the calling of ridding the world of true monsters. What would the monsignor say to this?  What weapon in the armory of God would protect him or soothe his fear of these things that were the physical manifestation of the devil?   

Doing the work with the faith that there would be some resolution from God for the effort. Thus, would be the same with this discovery placed in his lap by Moise.  

Moise’s discovery summoned him from his bed to the lower levels where his laboratory awaited him.  For the last two days, he had studied the fragments of biological material. Even sending emails to those of the Communion gifted with the sciences of biology. This time the waiting for an answer was the worse.  Even still he thought, there was work to be done in the waiting. 

The screen came to life with several images of cellular designs.  Enzymes that had been broken down and categorized.  As well as two specific DNA strains.  On a final separate screen two DNA strains of man and werewolf.  This was the discovery that would bring an understanding to that quirk of combined DNA by a mutated rabies virus that caused a temporary metamorphosis of a man to a wolf.  

MacCarthy stilled with the memory of how he had seen that change be brought about by emotions as well as desire, like drawing a sword, weapon werewolves would use like other creatures in nature.  Natural defense systems were a part of the creature’s makeup, some more passive.  Like the chameleon; changing colors as camouflage.  Even the octopus using color changes and more profoundly changes its body shape, morphing into contours like the surrounding rock.  This he found more compatible than those other passive aggressive defense mechanisms other forms of life on Earth would use as protection or a method to kill in the process of survival.  A complete biological change from one thing to another; that methodology still retains some of the mental capacity of that original being.  Upon the change, humanity was all pushed into the foreground for the instinctive savagery of a wolf.  

vampire claw with werewolf statue behind him

MacCarthy turned from those screens to another computer screen. With a few taps on the keys and a case file activated from it, he dragged a collection of images and dropped into an animated program named; ‘Stages of the metamorphosis of the werewolf.’ A Computer generation created from another of the Communion but just as chilling as the reality that MacCarthy had witnessed.  

“First level of transformation.” The file announced in audio then presented the animated image of the whole body, the hands of the image flashing in the presentation of the change. Fingers that were once nails and claws turned into talons nonexistent on any creature on this earth.  Fangs of canines that all humans have extended to crease the mouth. Finally, the most chilling change of all, the eyes. Yellow with black pupils set on a human face.  

The muscle density was still invisible even with the full masquerade of a man they possess the strength of three men, with the transformation the level of strength grew as well, along with other properties of a wolf.  At this stage, they would see the heat impression to detail of that of technology that could breach the night and find the body heat of a man.

Even in complete human form, they could smell pheromones, estrogen, and testosterone miles away. 

He advanced the slide show to another image.  This was the traditional creature made famous decades ago in Hollywood.  A creature that stood upright with a face covered in that thick wolf fur, ears, and hands fitted with talons.   Even more strength and rage of a wild animal but still the mind of a man governed its action, this mutation was still able to speak as a man.  The voice like that MacCarthy had heard decades ago sent chills up his spine in recollection. A deep guttural voice of a man that struggled to articulate words over vocal cords that were designed to bark. The not only difficulty of the physical but of the mentality of the transforming man. That mind of a man, losing intellect of language to more primitive instinctive thoughts. 

MacCarthy’s finger hesitated on tapping the key to advance the slide show. But as he had been in every move to do that which was right, he compelled his courage with faith to go forward.  This image stilled the blood in his veins.  What was before he was a thing that Hollywood had created from the myth of nightmares. A canine that walked the Earth during the Pleistocene age; a creature that stood on all four that would reach face to face with a man. a Dire wolf. The progenitor of the wolf wanted the core genetics for the hybrid species, the werewolf.

The computer chimed with the alert of an incoming message.  

Father MacCarthy this can’t be real.  MacCarthy glared at the words in the message portion.  Then he went about completing the download to his system.  An animation like that slide who he just viewed came to life with a complication of other genetic information then came the full animated figure.  This was another creation of the myth of the werewolf, a fictional thing that stood erect like a man but in the form of something that resembled a wolf.

  A mutation of the original virus. This thing held nothing of the humanity of man, only the insane lust of the beast to kill and eat. He advanced the file show to the digital creation of the thing described to him by Moise relayed from the memory.  

Moise had said the bouncer described the eyes of the werewolf as a piercing blue. They didn’t look real, like a doll’s eyes. Blue eyes set on a monster’s face. MacCarthy sighed. 

MacCarthy read more of the email.  

In nature, but this is not nature. This is something deeper than the flesh. Like crude oil placed into a glass of water. Man’s creation was placed into God’s natural order, the two do not mix. The mutated virus was a natural change to the rabies virus. Something else has happened to the mutated proteins of the virus. Pollution. 

Pollution. The word perplexed MacCarthy, and he rolled it about in his mind like the rosary beads he often held in his hands attached to a silver crucifix.  He moved to the other side of the work desk before another screen of computer-generated imagery. MacCarthy looked between the three genetic models of human, wolf, and werewolf.  Then spoke the word carefully to those models as if either would give him the answer he searched for.  

 “Pollution.”  The virus created by rabies polluted the blood to the cells and a trans-morphic mutation was created.  “Pollution.”  He said the word again he warn grey eyes locking on the genetic model of the werewolf.  Mutations can be a series of reactions to force a change, which was a law of nature.  The driving force of evolution was the surge of the variety of mutations.  Those were not his own words nor his philosophy; his position as catholic leader had always to be that it was the divine hand of God that moved all things to change and become.  This was force fed to him by his colleagues of the Communion who were outside the faith of God’s divine power.  Ideals are tempered only the science.  

Science was the devil’s opinion of God’s divine creations. Those were the words of his monsignor.  Somewhere in the middle stalked the truth.  

“Pollution. Mutation.”  He gave each its merit in his consideration of that illusive truth.  “The devil’s manipulation. God’s will.”  Angel’s and Demons pawns of two Royals to do whatever will they were set to enforce—or impose.  

The computer chimed to alert him to the receipt of an email.  He downloaded the file and then opened it. The information scrolled on the screen and he read. ‘Imposed.’ He read that word aloud from the first sentence of the analysis.   

It appears that something artificial has been introduced into the protein of the virus. 

Those scripted thoughts all began to swirl in a whirlwind of speculation setting into a chilling hypothesis more disturbing than the original reality.  He was about to respond when he felt a cold sensation that washes over his body. He did not have to search for the origin of it. He knew what was with him, and he would not alert it.  With these last few moments, he pressed the keys carefully and quickly to forward the email with a single sentence. 

MacCarthy punched the computer key sending the email on its journey through cyberspace. Delivered. He smirked with accomplishment with the last control in the destiny of his life.

“Time has not been kind to you.” A voice he had not heard for decades gripped him with an invisible force. The temperature of the room seemed to drop like a door had been opened to a winter’s night whisking away the elements of the sun to a frigid temperature.  “How long has it been, forty, fifty years.”  

“You could have come by anytime,” MacCarthy responded. 

A sinister chuckle came from behind MacCarthy. “If it would have been important. But important isn’t quite a word I would use for the Communion. Today. Oh, a hundred years ago your predecessors were causing us quite a few problems.”  Ola crept forth the invisible force turned his victim around to the source of the power that controlled him.

The weight of Ola’s glare gave way to a frightful presentation of something of nightmares. Those eyes filled with blood set in a pail face networked with veins of blue and murky green. This ancient vampire smelled like wet clay.  MacCarthy dispelled the stench with a strong exhale.  

Something even more disturbing coward at Ola’s side, cloaked in a black robe a child MacCarthy knew held the embodiment of evil power. In this form, the vampire who has lived a hundred human lifetimes possessed empathic abilities. A soft face that would have been more fitted looking in wonder to an animated cartoon, was pail and devoid of those innocent contours.  Those eyes blood filled radiated that invisible energy that was the source of the force wrapped around MacCarthy. 

Ola looked over MacCarthy’s face. He continued. “It was more amusing to watch your—Communion fade into obscurity.  Ironic that such a—gift as you might call it. Has been redefining as some mental disease or a wasteful use for Terra card reading or soothsayers.”  He chuckled. “Oh, you humans are so entertaining. That is why I will enjoy speaking to a man who has such a connection with God. It will be so much greater to experience those thoughts on a more intimate level.”  Ola ordered the child to come forth with a stabbing finger to a position on the floor before MacCarthy.  The small girl crept forth with steps as any young child would as if she were coming up on a parent to surprise them.

She whispered.  “Tell me your secret.”  MacCarthy heard those words as if they were shouted into a valley to echo in his mind over and over, each time pushing deeper into the resonation of the question. 

With each resonation in his mind, the question demanded that he think of all those things that he needed to keep secret from the vampire.  The answers were held in the closed fist of his mind.  He thought of them, names, places but the fingers of his mind remained closed.  

She spoke again in the tone of a child pleading to a parent.  “Tell me.”  She could feel those fingers gripped tight and unyielding to her demand. In frustration, the demeanor of a child faulted along with that face soft unblemished, morphed into a vein networked and sharp teeth at the resilience of the old priest. “Tell me!” 

The illusion along with her composure was gone now, what was before MacCarthy was an angry thing posturing to attack. The short legs of a child made a floated step to MacCarthy, mouth opened to bite his leg. 

Ola grabbed the child by the scruff of the neck holding her suspended above the floor. He pulled her up the nose to nose, a frown of disappointment added to a scolding in the form of a loud hiss. Then he lowered her to drop her to land on her feet behind him.  

“Kids these days,” Ola grunted looking at MacCarthy. “But you.  Impressive.  Very impressive.” He looked from one eye to the next as if he were searching to see that thing that was within the old priest. “Such a shame we could not be allied, I would enjoy a collaborative existence with once such strength.” He leaned in closer.  

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them,” MacCarthy responded.  He had stopped struggling against the force that held him to save his strength for the final defense of his humanity.  

Ola’s expression leveled. “Ephesians 5 verse 11”. Ola paced in a small circle that brought him back to him.  “Have you ever considered that it is the emptying out of this humanity of the mind and spirit that frees this flesh to do things that only a god could do?” 

MacCarthy allowed a chuckle before speaking.  “It’s amusing that there are some man elements left in that dead flesh, sad that it is only self-righteousness and pride.”  

Ola’s face wrinkled with anger his hands clenched with a desire to tear this fragile creature from limb to limb. Instead, he responded with that same shallow tone of assessment. “I’ve enjoyed this. But duty calls.” Ola came closer looking into his face.  “You are quite innovative in your research, genetic coding. DNA mapping. Is that some sort of skill you think that God has given you as a tool to fight the forces of darkness?” Ola harrumphed.  He had not expected an answer and didn’t wait for one. He continued. “You have learned something new, yes? Who else have you shared this new understanding?”  

Ola moved carefully, methodically to the computer.  Observing the several open windows of information.  Then with the tips of those long claws, he tapped a few keys. “Humm?” He turned to MacCarthy aiming the finger at him. “Oh, most unfortunate. That you wish to test your will, is most unfortunate. Let’s try this.”  

Ola glanced at the child.  She advanced, that invisible veil that held MacCarthy in place now washed over him again in a wave of stimulation this time bringing comfort.  Fear and anger slipped away to be replaced with an overwhelming desire to trust.  

MacCarthy pushed back on those walls of emotions that invaded his mind. His weapon, those men, and women, and what would happen to them at the hands of this creature. Then finally the one person they wanted him to name overall. That name, then face orbited in his mind. He wanted to speak his name but struggled to hold the thought of him locked in that same place in his mind.  

“Which one knows,” Ola said and waited.  The razor-sharp fingernail he pointed at MacCarthy went slowly down to cut through the priest’s pants to the flesh; blood ebbed from the black pants to run down the side of his leg.  Ola glance at the child sending a nonverbal message to up the effort of the intrusion into his mind.  

MacCarthy lurched then bit his lip, the pain he inflicted upon himself countered the mind control giving him a moment of clarity. “Pride cometh before the fall.  Your evil is only for a season, then goodness will prevail overall.”  

Ola grunted a laugh. “Goodness.” He came up right his eyes flashing those fangs breaching the corners of his mouth. “You suggest that simply because you are human you have inherited goodness?  Should I turn you and show you what is good or what you might think is evil.” 

The thought excited Ola enough to bring a response of the millions of parasites that infected his blood to pulsate in the flow of veins in his face blushing his complexion. He held that action with the reality the parasites would not survive in the body of a human who was of the Communion. An anointing was described to him by another one such as this man of God that sat frozen before him.  

 “I’m no longer amused.” Ola took a step back and with those words the air filled with something else.  The smell of it assaulted MacCarthy’s lungs like the burst of flames from being saturated in charcoal lighter fluid once it had been ignited on a heap of coal.  He knew what was coming, that fear of this moment that had played out in so many different scenarios was now gone with absolution. This would be the death of his body, but his spirit would live on. 

The body of that thing that stood before him raged with some unholy chemical reaction that generated a rush of unreal flames. Beautiful in the illumination with an impact like that of a sharp blade to the flesh. So, overpowering the force of the impact of heat the full agony was taken away by death. 

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