Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
First Human Casualty ...
“Do you know that there are some huge canine tracks outside your tavern. And your door looks as if –” But before Officer Bernstein can finish his rhetoric, he notices a double-barrel shotgun pointed straight at his heart.
“guter Herr Mann, I almost shot you!” Millie burst out with a wild-eyed Ryker standing next to him.
“What’s going on here?” Officer Gerhardt Bernstein demands.
“We thought you were der weiße Dämon!” Ryker manages to blurt out.
“der weiße Dämon! What are you talking about? Are those the footprints—” Gerhardt stops talking while the two men shake their heads in unison.
For long moments, the three men just look at each other. Then, the silent trio goes outside to observe the numerous tracks around the tavern. They journey as far as the edge of the White Forest, then hurriedly return to the tavern. Still not uttering a sound, Gerhard and Ryker take seats at the bar while Miller stations himself on the other side of it. He pours each man, including himself, mixed beers. Then Gerhard finally offers a comment.
“Großer Schotte! Can somebody tell me what’s going on?” Gerhardt once again demands.
“Go on Ryker, you’re to blame for this.” Millie insists.
“Ryker?” Gerhardt is even more confused than before.
Ryker begins to relay his tale, commencing with the hard day he had at Müller and Schmidt Ltd.
“It started like any ordinary day until Eric Singleton paid Luis Schmidt a visit. Rumor has it that he has recently entered into a rather questionable but lucrative agreement with him. I don’t know the particulars of the agreement but it put everyone in the factory on high alert.” Ryker pauses to take a long sip from his draft while Gerhardt and Millie wait in anticipation. There is nothing those two enjoy more than interesting tidbits of gossip!
“Nun, ich sage Ihnen ... Mr. Schmidt started ordering us around like he was a member of the Gestapo.” Ryker chuckles.
“Get to the meat of the story, man!” Gerhardt insists.
“Rechts! Well, next Mr. Everett Müller comes in. First time I’ve ever seen the two of them together at the plant. Our foremen were fit to be tied. I never worked so hard in my life.” Ryker takes another long gulp of the mixture.
“So, as a result you were very tired.” Millie grows impatient and tries to move the story along.
“Beyond tired—I was Erschöpft. That’s why I took the short cut through der weiße Wald.” With that bit of information, Gerhardt slams his stein on the bar’s laminated surface.
“You did what?” Gerhardt thunders.
“He took a shortcut through the White Forest—at night!” Millie adds.
Gerhardt just stares at Millie in disbelief. Then shaking his head, he turns toward Ryker and replies.
“I would have come to pick you up if you were that tired. Hölle! Millie here would have done the same thing. You didn’t have to go trampling through the White Forest at night. Niemand tut!” Gerhardt complains justifiably.
“I didn’t think. I was just so tired. I wanted to get back home to my wife and a warm bed. I just didn’t think.” Ryker muses.
“Rechts!! Now you have put your dear wife Hannah and everyone else in danger. I suppose the beast just trailed you at a safe distance?” Gerhardt inquires.
“He chased him.” Millie asserts.
“Gute Trauer! He chased YOU! Ah yes—I remember you were quite the athlete in our youth. But—” Ryker interrupts.
“I think he had just eaten because of the blood all over his face. But I gave him one of the best chases of his life!” All three men break out into laughter and for the next few minutes both Millie and Gerhardt imagine the race.
However, Gerhardt is the first to sober.
“We’ve got ourselves a dilemma. This town is going to have to be put on alert. No one can venture out after sundown.”
“The people aren’t going to like this.” Ryker replies.
“Not to mention what this will do to my business.” Millie augments.
“Can’t be helped. The creature is wise to this town now. Fortunately, he hasn’t tasted human flesh yet.” Gerhardt.
“Yet?” It is almost a shout from both Millie and Ryker.
“He followed you into town.” Gerhardt asserts.
“The edge of town, Gerhardt.” Ryker attempts to correct him but the look he receives silences him immediately.
The door is thrusted open again and a wide-eyed Ian Becker enters the tavern.
“Has anyone seen my son Jarvis?” Ian questions.
“What’s the matter, Mr. Becker?” Gerhardt counters.
“He went out early this morning to milk the cow. You know—we’re from a small hamlet in Ireland and still prefer our milk very fresh. Anyway, it seemed to be taking him an unusually long time. When I went out to the shed, he was gone. Nothing left but his cap!” Ian retorts, handling the soiled hat to Gerhardt. It was covered in blood!
“I’ll follow you back to your place, Ian.” Gerhardt decides.
“I’ll go with you, Gerhardt. What about you, Ryker?” Millie questions.
“Let me call my wife. She must be worried sick. I’ll give her the short version of what’s going on.” Ryker moves over to one side, reaches into his pocket for his cellphone and gives his wife a call. By listening in on his part of the conversation, Gerhardt and Millie can tell that Hannah is extremely worried, and with good reason.
“Lasst uns gehen, Männer!” Ryker finally decides after getting his wife approval.
“We’re off then.” Gerhardt asserts taking the lead as the four men move further away from town to an area where several modest families have form a mini-community.
“I would suggest that you people try to find temporary housing inside the main village until we can ascertain what is going on.” Gerhardt advises.
“It’s just a few of us, Gerhardt and I think it’s the prettiest part of the area. There is a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas and—” The four men stand frozen as it sculptured in that particular spot. For what has caught their attention is what looks like an arm plus a leg in a fashionable leathered boot. It is the remains of Luke, Ian’s only son.
To Be Continued ...
The Legend of White Forest 3
- The Legend of White Forest 3
Even though the village has been put on Red Alert, you will always find someone foolhardy enough to venture out, disregarding all warnings. As the two men return home, they meet an unexpected surprise.
© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS
Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on December 13, 2020:
And now, someone has been killed!