Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
Living to Tell the Tale ...
The two men turn toward the jeep in unison to see that it is just Cuddles—Hannah Schafer’s dog.
“Cuddles, what on earth are you doing—” But before Max can finish his words, a huge shadow looms over him intensified by the full moon.
“It’s der weiße Dämon!” Hans mutters in terror.
Max doesn’t bother turning around. Even Cuddles refuses to make another sound. Slowly, Max opens the driver’s side of the Land Rover while Hans gingerly makes his way to the passenger side as Cuddles cautiously creeps next to him. Then Max yells—
“Get in!” As the three frantically scrabble into the vehicle, they barely miss the claws of the ferocious beast. Again and again der weiße Dämon knocks himself against the Land Rover, trying to topple it. However, it holds fast.
When the animal seems exhausted, Max swiftly turns the ignition and plows through the area where the large fallen branch has previously occupied.
Meanwhile, Hannah is home frantically searching for her favorite canine.
“Cuddles, where are you darling.” Hannah bellows.
“I hope that crazy dog of yours hasn’t wondered into der weiße Wald again.” Ryker sighs.
“You don’t think—” Hannah laments but pauses as she hears the screeching of brakes in front of their home. Ryker is first to hurry out of the door as Cuddles comes running toward them, fear is still obvious in her eyes.
“Max, Hans! What the devil are you doing out this late at night? Where on earth did you find Cuddles?” Ryker quizzes but Hannah is too involved with her dog to care and goes inside to freshen her up.
“I followed Max here into town and—” Ryker interrupts.
“What? You went into Stäfa tonight?”
“I only wanted a couple of drinks before lockdown. Hoffman’s closed early and I talked Hans into going with me.” Max informed Ryker sheepishly.
“Then there was this huge limb that cut across the road—”
“We found Cuddles and der weiße Dämon found us.” Hans interrupted still showing signs of his encounter on his face.
“Why don’t you two come inside and rest a spell? I’m sure Hannah has some freshly baked cookies and we can let your wives know where you are.” Ryker offers.
“I need to be getting back home, Ryker.” Hans insists.
“We’re on a strict curfew. Would you rather spend your time cooling your heels in a jail cell or in my spare room? You can both inform your wives of your dilemma and face the music in the morning.” Ryker chuckles and the men reluctantly concede.
“Honey, can you throw something together for our guests?” Ryker calls out to his wife.
“Are Max and Hans spending the night?” But before Ryker can answer, Hannah replies, “Of course, I forgot about the curfew. After what you men have done for me—bring back Cuddles safe and sound—it will be a pleasure!”
“Thanks Hannah!” Both men call back as they finish their communications with their wives.
Cuddles is nervous the rest of the night as she paces back and forth in the kitchen. Max notices it as he goes to get a drink of water later that night. When he returns to the guest bedroom, he reports his findings to Hans.
“Cuddles seems to be uneasy, Hans. She’s in the kitchen moving around as if there is something happening right outside.”
“Do you suppose its der weiße Dämon?” Hans inquires.
“Might be. Let’s not say anything to Ryker. From what I hear, he’s pretty upset over his run-in with the beast. If he thinks that its right outside his door, well—” Max’s voice trails off.
“I agree. Let’s just try to get some sleep. We’ve got enough trouble with our women. I don’t relish dealing with two tigers.” Hans chuckles and both men return to their sleep.
Early the Next Morning ...
Ryker is up just as the sun is beginning to peek over the horizon. He quietly sneaks into the kitchen to begin brewing a cup of coffee. The enticing aroma stirs both Hans and Max from their fitful slumber. Sliding on their slightly crumpled overalls, they warily stroll into the room. Ryker speaks first—
“How was your night?”
“I kept having a recurring dream about coming face to face with der weiße Dämon. I didn’t want to mention it but Cuddles paced most of the night.” Hans confesses.
“I thought we decided not to mention this.” Max reprimands sternly. Ryker gives the man a quizzical stare, then returns to the percolator.
“I know, I know but he has a right to know. Afterall he could have just sent us on our way. Who knows what might have happened then.” Hans argues while happily accepting a steaming cup of java.
“warten Sie jetzt eine Minute! I feel somewhat responsible for that demon being in our community. If you believe that its hanging around my home—”
All three men stop their conversing as they observe the look on Hannah’s face as she walks into the room.
“Gute Trauer! What is the matter Hannah my love.” Ryker recites as he rushes to his wife’s side.
“They have just found what looks like the remains of another victim.” Hannah replies barely over a whisper.
“Can they tell who it was?” Max slowly rises from his chair and Hannah lowers her head.
“They think it might be Frauke Schubert.” Hannah declares—raising her glance a little to see the pain in her guest’s eyes.
“My Uncle Frauke?” Max questions in disbelief. And, as if on cue, he receives a text message on his phone. Two words—Not Frauke.
“Danke an den Himmel!” Max responds and as if a man possessed, he bolts from the room and heads for the front door. He is quickly intercepted by both Hans and Ryker who have also seen the message.
“Gute Trauer! We must first make sure that the way is clear. Call your wife and tell her you will be there soon. If the remains are not of Frauke, it would do no good to venture out too soon.” A clearer thinking Ryker offers.
“When did you hear this, Hannah?” Hans queries as he helps his friend back into the kitchen.
“My alarm always awakens me with the morning news. They said that the shredded remains of what appears to be a man was found in front of the Schubert barn. A wallet and cellphone were found beside him.” Hannah answers.
“I normally go out to milk the cow before getting ready for work. I wasn’t there because I decided to disobey the warnings and have a trinkspree at the Crimson Stallion Inn. That very well could have been me!” Max laments as he accepts a strong cup of coffee from Hannah.
“Yes, but it wasn’t you. I never should have taken that shortcut through der weiße Wald.” The guilt of his actions come rushing to embrace him again.
“Genug!” Commands Hannah sternly. “Playing the shame and blame game doesn’t help. It does seem strange that Frauke’s wallet and cellphone would be found outside of the barn.”
“Yes, it does seem strange.”
This time it is Ryker’s cellphone that goes off. He looks at it and sighs with relief. Before going to bed, he makes Gerhardt aware of the evening’s developments.
“It’s from Officer Bernstein. Frauke has been in his room all evening—touch of a virus or something. The information given by the media was prematurely released. Apparently, your uncle’s belongings were left when he got ill at Hoffman’s earlier. This man was returning them.” Ryker informs everyone.
“And his kind gesture costed him his life.” Max shakes his head.
“Yes, but what do we do now?” Hans questions.
“I really don’t know.” Ryker replies, looking from one person to the other.
To Be Continued ...
The Legend of White Forest 5
- The Legend of White Forest 5
The Village of Krüger is under attack. Whether the menace is indeed flesh and blood or whether it is supernatural—it must be stopped! There is a town meeting in which the mayor and members of the municipal police will decide the people’s fate!
© 2021 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS
Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on January 30, 2021:
Beware of the White Forest ...