It was a village. That’s the best way he could understand it. Cut off completely from any outcrop of modern civilization. Kristoph was the one that had told him about the place, said there was a lead that was worth following. Their research had hit a bump and funding was becoming increasingly hard to find. They needed something to bring back the attention.
That lead had led him here, to this dark hut in this village of uncivilised men with the air that carried the faint smell of Death. He had no want to be here, he showed no respect to their elders, even his translator irked him. The villagers reciprocated his disdain for them with harsh stares and murmurs that carried disapproval across the language barrier. The translator told him that they did not want to come in contact with the outside world. He knew he had a very limited amount of time here.
The room was dark. Almost pitch black. The place felt…evil, sunlight had no place in darkness like this. Somewhere in the room he heard a low growl followed by a snicker, and then a small mutter of something in the language of the villagers. A man that the translator had told him was the shaman of the village shouted something -an incantation -in the direction of the voice and it shrieked.
“Shaman. He say you should no enter. He say evil here.” The translator said, fear strangling his words into whimpers.
“Rubbish. Superstitious rubbish.” Daniel replied. He had no use for the uneducated misgivings of barbarians.
He switched on the flashlight in his hands and walked into the room. He searched with the beam until it settled upon a man, bound wrist and ankle with thick chains, dense tufts of fur lay about him and he carried the smell of a dog. Daniel was intrigued, he hoped that this was the break that he had been hoping for.
The man was skinny, he looked at most 40 years old. Cuts and bruises laced the skin on his torso. Blood and pus oozed from fresh markings on his chest. Spells to stifle the evil, the shaman had said. Rubbish. He pointed the beam at the man’s face and was greeted with a smirk. More markings were etched upon his forehead. There was something off about his eyes though as light beam caught them. They seemed to reflect the light. It was no wonder the man was not fazed by the blanket of darkness that enveloped the room. He walked closer to the man, nervously glancing at the chains binding him, closer until he was about 3 feet from him. The man’s eyes glowed a dark yellow.
The voice seemed to come from inside his head but he could not mistake how the smirk grew on the man’s face, like he could also hear the voice and knew what would happen next.
He was afraid. The fear had made its way into his bones but he could do nothing. He could not command his feet to step back.
He stopped. His face was no more than a foot from the man upon the wall with the never-ending smirk and yellow eyes. In the background, like a soft soundtrack, he heard the translator scream that he should step back. He wished he could. He wished he could obey better judgement and step back but his muscles would not move, they were frozen in an inexplicable paralysis.
He didn’t even see the man move. He did not see as the man lunged at him and sunk inch-long canines into his shoulder. His brain could not comprehend what was happening until he felt the pain shoot up from his shoulder. It felt like his arm was exploding and his bones melting.
His scream was only drowned out by the voice of the shaman chanting incessant streams of incantations. The man on the wall shrieked again, a blood curling scream that sounded like a demon of hell itself. The flashlight fell and skittered away into the corner. He managed to wrench his shoulder free from the vice grip of the chained man as the man screamed.
He fell. He felt pain like he didn’t know existed. His shoulder was aflame. Thoughts would not even form in his mind. His whole world became numb and then black.
He woke up on a bed made from palm fronds. It was night, and he could see(and feel) the full moon as it bathed him. A light smoke like incense rose from a small clay pot beside him.
A soft hum from a voice he recognised as the shaman’s filled the air. Slowly, the events of the day came back to him and he sat up. The translator came to push him back down, “Shaman do spells. He break curse upon you” he said, gesturing with his chin to Daniel’s shoulder. His shoulder. He felt it throb softly, pain ebbing from the wound in waves, threatening to force him back into unconsciousness.
He pushed himself to his feet. The shaman muttered something.
“Spell no finish sir” the translator said, desperate to warn Daniel.
“I don’t care! Time is of the essence! Is the man still alive?”
“No, sir. Shaman kill him with spell”
“Shit! Rubbish! I don’t have the patience anymore for all of this!” Daniel shouted. “Package his corpse. We leave now!”
“We leave now!”
He stood up and began to stumble towards the direction of the village’s exit. His vision blurred at the edges. He would need to find a hospital when he got back to civilisation. Behind him, he heard the translator tell the shaman that they would leave with the body, he heard the shaman mutter back, concern in his voice. Daniel did not care. He wanted to get out of this village as quickly as he could.
He reached the edge of the village. The truck was parked there. He remembered that the truck’s lights did not work and that he would not be able to drive on the bad paths leading here without lights. Shit!
Suddenly, his vision flared. He looked and saw everything like it was day. His head hurt like a bitch but he could see! And it was glorious! Colors that he had not seen before washed over his vision, the ground became browner,the grass became greener, even in the moonlight.
The moonlight. Beautiful moonlight! He spread his arms and drank it in through the pores of his skin. He felt powerful, indestructible even. He heard howling, sharp and long, sharper and longer than one of any wolf’s. Deep within him, deep down underneath the euphoria, he realised that the howling was his own, and he was scared.