By Vorovenci Albert
I was slowly walking on the path that was supposed to take me to Wildolm village, where I had been hired by a duke to investigate the appearance of a hideous creature that scared the villagers. The wind was blowing slowly and the sun had hidden behind the forested hills of these lands. I was in Transylvania, which was owned by the Austrian Empire, but up until 1699 it had been an independent state, with its own form of government. This fragment of Austria was adjacent to the south with Valahia and to the West with Moldavia. Although it was owned by the Austrian Empire, the German population was very small, the majority of people being Romanian and Hungarian, the majority of people that lived in Transylvania didn’t even know that it was owned by Austria, they still consider you a stranger who comes from foreign lands. For these simple people, the village was their world, they died the same place where they were born, few having the opportunity to change their lives and get some education. Most of them didn’t even know the German language.
I was born in a Valahian family located in Transylvania, they were very poor, I clearly remember the days when we used to eat grass from the lands to ease hunger. One day, a man dressed in a black, long coat, a grey hat, and a red scarf covering his face came to our village. We had 5 winters according to what he said when he came to my village and talked to my parents. This stranger was a hunter but he wasn’t a normal hunter, he did not hunt animals, he hunted monsters, ghosts, and other demonic creatures. My parents begged him to take me with him to teach me his craft in order to escape the awful poverty of my family. The stranger accepted, and so after almost two decades, I finally became a creature hunter. I roam lands to find demonic creatures and to drive them away forever.
I had come to a wooden bridge, pretty solid so I confidently advanced. The bridge was creaking under the heavy steps of my horse, Doy, a lipizzan horse, brown, with big eyes and enlarged nostrils, wide chest and very muscular, his legs were short but muscular and little but resistant hoofs. A few houses appeared in front of me. The houses from this region were impressive because of their sizes, they were built on stone foundations with massive planks carved in wood, usually oak and have roofs with steep slopes from long shingle. A little further I could see some people carrying forks and sears on their back. I rushed the pace a little bit to catch up with the villagers when I was close to them I yelled:
“Good afternoon !” the villagers turned around, stared at me and my clothes and one of them said:
“Welcome to our lands…are you lost?”
“Is this Wildolm village” the villagers started looking at each other marveled, then a woman said:
“Yes, that’s what it’s called.”
“Good, because I was hired by the authorities to investigate the appearance of a creature that disturbs your peace,” the villagers again started looking and whispering things to each other, I had heard some words, one of which was “werewolf.”
“You have to go see Baba Anita… she’ll tell you everything, she knows what needs to be done with… the werewolf” they lowered the tone a lot when they said the creature’s name, showing that they were very afraid of the monster.
Werewolves are big creatures that can reach up to three meters length, they look like a hybrid between human and wolf, they are very aggressive and usually hunt by themselves but they have also been seen in packs. Most of the time they are innocent men who have been cursed or bitten by other werewolves, during the day they are normal but when the night settles they cannot control their feelings and turn into horrible creatures. They usually attack domestic animals and drink their blood but they don’t hesitate to attack humans either. Of course, there are numerous types of werewolves, but the most common are the ones that can be eliminated with a silver bullet.
A true hunter takes all of his tools with him on all of his journeys because most of the time men don’t accurately describe the creature, it’s not their fault, they are scared and they cannot retain important details about the creature.
They had pointed me to Baba Anitei’s house, it wasn’t far from the place where I talked to those men, it was a very old wooden house like all the others, the grass was long and thick all around the house, the fence was as old as the house, it was a fence knitted from wooden twigs and had a roof made of shingle. The gate was impressive, it was a massive wooden construction which had symbolic motifs on it, I could see the sun, the moon, the torsade, and a wolf tooth. These things were specific to this area, and all the peasants who were, or had been rich had this type of gate, there were no signs that she was a witch, but then why did the men tell me to visit her?
I had dropped myself off Doy and I tied him to a pole in front of the house and left him there, I had only taken two pistols with me, not because I was in danger but I always keep them on me. I take four pistols, two tied to the belt and two tied to the superior part of the legs, it’s more efficient to carry them this way than to always reload the gun after every bullet fired risking to get attacked by the wounded and furious creature, I prefer to hit it hard with four bullets to make sure it doesn’t fight back. I covered them with my long coat and took off my red scarf so that she could see my face better, it inspires confidence and therefore I could find out more about her.
I opened the gate and entered her yard, I was approaching the door, but before I knocked on it, I looked at the sun which was slowly setting behind the forested hills, I didn’t have much time left…
I knocked on the door and immediately heard footsteps.
“Who are you stranger?” yells from inside the house a young woman
“I came to help you get rid of the creature that disturbs your peace and I heard you can tell me more about it.”
The door opened and in front of me appeared a young woman who wasn’t older than 18, with black hair and a lost look. I took off my hat as a sign of respect and bowed my head as a sign of greeting.
“Come in, sir,” says the lady. I entered the house that smelled like mold, the woman told me to sit down on an old chair. I looked around and nothing seemed abnormal, a house specific to the area. The house had three rooms, one for sleeping, one for entering the house and one where I was right now and a pantry for storing food. The woman was approaching the sleeping room and whispered to another person, I couldn’t understand what she said and immediately I heard some heavy footsteps coming towards me.
An old lady appeared in front of me, she was short, fat and had fray hair, she was staring at me.
“Are you the one who’s supposed to help us get rid of the werewolf? You’re small and weak… ” said the old woman in a disappointed tone.
“I’m a monster hunter, we do not brawl with the creatures, we fool them and lure them in our traps or kill them with our pistols, I don’t have to be muscular and heavy, we must be agile and fast” the old lady didn’t seem to have understood anything from what I said.
“What’s your name? You look like a stranger but you speak our language”
“They call me Edwin the Crow and I spent my childhood here until my parents sent me to a hunter school but I’d like to leave these discussions for later because there’s not much time left until the sunset and I’d like to solve this tonight and I’d like you to tell me everything you know about the werewolf.”
“Tonight? You can’t… I’ve been through this before when I was young, it took a week until we got rid of the werewolf”
“The methods you used back then are old, now werewolves can easily be eliminated with silver but I’d like to know what they look like and how they behave, what problems it causes you.
Leave the rest to me!”
“It’s big, it’s as tall as the house, as fat as a cow and it eats our goats, it kills them, it has a dog head and a very hairy human body. It appears in the night like a thief, you don’t feel when it’s coming. Some people have seen him but luckily they are still alive.”
So it’s a werewolf, the description is perfect. All I need is a bait and a place to hide so that I can shoot him with four silver bullets and the problem is solved.
“Can you tell me anything else about him?”
“When he comes we feel a very strong smell of carrion, so strong we can barely breathe,” says the young woman with a trembled voice.
“Alright… I’ll help you get rid of the werewolf tonight, but I need a goat”
The old lady and the girl were skeptical about my rate of success but I quickly changed the subject asking them for a goat which I bought with one silver coin. I sacrificed the goat and I laid the body in the middle of the road which went through the village. I yelled as loud as I could to all the villagers to lock their animals and enter their homes because it was dark. Everything was alright, there were just the last adjustments to be done. Werewolves don’t have a very accurate vision, they say they do but it’s just a myth. Though they’re champions when it comes to smelling, they have a very accurate smell. Therefore I must cover my smell. Fortunately, my clothes had already been bathed multiple times in aromatic baths to cover my smell. I sneaked in the barn to ”borrow” some hay and I left Doy in the barn. I cared a lot about this horse and in this case, I really needed him so I decided to keep him protected, in the barn with the villager’s cows. I took some hay for my disguise and took it to the place where I was hiding. I closed the barn’s door the same way it was before so that the villagers would not notice, with just a little bit less hay and one more horse. Besides the pistols, I also carried on me some special potions for hunters which gave me some improvements for a short period of time. They were kept in small bottles which I kept in my coat’s secret pockets. I chose to use the green one, it was a substance which contained skullcap, it decreased my pulse a lot and helped me calm down and breathe slower. I needed all of these in order not to get discovered by the werewolf. Sometimes they can hear your pulse or breath but with this potion, the chances of me getting discovered were significantly lower.
I settled down a few meters from the goat’s body and now all I had to do was wait for the beast to appear.
It had been a while since I settled, the moon was right above me but the beast hadn’t appeared yet. The entire village was quiet, I could only hear the wind and the leaves of the trees and occasionally a crack from the wooden houses. Is this a delusion? And if it is, what do they want from me? Plus hiring a hunter is no cheap business, half of the money is paid at the beginning and the other half after the case is closed if it’s closed…
But suddenly I felt a strong smell of rotting or carrion as the young woman said, it was something that I didn’t know was specific for werewolves because they aren’t dead, they’re living creatures. Then a thick fog started to cover the whole village almost immediately, did the villagers fool me? Am I wrong ? Carrion smell and fog? I’ve never heard of a werewolf that does this when it appears. For the moment I had to keep calm and breathe and silent and as slow as possible not to blow my cover.
Eventually, the creature came out of that thick fog, it was walking like a wolf, its fur was black, its claws were longer than 30 centimeters and had very muscular arms just like a werewolf. Was it actually a lycantrop? But they disappeared a long time ago… nobody reported seeing one for over 200 years but not even those do not bring fog and smell of carrion.
The beast was slowly approaching the goat’s body, it was curiously looking around and I could see its head, it looked just like a wolf with red eyes and his mouth looked like it was covered in blood. There was total chaos inside my mind. It looked like a werewolf and it behaved like one but it was not a werewolf, something was not good there. The creature started smelling the body and then grabbed it with its claws and started ripping it apart. I had to take an important decision: I continue my plan or I remain hidden and study this creature better? After the creature is done with the goat, it’ll need another one and will start looking around so it might find me if it comes too close to me and I’ll have to act but as a hunter, sometimes, it’s good to take risks.
I quickly got up on my feet and grabbed with my right hand the pistol on my left leg, the beast immediately felt the move and turned to me, I quickly shot and hit him somewhere around his head, the beast, because of the bullet’s impact, took a step back. I immediately grabbed with my left hand the pistol on my right leg and quickly shoot and simultaneously throwing the pistol in my right hand, grabbing the one on my belt. After every hit, the beast was growling louder and louder which made me think it was actually a werewolf.
The four bullets had been shot, the beast was still standing on its feet with its paws on its head, I was waiting for the moment when it’d fall, I moved very fast and consumed a lot of energy and I started gasping. After a few seconds, the beast was still standing on its feet with the paws on its head and continuously growling. Something’s not good, a werewolf should have been dead by now.
After another few seconds of watching the beast raised its paws over its head and started yelling like an angry wolf. I was wrong. The silver bullets didn’t affect him in any way, they actually made him even angrier. I had to use the most optimal solution: Running!
I started running towards the barn where I had left Doy, tied with the saddle still on and on the saddle there was a backpack tied in which there was a book that contained all the mystical creatures and how they can be eliminated. The barn was not too far, but I had only started running when the beast had already caught my right leg and threw me on his back. I rolled a few times and lost my hat and the beast jumped on me, immobilized me and put his heavy paws on my shoulders and started roaring in front of me. He had a terrible breath that went right through my scented scarf. That was all for me, at least I got to die on the lands where I was born…
But somewhere behind the beast, I heard some horse pattering running towards the beast. It was Doy! My horse had escaped the barn and ran so fast that it caught the beast and slammed so hard into the beast that it was thrown a few meters away. I quickly got up on my feet and climbed up on Doy, immediately Doy started running out of the village. I looked behind and I didn’t see the beast but I saw some kind of green spirit that was following us and a sharp and terrifying noise just like a baby was crying. Nothing made sense, the smell, the fog, and that spirit, I definitely had to look in that book, it was my only way of getting out alive from here.
Doy started to get exhausted, he ran a lot and that spirit was still following us, I had to find a place to rest and make a fire to be able to read that book, but that spirit was not getting exhausted at all. I started looking for something to light a fire. A reloaded the pistol that I was able to retrieve from that chaos, I could quickly get sparkles with it but I needed something to keep the fire going. I looked around to find something that could be used as fuel, on my left there was a river and on thy right, there was a forest. While all this was happening, Doy was running slower and slower and the spirit was still behind us. We were very far from the village, if we continued going, soon we would enter Valahia… wait… that’s it! It’s a valahian werewolf! Everything makes sense now! Valahian werewolves are mystical and spiritual creatures, they’re not ferocious beasts. That explains the fog, the smell and of course the spirit behind me. The spirit was actually the werewolf in its actual form, they’re responsible for the eclipses and they usually bring bad luck.
But the problem was not over yet, I had to remember how to eliminate these werewolves. I remember memorating about them, but I don’t remember how to eliminate them, I was trying to imagine the room where I was memorating and the time when I was memorating about this very rare werewolf. I started remembering the image from the book and the description. It was simple to remember. My subconscious kept showing me the drawing from the book so it was definitely shown on that page. The image was with the two forms of the werewolf, as a spirit and as an actual werewolf, and between them, there was a tree… that tree is the remedy! It was a willow! The willow leaf is the remedy for such a werewolf.
I jumped off Doy because I couldn’t continue tormenting the poor animal. One thing was certain: willows stay near water so I started running to the river, I had to find one eventually. The werewolf changed into its solid form and started chasing me along the river. I didn’t run too much until I found a willow and I jumped to reach for a branch. I’m not a heavy man but the willow branches weren’t strong so now I was holding a branch of willow in my hand.
The werewolf had risen on his feet to intimidate me and started growling but he didn’t know what was in my hand. I started whipping him with the branch and I immediately saw the effects, the werewolf started squeaking like a dog, the leaves were like some sharp blades for his skin and there seemed to be a black smoke coming out of his wounds. The beast fell to the ground after a few hits it squeaked begging me to have mercy. But that didn’t impress me. I lifted the branch and with one last strong hit I cut his head. There was no blood coming out of it, it was just a black smoke which had a very strong smell.
Doy started approaching the place where I was sitting, it had been some time since I cut the beast’s head, I was a little shocked, I had never been so close to be killed. But that’s what it’s like to be a hunter, you have to expect that every day can be your last day, but today it wasn’t the last one for me, I quickly took a bag from the backpack tied to Doy and I put his head inside it and I burned the rest of the body.
I climbed back on Doy and we slowly walked towards the village, we stopped at the old lady’s house, I got off Doy and grabbed the hat that I lost during the fight with the creature, and leaned on her gate holding the bag with the werewolf’s head and I finally fell asleep.
In the morning, when I woke up, I was still pretty tired from the fight, but looking around I saw the reason for which I woke up: ten armed soldiers with guns and a noble, by the clothes that he was wearing, were staring at me.
“We hired you to help us get rid of the creature and you stay here leaning on a gate like you’re drunk?”
I didn’t want to say anything, so I threw the bag with the beast’s head and I pointed at it.
One of the soldiers grabbed the bag and opened it slowly, immediately after he took a look inside it he gets scared and drops the bag. The other soldiers started to panic and their noble leant and starts looking in the bag, his reaction was the same as the soldier’s, even though the soldier was a little braver and didn’t sound like a scared girl.
“You did a very good job.” Says the noble after he calms down a little bit. He took out a bag of coins from his thick coat and threw it near me.
“Now please leave because the villagers are scared of you too”
I got up, grabbed the bag of coins and threw it in my backpack tied to Doy who was watching us the whole time.
It was time to go back from where I came, but I had already made other plans, I planned to visit the place where I was born and perhaps on the way there solve some other monster cases.
About Vorovenci Albert
Vorovenci Albert is a student at the University of Pitesti (Romania), where he studies history but has a great passion for literature.