But she was right, I did have a secret. I just couldn’t remember it – not until I fought with Seth in the hangar. I had nearly killed him, he was dying in my arms when, Nik had raced in, begging for me to let his father go. Nik was confessing to the murders of all those women.
“It’s true,” a voice had said, and I looked up to see Eloisa walking across the hangar floor towards me. Her long, blond hair bounced beautifully about her shoulders and her eyes glimmered like crystals. I looked her straight in the eyes and she stared right back. Her eyes shone yellow and I saw a flash of her and me making love in the woods somewhere.
Shaking my head to rid myself of those images, I said, “So you’re this wolf’s mother?”
“I’m not his mother,” Eloisa smiled with her perfectly-formed lips. “Nik’s mother died when he was just a baby. I am Jack’s lover, that is all.”
I stared into her eyes, then slowly released my grip on Jack. In my mind’s eye, I could see us kissing, holding each other close. Breaking her stare, I looked down at Seth who lay at my feet, and I kicked the giant beast away with my foot.
Seth began to come round and Nik started to talk to him, but I wasn’t listening to what they were saying – I couldn’t. My head was alive with vivid images of Constable Madison – I mean Eloisa.
Madison! The named screamed across the front of my mind. How had I forgotten?
Without saying a word, I walked directly towards Eloisa. She smiled at me and her eyes twinkled. In them I saw her as a little girl sitting in that chair, smiling and clutching her Barbie doll to her chest as she sat next to her grandfather. Then, I saw the old man being dragged from the house by the townsfolk of Little Hope. They took his clothes from him as they screamed that they wanted to see his fur. They wanted to see the werewolf! Dousing him with petrol, they stuck a match to him. I saw the little Eloisa Madison watch from her tiny chair as her grandfather disappeared in a cloud of smoke and flame.
When the townsfolk had gone, she went quietly into the front garden and gathered together her grandfather’s clothes. She took them to his room, and as she placed his frayed-looking jacket, trousers, and scuffed brown shoes into the wardrobe, I heard her swear to herself that one day she would have vengeance against the people of Little Hope. Like they had taken her grandfather from her, she would take their children from them. She wanted the townsfolk to find their children in the very chair she had watched her grandfather die from.
Then, in her eyes, I saw her slink down the stairs as I stood in my room and Drake took a whiz in the woods. She took the chair and placed it in the front garden and sneaked back into the house again. She waited for me to go to sleep that night so she could sneak away and find her prize. She returned with the little boy and just managed to position him in the chair before I woke. But I nearly caught her as she sneaked from the house. I chased after her, thinking it was Drake, but he had heard the howling and come into the woods – that’s why he had been there that night.
As I drew closer to her, Eloisa’s eyes began to widen and I wondered if she knew that I was remembering who she really was. Her eyes sparkled and in them I saw us making love, she was lying on top and staring down at me, casting me under her spell. And as I lay and dreamt that I was making love to Sophie, Eloisa crawled away, her skin revealing the Lycanthrope that was hidden beneath and she raced off to the town of Little Hope. While I was dreaming and Drake was searching the woods for us, Eloisa stole the little girl, shook her to death in her mighty jaws, and sneaked back into the house, placing her in that chair.
Once the murder had been committed, she raced back to the woods, changed back into human form, and wrapped her longs legs about me. Eloisa waited for Drake to discover the body and raise the alarm. She had a perfect alibi.
Believing I was in my room, tricked by the dummy I had constructed, Eloisa crept from the house, but Drake had caught her. Knocking him unconscious and believing I was in the window upstairs, she had made her way back into town and to the little girl’s bedroom.
I watched the rest play out like a movie in her eyes as I crossed the hangar towards her. Then I was chasing her through the woods, and she got away from me, but not from Drake. He sprung at her. Eloisa struck him with her claws, wounding him. Changing form and knowing she was close to being caught for her crimes, she staggered from behind the tree; the blood on her hands was Drake’s but she pretended it was coming from her. Collapsing in my arms, I saw her ask me my name and then tell me to look behind me. Drake was leaping through the air. He swiped me away from her with one of his giant paws in an attempt to get me to safety, but in doing so, I struck a tree and was knocked out. I saw Eloisa and Drake fight, their claws scratching at one another, jaws gnashing as each tried to kill the other.
But Eloisa Madison was cunning and she overpowered Drake, looking into his eyes and sapping his strength until he was unconscious. Once we were both out of it, I could see that she needed to get away, she needed us to believe she was dead so no one would go after her. So, hunting down a deer, she slaughtered it, removing its hot innards and spreading them over the ground near where Drake and I were unconscious. Taking the crucifix from around her neck, she threw it onto the animal remains so there was no doubt it was her that lay ripped to shreds on the woodland floor. Before she went, I watched in Eloisa’s eyes as she lent beside me, whispering in my ear, saying, “I could kill you, Potter, but what I said was true. You are unlike any man I have ever met – and you were right – we could never be. So forget about me.”
Then she was up and walking calmly away into the night. Drake awoke first, and as he licked at the remains to see if it were really the innards of a wolf, I lunged at him, believing he was eating Eloisa’s remains, and killed him.
“Forget about me,” is what she had whispered in my ear, and that’s what I had done, I’d forgotten her. Until now. It had been Eloisa Madison who had murdered those children. I saw it in her eyes and she knew I had seen it; I had seen everything. She smiled at me and her eyes twinkled as I shot my arm out and thrust a claw into Eloisa’s chest. It happened so fast that she still had that smile on her face as I ripped out her heart. She looked at me as if to say something, but all that came out of her mouth was a thick jet of black blood. Eloisa fell forward, crashing face-first onto the floor of the hangar.
With her heart still beating in my fist, I walked back to Seth. I knew I could never tell him, or anyone, why I had really killed Eloisa. But I had promised that little girl as I laid her in her grave that I would catch the killer, and I just had.
So, holding Eloisa’s heart out in front of Seth’s huge face, I said to him, “You might not have murdered those women, but you helped take the heart of somebody I loved.” Then, dropping Eloisa’s heart on the floor in front of Seth’s giant paws, I looked into the wolf’s eyes and said, “I guess that makes us just about even.”
But in my heart, I knew that it hadn’t. I got even for those children who had been murdered at the Wolf House. I was still to get even for the murder of my friend, Murphy.
Bending over against the snow, I headed towards the zoo and my friend, Luke. I could still see the fear in Kiera’s eyes as she had witnessed me kill Eloisa for no apparent reason.
“You’re scaring me,” Kiera had said, and those words kept going around and around in my head. I could tell her the truth, all about what Eloisa and I shared together at Wolf House, but what good would that do? That was my past; that was my secret.
In the distance through the driving snow, I could just make out the gates to the zoo. Pulling the collar of my coat tight, I made my way towards it.