Reads: 263

 

Terror of Tuhloon

March, 2005

Chapter 13: Tonja


 

Tonja had finally been able to fall asleep. After spending most of the day bawling her eyes out, she was exhausted. The ticking of the grandfather clock in the hallway had always been a comforting sound to her. With her bedroom door open, the monotone ticking was easily heard and to Tonja, it made her feel as though everything were normal.

In Tonja's false but alleviating instance, her parents were home, snug in their beds, not hundreds of miles away. Her evil stepsister Merte was just down the hall, probably reading or entertaining a guy when she should be sleeping, not gone missing. Serje was still her best friend, still the love of her life and not a cold-blooded murderer.

Tonja stirred then woke up. Her dreams were pleasant. Her and Serje rode their dirt bikes together, having fun then they shared a sweet kiss before she woke up. As she looked around the dark room and reality set in, Tonja's chest heaved and she felt hot tears burning. She stood and turned on her bedroom light.

The large empty house was like a mausoleum.

Tonja was hungry. Whenever she was sad, sweets had always made her feel better, so she decided she would bake some cookies. Warm and gooey chocolate chip cookies with a warm glass of milk would make it easier for her to relax. Tonja was going to put on her thick robe on over her over-sized t shirt but the heater was working and the house was warm enough, so she left the robe behind. She stepped into her fuzzy slippers and went downstairs, turning on lights as she went.

Serje was lost to her. Every time she thought about it, her heart sank and she felt tears forming. Although her stepsister had gone missing earlier, Tonja didn't feel as worried as she should have been. Merte was always gone overnight anytime their parents weren't home. If Serje tried to kill her, he would be caught by the authorities before he could hurt her. Tonja was more worried about Serje than her cruel sister.


 

* * *


 

Serje watched helplessly as the Werewolf stepped through the portal from the dark loft within the Dream Realm to the representation of it in the Waking Realm. Thankfully, the Werewolf had not gone directly to Tonja's house within the Dream Realm first, and then used the stone. It would have appeared directly within her house, practically right on top of her, giving her almost no chance to escape.

Not that Tonja's chances were good either way.

Although Serje had never been to Tonja's house before, he had a general knowledge of the layout and the address from Merte. As strong of a mental link as he shared with the wolf companion, Merte had a mental link with the Werewolf as well. Before she was killed, Merte had provided the Werewolf knowledge that both the front and side door of her home had been magically sealed, making it difficult for Tonja to escape. She had also provided the floor plan, knowledge that her parents weren't home and the most direct route to Tonja's bedroom.

Serje was relieved that no one was in the loft as the beast appeared. After a few seconds, the wolf companion appeared as well. The Werewolf broke through the door to the loft, squeezed its bulk down the narrow stairwell and busted through the front door, leading to the quiet street.

An alarm went off, probably the security system set up for the business below the loft. The Werewolf ignored the loud ringing and ran swiftly along the alley next to the building, toward the outskirts of town. Rather than risk running through the streets of Tuhloon, the Werewolf apparently felt it was safer to travel the long way and lower the chances that it was seen by anyone.

The streets were normally quiet by 1am but because of the curfew, they were lifeless, devoid of any cars or pedestrians. Serje felt uneasy at how similar the silent streets resembled the decaying Dream Realm.

To Serje, not being in control of himself was like a dream. Everything before him just happened and he could only watch as certain situations unfolded very much like they did while he was dreaming. The beast was at the wheel, Serje watched as the Werewolf reached the train tracks then swiftly ran along them following the rails to the other side of town.

Serje tried to reach for the steering wheel within his mind, tried to push the beast out of the driver's seat but was repelled. Serje gathered more strength and tried again, this time he was able to cause the Werewolf to falter. It stopped running.

Even as Serje gained control of his body, he felt the overwhelming need to kill Tonja. Regardless of whether he was at the helm or not, Tonja had to die. Merte's final command was unshakable and he couldn't bring himself to resist it. The need to end Tonja's life was so strong, Serje wanted to get away from it and in doing so, allowed the beast to once again assume control.

The Werewolf, the silver wolf companion at its side, continued along the tracks to Tonja's house.


 

* * *


 

Father Vincent had stayed with Serje's grandfather well into the night. It was time for him to head back to the hotel. Through his broken understanding of Russian, Serje's grandfather was a wonderful man and a devout Catholic. The old man insisted Father Vincent remain in his home as a guest but the priest politely declined.

The dark road and surrounding trees were a little creepy as Father Vincent stepped out of the warm house and into the chilly air of Tuhloon.

If he had any sense, Father Vincent would have stayed the night instead of risking walking back to the hotel alone and unarmed. He could always call Logan for a ride but somehow, the priest knew that Logan was going to be too busy to drive over and pick him up. The last thing Father Vincent wanted to do, was aggravate Logan twice in the same day.

Turning up the collar on his long black coat, Father Vincent set off for town. It was about a three mile walk, maybe a little further, surely no more than four miles. It would take him about an hour if he kept his pace.

Father Vincent didn't scare easily. His faith and the vials of holy water that he carried with him at all times was great protection against most supernaturals. He wasn't sure about the crime rate in Tuhloon though. Sometimes danger could also be uncovered within human behavior.

Looking at the dark trees, their boughs gently moved in the breeze as though the forest was waving at him, beckoning Father Vincent to come closer. He kept his eyes on the road and picked up the pace.

The priest said a quick prayer for protection on his walk. At one time, he felt some prayers were trivial, as if the Almighty had time to grant or overlook every tiny detail in each person's life. Father Vincent now believed otherwise, if each person was His child, then of course He had time or would make time as any good parent would do for their children.

As the wind picked up, sending sandy bits of icy snow scattering, Father Vincent heard a deep howl from the forest. It was a long way off, barely perceptible. He shrugged it off. It was probably just the wind howling through the trees. Nonetheless, Father Vincent felt beads of sweat forming on his brow, despite the cold wind.

He hurried down the dirt road, avoiding the patches of slushy mud and iced water. The clouds had darkened overhead, there was probably going to be a storm.

Behind him, on the dirt road, he heard a scuff, the distinctive sound of small pebbles being disturbed.

Father Vincent's insides did a somersault.

Fearing the worst, all Father Vincent could do was to brandish his vial of holy water and face his tormentor. He expected a huge beast with fiery yellow eyes, fur as black as night, long fangs and sharp claws to be bearing down on him.

Instead, Father Vincent saw headlights.

It was a police cruiser.

Father Vincent breathed a sigh of relief.

At first the policemen were angry, probably because Father Vincent was violating the curfew, but when they saw he was a priest, and Father Vincent managed to explain that he was working with the FSB, their attitudes changed and they drove him to the hotel.

Father Vincent went to the room where The Three had set up their command center and was surprised to find it empty. He called Logan on his cellphone, “Where is everyone?”

Logan was curt, “We're on our way to intercept the aberrant. I need you to monitor the security cameras to make sure we don't lose sight of it when it tries to escape.”

Father Vincent looked at the desk which had been fitted with a metal frame holding twelve computer monitors each displaying side by side and one on top of the other like one giant screen. Each of the computer monitor's displays were divided into a fourth, a different camera display for each corner of the screen. There were trees in some of the shots, houses in others, streets on some, a rail road on another. Each camera was running in real time. Father Vincent asked, “You want me to try and watch all of these different cameras?”

“I need you to do your best, Father Vincent,” Logan said, “I have to go. Keep in contact if you see anything.”

Father Vincent took off his jacket. As a temporary and occasional member of the team, he was ready to do his part. Unfortunately, the priest was old school, not very familiar with technology, particularly the state of the art and prototype tech that Jewel always seemed to have. Still, Father Vincent seated himself at the station, dutifully watching the numerous displays, ready to help in anyway he could.


 

* * *


 

As a backseat observer, Serje watched as the Werewolf swiftly approach Tonja's neighborhood. There were dogs barking, some of them far in the distance, as if the canines were all aware that evil was rapidly approaching and they were vainly trying to warn their masters.

The houses here were set on larger lots, spread out making it very easy for the Werewolf to move unseen towards Tonja's house. In the tall brush set along the west side of the property, the beast stopped for a moment and Serje used all of his strength to try to take control again. He was quickly rebuked. The closer they got to their victim, Serje could feel the excitement of the beast growing, surging like a great fire, burning hot and unstoppable.

The Werewolf circled around to the back of the large home, there were lights on but the drapes were closed. To his surprise and horror, the Werewolf sprinted full speed at the large sliding glass door and went right through it, ripping the curtains, tearing the grommet right out of the wall, sending pieces of glass flying like water droplets. There was a shrill shriek of fear that came from the kitchen so the Werewolf ran there, through the wide archway of the dining room.

Serje was happy to see that the lit kitchen was empty.

Tonja's scent was strong and as the sweet smell hit his nostrils, the Werewolf started to drool. The beast's keen ears picked up movement from the living room towards the front of the house. The beast went quickly through the open kitchen finding the living room empty as well. The Werewolf then spotted Tonja at the top of the stairs.

Serje's heart skipped a beat. No! Tonja! What are you doing? Run!

Tonja was visibly trembling and both hands were clamped over her mouth, probably to keep from screaming.

The Werewolf watched its prey, hoping she would run, thrilled by the hunt.

Tonja moved her hands away from her mouth, “Serje?”

No, Tonja! It's not me! Run! For the love of God, run!

Serje was screaming inside the beast, trying to communicate with his friend. He couldn't imagine the sweet girl who had befriended him, the gentle girl who had been there through all of his misery and pretty young woman, who he had fallen in love with, being slaughtered and eaten right before his eyes.

Serje found the strength to once again strain against the heavy yoke of control held over him by the beast, he drove forward, finally pushing his way back into the driver's seat. The effort drained him, exhausting every last bit of energy he had left.

Finally back in control, Serje loosen the wolf skin belt and stood unsteadily at the bottom of the staircase, looking up at Tonja.

“Serje!” Tonja cried, “Thank God!” She began hurrying down the stairs toward him.

“No!” Serje warned her, “Stay there. I don't know how long I can stay in control!”

Tonja retreated back to the top of the stairs, "You don't have control of yourself, Weirdo?" She sounded relieved, "Then you're not responsible for any of this!  We can try to go to the police for help!"

“Why didn't you tell me that Merte was your sister?”

Tonja's response was prompt, “Because I was afraid that after you found out, you wouldn't want to be my friend anymore.”

Serje couldn't find any fault in her reasoning. He probably would have treated Tonja differently knowing she was related to, by marriage or otherwise, the bitch that made his life a living hell.

Tonja wasn't finished, "You only had to deal with Merte at school, Serje.  I have to live with her, sleep under the same roof and share meals next to her.  Merte is even more cruel to me than she was to you.  I'm sure that's hard for you to believe, but it's true!"

Serje felt the beast stirring again. He strained to control it. He could feel his own anger increasing, a heat that was spreading from his core, fiery hatred and hunger. The need to finish off Tonja was too great for him to resist any longer. His voice was not his own; it was fierce and deep, “Listen to me, Weirdo. I'm beyond saving. It's too late for me! You have to get away! Ride far away and keep going until dawn! Its the only way to save yourself! Get on your motorcycle and go!”

Tonja shook her head, “Serje, I love you! I want to help!”

The beast surged from within. Serje voice was a deep growl, “Goddammit, Tonja! Go! Hurry!”

With a small cry of fear, Tonja turned toward her bedroom and ran.


 

* * *


 

Captain Dragomirov didn't want to attract too much attention, so as he and Smolin sped toward Tonja's house, Smolin kept both the police siren and the beacon off. When they arrived, Dragomirov said, “Go around back. I'll go in through the front.”

Smolin exited the police car and was surprised that his legs were rubbery. His belly felt like it was full of ice, his mind was foggy. He had never been so afraid in his entire life.

The beast they were hunting was huge, no doubt dangerous and frightening. Although he had only glimpsed the monster through the dash cam footage, Smolin was sure that the creature was even more terrifying face to face.

Images of his beautiful wife and unborn child flashed in his mind. What would they do if he was killed in the line of duty?

Lieutenant Smolin opened the gate by the side of the house and hurried toward the back. He was perspiring, even in the frigid air. He couldn't shake the fear that had gripped him, as though a giant invisible fist was slowly squeezing him around the chest, constricting his movements. Smolin could hardly breath.

Every new shadow that emerged in the beam of his flashlight, caused him to flinch and jerk his service weapon at it, taking hasty aim, nearly squeezing off a shot. Smolin found that the side of the house was flanked with a pile of chopped firewood, a small tool shed, a few wooden barrels and a workbench. There were plenty of places for the monster to lurk.

Smolin was close to fainting.

He was hyperventilating, gasping and wheezing, head feeling light, body so tense that his muscles were in agony. Smolin somehow made it to the corner of the house, his legs barely strong enough to support his weight. His hands were starting to cramp since he was gripping the handgun so tightly.

Smolin peeked around the corner, the backyard was clear. Smolin noticed that the sliding glass doors were busted inward, then he heard a young woman scream.

It had to be Tonja.

Smolin's fear melted away like frost against a hot iron. He sprang into action, running to the broken sliding glass door and kicking the remaining larger pieces of glass along the lower part of the frame. Smolin scrambled through the gaping door and into the dark living room.

There were lights on upstairs.

“Tonja?” Smolin shouted to the girl, hoping and praying she would answer and that she was unharmed. He could snarling, deep growls coming from upstairs. They were sounds that he had never heard any animal make before in his life. Smolin could also hear Captain Dragomirov pounding on the front door.

Smolin ran to the front door to unlock it. Although the dead bolt and the lock were already undone, the door still wouldn't budge. Both men strained to open it but couldn't move it an inch. It was as if the door was one with the house, not on hinges at all, but actually nailed right into the framework.

Tonja shrieked again, her voice hoarse with sheer terror. She was upstairs and in trouble. Smolin didn't have time to wait for the Captain.

“I'm going!” Lieutenant Smolin yelled through the door.

“Go! I'm right behind you!” Captain Dragomirov answered.

Smolin bravely sprinted up the stairs taking the flights three at a time. A gunshot rang out behind him suddenly, it was probably the Captain shooting his way through the stubborn door.

Lieutenant Smolin ran down the hall towards the bedrooms. He could hear the beast demolishing the house, small growls and yips of excitement escaping it as it broke and splintered wood. Smolin peeked around the corner of Tonja's bedroom.

Smolin felt the fear once again take hold.


 

* * *


 

Serje was angry that he had been so foolish. He cursed and chastised himself. Serje realized, too late, that while he was in control for those fleeting minutes, he had stayed where he was at the bottom of the stairs, effectively blocking Tonja's only escape route. She had no choice but to retreat further into the house and now, she was trapped upstairs.

Serje cursed his idiocy. He would never forgive himself if Tonja was killed.

Completely in control, the beast tightened the wolf belt and sprinted up the stairs with frightful speed. The scent of Tonja was in his nostrils again, intoxicating, like a delicious iced cinnamon roll, hot and gooey just out of the oven.

Serje knew Tonja would retreat into her bedroom and so did the beast. It busted through Tonja's bedroom door that was adorned with a cute white and pink 'welcome' sign. The door shattered as if made of glass, bits of wood and cork imploded into the room. The Werewolf stooped and turned sideways to fit its massive bulk through the doorway.

Tonja was no where in sight.

The Werewolf flipped her small bed over, sending it flying across the room with a flick of its wrist. Tonja wasn't underneath.

The beast checked the window but it was closed and latched.

There were four rooms off of the main hall upstairs, one to the bathroom, one to the master bedroom, one to Merte's room and finally Tonja's. Every other door was open except for Tonja's when the Werewolf had run down the hall. She couldn't have run into another room without the beast seeing her.

Although Serje had renounced his Christian beliefs, he found himself praying under his breath, begging God to spare Tonja. If there was any good left in the universe, any benevolent creator out in the great cosmos that could hear his pleas, then it was only just that Tonja be allowed to live. She was innocent, one of the kindest and most thoughtful people Serje ever had the privilege of knowing. For her to be slaughtered like a lamb was such an injustice that if it became so, there couldn't possibly be any virtue to be found anywhere and he was wasting his time praying.

The Werewolf leveled its sight on the door of Tonja's closet. Apparently, it was a walk-in with plenty of room for Tonja to hide.

Letting out a high pitched growl of excitement, the beast shoved all of its clawed fingers through the body of the door then jerked the entire thing right out of the jamb and flung it off to the side.

Tonja wasn't there.

Along the floor on one side of the closet were rows of shoes and on the opposite side of the floor were stuffed animals in a variety of bright pastel colors. Each item was placed side by side in a single row. There was no place for Tonja to hide.

The beast squatted low and worked its way into the small closet, barely fitting, sniffing and searching. Frustration mounting, the Werewolf began to rip Tonja's clothes off the hangers on each side of the closet; dresses, skirts, blouses and pants were flung behind the beast, forming a high pile of fabric in the center of the bedroom.

The closet was empty.

Serje was surprised and relieved at the same time. If he could weep with happiness, he would have.

The Werewolf was about to rush out of the closet to search the rest of the house when it noticed a small trap door on the ceiling.

Oh God no.

The Werewolf stood to its near full height and burst through the cardboard cover, reaching up into the attic space with its long arms, its clawed hand grasping for its prize.

Tonja screamed.


 

* * *


 

Captain Dragomirov had first knocked on the front door as Smolin made his way around back. After there was no answer, Dragomirov tried it and, finding it locked, kicked and rammed the door to no avail. Although it was a sturdy model, the door should have been easy to kick in.

He heard Tonja scream and he redoubled his efforts.

Dragomirov couldn't think of anything else to do so he continued to kick the fucking thing with all of his might. He heard Lieutenant Smolin calling him from the other side of the door and together, they tried to break the damned thing down but failed miserably.

Tonja screamed again, a bloodcurdling shriek of pure terror.

Smolin shouted, “I'm going!”

Dragomirov yelled, “Go! I'm right behind you!” He left the front porch and went over to one of the huge windows located in the front of the house and shot the glass out.

Poking his head inside the house, Dragomirov could hear sounds of destruction upstairs and hoped that Tonja wasn't already dead. He also heard Smolin's footfalls in the upstairs hall as he hastily stepped over the sill. There was a couch located inside the house right under the window that the Captain didn't see. As he stepped onto the center cushion, it sank under his weight, sending the large pieces of broken glass sliding into his shin and calf.

The razor sharp shards cut right through his thin dress pants and into his flesh. Dragomirov refused to cry out in pain but hobbled a few feet away from the couch to inspect his wounds. Although numerous, most of the cuts were shallow.

He limped towards the stairs as gunfire erupted overhead.


 

* * *


 

Just outside Tonja's bedroom in the hallway, his back to the wall, Lieutenant Smolin closed his eyes and took a deep breath and blew it out slow trying to calm himself. He couldn't be shaky while he fired on the beast, he needed to be steady to make every shot count.

The monster was in the walk in closet digging at the ceiling, enlarging the entrance so that it could climb up into the attic space where Tonja was hiding.

Smolin had seconds to act. He took another deep breath and rounded the corner fast, heading right toward the massive sliver furred creature that was breaking the ceiling apart.

He assumed a shooter's stance in the center of the room, aiming at the monster's head and began to squeeze off shots as though he were at the shooting range.

Each shot was true. The first struck the beast in the back of its skull. The monster pitched forward but only for a second, it whipped its head towards Smolin, its yellow eyes blazing like twin lanterns in the dead of night.

Smolin's second shot hit it in the face.

The monster let out a low howl of pain then crumpled backwards, its long arms tangled in the tight space of the closet. Smolin took a step closer and shot it a third time in the center of the chest.

The beast's body jerked as the round punched through it. Smolin fired a fourth and a fifth time, each round penetrating the monster's chest.

The beast lay still, blood running from its wounds.

“Tonja?” Smolin called up into the attic.

There was no answer.

“Tonja, this is Lieutenant Smolin. I'm a police officer, are you okay? Are you able answer me?”

“Yes,” Tonja cried out.

“The monster is dead. You can come down now.”

“Are you sure?”

Smolin kept his voice soft, trying to comfort the scared girl, “Yes. Its dead, Tonja. You're safe now. Come on down.”

 

* * *

 

Serje's monstrous form was laying on it's side below her.  Blood ran from the gunshot wounds, one on it's face between the eyes and the others on it's chest.

Tonja felt such a stabbing pain in her heart at the sight Serje's lifeless body, that it felt as though she were the one that had been shot and not Serje. Tonya began to cry, her tears fell through the torn hole in the ceiling and dropped down onto the beast's corpse.

“Come on, Tonya,” Smolin said gently, “Let's get you down from there.” He was a young man with a kind face. He reached up to help her climb down through the ruined trapdoor.

Tonya wiped her eyes and dangled her legs down from the hole being careful not to stab herself on the splintered wood. She took the time to modestly adjust her thin nightgown around her bare legs. The young man below her had just saved her life so Tonya tried her best to be brave.

Tonja noticed that the Werewolf's eyes were opened. The yellow blaze was very dim but noticeable. She didn't remember seeing that fiery shine a few seconds before.

“Wait,” Tonya said to the Lieutenant fearfully, “It's eyes are opened!”

Smolin assured her, “I shot it twice in the head, Tonja. Don't worry. Its dead.”

She took one of the Lieutenant's outstretched hands in hers.

The Werewolf suddenly snarled and turned its head toward her, its eyes blazing with hatred.

Tonya screamed.

Smolin cried out in alarm. Tonya watched in horror as Smolin tried to reach for his weapon but the Werewolf was much quicker than he was. The monster caught the poor Lieutenant's arms, pinning them to his sides. Snarling, it pulled the Lieutenant toward it and sank its fangs into Smolin's neck and chest. Growling, the Werewolf savagely shook it's head back and forth, digging its horrible fangs deeper. Smolin's whole body was shaken, limbs dangling like a marionette, blood spraying in all directions.

Smolin was screaming in agony.

Tonya scrambled back into the low attic space, screaming hysterically and moved as far away from the hole as she could. In the darkness, she kept bumping her head into crossbeams and the rough ply wood floor was cutting into her hands and knees.

Smolin's cries were snuffed out.

Tonja heard a menacing low growl from down below.

The Werewolf resumed digging at the ceiling. Tonja's bedroom lights were illuminating the hole from below. Tonya watched in horror as the beast's head appeared and it looked at her with the hellish blazing eyes.

Tonja started to cry, “Serje, please don't hurt me.”

The Werewolf's yellow burning eyes were devoid of any mercy or understanding. It reached up with its long arms and began to pull itself into the attic space growling deep in its throat.

Tonja pleaded with her friend, hoping he could once again gain control of the monster long enough for her to escape, “Serje, I know you're in there. Please stop this.”

The light from below was temporarily blocked out by its massive body. All she could see was the lantern yellow eyes as it dragged itself closer and closer to her.

Tonja was at the far wall, trapped. There was no where else for her to run, “Serje, stop it! Please!”

Tonja heard another man calling to her from her bedroom. Tonja screamed for help. Whoever it was couldn't reach the hole. He was shouting to Tonja but she couldn't hear him clearly. Her mind was focused on the beast that was getting steadily approaching her.

The Werewolf could barely fit in the cramped space but it got close enough for her to feel its long cold claws against her skin. It grasped her by the ankle and wrist as she tried to pull away from it.

Tonja screeched like a banshee, more terrified than she had ever been, “Serje, no!”


Submitted: February 15, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Cthulu45. All rights reserved.

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