Home > Dark Wolf (Arctic Wolf Book 3)

Dark Wolf (Arctic Wolf Book 3)
Author: J.R. Rain

 

 

Chapter One

 


As I stepped out of my squad car and into the chill spring air, Frank Dewey, owner of Frank’s Kitchen, threw open the stenciled glass door of his establishment and marched along the cement path to ‘greet’ me in the parking lot.

“Thank God you’re here, Chief! And none too soon. Will you please get this sad sack of shit out of my establishment?”

I wasn’t sure which sad sack of shit he was referring to—there were quite a few sacks of sad shit in this shitty sack of a sad town. Try saying that five times fast.

“Nice to see you, too, Frank,” I grumbled.

“Oh, sorry. Howdy, Chief.” He ran a hand through his thinning hair. “I can’t run a business like this!”

“Where’s the sad sack of shit in question?”

Frank waved over his shoulder. “You don’t need directions to find him. Just follow the smell.”

The instant I stepped inside the restaurant, the stench hammered me in the face.

Old urine, stale booze, and body odor for days. Then again, my sense of smell had been heightened of late. Truth be known, I fought an urge to gag.

Heightened indeed.

Frank hung back near the open door, where he could, no doubt, breathe in the fresh air. From what I could see—and smell—the cacophony of odors had caused a mass exodus, emptying the place of everyone except Felix Martin, who stood behind the bar.

I doubted he was the sad sack of shit.

I headed over to him. “How ya doing, Felix?”

“I’ll be just fine as soon as we air this place out.” He waved his hand in front of his face. “Smells like a dog shit got married to a rotted corpse and had a baby.”

“That’s… pleasant,” I groaned.

Felix wrinkled his nose and gestured toward a man sleeping it off in a back booth. Ah, yes, turns out, I was already familiar with the sad sack of shit (SSOS). So much for surprises in this town.

The SSOS was one Dr. Paul Moody. Yes, our town doctor, surgeon, and medical examiner. A film of drool puddled under his flabby, pallid cheeks.

“How many has he had?” I asked Felix.

Dr. Moody answered by letting off a rip-roaring fart.

“Good Lord,” I grumbled.

“Did he just shit hisself?” Frank roared. I turned to look at him, noticed he’d stepped a few feet inside the place and now was promptly going the other way.

“I haven’t given him anything; he showed up like this,” Felix answered my original question. “We gotta policy against serving anyone who appears intoxicated.” He motioned at the passed out—and once respectable—doctor. “Let’s say I made a judgment call. After demanding to be served and raising a stink—literally—he finally just passed out. He started coming to just a few minutes ago.”

Moody snorted and lifted his head. His bleary eyes didn’t focus on anything, least of all me. He made a garbled attempt at speech and failed, producing more drool. And another fart.

I thanked Felix and moved across the empty restaurant. Moody spied me coming and started chuckling as he pushed up to his elbow.

“Sheriff!”

“Close. Chief of Police.”

“Let’s have us a drink!”

I took a deep breath and then regretted it. Maybe Moody had shit himself. “Let’s go, Doc.”

He shook his head. “Arrest ‘em all, Chief.”

“Arrest who?”

He waved his hand around Frank’s Kitchen in a very drunk way. “All of ‘em.”

“On what grounds?”

“On account of them not servin’ a hard-workin’, law-abidin’ citizen.”

“Public drunkenness isn’t exactly law-abiding, Doc. C’mon, let’s sober you up.”

“I’m not crazy, you know.”

“No one said you were crazy,” I answered on a sigh.

“I know what I saw! You saw it too.”

“What is he talking about?” Frank asked, who’d followed behind me. He had half his face barricaded beneath his shirt.

“He’s talking crazy talk,” I answered. “He’s had too much to drink, and he’s imagining things,” I finished, lying. I knew very well what Dr. Moody was referring to, though I sure as hell wasn’t going to admit anything. At least, not here. Those were secrets I was sworn to keep.

Meanwhile, I could see Dr. Moody wouldn’t be able to stand, let alone walk, without some help. Once I coaxed him from the booth, I held my breath, got under his arm, and grunted as I expected my spine to snap, trying to support his considerable weight. But then I remember what I was. Being a werewolf gave me more than heightened senses—I was also much stronger than I had been. So, I pretended to struggle under the Doc’s weight and gave a little grunt.

“I’m not crazy!” he bellowed, this time in my ear. His weight wasn’t going to make me pass out, but his breath definitely would. I caught Frank and Felix staring at me. I tried to laugh off Doctor Moody’s ravings.

“The good doctor needs to sleep it off.”

Felix lent a hand—or spine—and together we maneuvered the raving doctor from the restaurant and into the sunlight of early evening. I almost face-planted in the snow, moving down the icy walkway. In the end, we loaded him into the backseat of my Jeep. Even after separating myself from him, Moody’s smell still clung to me. I’d need a shower and a change of uniform after this.

I stood there with my hands on my hips, irritated. Yes, both Dr. Moody and I had witnessed something disturbing... something no man or woman should ever see: a corpse rising up off an autopsy table and walking away. Just. Like. That.

Of course, my knowledge of this situation went a lot deeper than Moody’s did—once I fully understood what had happened. The ‘corpse’ had been a shifter... and nearly immortal. He hadn’t, in fact, been fully dead.

Luckily, I’d had Alex to explain the whole, impossible scenario. The doctor had no one. Well, he had alcohol, of which he’d been consuming copious amounts publicly since the ‘event’ took place. Worse, he’d been ranting about ‘not being crazy’ and ‘seeing the dead walk’. Thank God most residents assumed it was just the booze talking.

“We all know Moody,” Felix said as he and Frank stood on the sidewalk and faced me. “A nicer guy was never born. Dang, he delivered half the people in this town and he’s doctored everyone else.”

Frank nodded. “But something happened to him,” he answered on a sigh.

“He’s been going on about how he isn’t crazy and he ‘saw it with his own eyes,’ but he won’t come out and say exactly what he saw,” Felix continued. “Whatever it was, it musta been pretty bad. He might need some, ah, professional help.”

“Yeah, maybe, but that’s beyond my job description,” I answered. “I better get him locked up for now so he can sleep it off. I’ll make a note in his file recommending he be admitted to a psych unit for his own safety.” Then I faced Felix. “Thanks for your help, Felix.”

 

***

 

I unlocked the drunk tank.

Looked like Moody had the cell to himself this afternoon. Probably for the best with all his ramblings.

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