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The Wolves Of Roussillon
The Wolves Of Roussillon

The Wolves Of Roussillon

Franc68Lorient Montaner

The trip was picturesque across the Pyrenees Mountains. I had travelled from the train to the town of Perpignan from Barcelona, Spain, on the 18th of October 1898. From there, I had reached the province in the nearby village of Roussillon that had lied in the northern part of the Luberon, between the steep mountains and plateau. Then, I was escorted in carriage to the home of Doctor René Dubois, who was a fellow colleague of mine. He was expecting me. I was summoned by him, to assist in a strange series of cases that were linked to an undefined illness that was afflicting the local inhabitants of the village that was a transpicuous form of lycanthropy. There were unsettling rumours that the cases were the direct cause of a pack of wolves or worse werewolves. This would be a peculiar suspicion that would haunt me, from the onset of my arrival at Roussillon. My name is Philip Watford, an English doctor.

Dr Dubois would greet me cordially at his private study, 'I hope the trip was not too tiresome Dr Watford. I know that you Englishmen are not accustomed to travel as much, as we Frenchmen'.

'Indeed, I am a bit weary, but I shall recover. I must admit Dr Dubois that the landscape along the way to Rousillon was remarkable and fain'.

'I would hope you feel the same, when the rain pours. For we are in the rainy season here at this part of southern France'.

'You forget that I am an Englishman. A man well accustomed to the unwelcomed showers of rain'.

'Midday showers are what dampen the days here doctor.'

'The kind of showers that I enjoy the most. My beloved wife Emma says that to me always'.

'How is your beautiful wife?' Dr Dubois enquired.

'She is rather ravishing. She tells me that she loves me, but I wonder how any man can be deserving of such devotion'.

'You are a fortunate man doctor'.

'Enough of my personal life. Tell me now Dr Dubois what is this illness that you mentioned in your correspondence to me that has a connection to lycanthropy?'

There was a concerned expression in his countenance, as he began to disclose to me the serious nature of the mysterious cases, 'It all began with the first case, an elderly man whose name was Jean Paul Deschamps'.

Dr Dubois was very meticulous in his narrative. When asked about the cause of these strange cases, he would be uncertain in his explanation. From what he had examined of the patients that he had observed, they all had the same particular marks and symptoms manifested. He had taken some photographs of the patients that were affected, and then showed me the enhanced photographs. I would be troubled by what I had seen, but it was too premature for me to conclude any plausible affliction that was causing these abnormalities in the patients. The worse was yet to be told. Dr Dubois had shown me other photographs of patients who were acting as if they were wild wolves. At first, he had dared not utter the word that was commonly known in France, the dreaded Loup Garou. After a few minutes, he professed those words to me with reluctance.

Upon hearing this supposition of his, I was not convinced that this had the involvement of supernatural werewolves. As a man of science, I could not allow myself to believe in such inventive superstitions. We were on the brink of the 20th century and scientific discoveries had diagnosed illnesses that were once regarded intractable and impossible to detect or cure. A revolutionary discipline was emerging into a field that was psychology. It had dealt with both experimental and introspective study of the behaviour of people. I was a firm exponent of this field of science, and this was the main reason that Dr Dubois had requested my assistance. Although I had not observed any patients that were strictly exhibited wolflike characteristics, I had observed patients that were suffering from uncontrollable delusions and hypochondria.

He had taken me to see one of his patients, who was a middle-aged man of average stature. He was being restraint in a straight jacket, due to his instability and his wild reactions. The doctor had explained to me that this patient of his was calm during the day, but it was during the night, in particular with the arrival of the full moon that he would manifest like a wolf. First, he would howl, then he would begin to scratch the hairs off his chest like an animal. When I saw the patient in person, he did not demonstrate any semblance of an unhinged or unstable mind. It was until the night had fallen and a full moon had appeared from the blurry mist outside of his room that his actions had altered drastically. For some unknown reason, his sedate mood became imperturbable and restless. He began to howl like a raging wolf. His therianthropic delusion was evident.

His behaviour was so erratic that he had to be sedated. There was no other recourse. His eyes were bulging in acute madness, and a runnel of sweat was pouring down from the side of his face. His odd display was sufficient to me to make an initial diagnosis. It was obvious to me that he was suffering from some mental delusion that was causing him to believe in his mind that he was a wolf or a wolfman. The notion of lycanthropy could be applied in this case, because his manifestations were mostly delusional, but the impression that I had from listening to Dr Dubois speak about lycanthropy was that these infected patients had actually considered themselves werewolves. This was what was more disturbing in my opinion. I had barely arrived at Rousillon, and I was confronted with the reality of this lurking mystery that was surrounding these inexplicable cases.

Dr Dubois had prepared the guestroom for me. I was to stay at his residence. During that night, I had written a letter to my beloved Emma back in England about my arrival. I did not mention the cases in depth that were occurring in Roussillon. I thought it was prudent to not divulge what I had seen so far, until I could know with a certainty what was the nature of these afflictions. I would require more time. For the remainder of the night, I had spent it pondering about the unique developments that were happening with the inhabitants of the town. That first night, I had suspected that there was something eerie in the area. Perhaps it was the howling of the wolves that had disquieted me. I was not accustomed to hearing wolves in London. This would be the first of many unusual nights I would experience that were unnerving.

In the morning, I had tea and breakfast with Dr Dubois and we discussed the issue of lycanthropy. What was apparent was the fact that there was a mindset that had to be challenged. I had explained to the doctor that if we were to combat and discover a diagnosis for the patients that we would have to agree on the approach that was necessary to take. It was vital that we were in concurrence, with the method that we would utilise that would permit us to be not only effective, but as well proficient in our analysis. I was cognisant of the fact that we were limited in our resources and that the villagers were not that receptive to strangers entering their village. That I had perceived when I first arrived at Roussillon. The ambiance was murky and secretive amongst the people.

There was a particular square that was nigh a church that had a belfry. There was also an abbey, a solitary cemetery, quaint houses with charming façades, winding and narrow streets that were typical in this area of the country. There was not much else that could be descried. Dr Dubois and I had headed into the village to meet with the latest victim of the illness that was afflicting a great part of the villagers. When we had arrived, we were greeted by the man of the house, who would acknowledge that he was afraid of his son, who was suffering from the symptoms of lycanthropy. His revelation was puzzling. He had the Gypsy boy chained like a wild dog, when we saw him. My impression was of utter amazement. It was difficult to believe that a once innocent young boy could be afflicted with unrestrained episodes of madness. The boy's name was Gilbert.

It was impossible to determine how much this illness was impaired by psychological traits of the true nature of his behaviour. Could this be linked to rabies? I would need time to be able to know if it was a case of rabies. The spread of rabies could cause this type of behaviour demonstrated. Therefore, I could not rule out this feasibility. The image of the boy's reaction was something that had remained indelible in my mind. We had decided to take the boy to a nearby facility outside of the village, where Dr Dubois had been studying the patients in his observation. It was like some sort of an asylum, where the doctor could monitor the actions of these patients under his strict supervision. Indeed, I was anxious to see their conditions and any other signs of mental deterioration in person.

Before we headed towards the asylum, Dr Dubois had apprised me about an incident that had occurred at the local cemetery recently. Apparently, a man had been seen naked by one of the villagers. He was acting in the most bizarre manner. The man was still there, when we had arrived. Once he had seen us, his mien was like an unruly savage. He had saliva pouring from his mouth, and his eyes were immensely dilated. Something had triggered his selcouth behaviour. Judging from his reactions, he was under the brutal effects of lycanthropy. Dr Dubois was forced to heavily sedate the man, with the help of the gravediggers who were present. It was indeed incredible to see these cases of supposed lycanthropy quickening in a quaint village. The magnitude of the severity was too confounding to dismiss with mere incredulity.

I thought to myself, how were we to dissuade these patients from acting out this unnatural comportment that was visibly consequential. There was an ulterior motive that had to be involved in this situation to make the people of the village believe in the concept of lycanthropy. The circumstances were too coincidental for these cases to be simply assumed to be conducive, to the sudden realisation that they were caused by werewolves. As a man of science, I could not accept that this affliction was reduced to the superstition of ancient lore. I was not a man to be easily persuaded by such foolish hearsay. I had shared my opinions with Dr Dubois and we had both agreed that we would attempt to use different types of drugs to control the hysteria manifested by the patients.

Whilst I was outside the asylum, I had noticed there in the vicinity, a lone chateau that stood next to a lush verdure of pine trees that were surrounding the ancient structure, nearby the presence of the lofty mountains. There was a medieval bridge, where a river had flowed on to the village. For some curious reason unbeknownst to me at the time, I was drawn to the unique establishment of the chateau. There was something about it that had arrested my immediate attention. I had asked myself, who was living there? There was a mass of clouds that were hovering above its daunting domain. It was the first time that I had actually seen this chateau, but it would not be the last time. Dr Dubois had seen me standing and looking directly at the mysterious chateau. He had seen a baffled look in my eyes.

'You look profoundly pensive Dr Watford. What has caught your eye?'

'There in the propinquity, that chateau standing. Whose chateau does it belong to, if I may enquire?'

'It belongs to a nobleman, who is the Marquis of Roussillon'.

'Interesting. And his name?'

'Hugo Burgot'.

'Burgot, where have I heard that surname before?'

'Legend says that centuries ago, a man by that surname was reported to be a loup garou'.

'You mean a lycanthrope?'

'I mean a werewolf doctor, not a man assuming to be a werewolf'.

'Surely a man of your regard of science would not make that assumption or conclusion'.

'I make no assumption doctor. I merely give you the facts'.

'But how can you assume that this Burgot fellow was indeed a werewolf?'

'Because there is proof', Dr Dubois insisted.

'What do you mean proof? What proof? A man went insane. You call that evidence?' I responded.

'I know what I am going to tell you will seem unhinged, but I tell you that the Marquis of Roussillon is a loup garou'.

'Nonsense! Just because he shares the surname Burgot or is somehow related to this other Burgot from the past, does not convince me that he is a bloody werewolf'.

'There is the story of the Beast of Gévaudan'.

'I have heard about that tale'.

'Remember my words doctor, for I hope you do not regret your disbelief in my admission of the truth'.

'Admission of the truth? What truth?'

'It is better that you know less than more'.

'If what you say is true, then you will have no objection in taking me to his chateau to meet him'.

'If it was not because I am the one to have brought you here in the first place, I would not take you. However, you are here as my guest and assistant. I shall take you, but it must be during the daylight. I never pass that area of the chateau of the marquis at night. I dread the echoes of the howling that resound so devilishly in that dark forest'.

It made me think about the howling I had heard previously, 'It seems that wolves or dogs were on the prowl until late at night doctor'.

'Dr Watford, those are not the howls of a dog. They are the howls of wolves'.

Dr Dubois would kindly escort me with his carriage to the chateau, whereupon our arrival, we could hear the eerie sounds of wolves howling from close by. That would send chills down my spine. Upon our arrival we saw an old gateway to the chateau. We entered its grounds and were met by a servant who had opened the front gate to allow us in. When he had asked us about our visit, Dr Dubois had told him that we had come to speak to the marquis. The servant would lead us pass the courtyard that had a fountain of a wolf's head and bushes with prickly thorns of black dahlias that were abundant. It was creepy to say the least. The sensation that I had in being outside of the chateau was of slight intimidation, but it was its Gothic appeal that mostly fascinated me. The chateau was surrounded by iron gates that had pointed jags on top. I was not certain if it was to keep away intruders, or it was merely the whims of an architectural design.

At the front door, we were personally greeted by the Marquis of Roussillon. He was a man over six feet tall, and his constitution was in accordance to his height. His raven hair was long and flowing, but it was his mocha eyes that were penetrating in their stare and expression. Above all, he was a refined man in his elegance displayed in his clothing. He was wearing a brown suit with brown trousers. His black shoes had reflected a bright lustre of luculence. He had seemed to be in his mid thirties, judging from his outward appearance. There was one distinguishable feature about him, and that was that his fingernails were painted in black. They were excessively sharp and long. The chateau had a grand great hall and dining hall. The furniture inside was exquisite, as were the spacious rooms that were embellished. It was a two-storey building with a stairway that was spiralling and a gallery that had demonstrated a refinery in taste and predilection of art. Dr Dubois would proceed to introduce me to the marquis, who was eager to meet my formal acquaintance.

'Allow me to present to you monsieur, my good colleague and friend, Dr Watford.'

We shook hands, 'It is a pleasure to meet you marquis', I said.

He looked into my eyes and had smiled, 'You are an Englishman. It has been a while, since I have heard the familiar speech of a gentleman of your country'.

'I shall take that as a compliment marquis'.

'Please, do not address me as the marquis. You can call me Hugo'.

'Hugo it shall be then!' I replied.

'We shall not be taking anymore of your time monsieur', said Dr Dubois. Dr Watford merely wanted to meet you in person'.

'No need to go so quickly. I have not had many visitors lately, and I would be delighted if you gentlemen joined me for dinner'.

'We would love to marquis, but regrettably, we must tend to our duties,' Dr Dubois confessed.

I had interjected, 'I am certain that we could accommodate the marquis on this one occasion. It would be our pleasure. If you have no objection doctor'.

Dr Dubois was not that receptive to the idea, but he had acquiesced, 'To dine with the Marquis of Roussillon is always an honour doctor'.

We sat down at the table in the dining hall and had started to converse about the topic of science and werewolves. The chandeliers above were illuminated with candles. The furniture was priceless and the food was delicious. We were served pork as the main dish. Our host the marquis knew how to regale our tastebuds. We were given fine wine to drink, from the exquisite vineyards in the adjacent village.

'Hugo, are you acquainted with the established definition of lycanthropy? I am eager to know of your opinion'.

'If you mean a man believing that he is a wolf'.

'Yes, that is what I am referring to'.

'I think that any man who is a slave to his desire is doomed, but a man who is imbued by the moonlight is the master of the night'.

'What do you mean by that?' I asked.

He looked into my eyes with a serious stare. I could see the sheen reflect from his eyes, 'A werewolf is just a myth created by man, but a wolf is the most revered beast of all the beasts. For he roams the nights with the freedom of the guiding wind and the imbuement of the sacred moon'.

'Are you a loup garou marquis?'

'I am of an ancient breed of race that have existed in this land long before, the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and French had ruled Roussillon'.

Dr Dubois then interrupted, 'If you will excuse us marquis, we must be on our way now. Thank you for the sumptuous dinner'.

'It was my pleasure to be your host'.

'Before we go, if I can ask you Hugo, what can you tell me about the history of this chateau'.

He had paused before he answered, 'That is an excellent question. This chateau was once an ancient fortification that was built by the descendants of Charlemagne the Great. This area of Roussillon had once been conquered by the Greeks, Romans, the Saracens, then by the French, the Aragonese, Catalans, and finally by the noblemen of Roussillon. There is a cavern nearby that was once the refuge for the Cathars. My proud ancestors were made the guardians of this area, including the chateau messieurs, but sadly, they were burnt to the stake by the inquisitors'.

'Fascinating!'

'Perhaps on another occasion, we can continue the discourse at the chateau'.

'Of course, marquis,' Dr Dubois replied.

As we were leaving the chateau, I had enquired about the howls of the wolves, and he would say to me in a manner that was subtle but portentous, 'Do not fret doctor, for they are the wondrous howls of the creatures of the night. The wolves who sing so beautifully are the kindred of mine that return on every full moon to serenade me'.

His words which were concealed in irony had left the impression that there was something about the marquis that was not only secretive but as well, confounding. When I had asked Dr Dubois about the Cathars, he would tell me that they were a sect that had rebelled against the Pope, in the name of purity and tolerance. They fought against the atrocities of the armies of Louis XIV. Their creed had made them believe that the world was corrupted and evil, including the Catholic Church. The Cathars had believed in atonement for their sins. The last Cathar who was burnt at the stake was a man by the name of Guilhem Bélibaste in the year 1321. During the 17th century the Cathar's descendants, who had survived the horrors of the persecution of the inquisition became Huguenots or Protestants.

Along the dirt road back to the village, the howls began to increase, and we could sense the ominous presence of the wolves close to our carriage. The forest was dark and gloomy, and the twilight had transformed into the glare of the moonlight. Dr Dubois was nervous, as we had passed through the sylvan forest. It was when we were close to exiting the tall trees of a fret and scare that we were halted in our advance, by a ferocious pack of wolves that was following us on the prowl. The driver had hurried the horses with a whiplash, pulling tautly on the harness. There was a sinister wind that blew with sheer might. Finally, we were able to depart the terrifying forest of wolves and make it pass the medieval bridge that led to the village. The heart of Dr Dubois had beaten fast, and he was overwhelmed with consternation. I understood then why it was harrowing to be at the forest during the night.

Whatever tale of horror that was conjured by superstitious lore could not even conceive the horror that was felt with the lurking presence of the wolves that had followed us back in that dreaded forest. That night, I could not sleep much, and the image of the forest and the wolves had haunted me until the early morning when I arouse to the intense sweat of the disquietude of my nightmare. It had taken me at least half and hour, before I could regain my composure. On that day I had received a letter from my beloved Emma. She was the calming effect of my sanity. I had wanted to tell her about the horrendous experience from the prior night, but I was not prepared to frighten her with the ghastly details. Instead, I chose to think about fain thoughts and memories of our time together.

My moments of pleasantries were then interrupted by Dr Dubois, who would knock on my door to inform me that Gilbert the Gypsy boy that was sent to the asylum and chained by his father had escaped. This revelation would stir my curiosity. Where could the boy have gone? It was not unthinkable to imagine that he would still be in the vicinity or in the village somewhere hiding. We had immediately then departed the house of Dr Dubois and began to search for the young missing boy. We had looked everywhere, but no to avail. We made the decision to return to his residence. Once we had arrived there, we would discover the dead body of the father, who was butchered to death, lying in a thick pool of crimson blood. His throat was slashed, and his chest was covered, with deep scratches that had punctured his heart.

The question that was on our mind was who had killed the man? The thought of Gilbert, the son, had entered our minds. Could his madness have ultimately caused him to kill the man who was his father? I was somewhat incredulous to believe the boy could be involved in this heinous act and have the necessary strength for the murder. Nonetheless, we could not discard him from being a potential suspect. The Police from Perpignan were informed, and they had not found the boy. Neither the police nor I knew where he could be hiding. The forest was the logical place. That was the first place searched by the police. The local villagers were fearful of the forest at night during a full moon. They were also apprehensive about encountering the boy when he was a loup garou. The tidings about the horrific death of the father had spread rapidly throughout the villagers. To them, the murderer was a loup garou. This meant that they had believed that the boy was indeed a werewolf.

Upon one night during a full moon, I was visited by an anonymous stranger that was a female. She was totally naked in her appearance. Her hair was silky and long. Her skin was pale, and her brown eyes were glowing with the shimmer of the moonlight. She had attempted to seduce me with her feminine sensuality. I could hear her passionate whispers, as she had called out my name. I was hesitant at first in my reaction. What was she doing outside of my window? I knew that I could not falter to the temptation of her endowed bosom. Her parched lips were yearning to taste mine, and for a moment, mine were yearning as well to taste hers. Her spell was mesmerising, but I had resisted enough to break the powerful spell. Immediately, I closed the window, and when I had opened it, the female was suddenly gone. I was left wondering about her mystifying presence. The episode had become recurrent to the villagers, who would share a similar experience as mine.

As the days had passed, more cases of supposed lycanthropy had manifested, but the boy was yet to be located, until one horrifying night. The moon was full, and the sounds of the howling wolves had reached the asylum, where Dr Dubois and I were occupied with the patients. I was outside catching a fresh breath of air and smoking a cigarette. The tension that was building, with the boy's disappearance had begun to uneased me. Out of nowhere, the boy Gilbert had appeared before me from the edge of the forest of pine trees. His eyes were bulging, and his face was dripping with pouring sweat. He had opened his mouth and showed me his pointed, razor teeth. The Gypsy boy then was transforming, into an abominable beast that was the loup garou. I was in disbelief and stood motionless, as the beast was finishing with his unbelievable transformation.

I heard the voice of Dr Dubois then, who was calling my name. This had caused the creature to flee abruptly. When the doctor had reached me outside, he had seen for a glimpse the creature. There was something telling me that Dr Dubois was not lying after all, when he had mentioned to me about the presence of the loup garou. Whatever I had seen was of a hideous and preternatural origin. I was still in shock, and the doctor had sensed that something was affecting me. When I had told him that I saw the boy, he immediately asked me where he went. I was uncertain. However, my suspicion was back to the forest from whence it came. I did not know how else I could have explained what I had experienced. I had also revealed to him that the thing that I had witnessed transformed was not human at all in its natural composition. Although he barely saw the beast leave, he knew what it was.

His exact words were, 'The loup garou!'

'If this creature that you call the loup garou exists, then what about the others?'

'You still doubt their existence Dr Watford?'

'Not after tonight! Tell me, when did you see one?' I asked.

'There is something I have not told you. The week before you arrived was the first time, I had witnessed a loup garou. He or it was trying to get into my house. I don't know how it knew that I was there, but it did. I had scared it away with the shot of a rifle'.

'Was it a former patient of yours, you think so?'

'Yes. I thought so, but I could not confirm it, until I had discovered that it had been found dead, shot by one of the local villagers'.

'But where could Gilbert have gone?'

'There is only one place of refuge for these poor souls and that is the chateau of the Marquis of Roussillon'.

'Why there?' I insisted.

'Why? Because the marquis is himself, a loup garou'.

'Good God—if that is true, then why has not anyone arrested him or killed him, if he is that wretched beast you claim him to be?'

'For fear doctor. Everyone in the village is afraid of him. So, they appease his whims by offering flesh'.

'Flesh? What do you mean by that?'

'I mean that we give him our cattle and the occasional stranger who is foolish to enter his domain of the forest at night'.

'That would make you all accomplices of his devious acts'.

'I much prefer to call it an agreement doctor'.

'That is madness!' I said.

'What would you prefer us to do? Tell the outside world that we are a haven for the loup garou and his kind? Do you truly believe that they would believe me, if I had told them that the Marquis of Roussillon was a werewolf?'

'I see your point doctor, but we must do something to prevent these poor souls from becoming werewolves'.

'It is too late for them'.

'We have to do something! We must act!'

'What do you recommend we do Dr Dubois?'

'Go find the boy!'

'Where?'

'At the chateau of the marquis!'

'Are you suggesting that we go alone, just the two of us?'

'Perhaps we could reason with the marquis'.

'Have you gone mad Dr Watford?'

'Perhaps! But if we do nothing, the problem will never go away on its own'.

'Your words speak the truth'.

'We shall find the boy Gilbert there at the chateau'.

'We shall need then a pair of rifles, silver bullets and men, if we are to destroy the loup garous'.

'Let us first confront the marquis on amenable terms Dr Dubois'.

'That is insane doctor, but we have no other choice in the matter'.

Before we had headed towards the chateau, we went to the house of Dr Dubois to retrieve a rifle and a pistol, in case it was necessary. The menacing wolves had reached the village and were everywhere. Thereafter, they were blistering sounds of shots and penetrating howls that became audible to my ears. We were forced to flee from the house, because the wolves had managed to enter the house breaking, through the windows in a rapid burst. Fortunately, we had escaped to a nearby church. The suspense was incrementing. We were surrounded by the threatening wolves, who were determined to attack any of us humans who had resisted them. Afterwards, something inexplicable had caused the wolves to disperse and return to the sanctuary of the dark forest.

We had gathered several bold men from the villagers who had volunteered to go with us to the chateau to confront the marquis. Along the way holding our torches, the sound of the howling was heard, and the presence of the wolves was near. For some reason, they did not attack us. They had allowed free passage unto the chateau. I was not seeking a direct confrontation with the marquis. I had wanted the boy to return and be cured, if that was even possible then. Once there at the chateau, we were met by the convivial marquis himself, who knew exactly why we had come. It was for the boy Gilbert. He had called on the Gypsy boy, who came at once. He was not the hideous beast that I had seen in his shocking transformation. He was human then.

'Here is Gilbert, as you can see he is calm now'.

'Has he been with you all this time?' I asked.

'Yes. He came looking for shelter, and I gave him that shelter that he needed'.

'We know that he and you marquis are a loup garou'.

The Marquis of Roussillon had paused for a moment, before he had uttered, 'That I shall not deny. But you must know that we are not to be feared'.

'But your kind has caused great harm to the villagers'.

'You mean their transformations into loup garous?'

'Yes! I had answered.

'What shall you achieve by killing my kind Dr Watford? Are we not deserving of the same thing that you prize which is life?'

'But we cannot allow you to spread', said Dr Dubois.

'If you let us go then, we shall not return. But know that this is our natural haven. The forest is our home. By destroying us, you shall be destroying nature'.

'And what of us humans? We are being converted each day by your kind. You ask for pity, but you do not have pity for us'.

'Pity, when your kind has slaughtered our kind into almost extinction. You do not understand. We have given the villagers immortality of which none of you mortals can give to them'.

'Then what, you are saying marquis is that we are equals? If so, how are we to find a solution for this? What will become of Roussillon?'

'It will remain the same, with the exception that the villagers will be werewolves'.

'And what about those people who do not want to become werewolves?'

'Then they are free to go or live amongst us'.

The men who had accompanied us, had then alerted us of the presence of the wolves who were heading in our direction. By mistake or by fear, they began to shoot at the wolves. This would stir the ire of the wolves, who would attack the men. Despite the silver bullets in their guns, they were too many of them to be defeated. There was absolute chaos as the confrontation was occurring. The wolves had killed most of the men. Few would survive. Sensing that we were next to become their victims, Dr Dubois had taken out from his waistcoat a pistol that he had and aimed it directly at the Marquis of Roussillon. When I saw this act, I had quickly attempted to prevent the doctor from shooting. It was too late. The boy had put himself in front of the marquis and was shot. He fell unto the floor, but the boy was not dead.

He was spared death. The bullet would only pierce his shoulder. I had taken away the pistol from Dr Dubois. The marquis had picked up the boy and told us to come with him. Due to the shock, the boy was unconscious. There was a secret passage that had led outside of the chateau. A place where the wolves did not know about. Once on the outside, we were surrounded by endless trees and we had reached a river. Unfortunately, the wolves were approaching that river too. He had urged us to take the boy with us, whilst he would confront the vengeful pack of wolves. He told us about a singular path that led away from the mountains and to the safety on the other side. Indeed, he was a courageous man and was willing to sacrifice his life for our lives. We had bid him adieu, knowing that we were not certain if we would see him again alive.

As we were departing with the Gypsy boy, the marquis had suddenly transformed into an intimidating loup garou. The beast stood over seven feet tall and was covered in shaggy hair. He was black as the shade of darkness. His teeth were sharp, as were his pointed fingernails. It was those beady, red eyes that were transparent. He had returned to confront the menacing wolves. Gilbert was still unconscious. I had carried him in my arms tightly. Dr Dubois held a pistol in his right hand, readied to shoot at the wolves if necessary. We had reached the sanctuary of the other side of the mountains. From the distance, I could hear the growling of the vicious wolves. Then there was silence. The silence would be interrupted by the unmistakable sound of howling. Was it the howling of the Marquis of Roussillon or the wolves?

The next morning, we would discover that the marquis had disappeared. He was not present at his chateau. It was burnt into ashes by the mad populace, who had blamed him for the wolves' attack on the villagers. Those villagers, who were werewolves had fled with the marquis. What was not known at the time was his possible whereabouts. Dr Dubois would remain behind at the village. The redoubtable wolves were either hunted and killed, or had left the area. The mystery would remain an elusive secret. Upon my return to London, I would be shockingly surprised to see seated in my dinner table, a familiar guest, the Marquis of Roussillon. He had come to visit me, and Emma had greeted him. She had allowed him to enter, as he waited for my arrival.

His exact words upon seeing me again was, 'You have not forgotten me, Dr Watford?'

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About The Author
Franc68
Lorient Montaner
About This Story
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Posted
23 Mar, 2024
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