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Roger sat in his rusted Bronco, out of fuel, on the large stretch of road. He hadn’t brought enough money to pay for gas when he passed by the gas station a few miles back. His mind was more focused towards finding his wife, Susanne, who had gone missing two days prior.

She was a homebody, so it worried Roger that she didn’t return home after work, especially since she wasn’t answering her phone. Luckily enough though, Roger was a keen tracker and capable of finding his wife on his own. That’s how he ended up on the dark expanse of cracked pavement, chilled to the bone from the downpour of rain and brisk wind.

Roger sighed, pulled his hood over his head, and exited the truck. He wrapped his large arms around himself for warmth and started off. Any other person would be terrified to walk in such an isolated area alone, but not Roger. He was determined to find Susanne, no matter what.

About a mile from his truck, Roger noticed a light illuminating from the trees a little way ahead. Eager to find a hot cup of coffee, he started towards the light.

Upon getting closer, it became apparent that it was indeed a home, as he could make out the porch the light hung on. Roger trudged up the wooden steps and began to pound on the screen door. He could hear a rustling from inside, and then the door swung open.

“What do you want?” a man, shorter than Roger, but seemingly more stout held the door open with his foot, as he held a rifle in his arms.

“I ran out of gas a mile or so back and was hoping you could help.” Roger replied, trying not to show his desperation. The homeowner sighed and beckoned Roger inside with a quick jerk of his head. Roger entered and immediately took a seat in front of the woodstove that threw a welcoming heat.

“So, what’s your name?” the man asked.

“Roger. Roger Ball.” replied Roger, his gaze not leaving the flickering flames of the fire.

“I’m Matthew Randall.” his hand was extended out in anticipation of a handshake that never came. “What’re you doing out this way? Folks don’t know what kinds of terrors could be out and about ‘round here at night.”

Roger chuckled. “I’m aware.” A long silence followed before he spoke again. “I’m looking for my wife. She travels this stretch of road to get to work.”

“She works at the mill?” Matthew asked. Roger nodded his head.

“Haven’t heard from her in two days.”

“Shit.” Matthew whispered, sympathetically. “I’m sure she’ll turn up eventually. Have you called the police?”

“Trust me,” Roger said sternly, “I’m much more capable of finding her than they are.”

Matthew was caught off guard by Roger’s reply but brushed it off as brash determination. He stood and walked into the kitchen where he put on a pot of coffee.

The house was silent for some time until the pot was full of coffee.

“Coffee?” Matthew asked from the adjacent room.

“Sure.” Roger muttered.

Matthew returned with two mugs, giving one to Roger, and then leaning on a white door that was next to the kitchen archway.

“I’ve heard lots of other women have gone missing here.” blurted Roger, breaking the silence.

“It’s a damn shame,” stated Matthew, “the whole road is about 45 miles long, and there’s only one gas station by the highway; not to mention that the cell phone service is shit. Lots of women end up running out of gas and try walking for help. That’s when the wolves get ‘em.”

“Yeah. Wolves.” mumbled Roger.

“What’d you say?” Matthew questioned.

“You know damn well it ain’t no wolves taking those women.”

“What do you mean?” Matthew asked, a hint of hostility in his voice.

“This is a God-damned hick town. Full of sick fucks who see a lone woman and take her.” Roger spat. Matthew’s brows rose inquisitively at the statement.

“So, you’re saying you think someone kidnapped your wife?”

“I know someone did.” Roger replied, clenching both hands into fists. “You know my wife’s favorite scent is strawberry?”

“No?” Matthew’s voice trembled.

“It wasn’t hard to smell it when I walked in. I’ve been married to that woman for fifteen years and she hasn’t worn a different perfume.” Matthew stood and began backing away from Roger.

“Stay where you are.” shouted Roger, nothing but pure rage emanating from his mouth. With mighty strides, he walked to the white door that Matthew had leaned on. He kicked the frail door down and peered down into the abyss that was Matthew’s basement. Roger could hear muffled whimpers coming from the darkness and hurried down the stairs. He felt around for the light switch and upon finding it, illuminated the room.

“My poor Susanne.” Roger’s voice was dampened by the urge to break down into tears. His wife was chained to the wall, her mouth stuffed with a dirty rag. She was covered in dried blood and displayed deep gashes across her entire body. Roger looked away, but that’s when he noticed it. The piles of bones that were strewn in the corner of the basement. Suddenly he felt the barrel of a rifle being pressed against the back of his skull.

“I’m going to kill you,” Matthew said. Roger remained silent, “and when you’re dead, I’m going to have my way with your wife while she cries over your corpse.”

Matthew lifted the bolt on the rifle and prepared to pull it back when Roger spun around, knocking Matthew to the ground, the gun falling out of his hands. Roger picked it up and bent the barrel, rendering it useless. Matthew was frozen with shock at the sheer strength of Roger.

“You think you’re the monster, don’t you?” Roger asked, watching Matthew squirm in a pathetic attempt to stand back up. Roger began to scream in agony as Matthew watched in horror. Roger’s entire body began to change. His skin began to cover in a deep black coat of fur, while his fingernails extended into rough, pointed talons. Roger put his hands over his face and fell to the floor, shaking. Matthew was finally able to stand and started to run up the stairs onto the main story of his house. When he turned back to close the basement door, he could see the thing that was Roger staring at him. His face was formed into something doglike. His snout bared long, yellowed, and jagged teeth. Before Matthew could swing the door shut, the beast that Roger had become sprinted up the stairs and rushed into Matthew’s small frame, knocking him back. The beast crawled over Matthew, who was lying still, and raised an arm high in the air before bringing it down with such force that it pierced straight through Matthew’s torso. With a groan, all life slipped from his body.

The beast stood, its yellowed eyes staring at the fresh corpse on the ground. In an instant, those eyes turned brown, and it was Roger standing there; his clothes torn, and blood soaked. He proceeded down into the basement where he broke the chains that restricted his wife. He carried her limp body over his shoulder and headed out, back into the night.