The Wardens Series (S01E02: Howl) – 2012

S01E02 – Chapters 11 – 20

Chapter 11

Erin took a deep breath as she made her way into Containment Unit 4. Buildings like these were scattered across the world in all the major cities, posing as financial institutions and software companies. Passers-by didn’t bother to question what happened beyond the blacked-out glass windows and doors and Praesidium contributed generously to various city officials, to ensure this remained the case.

            She and Zach had arrived in Toronto just hours before and had split up in order to accomplish more in a shorter period. The new case they were on was already hitting the headlines in ways that the organisation frowned upon. Civilians were turning up dead across the city, their bodies ripped to shreds in ways that had made authorities believe that it could only be the work of a vicious animal. Erin knew they were about half right.

            She walked the long hallway towards the inner offices, relieved that she had worn her black leather boots, as otherwise every step she took would have been heard. She could already feel the eyes on her from the many cameras hidden away in the low ceiling of the hallway and was glad that she’d kept her usually wayward red curls locked into a tight bun. The surveillance was just one of the things that made her loathe visiting any of the containment units, but sometimes her job left her no choice.

            As she came to a heavy titanium door that was more like a vault than a traditional door, she pulled her key card from her pocket – a plain white square with her information digitally embedded – then pressed her hand, palm up, against the door. Recognising her unique signature, a bright white outline lit up around her hand and with a hissing sound much like an airlock door opening, it swung open.

Erin walked through, straightening her stance as she came face to face with a room full of containment employees. For the most part they ignored her, too busy with calls coming in from across the region regarding new sightings and the mountains of paperwork that came along with each closed case. Erin walked purposefully on until she’d reached a desk near the back of the cubicle infested office space. The occupant, Matthew, who was darker-skinned than she was, brown-eyed and about thirty-five, looked up and smiled.

            “You made it,” he said, standing to give her a quick hug. Though it was necessary to work with containment officers, both Zach and Erin always preferred working with Matthew and Greek. Many members of containment acted as though they were above the wardens and often treated them with utter disrespect. These two however, did not.

Erin grinned at him as he released her and perched on top of his desk. “Yea, we had to head back to Middlesbrough to report in first. Got here as fast as we could.” She stood for a moment, peering over and into the cubicle behind her friend’s, “Where’s Greek?” she asked, adding, “I see he’s just as ‘tidy’ as ever,” and laughed lightly at the organised chaos on Greek’s desk that she’d grown accustomed to over the years. When she looked back at Matthew, his expression sobered her up.

            “He’s already down there. We’ve been waiting on you guys for a while and Greek hasn’t left the dungeon since the first one came in.”

Erin frowned. “The first? How many are they?”

Matthew sighed, “Three more in the last two days and we’re expecting more soon.” Erin’s brow furrowed deeper as she turned the information over in her head. There had to be more to this. The organisation seldom kept so many of the same creatures together in the dungeon. They were content with one or two of a species to study or gather much needed information about a nest or pack. But this time, they’d gone against that. Her curiosity soared. Matthew stood,

            “Ready?” Erin nodded, following him through another titanium door and into a large elevator. They didn’t say much as the lift descended seven floors to the dungeon, which referred to the basement level of containment units. It was a prison for supernatural beings, impenetrable and near impossible to escape. The organisation’s director liked to boast that it was an impossible feat, as after years of tweaking and adjusting for the many kinds of supernaturals that were kept in the cells, it truly would be a difficult task for any inmate to escape. Still, those active in the field knew better than to leave anything to chance and so were content to leave the ‘near’ before ‘impossible’.

            The elevator came to a smooth stop and as the doors opened, Erin scanned the hallway cautiously. Twelve guards stood along it, six on either side, not moving as Erin and Matthew passed by them. The end of the hallway led them to a flight of steep stairs, which ended at the door of another elevator. The two stepped in, this time going only three floors down, before coming to a stop. The doors opened onto what appeared to be a redbrick wall, but after Matthew pressed his palm against it, it allowed him through, opening just long enough for him to pass. Erin had to do the same and stepped through quickly, knowing that if she didn’t, she’d be crushed.

            The room they’d entered was painted all white and even the tiles they walked across matched its pristine appearance. A woman, taller than them both and wearing an ill-fitted skirt suit, came towards them. She didn’t speak, looking them over with her one true grey eye. Larger than the other false one — a transparent marble, it darted this way and that as her magical abilities allowed her to determine they were indeed who they said they were.

            She was a Cyclops and all dungeons used them as a final test, before they allowed anyone through to what Erin liked to call the land of the monsters. The Cyclops paused briefly, taking a longer look at Erin, but the warden did not let this bother her. She was accustomed to being a curiosity to this species and early on had assumed that it was some kind of weird magical penis envy. After they’d been approved, the woman nodded and Erin followed Matthew as he led her to the place where Greek had been holed up for more than four days.

            It was a dimly lit, dank smelling room and Erin strained to see. She was not wearing her customised contacts and found it bothersome that her vision was not better than usual. A figure came from around a corner,

            “Finally.” Greek sounded tired.

            “Show me what Zach and I are gonna have to deal with,” Erin said, not bothering with small talk. Greek led them both to a row of cages. As if smelling fresh meat, the prisoners started to growl and slam their bodies against the titanium and silver bars. Werewolves’ features were much like wolves, however, they were hairier than their canine friends, much larger and their bodies were not entirely wolf-like. It was as if the best features of humans and wolves had been merged to create beings that were incredibly strong and deadly.

            The silver sent them whimpering and Greek hollered angrily, pulling a tranquilizer gun from his jacket pocket.

            “Wolfsbane?” Erin asked, seeing from the way they backed away from the bars, that the werewolves had already become acquainted with Greek’s methods of keeping them quiet.

He nodded, “They’re stronger than any I’ve ever seen Erin and there’s more.” Seeing her baffled look, Greek pointed to one of the cells further away. Erin went, shock overtaking her as she looked inside. It was a man, naked and curled up in tight ball, sleeping peacefully.

            “This isn’t possible. Only lycans can—”

Matthew cut her off, “That’s why so many wardens are on this one. There’s a new strain out there and it’s not just affecting females, we’ve got males living through the change now too.”

Note: Apologies for formatting issues in this or subsequent chapters. This seems to be a technical problem in the WordPress backend.

Read on to Chapter 12 . . .

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