Wolf

Wolf short story by Iris Carden

Five storeys below Brisbane’s Roma Street Police Station, is the headquarters for the Human Defence Unit. Its members are drawn from among the highest performing members of military, intelligence, and police forces throughout Australia, along with select highly specialised members of the civilian population. The Human Defence Unit and its elite staff are neither police, military nor intelligence. They do not exist.

Senior Agent Jo Burns had been called to the office of Inspector David Webber, the police liaison with the HDU. She was surprised to find the Queensland Premier already in the office, waiting for her.

The Premier passed a manila file folder, labelled “confidential”, to Jo. “Do you know who this is?” she asked.

Jo opened the file to the first page, which had a photo and a name. “He’s a misogynist, who calls himself a men’s rights activist and argues publicly for the right of men to beat women. He’s touring now, and women are protesting outside all his venues.”

“He’s missing,” the Premier said.

“I hope he stays that way,” Jo replied.

The Premier pushed a stray hair back behind her ear. “I share your sentiment, but he’s high profile and he’s gone missing in Brisbane. It’s not a good look for the state, or the city. Read through the file, you’ll see why I wanted you.”

Jo looked through the file. The door to the man’s hotel room had been broken open forcefully, and there were claw marks on both the door and the door jamb. There was very little else damaged.

“Wolf,” Jo said, “one with a lot of self-control, so probably hereditary, not created. I see there’s hair in the evidence log. David, can you transfer that to Helen Thompson in our pathology section. She can run DNA and see if the wolf’s on our register.”

“You have a register?” the Premier asked. “Don’t you just kill these things?”

“Not every monster behaves monstrously. Some have self-control and choose not to harm humans. Fangs can get blood from the blood bank. Blood that’s diseased or contaminated isn’t suitable for human transfusions, so it goes on the fang market. Wolves sometimes choose to lock or chain themselves up for the full moon. Those we know of who stay out of trouble are on our DNA register. Sometimes they need help to stay out of trouble. On the full moon, we have a number of wolves present themselves to go into our cells because they don’t have someone to lock them up at home.”

“Just find him and deal with the offender,” the Premier said.

“Oh, I will, but do you want to be advised of the results? I mean if he’s already wolf scat, that’s not really going to reflect well on the state either.”

The DNA test had a positive result. Tegan Morris was a wolf who in her human form ran a small florist shop, and lived in a house behind the shop.

The florist put down the flowers she was arranging when she saw Jo arrive. “I’ve been expecting you,” she said. “I was going to kill him, but I couldn’t go through with it.”

She led Jo to a soundproofed, basement room below her house. In the middle of the room was a large steel cage. Inside the cage, sitting on the bare floor was the missing man.

“This is where you usually stay when you turn?” Jo asked.

“Yes, my sister usually locks me in. She didn’t inherit the wolf gene. She died two weeks ago. Her husband beat her to death after reading this man’s blog.”

“Unlock the door,” Jo said.

“Are you arresting me?”

“No. You didn’t harm him, and you’re not going to do anything like this again, are you?”

“I don’t want to, but I don’t have anyone to lock me in.”

“I’ll do it. You can be locked into our cells, or I’ll come and lock you in here. Now you need to let him out.”

“But he’ll tell people what happened.”

“He was kidnapped by a werewolf. Yes. He can tell anyone he likes, that’s not going to be taken seriously.” She turned to the man in the cell. “Get up. You’re coming with me.”

“You’re the police?” the prisoner asked.

“No.”

“Then why should I come with you?”

Tegan opened the door, and Jo grabbed the man and dragged him out of the cell. “Because you’ve got an appointment with the Premier. I’m going to drop you off at her office and hopefully never have to think of you again.”

“If you’re not the police, who are you?”

“No-one. I don’t exist.”

“You what?”

“You’re hallucinating. Police found you wandering around Fortitude Valley ranting about werewolves. You really should quit taking drugs.”

“That’s not true.”

“That’s what the police report that’s going to accidentally be leaked to the press will say. Push your luck, and you’ll be arrested for using.”

“I’m going to report you.”

“Report who? To whom? As I said, I don’t exist.”


Human Defence Unit Stories


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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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