I put my long dark hair in a bun atop my head and got in my old blue pickup truck. I readied myself for the nightly trip around the park, hoping to find some decent carnage.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the beauty of a living animal as much as the next person, but I found that these animals died on the road such a waste of a beautiful specimen.
I spent my time picking up roadkill off the side of the road, savoring each piece of gorgeous fur for my “projects” as I liked to call them. Every skull, bone, and part of flesh could, in some way, be reused. I had to get them while they were fresh. If I waited too long, the vultures would tear them apart and ruin the best parts.
I know this sounds gross to most of you, but to me, each pound of flesh, fur, and bone was a treasure. I owned a shop in town called “Sal’s Creative Barn.” It was very noir and gothic, but most of my business was props for movies in Hollywood. I had created a swamp creature out of beaver fur; I created my most favorite creation – the Wendigo out of the most massive set of deer antlers I had ever found. It was a large reindeer buck I had found hit by a semi-truck. It was mangled and bloodied, and I couldn’t do much with the body except donate it to the crows that lived in my backyard, but those gorgeous antlers must have been three feet wide. I used bones from multiple animals to create the Wendigo. It had been featured in a magazine for taxidermy and used in a poster for a horror film about the legend of the Wendigo.
I was proud of all of my creations, but the best was yet to come.
I strapped myself in my truck and pulled out of my long gravel driveway. I had my dog Charlie, a Siberian Husky mix, next to me, and together we went into the darkness of night searching for fleshy treasures.
I had seen many things on my night adventures, wolves, coyotes, even a few mean bears. Yet, this night there was something in the air, something I couldn’t explain. That night it had been darker than usual. There was no moon in the sky, and there was a bit of fog that covered the road from the rain we had earlier in the day. It rose off the hot blacktop road like steam. Charlie seemed agitated and wouldn’t sit still. I drove onward, determined to find something of use to me. On a night like this, surely some drunk driver had run over a raccoon or even a vulture in the road. Then as I rolled down the window to light my cigarette, I caught a whiff of something. There was a smell that permeated my nostrils and got under my skin. It smelled a bit like when Charlie pissed too close to the house mixed in with when he rolled in mud and dirty rainwater. There was something else also, blood.
I flicked my cigarette into the road and rolled my windows up because the smell had gotten a bit too much. Then as I turned around the bend in the street, I saw something. I saw a large mass of fur straddling the road in front of me. My first guess was it was a large male raccoon. I felt empathy for the creature, but he would not go to waste. I got closer and realized I would need to turn around so that no cars would be blocked by the position I was in on my side of the road.
I drove about a quarter-mile down the empty road and turned around at a local wooded lookout point. I sped up a bit, and then as I approached the spot where I had seen the raccoon, my heart sank.
Something had grabbed the raccoon’s carcass that fast. There was a trail of blood leading into the woods that made me wonder if it had only been injured and ran into the woods to die. I took a deep breath, wondering what I should do. I looked down at Charlie.
“Well, boy, what do you think? Should I go and see if it needs any help? I hate to see it be in pain.” I sighed already, resigning to the fact I may have to finish the poor thing off. I hated seeing injured animals in pain. It broke my heart, examining it. It was what made me interested in preserving them in death. My father had been the local veterinarian in town, and I had seen him put many dogs, cats, and other animals to sleep. It was gut-wrenching.
I pulled over and grabbed my flashlight and hunting rifle. I looked at the trail of blood, and it seemed as though something dragged the animal into the woods. I sighed again and looked at the direction of the bloodied path. I walked into the woods, and then I heard Charlie barking at me. He began scratching the window of the pickup truck in a frenzy.
“Shh, Charlie, boy, I’ll be back in a second,” I said to him as though he understood what seconds meant.
I looked towards the woods, shining my flashlight on the dead leaves and blood. Strange, there was no more blood about ten feet into the forest. I figured another animal must have grabbed it. I walked back to my pickup truck and got in. I started the engine, and Charlie began licking my face as though he just knew he would never see me again.
“Okay, boy, okay!” I laughed at his behavior.
I began to pull away from my spot, and as I did, I turned my headlights on. My god, I wish I hadn’t. As I did, I saw something large jet in front of my truck, and as I was moving my truck, I slammed on the breaks. It was something huge. It wasn’t a bear, nor was it a coyote. I thought it looked strangely like a wolf, but it was entirely too large to be a wolf. This creature was the size of a cow.
I looked around and waited for it to come back. I looked in both directions, and after ten minutes of panting, I finally calmed down. Whatever it was, it was now long gone.
I decided I would head back out tomorrow night and just drive home for now. I went along the road for a long time and finally reached the section of road that was about fifty-five miles per hour.
As I picked up speed, I cracked open a Red Bull, and as I drank it, I took my eyes off the road for what must have been a millisecond. Something ran up aside from my pickup truck and stopped in front of my vehicle in that tiny millisecond. I hit my brakes so hard poor Charlie hit the dashboard, and the Red Bull went all over me and my pickup truck.
My car didn’t stop right away, as I was going too fast to miss it. I hit something hard and big. I felt my truck run over the body of whatever this was with my front tires, and I stopped my vehicle just as my back tires finished it off.
I felt sick to my stomach. I turned around in my seat after making sure Charlie was okay. Luckily, he was okay, no injuries in tow. He was licking my face and the sticky beverage off my cheeks. I turned slowly, almost afraid to look behind me. As I did, I saw an enormous animal on the road. Part of me was happy, relieved even that it wasn’t a human being. I grabbed my rifle, flashlight, and got out of my truck slowly, almost afraid to approach the animal. I was worried it wouldn’t be dead, and I would have the unfortunate task of finishing it off.
I couldn’t identify the animal right away. I had to move in closer to see what it was. I noticed it looked like a wolf, but it was so big. I had never seen anything this big before. One thing I did notice was that it had jet black hair covering most of its body. I had to admit the animal had beautiful coloring to it. The fur was long, and I kept trying to think about how it could be used as part of a prop in my latest project.
I didn’t know how I was going to move the animal by myself. It was at least six feet long. I walked over to it and leaned into its face. Then one of its eyes opened, and I fell back from fright, dropping my flashlight. I slowly stood, and I suddenly noticed how dark it was. I thought that it must still be alive, and I readied my rifle. It let out a breath, and then I saw its long tongue fall out of its mouth.
I took a deep breath and stood up, pointing my rifle at it. When it still didn’t move after a few minutes, I gently nudged it with my foot. It was still lying in the middle of the road, unmoving and now stiff. I picked up my flashlight and got up closer to its face and looked at its eye. I noticed it was amber in color, and I saw its fangs were long and fierce-looking. They had bits of flesh in them and blood. I took a deep breath and touched its fur. It was sleek, and I noticed its legs were longer than any wolf I had ever seen. It almost looked like a man dressed up in a costume, but it was no such thing in the dark of night. It had barely any hair on its lower abdomen, and its legs were barely covered in the hair near the thighs. Most of the hair was at the lower part of the legs, and its legs looked like two giant dogs’ legs. The skin that wasn’t covered in silky black fur was gray and rough to the touch as though it were made of Teflon.
The strangest thing was my pickup truck ran over it, and there was not one single drop of blood, nor were there any signs of injury to the creature other than it stopped breathing.
I rubbed its leg and touched its foot. It was indeed canine, but what was it? I knew I was going to make a killing stuffing and mounting this thing up for a movie prop, but I couldn’t lift it by myself into the bed of my pickup truck. There was only one person I could think of calling at this hour, the only man that wouldn’t mind helping me snag this atrocity as long as it made us both some money.
My friend, Adam, worked in special effects for film and television. I sold him most of my creations, and he doctored them up for the movies. Whatever this thing was, it looked perfect for the latest film he was working on.
I dialed his number, and it took him a bit to answer. When he did, I could tell he had a few glasses of red.
“Hello, my dearest Sally, what is keeping you up so late? Hope all good things.”
“Adam, I have something you may be interested in. I came across a unique specimen tonight on my run, and I thought before I stuff and mount this thing, I would call you and let you have first dibs.”
“Yeah, it is kinda big.”
“Where are you?”
“Route 303 not far from Fishers.”
“Oh, alright, I’ll come to look at it. I know you wouldn’t call me if it weren’t important. No dear, it is just Sal. Teri says hello, by the way.”
“Tell Teri hi for me.”
“I’ll be there in about twenty minutes.”
He was late, but my friend Adam was like that sometimes. He pulled in behind my truck and the creature on the road.
“Hey, you,” I said
I walked over to his car and waited for him to get out of his vehicle.
“Hey, so tell me how have you been?” he hugged me, and I quickly pushed him away because I only had one thing on my mind. Getting that thing in my truck.
“Good, really good. You? How’s the new condo? The twins are going to University now, right?”
“Yes, so Teri is decorating out of boredom. We got new curtains today, and she spent three hours hanging them up in that big bay window in the front. She didn’t like them, so I ended up having to take them down and hang them up in the back area. It has been a long day filled with wallpaper patterns, thread counts, and sofa stylings.”
“What a gripping life you do lead, Adam,” I said sarcastically.
He smirked. “Fine, make fun of me, young lady. If you were married, you’d understand. Did you dump that chap Liam that we all liked? By the way, Teri said to tell you thanks for the wine you brought to the housewarming a few weeks back.”
I rolled my eyes
“I didn’t bring you wine, Adam, that was my cousin Jed’s moonshine. And I’m not talking to you about my love life. Liam just wasn’t my type. He didn’t understand my work.”
Adam rolled his eyes at me then.
“ You may not care about your old and much wiser friend, but you will grow old all alone if you don’t stop being so picky. Liam was very nice. Knew a lot about politics, we spent a few hours talking about Brexit. We shared the same views you know, for an American. Bloody hell woman, that moonshine certainly explains a lot that night. I slept for two days after drinking that. In my defense, it was in a wine bottle.”
“Sorry, Jed recycles.” I said, smiling, “And get over it I didn’t care for Liam he bored me to tears. Not to mention, I don’t care for all that political talk and negativity.”
Adam ignored me and walked over towards the creature in the middle of the road.
“Is that it?”
“Yes,” I said, shining my flashlight on to it.
Adam walked back over to his car and turned on the headlights to get a better look in the dark.
“Damn, is it a bear with mange?”
“No, come over and look closer.”
He tilted his glasses a bit to get a better look squinting in the dark and then looked at me as though I were insane.
“It looks like a man in a werewolf costume. I’m not trying to be an accomplice in a hit and run, mind you.”
“It isn’t a person, but it looks like that, doesn’t it?”
He nodded the look of confusion and fascination, never leaving his face. “It is a unique specimen, indeed. It looks like a- a”
“Werewolf,” I said, answering for him.
“Exactly what I was thinking. It is certainly not a normal canine. In all my research and effects work, it is nothing ever seen before in science—even some of the cryptid books I have never seen or heard of something like this. I mean, look at the tongue and the fangs. It is a unique creature. Are you sure you want to offer it to me? You could sell it to the biology department at the local university.”
“No, I know you will pay top dollar for it when it’s done. I trust you, and I know you won’t con me when I’m done with my hard work.”
“Okay, let’s hurry.”
“You grab the head, and I’ll grab the lower half.”
“Oh no you don’t, what if it comes back to life and bites off my arm? I have to have these hands to work, and I’m putting twin girls through college. I’ll take the lower half, and you take the top.”
“Fine,” I said, grabbing hold of it by the armpits. It was a struggle, but we finally got the creature up and into my truck bed. Adam and I slid it back. Charlie started to bark and growl through the pickup truck back window at the beast.
“Okay, now what?”
“I’m going to need your help getting it inside my house too. Can you follow me home?”
“You owe me a beer.”
“Of course. I think I have some in my fridge.” I smiled.
When we got back to my house, Adam and I had to think of a way to move the creature into my home. I settled on a wheel barrel.
“You want to move it in a wheel barrel?” Adam asked me. “It is so big there is no way it will fit.”
“How else will I get it into my workroom?”
Adam looked at me and then put his hand up to his face covering his nostrils. “Oh, Christ, what is that smell?”
I stopped for a second. “That my friend is dead.”
“I don’t like it.”
“You work in horror films, and you just said you don’t like death? You mean you like it clean made out of a prop room. Well, let me tell you, old boy. This is what real death smells like.”
“I may throw up.”
Adam rolled his eyes at me in annoyance, and we got the creature into the basement of my house where my workroom was. The final act was getting it up onto my large taxidermy table flat on its back.
I groaned as we both held it up by its shoulders, sliding it inch by inch onto the large metal table. My back was ready to give out when Adam finally slammed the legs over and onto the table in one final act of utter exhaustion.
“That should do it,” he said, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief to get the sweat off.
“Thanks,” I finally said out of breath.
“No problem, dear. Let me know how it goes. I will come back when it is all finished.”
“Okay,” I sighed.
I nodded, catching my breath. That creature was hefty.
Adam walked up the stairs into my kitchen, opening my fridge he searched around. “No beer?”
“I have some moonshine.” I laughed.
“Oh, god no. I’ll see you in a week or so.”
With that, we said our goodbyes, and he walked out towards his car.
As he got to his car, I heard a loud crash in the basement.
I opened the door to my basement and ran down. When I went inside my workroom, I nearly fell over. The creature was now laying face down on the concrete floor.
My immediate thoughts were, how did it move on its own?
I slowly walked over towards it and looked at it. It was stiff as could be the tongue hanging out of its mouth again.
I nudged it with my foot again, trying to gauge if it would jump up and attack me. I walked up the basement stairs and called Adam.
Luckily for me, he was still at the end of my driveway. He came back in, and once again, we put the massive creature back onto the metal table.
“How did it fall off?”
“I don’t know. I hope he doesn’t again. I can’t thank you enough for helping me with this.”
“No problem, but I need to get home.” he hugged me and walked out.
This time all was quiet, and I turned out all the lights heading up to my bed.
I showered and put on my pajamas. I was ready to relax, and my body was prepared to sleep. I curled up with Charlie at my side, and I fell fast asleep.
It was sometime around three in the morning when my body woke to the sound of something scratching at my bedroom door. I didn’t open my eyes. I could hear Charlie whining at the door.
“Charlie, go lay in your bed, bud,” I said, feeling a tongue lick my cheek.
I smiled; my eyes were still closed. “Stop Charlie,” I then realized that Charlie had been in my room, with the bedroom door shut. Who was outside my bedroom door?
I was afraid to open my eyes because I knew Charlie had a very distinct whine.
I took a deep breath and opened my eyes. I heard Charlie at my bedroom door again. I didn’t see anything in my room to cause any alarm as I must have been dreaming. I stood and opened the door to my bedroom in a half sleepy daze.
Charlie ran in and jumped on my bed. I curled back up and closed my eyes.
That is when I smelled it.
That smell of death permeated my nose, and all at once, I felt sick. I opened my eyes to the darkness of the room. It seemed darker than usual. There was a street light that always lit up my room from outside my window. This time it was pitch black, and I could see nothing. I sat up slightly, my eyes half-closed. Then I saw them.
From the black that surrounded me, I saw two amber lights by my window. I squinted to get a better look at my window. Then with a horrifying feeling, I realized I was looking at eyes.
Terrified, Charlie began to growl and whimper. I could feel my heart beating, and I realized that I wasn’t breathing. All I could do was stare at the two amber eyes that looked back at me.
I heard it. It sounded like it was speaking to me.
“Where- am- I?” I could make out through groans.
I could not speak back to it. I was terrified of what I was seeing and hearing. My only defense was to tell myself it wasn’t real.
I turned around, clicking the switch of my bedside lamp.
I turned around, expecting to see the werewolf standing in front of me.
Nothing was there.
I took a deep breath. I must have been dreaming.
Charlie licked my face, and I smiled.
Whatever this thing was, I had brought into my house; it had given me such a paranoia I had never experienced before almost as if it were haunted.
It was dawn now I could see the grayish-blue light of day appearing through my window now. I got out of bed, determined to make myself believe there was nothing to be afraid of now.
I walked down into my kitchen and then opened the basement stairs. I walked into my workroom and turned on the lights. The creature was dead, still lying where I had left it earlier. The cold room gave me the shivers, and I walked out of my workroom and then back up into my kitchen.
I was no longer tired. Instead, I was wide awake. I made myself a cup of coffee and tried not to think about my weird dreams.
I was standing in the kitchen, and I looked out my window. The sun had not come up just yet, but I could see several pairs of eyes from the treeline by the main road in front of my home.
I blinked again; they seemed to be getting more significant. No, the eyes were getting closer.
Soon I could see the outline of creatures that looked canine in appearance. They were coming closer to my house.
I sat my coffee cup down, and then I went to reach for my rifle when I realized I had left it in my truck the night before. Charlie was now at my side barking and carrying on something terrible.
I patted his head to calm him, but I was trying to calm myself. I heard the sound of something moving in the basement.
I ran to lock the basement door. Something was now moving slowly up the basement stairs. I was sure that thing was alive and on its way up the stairs.
I turned around because Charlie was now trying to get at the back door to my house. I could see other creatures like the one I had run overall peering inside my window from my windows.
My heart sank, how in the hell was I going to get out of this?
Their eyes were amber, and they didn’t move. Instead, they watched me like one of those paintings in a horror movie. Their bodies did not move a muscle. Their heads didn’t follow me even when I ran all over the house, trying to find a way to protect myself.
I hid behind the wall to my living room and peered around to see that the creatures knew where I was. It was as if they could read my mind. I hoped that maybe with the light of day, they would disappear. The sun was coming up and didn’t werewolves only come out at night? That is what I believed anyhow after watching so many horror films over the years.
Then my heart dropped.
There was a bang at the basement stairs. It was getting louder and more evident that this creature was going to burst through the door at any given second.
I ran up the stairs and shut myself inside my bedroom with Charlie. I locked my bedroom door and hid inside my closet, hoping that whatever this was would burst out and leave.
The banging continued for a while, and then it stopped.
The only sound I could hear was the sound of my breathing. Charlie had calmed down now and was sleeping on my lap.
I didn’t know how long I had stayed inside the closet, but the sun was now shining through my bedroom window.
I decided to check and see if the creatures had left. I stood up and walked from my closet and peered out of my upstairs window into my yard. There was nothing there.
I sighed, hoping that maybe the creature had burst through the door and left with all the others. I had been so sure the monster was dead.
I sauntered out of my bedroom and then peered over my banister down into my living room.
There was nothing, no sound, and no rotten smells.
I crept downstairs and peeked around the wall and into my kitchen. The creatures were no longer there. I sighed with relief.
I walked towards the basement door and realized it had been opened but was only slightly ajar. I opened it all the way and looked at the stairs. There was no sound.
I took a deep breath, and assuming this thing had left; I walked downstairs to make sure.
When I got downstairs and walked into my workroom, I was distraught by how this creature was still on my work table. It was precisely where I had left it. I backed away in horror and fell against the wall.
I was never more terrified than I was at that moment. Out of fear and terror, I hit it hard on the chest and then backed away as though I expected it to attack me.
I looked at the creature’s mouth; it was now bleeding as though something had hurt it. I walked over and touched it briefly.
It was warm to the touch, and there was no way this thing should have had warm blood, but here it was.
I began to feel paranoid like never before. The room started to spin around and around, as though I had taken one too many mushrooms.
I fell back against the wall and slid to the floor. I closed my eyes, and I could see wolves eating me, attacking me, watching me with their amber eyes.
I could hear sounds of growling and howling and screams. I could see the moon above me. Then I woke up.
I was still sitting in the basement. The creature was always on my work table, and it had not moved. The last thing I recalled was touching its blood. After that, I became stoned; there was no other way to describe it.
I started to think about the night encounter and the other creatures.
There was something about this creature. Could it create hallucinations as a defense mechanism?
Either that or I was surely losing my mind.
I stood up, feeling slightly dizzy.
I walked up the stairs locking the basement door, and I called Adam.
“Do you have any idea what time it is? It is nearly six in the morning.”
“Come get this thing now.”
“There is something wrong with it, Adam.”
“What do you mean?”
“I touched its blood, and I saw something. I started to hallucinate after.”
“How much of Jed’s moonshine did you drink?”
“Shut up. I’m serious.”
“Fine, can it wait till I’m fully awake?”
“No, I want this thing out of my house now.”
I heard him sigh. “You really ought to get yourself a boyfriend so he can do all the heavy lifting.”
“Funny. I still don’t like Liam.”
He came over, and we loaded up the creature into my pickup truck.
“What do you want to do with it?”
“Let’s just drop it off where we found it.”
Adam rolled his eyes, sighing at me. “Seems like a pointless excursion.”
“What else should we do with it? I’m not giving it to you. I wouldn’t forgive myself if something happened to you or Teri because of it.”
He nodded, and he followed me back on to the road.
When we got to the spot on the road, we unloaded the creature and put it near the woods, hiding it from the view of passerby cars.
“Okay, now what?” Adam asked me. I recognized the tone.
“Thank you for helping me,” I said.
“Just sorry that I couldn’t use it for my newest film. That surely was a rare find.”
“Yeah, I know, sorry about that too.” I looked back at the woods where we had laid the creature.
It was now gone.
What the hell?
I tapped Adam on the shoulder as he was moaning and groaning about the work he had started.
He looked up at the treeline of the woods.
“Where did it go?”
“I don’t know.”
Then we both turned pale. Just inside the treeline were several pairs of amber eyes peering back at us.
“Are you seeing this, Sal?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Okay, good, let’s get the hell out of here.”
With that, we both left, never looking back.
I still don’t know what that creature was, but I know I never want to reencounter it. I don’t know if it was supernatural, interdimensional, or some experiment by some government agency.
That was the last time I went searching for roadkill. Instead, I work in special effects as an assistant to some famous special effects guy.
No need to worry about it, but the next time you see a real werewolf, I’m pretty sure it was inspired by something a little more realistic than you may be aware.
Stay safe out there.