Maxwell Edison, Werewolf Hunter

Maxwell paced the darkened student med lab, waiting for the DNA results. His prey was a pretty, quizzical biochem major named Joan. She was suspiciously fervid when it came to her studies. There was a good chance she was at the science lab after hours herself. He wasn’t sure what, exactly, she was studying, but he was pretty sure he knew what she was.

The machine dinged and he checked the results. Bingo.

Joan was a werewolf.

He picked up his cell phone and gave her a call. He was actually a little shocked she answered, considering the time.

“Hello, Joan? Max Edison. We have Advanced Biology with Professor Luna together?” He paused while she took a minute to place his name with his face.

“Yes, of course. Hi. I’m glad you called.”

He smiled a predatory smile. He’d spent half the semester manipulating her so that she’d give him her phone number. With his broody good looks and silvered tongue—so to speak—he’d finally won her over, despite her hesitations. He wasn’t one of them, after all, and they rarely dated outside of their pack.

“How would you like to go see a movie with me sometime?”

She giggled and agreed. They picked a day and time.

“Excellent. I’ll pick you up Thursday at nine.” He pretended to jot down her address as she gave it to him. He already knew where she lived.

He already knew everything he needed to know about her.

#

A few minutes before nine, Maxwell adjusted his weapons belt and made sure his jacket covered the silver hammers hanging there. He ran a hand through his hair, checked his breath, and then leaned forward and rapped his knuckles against Joan’s door.

Joan’s hair was wet and her cheeks were flushed when she threw open the door. “You’re early!”

He feigned an apologetic smile. “Sorry. Do you want me to wait downstairs?”

She shook her head. “Don’t be silly. Come on in. I’ll only be a few more minutes.”

He followed her inside, shutting the door behind himself. He waited until she darted off to the bathroom down the hall before he threw the dead bolt.

Maxwell did a quick circuit of the other rooms, making sure the apartment was clear before he went in for the kill. It wouldn’t do to be ambushed.

But Joan appeared to be very trusting for a wolf. She was alone. Not even a roommate.

He slid his hammers loose and made his way to the bathroom where the sound of a blow dryer blared away.

He’d meant to catch her before she was done, but she clicked it off just before he turned the corner. Her eyes met his in the mirror and she smiled briefly before registering the threat. Her nostrils flared and her eyes darted to the hammers.

“You son of a—” She whirled around and slammed into him, knocking him to the floor. She was stronger than she looked. She ran into the bedroom and tried to throw the door shut on him, but he stuck is toe in the doorway. She bounced off the door and fell to the floor. He knocked the door open and looked down at her.

He took a step back and blinked. The girl was trying to force the change. The full moon was still over a week away, but he could see her eyes starting to glow and her limbs trembled.

But he didn’t hesitate for another moment. Whether she could force the full change or not, he’d never find out. He darted forward and slammed the hammers down on her head, instantly ending her life.

She quivered on the floor for a moment, and he hit her again for good measure. Always better to be sure they there dead. Werewolves were a wiry lot.

Once he’d used her clothes to clean off his hammers, he began to search the apartment. Joan had been meticulously neat. There were no dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, or even any magazines on the coffee table. Her toiletries were all lined up on a shelf in the bathroom. Did she even live here? Or was she just that neat?

There were three doors in the hallway—one to the bathroom, one to the bedroom, and one that he assumed was a linen closet until he noticed the linen closet in the bathroom.

The third door was locked. Curious. He threw his weight against it, but it didn’t budge. Very curious. Joan was definitely hiding something. It took several kicks, but he was finally able to break through. It had definitely been reinforced. These apartments weren’t known for their durability.

Maxwell was a bit disappointed the reinforced door didn’t lead to anything particularly exciting. The room was probably meant to be a second bedroom, but it was cramped even without a bed. Joan had it set up as a home office. It was also meticulously kept. Books arranged by subject matter and author on a bookshelf (mostly science textbooks), files neatly labeled in the filing cabinets, her laptop closed and perfectly centered on the desk. No food dishes or trash. No bills left out. Why the locked door?

He had resigned himself to probably needing to crack into her computer, when he opened the closet door on a whim.

Maxwell blinked and stepped back.

He’d found Joan’s home lab.

Test tubes labeled with long strings of numbers glowed in the dim light. Sealed packages of syringes were neatly arranged in a drawer. In another locked drawer, he found a journal.

So like a woman to keep a diary.

He flipped through it and found what the numbers on the test tubes correlated to.

“Shit.” He sucked in a breath and re-read the surrounding pages.

The local werewolf pack was researching how to control the change. Not just to keep it from happening at the full moon, but to force it whenever they wanted.

That would make them very, very dangerous to him and his fellow hunters.

He read a few more pages and felt his eyebrows raise. Professor Luna had apparently had a hand in directing Joan’s research. Well, he’d had his suspicions about the woman before, although the name was a bit too on the nose for his taste. He’d have to deal with her, next. Hopefully Joan hadn’t had time to share much of her results with her yet.

He pocketed the journal, then began the systematic destruction of the entire lab, room, and apartment. Joan had plenty of flammable chemicals in her lab. Good. That would help with the destruction of evidence that he’d ever been there at all.

Shame about the rest of the building, though. Hopefully everyone would have time to get out before the entire building was engulfed.

He walked away in a blaze of glory as he put a call into his superior.

“Valerie? Maxwell here. We have a problem.”

“Tell me you had nothing to do with the call about the structure fire.”

“I had nothing to do with the call.”

He could almost hear Valerie’s eye roll. “Was it worth it?”

“Oh yes. I have a lead on what the werewolves are working on and another target.” He filled her in on the details as he walked the three blocks down and two over to his car. “I’m planning on entrapping her in class tomorrow.”

“Be careful. If she’s gone this long under our radar, there’s probably a reason.”

“I’ll be fine.”

There was a slight hesitation on the line. “I’m sending Rose as backup.”

Maxwell sighed. “Is that really necessary?”

“I guess we’ll find out tomorrow, won’t we?”

 

#

Advanced biochem was, unsurprisingly, a fairly small class. The lab was cluttered but intimate. Professor Luna tended to stay near her podium and sent her teacher’s assistant to investigate lab results, though. Luna lectured while her TA did all the grunt work. Neither one of them ever bothered to take roll.

Even still, Luna took notice of Joan’s absence. Maxwell thought it was interesting that Luna noticed that one of her students was missing, but took no notice of Rose, who had never been to a class before. The TA gave Rose a strange look, but she smiled and leaned forward a bit in her low-cut shirt, so the poor guy really didn’t stand a chance. He let her stay without any more hassle.

Maxwell kept his eyes on Professor Luna for most of the period, which meant his experiment didn’t go particularly well. The TA pushed his glasses up on his nose and opened his mouth to lecture him.

“Save it, nerd. I know I added the compound too late. Look. That cute girl over there is trying to get your attention.” He nodded in Rose’s direction, and she scowled at him before the kid turned around. Once he was looking at her, she smiled and twirled a strand of hair around her finger.

When Maxwell turned his attention back to Luna, she had a strange look on her face. She was actually making her way around the room. She stopped at Joan’s work station and stared at it for a moment, as if it would reveal the serum Joan had been working on.

“Has anyone heard from Joan today?” Her eyebrows knit in concern.

“I heard her building burned down last night,” one of the students next to Maxwell said. “They’re still identifying bodies.”

Luna’s eyes went wide.

“I guess that’s what happens when you keep all those flammable chemicals in your closet,” Maxwell muttered.

Luna looked up sharply and Maxwell grimaced. Damn werewolves and their super sensitive hearing. Amateur mistake on his part.

But it got him what he wanted, anyway.

“Mr. Edison. If you’d be so kind as to stay after class. I have a matter I wish to discuss with you.”

“Of course, Miss Luna.” He didn’t dare break eye contact with her, despite Rose shooting him a warning look. It would be best if he didn’t draw attention to her at that point.

This really was the perfect opportunity. He waited patiently as the class ended and students began filing out. Patience turned to mild concern as Luna dug her phone out of her bag and fired off a text.

Great. Backup. He really should learn to guard his tongue better. He’d have to be quick. It wasn’t easy to sneak up on a werewolf.

He made eye contact with Rose and gave her the signal. She leaned against the TA, who she’d been distracting, and he jerked, bumping into the work station. What was left of the experiment crashed to the floor, splattering chemicals everywhere, including his clothes.

“Woops, sorry,” she said. The TA’s mouth dropped open as Rose grabbed his hand and tugged. “Come on. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

If Maxwell hadn’t watched her work before, he would have been impressed. Instead, he made use of the distraction to whip out his silver hammers and slip behind Professor Luna.

She never should have turned her back on him.

He swung down with both hammers, and they gave a satisfying thud as they crushed her skull.

Unfortunately, the satisfaction was short-lived.

“Freeze! Drop the weapons and put your hands above your head.”

Professor Luna, may she rest in peace, hadn’t called her pack for backup. She’d called campus police, and they’d just witnessed her grisly murder.

He had no choice but to go peacefully. He let them take his weapons and cuff him. As they escorted him from the premise, they passed by Rose, who was watching with wide eyes.

This was it. He made sure to lock eyes with her and gave her the sign to begin implementation of the final plan. She nodded and slumped.

It was still early for it, but they’d forced his hand.

No more hiding in the shadows. Not for them or for the wolves.

 

#

After weeks rotting in jail—no bail, of course—Maxwell’s case finally came up. The bailiff escorted him to the stand, and a grim collection of jurors who he could already see were at least half werewolf watched his long walk.

It was all rigged. Of course it was. Maxwell was a key player in the war. Although taking him out would only delay the inevitable, it would set their efforts back quite a bit. They’d lose access to the lab. They’d lose access to his brain and brawn. It was hard to find both in one complete package. The girls knew it.

So it was time for extreme measures. Maxwell gave a slow nod to Valerie, who paled. He raised an eyebrow and she gave the slighted shake of her head.

Not yet, then. She was going to make him suffer through the whole trial charade. Did she really think there was a way they weren’t going to condemn him for life?

The police gave their eye witness report, DNA on his hammers came back as his, phone records showed that he had contacted Joan prior to her death. It was pretty cut and dry as far as cases go. The judge—the alpha male of the entire region—was the presiding judge. He looked entirely too smug up there on his stand. Maxwell would take great pleasure in taking him down a notch. Or several.

The jurors were gone in back in less than ten minutes. They passed their decision to the judge, all staring at him coldly. He’d been judged a murderer.

To be fair, that’s exactly what he was.

Just as the judge was about to read the verdict, Maxwell gave the signal.

Rose and Valerie began their distraction, crying hysterically about how he had to go free, demanding a mistrial.

The judge called for order and Maxwell stood on his tip toes. The bailiff eyed him nervously, but when their outburst came to blows, he turned to put a stop to it.

They’d been lucky enough to have a man on the inside to make sure he’d be able to get free when the time arrived, so it only took a second for Maxwell to bust free of his restraints. By then, it was too late for the guards. He dove for his hammers, still sitting out as Exhibit A or whatever.

Before the judge could turn around, Maxwell slammed his hammers down on his brain stem, instantly killing him and severing his tie to the local pack.

Chaos ensued as every werewolf present began to howl.

Excellent. He knew right where all of them were. Maxwell spun his hammers in his hands. Time to press the advantage.

Oh yes, Maxwell Edison, werewolf hunter, was just getting started.

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.

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