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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2313456
Gordy Jule kills people with a steel hammer, then decapitates them with a sickle
Hermann Marter was ploughing his crops with Ol' Nessie, a huge ten-year-old Clydesdale pulling the plough, on a rainy summer Tuesday. It was only drizzling, so he saw no reason to be lazing inside when there was ploughing to be done. His vegetable farm was twenty kilometres outside of Upton in the Glen Hartwell to Willamby area of the Victorian countryside.

He had finished one row and was coming back when the tall dark-haired man dressed in a yellow shirt, blue denim coveralls, and brown leather work boots walked up from the back paddock. He was carrying a large steel hammer in one hand, and a short-handled sickle in the other.

"If ya looking for work, all I kin say is geddoff my land!" said Hermann. Who had never seen the point in wasting time with pleasantries.

"No, not looking for work," said Gordy as he liked to be called: "Just come to make a killing."

"Make a killing?" said Hermann in disbelief: "Thays barely enough profit from this farm to feed me and the family let alone make a killing."

Unwisely Hermann turned his back on Gordy, who made his killing. Bashing the farmer's head in with his steel hammer. Then as he fell to the ground, Gordy used the sickle to decapitate the sixty-something man.

"Now that's what I call making a killing," said Gordy with pride.

Hearing footsteps, Gordy looked around as a huge hulking farm boy, Maynard, thirty-something, with long blond hair across his face strode up.

"What's happened to Pa?" asked Maynard.

"I think he collapsed from exhaustion," said Gordy.

"Yeh, he allus did overdo it," agreed Maynard.

"You grab his shoulders, I'll take his legs and we can carry him up to the farmhouse," suggested Gordy.

"That's mighty neighbourly of ya," said Maynard.

As he bent to grab his father's shoulders, Gordy smashed his head in with the steel hammer. Then decapitated him also.

"Like father, like son," said Gordy, snickering at his own graveyard humour.

He turned to walk down to the back paddock, then out into the neighbouring countryside. Not forgetting to give Ol' Nessie a pat on the flanks as he passed the Clydesdale mare.

At 7:30 sharp everyone was seated at the dining table at Deidre Morton's boarding house in Rochester Road Merridale, on a cool summer's morning.

"A nice cool change after yesterday's forty-degree heat," said Colin Klein. A tall redheaded London-born crime reporter now working for the Glen Hartwell police, he could barely cope with Australia's thirty-degree days. Let alone the odd forty-degree day like Sunday had been.

"Just wait till it starts pouring rain later today, honey," said Terri Scott. A tall attractive ash blonde, in her early thirties, she was Senior Sergeant and therefore chief cop of the entire Glen Hartwell to Willamby area. She was also romantically involved with Colin: "It'll be just like you're back in London."

"Very funny, " he said, giving her a gentle pat on her shapely behind.

"Good one, Tezza," said Sheila Bennett. Also in her early thirties, Sheila was a tall, powerfully built woman who spent most Saturdays at the Muscle Up Gym on Jedasa Street, Glen Hartwell. A Goth chick with orange-and-black-striped hair, she was the Chief Constable and therefore Terri's immediate deputy.

"As a born-and-raised Victorian, I prefer the cooler weather too," said Natasha Lipzing. A tall thin, grey-haired lady, who at seventy had spent the second half of her life at Deidre Morton's boarding house.

"I don't mind thirty-degree heat," said Freddy Kingston. A tall retiree, bald except for a Larry Fine-style ruff of black curly hair around the sides and back of his head: "But the forty degrees stuff almost melts me."

"It doesn't bother me at all," said Tommy Turner. Also a recent retiree. He had short blond hair and a massive gut due to decades of alcohol abuse.

"No, because you've got one of the two rooms in the house with an overhead fan," pointed out Deidre Morton. A sixty-something dark-haired woman, of a hundred and fifty centimetres, who nonetheless was a giant amongst local chefs.

"How did he get the second room with an overhead fan anyway?" asked Sheila: "He's the newest newcomer here."

"It was luck of the draw," said Mrs. Morton: "No one else was using it, so he claimed it as soon as I showed him the rooms I had to offer."

"Terri and I should have that room," insisted Colin Klein: "Then two hard-working people would live in comfort, instead of one low life."

"Makes sense to me," said everyone, except Tommy.

"I'll take them their 9:00 O'clockses," said Tessa Martin. A tall attractive twenty-five-year-old brunette. Daughter of Jessie and Hermann; sister of Maynard Martin.

"Thanks, honey," said her mother Jessie. A tall plump brunette, who had once been a beauty like her daughter. She handed over a wicker basket of victuals that she had prepared for the two hungry men.

"Tah, mum," said Tessa. Taking the basket she trotted out onto the back patio, then started quick-marching down the farm toward the middle field where the men were supposed to be working that day. Fortunately, the spitting rain had stopped and it was starting to warm up a bit. Although it would not reach the forty degrees of the previous day.

Puzzled that she could not hear them working, she called" "Dad! Retard!" A nickname she usually only used for Maynard when her parents weren't within hearing- or bottom-spanking range.

"Maynard! Dad!" she called as she was getting near to the middle paddock and still couldn't hear them.

Starting to get worried, she began to run across the field, past head-high corn which obscured her vision: "Maynard! Dad!" she called again.

Then finally she burst out of the cornfield and saw her brother and father lying face down in the dirt. With Ol' Nessie standing nearby.

"Maynard! Dad!" she called again as she ran across to them. Stopping when she saw the damage done to the backs of their heads, with Gordy the Ghoul's steel hammer.

"Dad!" she cried kneeling beside him. She gently turned him over onto his back. Then screamed and fainted as his head came away from his body!

Jessie Marter, was outside, hanging up clothes on a nylon line strung from one gum tree at one side of the yard to another tree at the other side. She dropped a pair of Maynard's denim trousers that she had been hanging up when she heard Tessa scream.

"Tessa!" she called starting at a run across the farmhouse yard. Then through the wire-mesh fence into the corn field, not caring what damage she did to the corn crop as she raced to the aid of her younger offspring.

As she came out of the corn crop she saw Tessa, Maynard, and Hermann all lying face-down on the soil. She raced across to her family, stopping in horror, as she saw what had happened to Maynard and Hermann. Covering her mouth with one hand, she was determined not to faint like Tessa. But was finding it difficult. Her head was spinning a little, so she knelt down beside Tessa, until her light-headedness passed, then helped her awakening daughter to stand.

Jessie half-led, half-carried Tessa back through the cornfield to the farmhouse, leaving her lying on a sofa in the TV room. Then reaching for the landline rang first the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital, then the Mitchell Street Police Station in Glen Hartwell.

An hour later, Terri's police-blue Lexus turned up at the Martin vegetable farm outside Upton, to find the place swarming with ambulances (three actually), plus paramedics and hospital staff.

"Strong Arm, Chezza," said Sheila Bennett to two close friends of hers: Derek Armstrong, a black fortyish paramedic, and Cheryl Pritchard. In her early sixties, Cheryl was the longest-serving and most senior paramedic in the Glen Hartwell to Willamby area. Sheila, Derek, and Cheryl spent their Saturdays together bodybuilding at the Muscle Up Gym in the Glen. Along with Alice Walker, one of Glen Hartwell's pro rata policewomen.

As they reached the middle paddock they found Jesus Costello, Tilly Lombstrom, Jerry 'Elvis' Green, and nurse, Topaz Moseley examining the bodies of Hermann and Maynard Marter.

"So what happened to them?" asked Terri.

"Their heads were bashed in, seemingly with a hammer, then their heads were cut off," said Jesus. Pronounced 'Hee-Zeus', Jesus was the chief administrator and head surgeon at the Glen Hartwell Hospital.

"We'll need to do autopsies though to confirm that the hammer blows killed them," said Tilly. An attractive fifty-something brunette and Jesus's chief assistant.

"If the hammer blows didn't, then cutting their head off would've," said Elvis Green. Nicknamed due to his devotion to the late King of Rock and Roll: "It works for most creatures. With the possible exception of farmyard chickens."

"Hence the expression, 'bird-brained'," said Sheila Bennett.

"I don't know which of you does the worst graveyard humour," said Jesus. Standing up again, he said: "Send Cheryl and the others down with stretchers to collect them.

"Okay," said Sheila Bennett. Taking out her mobile phone she pressed '5' and then passed on the instructions to Derek Armstrong. Then said, "The ambulance with Tessa Maynard has already left for GH&DCH with Annie Colfax aboard." Annie Colfax, at thirty-nine, was the most senior nurse at the Glen Hartwell Hospital.

"Good," said Tilly Lombstrom also straightening up, then rubbing at a crick in her back from kneeling too long.

"You're starting to show your age, old girl," teased Sheila.

"How dare you, I can still Cha-Cha-Cha with the best of them!"

"Which really does show your age; since nobody else has Cha-Cha-Cha-ed in sixty years now," teased Elvis Green. Drawing a glare from Tilly, and laughter from everyone else.

Over at the Slater sheep station outside Daley township, Nigel Slater was in the process of preparing his sheep for shearing. Normally he would have had it done at the start of summer, not in February. But Victoria's summer of 2023-24 had been such a stop-start affair with roasting hot days followed by heavy rains and flooding, that he had kept putting it off. But by Feb the 5th he decided that he could put it off no longer. He had led his sheep through sheep dip and was now awaiting three professional shearers to get through his three-hundred-and-fifty sheep in one day.

Seeing Gordy the Ghoul approaching from the back paddock, Nigel asked: "You one of the gun shearers?"

"You could say that," said Gordy.

He slammed his sickle into the farmer's throat, severing his jugular vein, then, smashed the back of his head in with his steel hammer. Then putting down his tools for a moment, Gordy dragged Nigel by the feet to hide his body in a hay barn after making certain to fully decapitate it.

By the time that he had returned to the sheep enclosure, three thirty-something brothers Horace, Morris, and Dennis Wagner, all dressed in overalls and carrying electric shears had arrived.

"You Nigel Slater?" asked Horace, the older brother.

Gordy considered saying yes, then realised it would backfire if someone from the farm turned up to ask where Nigel was. So instead he said:

"No, he had to go into town, so he asked me to supervise the shearing."

"Okay," said Horace as the three men walked toward the sheep shearing shed.

Sneaking up behind the brothers, Gordy quickly despatched them with the steel hammer, then decapitated them with his sickle. The first two easily, young Dennis with more difficulty needing to slash four times to completely remove his head.

Looking at the circular blade of the sickle, Gordy said: "Hmmm? I'd better sharpen it before my next outing."

He then turned and walked through the farmyard to leave via the forest. Ignoring the bleating sheep.

After half an hour, puzzled that she hadn't heard the sound of the electric shears, Eleanor 'Ally' Slater, a tall rotund woman, strode down from the farmhouse to see what was keeping the gun shearers.

"Nigel!" she called out as she approached the shearing shed: "Boys!"

Although the youngest Wagner brother was twenty-eight, the eldest was thirty-six.

"Boys!" she called again. Before she stepped into the darkened shed and fell over one of the corpses lying just inside the door.

"What the Hell?" Ally said. Climbing back to her feet with difficulty, she felt around for the light switches and soon had the large shed bathed in light.

Then looking down to see what she had fallen over, she started to scream. Even as she spun around and raced back to the farmhouse to ring triple-zero. She had to force herself to stop screaming before she could make herself understood by the emergency operator.

It was only after the operator had contacted Jesus Costello, then Terri Scott, that Ally calmed down enough to wonder what had happened to her husband, Nigel. She started to go out to look for him, then lost her nerve. Deciding instead to let the police hunt around to find him, if he had not returned by the time that Terri and co. had arrived.

It was around lunchtime when the blue Lexus arrived at the Wagner Sheep Station.

"Damn," said Sheila Bennett: "Mrs. M. was doing porterhouse casserole with dumplings for lunch, followed by apple pie and custard."

"You do realise that at least three, and possibly four innocent men had been decapitated, Sheils?" asked Terri as they alighted from the car.

"Yeh, but a policewoman does not live on capturing psychos alone, you know."

"I think that's a slight misquote," said Colin Klein.

They started down toward the shearing shed, stopping when they heard more sirens approaching. Turning back, they saw two blue police cars burning rubber: a nearly new Range Rover, and an ancient-looking Land-Rover.

They waited for the two vehicles, out of which stepped Stanlee Dempsey, Paul Bell, and Drew Braidwood: Stanlee, a local sergeant of police was a huge ox of a man with raven-coloured hair; Paul Bell another sergeant was tall and wiry, with dark hair; Drew was Paul's constable a lanky man in his mid-fifties with long unkempt blond hair.

"Follow me," said Terri leading them down to the now brightly lit shearing shed, where there could be no doubt that Ally had been right about the murders of the three Wagner brothers.

Hearing the sound of ambulance sirens, Terri said: "Drew, go back to lead Jesus and co. down here. The rest of us need to try to track down Nigel, who is missing."

"Okey dokey," said Drew, walking back to the farmyard gate as the others started hunting around.

"This one's been hammered then decapitated with one clean swing of the blade, whatever it is?" said Jesus after examining Horace Wagner.

"Same here," said Tilly, having examined Morris.

"Not this one," said Elvis, taking them all by surprise after examining Dennis: "He's really hacked and chopped this one. His blade must have bluntened after the others plus the Marters earlier."

The medics were all getting ready to leave with the three Wagner brothers in ambulances when Stanlee Dempsey called out:

"I've found Nigel!"

Tilly and Elvis headed off with the corpses of the Wagner brothers. While Jesus stayed to examine Nigel Slater's remains.

"Like the first two," he said. Going on to explain about Dennis Wagner's neck having been hacked about during his decapitation.

"So now his weapon is blunted and needs sharpening," said Terri.

"Who do we know around the G.H. area who has a lathe or grindstone to sharpen knives?" asked Colin Klein.

"Most of the farmers from BeauLarkin right through to Willamby," said Sheila.

"So we need to alert all the farmers in that area not to sharpen anything for anyone they don't know. Especially if they also have a large metal hammer with them," suggested Colin.

"How many farms or stations are there in the local area, Sheils?" asked Terri Scott.

"Nowhere near three hundred, but well past two hundred!"

"Oh," said Colin, realising the magnitude of their task.

"And that's assuming the psycho is an outsider," said Terri: "Not a local who for some reason has suddenly gone off his nut."

"Wow, babe, you really know how to rub it in," said Colin.

"Sorry," said Terri. Then to Sheila: "Guess we need to activate our pro rata ladies again: Wendy Pearson, Hilly Hindmarsh, Greta Goddard, and Alice Walker, and let them know they're on the payroll again. We'll need their help ringing around."

"Wacko!" said the orange-and-black-haired Goth chick: "They'll be happy to have some extra doh-re-mi coming in."

"Sometimes I question my decision to have Sheils promoted to be my second-in-charge," teased Terri, as they headed back to the farmhouse.

Over at Michaelson's Jersey Cattle station outside Perry Township, Michael Michaelson was sharpening his own farm instruments when he was startled by a man-shaped shadow suddenly appearing on the wall in front of him. Turning off his whetstone, he turned to see the tall figure of Gordy standing behind him. Seeing the heavy steel hammer in one hand and the sickle on the other, he felt a little worried. Until Gordy said:

"Been told you can sharpen my sickle for me? I can't do no proper work with a bluntened sickle."

"No, of course, you can't," said Michael, taking the sickle from Gordy. In a couple of minutes, he had sharpened it to a razor edge again: "There you go."

Taking the sickle Gordy looked at the blade and smiled: "You done a real good job. How much Mr. Michaelson?"

"Five bucks oughta do it," said Michael. He knew others would charge much more, but Michael did not believe in overcharging.

"Mighty neighbourly," said Gordy handing him a purple $5 note. He started to turn to leave when the phone rang.

"Michaelson's Jersey Station," said Michael into the receiver: "Well, hello Alice, how you been keeping? What's that a nut might be coming in..."

That was all he got out before Gordy bashed his head in with the steel hammer, before decapitating him with a single blow of the newly sharpened sickle.

"Michael...?" asked Alice Walker over the phone. When she got no reply, she hung up and phoned Terri Scott, getting through with difficulty.

"Terri here," she said.

"I think he may have just killed Michael Michaelson," said Alice over the phone.

Hanging up Terri called to the others: "Has Michael Michaelson got anything to sharpen blades with?"

"Sure has," said Paul Bell: "An electric whetstone."

"Shit!" said Terri leaping to her feet: "He may have just been at the Michaelson station."

In less than a minute, they were all in their police cars, racing from Mitchell Street toward the Michaelson station outside Perry township.

Over at the Michaelson station Ronnie Michaelson was heading down to the work shed with a large mug of hot, sweet coffee for her husband.

"Mickey!" she called: "Sweet, milky coffee coming to ya."

Normally that would be enough to get her husband running to her, he loved hot sweet, milky coffee. But to Veronica's surprise, today nothing.

"Mickey!" she called again, starting into the work shed.

At first she didn't realise what she was seeing. Her brain refused to accept that the mess on the shed floor could be the remains of her husband's head. Let alone that it had been severed from his body.

Then reality sank in and she dropped the mug of scolding hot coffee and started to scream. Not even noticing the scolding on her left leg from the coffee.

Then blissful oblivion took over as she passed out.

Half an hour or so later, Terri and co. arrived to find Ronnie Michaelson crying, while cradling the severed head of her husband on the patio out back of their farmhouse.

"Oh, Jesus!" said Terri Scott seeing the large woman crying.

When they tried to take Michael's head from his wife, she clung on tight, not worrying about the bloody mess it left on her dress.

"He's the love of my life!" she explained to them, as though that explained her refusal to be parted from it.

"Where's Michael?" asked Colin Klein.

"He's right here," said Ronnie, cuddling his severed head.

"Where is the workshed he uses?" asked Sheila Bennett.

"Down there," said Ronnie, pointing to a large corrugated iron shed a hundred metres or so from the farmhouse.

"Alice, stay with her," instructed Terrie. Referring to Alice Walker: a forty-six-year-old brunette. An amateur weight-lifter, and gym mate of Sheila, Derek, and Cheryl, Alice was a tall, attractive widow.

"I'll stay too," volunteered Drew Braidwood, as Terri and the others headed down to the workshed.

They were still examining the headless corpse from a distance, trying not to soil the crime scene, when they heard the sound of sirens as the ambulances arrived outside the farmhouse yard. Moments later Jesus, Tilly and Elvis entered the workshed behind the cops.

"If you've touched anything we'll kill you," said Jesus Costello.

"You wouldn't really kill us would you?" teased Terri.

"Of course not," said Sheila: "The morgue's overflowing with bodies as it is, without him creating more work for himself."

"You speak much wisdom, Goth chick," said Colin Klein.

"Don't worry, we stood well back to take some photos," said Terry.

"We'll soon have enough for my upcoming book, 'Glen Hartwell's goriest murders," said Colin Klein.

"Hey, that sounds like a great read," said Sheila.

"Don't you get enough goriness at work?" asked Elvis.

"You're asking this of the woman whose favourite TV show is, 'The World's Stupidest Stuntman'?" asked Colin.

"You speak much wisdom, Englishman," said Elvis.

"Oh, but Ronnie purloined his head, which she's cradling," said Terri.

"We noticed on the way in," said Tilly: "We should be able to get it off her after sedating her to take her to GH&DCH."

"Notice anything?" asked Sheila, after they had barely started examining the headless corpse.

"Yes," said Jesus Costello: "The beheading was done in a single clean cut. Which means Michael must have resharpened his weapon, whatever it is before he murdered him."

After examining the headless corpse for a while they called for Cheryl Pritchard and Derek Armstrong to take him away on a stretcher.

"We can't get his head away from Ronnie," said Cheryl: "So it may have to travel to the hospital with her."

"No biggie," said Jesus: "As long as all of him gets there."

"Trust me, she ain't about to lose it," said Derek Armstrong.

As they started to leave, they noticed Elvis Green on his knees near the electric whetstone in the work shed.

"Watcha doin' King, praying?" asked Sheila.

"Nah hah," he said doing the worst Elvis Presley impression ever: "I'm collecting up some of the metal filing from whatever blade the killer had sharpened, so we can see if it has any special qualities."

"Good idea," said Tilly Lombstrom, as they headed back to the farmhouse yard.

Most of the police continue hunting around the Glen Hartwell to Willamby area, for the maniac. However, Terri, Colin, and Sheila followed the ambulances back to the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital.

After examining the filings for a few moments, Jesus, Tilly, and Elvis came to the same conclusion:

"A mixture of iron and steel, as you'd expect any good blade to be."

"So can we rule out our killer being a giant, magical green elf, five metres tall?" asked Sheila Bennett.

"I hope none of us were even considering that possibility," said Tilly.

"Well..." said Elvis, Colin, and Terri as one.

"It's a wonder this lot has such a good clean-up rate for the crime in this area when they consider things like that," teased Jesus.

"We have fought much less believable things in G.H. than giant, magical green elves, five metres tall," reminded Sheila.

"Touché, Ms. Turtle," said Tilly: "Although a giant, magical green elf, five metres tall would have a much larger hammer, which would pulp the entire body of a large man. Not just bash in the back of his head."

"Trust Tils to find the one weakness in an otherwise genius theory," said Sheila, making them all laugh: "I hate it when a plan doesn't come together!"

Over at Cherrytree farm outside Merridale, Brian Horne and his family, his second wife Dusty (her real name since her parents were Dusty Springfield fans), and their offspring: Tina, Debbie, and Clarke were settling down to a roast dinner. Along with their long-time friends the Singletons: Ernie, Rowena, and their adult daughter Kirsty and her husband Wyatt Colemann, and their pre-teen daughters, Tiffany, Brittany, and Jennifer.

"Where's Uncle Warren?" asked Tiff, a twelve-year-old blonde, as the three older females prepared the dinner.

Looking around in a hurry, Brian called: "Warren!"

Looking worried Brian, Ernie, and Wyatt all got up and headed toward the door to the farmhouse yard. Although nearly sixty years old, "Weird" Warren as he had been called all of his life was retarded with the intellect of a seven-year-old. Normally they never left Warren alone, but the preparations for the soiree had distracted them so they had let their guard slip for once.

Outside in the farmhouse yard there was no sign of the tall, hulking man.

"Warren!" cried all three men.

Then in the distance, they heard Warren scream.

"Warren!" Brian called as all three men set off at a run in the direction of the scream.

They were down toward the Cherry Tree orchard when they saw Warren cowering as a tall man, dressed as a caricature of a country bumpkin menaced him with a large hammer and a small handled sickle.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" asked Brian. Not by nature a swearer but regarding Warren more like a son he had to protect than a brother.

Wyatt and Ernie raced over to Warren, who they saw had a broken left wrist.

"What happened?" asked Wyatt, a tall, muscular strawberry-blond man.

"Bad man hit Warren with hammer," said Warren crying from the pain in his wrist.

Wyatt and Ernie, a tall wiry raven-haired man in his early sixties, helped Warren back toward the farmhouse. While Brian backed down the maniac.

"Get the fuck out of it!" warned Brian in rage, despite being unarmed.

Gordy considered his options. On the one hand, there were three against one, on the other hand, he was armed, and they weren't. He was still trying to consider his options, when the women and children appeared. Seeing how greatly outnumbered he now was Gordy decided that discretion was the better part of valour and ran like Hell away from the orchard.

"You'd better run!" cried Brian, as a flash startled both Brian and Gordy. Looking around he saw that Dusty had taken a photo of the attacker with her mobile phone.

"Well at last we've got a picture of him," said Terri Scott an hour later as they stood around watching Dusty hand feeding Warren his share of the roast lamb, which she had hurried packed in Tupperware to take to the hospital.

"Warren loves Dusty's roast lamb," said the big man between mouthfuls.

"Yes I know you do," said Dusty, a tall ash blonde like her namesake. When Warren opened his mouth again, she placed in a large piece of roast potato. Warren loved roast potato and roast pumpkin too.

"He looks a bit familiar," said the Nurse-in-Charge, Annie Colfax, a short ash blonde nearly forty years of age, looking at the picture of the attacker.

"Really," said Jesus Costello taking a look at the phone pic: "Yes; he does."

"Well, we know for sure now that he's not supernatural," said Colin Klein.

"And that he's not perfect," whispered Sheila Bennett: "Since he failed to kill Warren."

"Good point, Sheils," said Terri.

"Gordon," said Jesus, making them all look around: "I'm sure his name's Gordon. He used to help with the gardening around here part-time. Can't recall his last name though."

"Didn't he have a nervous breakdown or something and end up in Queen's Grove Sanatorium outside Westmoreland?" asked Annie.

"In which case if he escaped, they should have notified us," said Terri.

"I'll get in touch with them," said Jesus Costello, taking out his mobile phone. He pressed one, then waited for the sanatorium to answer.

While the others had followed the ambulance with Warren to the Glen Hartwell Hospital, Ernie and Rowena, a tall leggy platinum blonde, who would give Topaz Moseley the gorgeous nurse at Glen Hartwell Hospital a run for her money in the beauty stakes, had made their excuses to supposedly return to the Singleton Sheep Station.

Instead, they had driven after Gordy the Ghoul in their dark red Jeep Cherokee, deep into the forest. Then Ernie got out and undressed. Putting his clothing on the seat beside Rowena, he instructed her:

"To be on the safe side, you'd better drive back to the station."

"Are you sure," she asked. Not comfortable leaving her husband of more than thirty-five years naked in the forest: "What if you can't transform?"

"All right, I'll do that first," said the tall man, He gazed up at the moon and thought: Come on you bastard!

For a few minutes nothing happened. Then with the crackling of breaking bones, Ernie began to transform, from a naked man ... into a large black wolf. The Black Wolf as his alter-ego had been known in the Glen Hartwell to Willamby area since February 1983 when his werewolf taint had first manifested itself.

Still large and powerful the Black Wolf now had a few streaks of grey through its fur. As Ernie did through his hair.

The wolf turned to look at Rowena for a moment, then took off at a rum after the fleeing figure of Gordon.

Taking her cue from her husband, Rowena turned the Cherokee and started back to the Singleton Station, warily. Since he had first revealed his secret to her decades ago, Rowena had never been comfortable with Ernie's late-night runs. Aware that there were still plenty of gun-happy farmers out there who would just love to be able to claim to have killed the Black Wolf.

"Gordon Jule, that's his name," said Jesus hanging up.

"That's right, people used to call him Gordy the Ghoul," said Annie: "Which with hindsight probably didn't help his mental health."

"And he didn't escape," added Jesus: "Five days ago the so-called experts decided that he was now safe and released him from the sanatorium."

"What!" cried Terri, Annie, Colin, and Sheila as one.

"The term major cock-up comes springing to mind!" said Sheila.

Out in the sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus forest, the Black Wolf chased after Gordon 'Gordy' Jule for kilometres. Running all the way from Merridale past LePage, Lenoak, and Wilhelmina, then on to the Northern side of the forest around the larger town of Glen Hartwell.

How much further can he go? wondered the Black Wolf.

Then finally Gordy stopped at the base of Mount Abergowrie. Nowhere near as steep as other mountains in the area, the madman climbed slowly but confidently up the mount. Finally stopping at a large rocky tor (overhanging rock), where he had made himself a rough hut out of branches and vines.

The Black Wolf watched Gordy for a moment, then as the madman settled down for the night in his hut-cum-lean-to, the wolf turned and raced back toward the Singleton Sheep Station.

"So how long will Warren have to be in hospital?" asked Dusty Horne.

"Probably about six weeks," said Annie Colfax: "But he will still need intensive care for a couple of months after that."

"Well, Debbie and I can move back into our old room at Cherrytree Farm to help look after him," suggested Tina. At age twenty-one, Tina had moved into Harpertown where she worked part-time, but could get time off.

"Yeah," agreed Debbie: "I can get a six-month deferment on my start-up at Uni. to help out. If Mr . Costello can write me a letter explaining why."

"No biggie," said Jesus.

At the Singleton Sheep station, Ernie, now returned to human form, was exhausted. He had a hot shower, then with Rowena's help redressed. Then they started out in the red Jeep Cherokee to tell Jesus and the others what he had discovered. Although Brian and Dusty Horne knew about Ernie's alter-ego as the Black Wolf, no one else in the area did.

"Any more?" asked Warren as Dusty fed him the last of his share of the lamb roast.

"No, but I brought you a generous slice of homemade cherry pie."

"Made from our own fruit," added Debbie Horne.

"Warren loves homemade cherry pie," said Warren, with a look of ecstasy on his face as the tall blonde fed him the first spoonful.

"So what's our next step," asked Annie Colfax out in the hallway: "Knowing who it is, is one thing. But we still need to catch him?"

"Well..." said Terri Scott. She stopped as she was interrupted by Ernie Singleton, who walking up to them said:

"He's living on a rocky tor on the face of Mount Abergowrie."

"What?" asked Terri, as they all span around to stare at Ernie and Rowena Singleton.

"We managed to follow him stealthily in the Jeep," said Rowena. Wishing that she was better at lying.

"You followed a psycho back to his home base in your Jeep?" asked Colin Klein.

"Well, we couldn't let him get away to attack more people," said Ernie. Like Rowie, not a very convincing liar.

"Actually we now say mentally disturbed, rather than psycho," corrected Annie.

"When he's bashing in people's heads with a hammer and decapitating them, he's a psycho as far as we're concerned," said Sheila Bennett.

"Well, don't go in guns-a-blazing," said Jesus: "At least try to capture him alive."

Sounding offended, Sheila said: "Hey, he's the psycho, not us!"

Forty-five minutes later the police, including Stanlee Dempsey, Jessie Baker, Donald Esk, Paul Bell, and Drew Braidwood had all assembled at the base of Mount Abergowrie in the forestland outside Glen Hartwell. Only to find that Ernie was no longer certain which side of the mount Gordy's shelter was on.

"It's all looks different now that it's darker," lied Ernie. Unable to tell them that without his werewolf vision, he was unable to find the spot where they had climbed up the mountain.

They hunted around the base of the mountain for nearly another hour before Jessie Baker, a huge ox of a man with flame red hair, a sergeant of police, said: "Found some prints leading upward."

"That's strange," said Stanlee Dempsey: "There only seems to be one set of human prints going up. Plus the prints of some kind of large canine."

Looking them over, Donald Esk, a tall muscular man, with shoulder-length brown hair, and a large scar down the left side of his face, also a sergeant under Terri's command, said: "Maybe the Black Wolf trailed him up there and ate him."

"Don't be a dingleberry, Serg.," said Drew Braidwood: "The Black Wolf legend in this area goes back sixty years to the early 1960s. Wolves in the wild almost never live more than fifteen or sixteen years."

"Now do you see why we call Drew the death of the party?" teased Sheila.

"Who calls me the death of the party?" asked Drew as they started slowly up the side of the mount. Forced to use their military-style torches to light the way, despite the danger of Gordy seeing the light. "I always thought the party only really started when I arrived."

"Poor, misguided fool," teased Sheila.

In the dark, they almost climbed past the rocky overhang, but saw it at the last moment.

Backtracking a little, putting their torches on low beam, they crept onto the rocky tor and managed to handcuff Gordy while he was still sleeping.

"What the...?" asked the murderer. Staring in disbelief as he saw Sheila holding his sickle, and Stanley Dempsey his steel hammer.

"Don't worry, Gordon, we're taking you back to Queen's Grove," said Terri Scott.

To their surprise, Gordon Jule grinned broadly and said: "I like it in Queen's Grove. It's my home."

"Don't worry, we'll soon have you back there," said Terri as Jessie and Don helped the maniac back to his feet to start leading him back down the mount.

As they drove away again, Terri Scott rang through to the sanatorium outside Westmoreland to make certain that they were expecting them.

© Copyright 2024 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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