Submitted by: Jay Rohr

Part II

The Shepherd.

This is the story as I remember it being told.

In 1877 there lived a man by the name of Elimar Scherer. He had a cottage and a small parcel of land near Neindorf. The whole property had been in his family since the turn of the century, a fact of which he was quite proud. By trade he was a sheep herder and was known to be a hard working man. Respected in the community, he was well liked by most everyone who knew him. Due to the fact that his land was some distance from town, he was rarely seen in the village. So when he burst into the tavern one night all those present knew that something was afoot.

I was told he looked as a man does waking from a nightmare. Peppered with sweat, eyes wide and staring, muscles tensed with the anxiety that the dream was real. His clothes were a wreck of rumpled fabric and seeming to have been shredded in some parts. Scherer took a minute to catch his breath then called for the attention of all present.

It's strange now to think of it, but his story is a part of this one. Odd that one tale would intertwine with another. But I've lost sight of the road haven't I?

Elimar told everyone that it was vitally important they all arm themselves and follow him into the woods immediately. Now, it's hard enough to make a man move from his seat at the bar, but to hope to move him into the woods in the dead of night is quite an undertaking. As a means to motivation, Scherer related the events of the last two weeks. It started with sheep vanishing from his flock. Even when he or a friend kept an eye on the flock, sheep still disappeared. Early on Elimar had his suspicions as to the cause, but he found a set of tracks after one night that cleared the air.

He claimed to have found a set of prints leading to and from the flock into the woods. The print was clear enough until rain came with the afternoon. Scherer is supposed to have described a print that one would ascribe to a wolf, only two, perhaps even three times the normal size. Either way, it seemed clear who the culprit had been.

The size of the animal made him wary, but caution in such matters is an easy thing to dismiss with a loaded rifle. After discovering the track, he and a friend, Gerbert Fleischer, made preparations to bait the animal into the open. They took a sheep from the flock and tied it to a stake out by itself in Scherer's front yard. In order to entice the wolf further, Fleischer slaughtered one of his pigs so that the bait could be bloodied. The night of their endeavor being the very same night Elimar had come charging into the pub.

Scherer talked of hours passing with the feeling that days had faded by, and how he was close to falling asleep when Fleischer roused him. Gerbert had noticed a form slinking through the brush at the edge of the field. It was noticeable not only because it rustled the plants around it, but also because that night was a full moon. Both men took aim, waiting to fire when the wolf came out of the treeline. As the wolf came out from the edge of the forest, it stood up on its hindlegs and continued forward.

At this point in his recollection, I was told that Elimar had begun to tremble and pale so considerably that no one present voiced the doubt they all shared. I myself have to confess at letting slip a bit of a smile at this point. I had been thoroughly engaged in the narrative until it reached a fantastical limit. Still, I allowed my storyteller to continue if for nothing other than a delightful anecdote to give my friends. My fear though is that I will never be able to capture the gusto and passion with which it was imparted to me.

However, as I was saying, the two froze at the sight of a wolf walking on its hindlegs. His sanity shaken, Elimar was convinced it was some devil. Fleischer, on the other hand, took a more pragmatic view of the situation. Gerbert took aim and fired. The thing staggered back a few steps, snapping Elimar into the moment. He raised his rifle, but suddenly the beast was upon them. It came up with a lighting quickness. Scherer saw it from a few inches away as it charged past him.

With great difficulty he remembered drooling fangs, dark charcoal gray fur, and an undescribable mixture of man and animal in the face. He stated that it was a foot taller than a full grown man, broad shouldered, and thick with muscle. Elimar was knocked to the ground as the creature shouldered its way past. Gerbert was trying to fire again, so it went for him first. Fleischer managed another shot, but it only hit the air. Tears in his eyes, Scherer would not relate what happened next, but swore he would never be able to forget. One can only imagine though at the horrors of an attack by something with the equipment of a wolf and larger than a man.

The creature then turned on Elimar, biting his left arm. He showed the tavern's patrons where he'd been bit. My narrator said that Scherer was indeed injured, but the shape didn't look like any kind of bite. In fact, his wound is said to have looked half healed. In other words, not recent in the least bit. From then on out, those in attendance severely doubted his story, despite Elimar's own confusion regarding his arm.

When asked how he had escaped to the tavern, he claimed to have managed one last shot. He didn't know where he'd struck the animal, but it sent the creature running into the woods. Rather than sit in the field, Scherer made his way as quickly as possible into town.

By now almost no one believed his story. The most skeptical assaulted him with questions trying to unveil it as a hoax. At long last, Elimar was able to convince others to come to his cottage and see Gerbert's body. When they arrived, however, there was nothing. Fleischer's rifle was where it had been dropped, but there was no Gerbert. There was a trail of blood leading back into the woods, even so, many accused Elimar and Fleischer of making the trail with pig's blood. After a few hours of arguing, all who had come for the body were on their way back to town.

Indeed, the matter would have died a hoax, except Fleischer never resurfaced. For a time no one saw Elimar. The rumor mill began to circulate that Scherer had gone mad and killed Fleischer. His story was seen as just an insane lie to cover the truth. Then Elimar disappeared himself.

Coming Soon!

Part III

By the Roadside