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Any Friend of Fenrir by Christopher Butt

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

When he opened his eyes, he saw the dust dancing on the dawn sunbeams. He closed his eyes again and reached out with his mind to take stock of his body. He was lying on the floor naked. Every muscle in his body ached and he needed to relieve himself.

Rolling on to his hands and knees was agony. Using the back of a wooden chair, he grunted his way to his feet and stumbled to the bathroom. Once relieved, he flushed the toilet and walked to the sink to wash up. When he looked in the mirror he gasped.

His face was covered in dried blood. The crimson mask stared back at him, and he staggered back into the hallway. Using the walls to keep him on his feet, he made his way back to the living room to find it in disarray.

“What the hell?” he asked out loud.

Before he answered himself, the door opened and a tall, young blonde lady wearing a maid’s outfit entered. With a look at him she cried out.

“My Lord Duncan!”

Duncan allowed the young lady to help him to a couch. He fell into the soft cushions and groaned. The pain in his body screamed for attention. Duncan gazed up at the maid, Elsa. With an effort he said.


Elsa ran out of the room and returned a few moments later with a jug of ice water. Duncan grabbed the jug and drank all of it. He also found himself ravenous. He ordered food and more water to clean himself with.

An hour later Duncan found himself cleaned, dressed and sitting at table. The smell of fresh bread permeated his nose and drove his hunger. A large sandwich of dried meats and tomatoes satiated him. Behind him, the smell of rain lingered into the dining room and soon the Louisiana estate was drenched.

Duncan stared at the rain and opened his senses. He could hear the ants, rushing for cover under the flowers in the garden. The flies of the nearby swamp being crunched by the frogs. The cool air refreshing his dehydrated skin. He also spotted a tall figure standing at the gates under an umbrella.

Duncan rose from his seat and walked out onto the balcony. The old house which had stood since the days of the civil war maintained its southern elegance and strength. Duncan stood in the rain and nodded to the stranger. He turned and entered the dining room again and instructed Else to send the butler, Mr. Soderberg to the gate. They had a visitor.

Duncan was stoking the fire when Soderberg showed the man into the parlour. He motioned to one of the chairs next to the window. When the visitor was seated, Duncan sat in the chair opposite, hiding the lingering pain in his muscles.

The man sitting across from Duncan could not be more different. He was tall with short black hair. His muscles bulged through his dark green suit. His hard face matched his steely eyes and his whole demeanour shouted business. Despite the umbrella, however, the rain had drenched his pant legs and shoes.

Duncan had decided to dress himself in a white suit with shoes to match. His long blond locks fell to his shoulder and his face held an expression of light-heartedness. Elsa placed a large jug of lemonade on the side table along with two glasses. With a glance from Duncan, she left the room and closed the door.

“We are alone.” Duncan said.

The man took out a card from his jacket pocket and passed it to Duncan. "Pierre Grosvenor, Private Detective: Specializing in the Unknown" was typed upon it. Duncan placed the card down on the table and poured himself and Grosvenor some lemonade. The Detective took the glass with a nod of thanks.

After sipping his lemonade, Duncan sat back in his chair and stared at his visitor.

“So, Monsieur Grosvenor, to what do I owe the pleasure?”

The big man sipped his lemonade. He drew the question out for a few moments before answering.

“It’s about the murder of a young couple last night,” the detective answered and took another sip. “They were on their way home from the outdoor concert. Maybe murder is too light a word. Torn apart is more like it.”

“What’s this got to do with me?” Duncan asked, his shoulders recycling his pain from earlier.

“It has everything to do with you,” Grosvenor answered, placing his glass back on the table. “There were reports of a creature, possibly a wolf. It ran in this direction.”

“So, this is a large estate,” Duncan said. “It could have run through here and disappeared behind the swamp. It could be in a gator’s belly right now.”

“Doubtful, but you may have a point," Grosvenor said, as he studied Duncan. “Mind you, witnesses, who may I say are most trustworthy, stated that this creature was very large, over six feet tall. I find it very hard that a gator would have taken it down.”

“Gators are very industrious when it comes to hunting. I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Grosvenor studied Duncan for a moment and picked up his glass. After a long pull on the drink, he licked his lips and smiled.

“That, may I say, is a very nice suit. Bought it here in town?”

“New Orleans," Duncan answered. “There is an old tailor who lives in the French Quarter. Not too many people know about him. Finest cut.”

“Unlike that couple last night. Torn apart they were. Just the same, does this tailor deal with large or tall customers?”

“All sizes,” Duncan answered.

Grosvenor emptied his glass and refilled it. Duncan picked up a small bell and rang it. Elsa entered the room and replaced the jug with a fresh one. The big detective watched her leave. Her blue eyes seemed to stay with him.

“So, what’s my suit got to do with the couple from last night?” Duncan asked.

“Nothing, just small talk. I like your suit,” Grosvenor answered, taking another sip of his drink. He let the silence hang in the air for a few moments. “How long have you lived here on this estate?”

“Generations,” Duncan answered studying his visitor. “Acadians. Driven out of New Brunswick in the 1750’s. We’ve lived here ever since.”

Grosvenor placed his glass down on the table. He stood up and walked over to the fire. He played with the poker for a moment before asking.

“Duncan. Not a very Acadian name.”

“My mother was Scottish. She insisted.”

“Lord Duncan Hinard.” Grosvenor rolled the name over his lips. “What do you know about werewolves?”

Duncan turned away from the detective and gazed out at the rain. “Big and hairy. Big teeth. Come out during the full moon.”

“Full moon, eh? There was a full moon last night. Strange.”

Duncan stood up and walked toward the balcony. The rain had let up a bit. Pausing, he turned and looked at the big detective.

“So, what about the full moon. It was the perfect backdrop to the concert.”

“You were there?”

“Of course. My family makes a charitable donation to the orchestra every year.”

“The couple, they were also there. Did you see them?”

“What were their names?”

“Alexandre Fennel and Doris Lagrange.”

“Don’t know them?”

“They certainly knew you.” Grosvenor pulled the poker out of the fire and pointed it at Duncan. “They were investigating a series of murders over the last few months. Always taking place on the night of the full moon.”

“I have nothing to with those murders. Why are you accusing me?”

“Oh, I am sure you didn’t commit those murders. However, the alter-ego, the large hairy one, certainly did.”

“I didn’t know them or see them.”

“What about your friend, the tailor?” Grosvenor continued pointing the poker at Duncan. “Fennel told me that he has some very interesting suits in that shop of his.”

“He has unusual clients. So what?”

“Hidden away down an alley in the French Quarter. I wouldn’t be surprised if a little voodoo was involved.”

Duncan stared at Grosvenor. A reptilian look came to his eyes as he waved the poker. He was about to move closer to the big detective when the door opened. Elsa walked toward the table and was about to pick up the tray and empty jug when she was grabbed by Grosvenor. He pinned her arms to her front and lifted the woman off her feet. Elsa gagged.

“Now, did you know that stress, fire, protecting a loved one can also trigger a werewolf transformation?” Grosvenor asked as he leaned his mouth toward Elsa’s ear, the drool dripping into her ear. “I know you haven’t a loop garu for long so the transition must be very painful.”

Duncan stared at Grosvenor. Rage filled him as Elsa’s feet swung in the air. She couldn’t breathe. As he walked forward, he felt his heart racing and his limbs aching.

“Come now, just admit it so we don’t have to ruin that nice suit,” Grosvenor said smiling.

Pain shot through Duncan, and he fell to the floor. The pain was such that he emptied his stomach onto the floor. A low guttural sound came from his mouth, and he could feel his limbs shifting.

Throwing Elsa to the floor, Grosvenor pulled a gun out of his holster. He pointed it at Duncan.

“Silver. One doesn’t kill you, but several will.”

Duncan retched again and was about to start the painful transition when he heard Grosvenor grunt. Looking forward, Duncan saw the gun hit the floor. He looked up to see his butler, the man who greeted the detective at the gate, walk forward and pick it up.

Duncan jumped when the detective hit the floor with a large furry animal on top of him. Duncan could see that Grosvenor’s throat had been ripped out. The animal turned to look at Duncan. He could see Elsa’s eyes.

“Alright now, it’s over,” Soderberg said, and the Elsa wolf crawled off Grosvenor and slunk to the corner. She was soon herself again with ripped clothes. The butler covered her with a blanket.

“I am so sorry, Sir,” Soderberg said as he helped Duncan to his feet. “We will have this place cleaned up soon enough.”

“Elsa?” Duncan asked.

“Oh, been a loup garu for years. Can change in a heartbeat. You will learn that soon enough, once you get a few more changes under your belt. It hurts less too.”

“Did I kill that couple?”

“No, but we know who did. The blood on your face was from trying to save them.”

“Him?” Duncan asked, pointing at Grosvenor.

“The man was a pig. Couldn’t leave well enough alone.”

Soderberg helped Duncan to a chair. “Sir, your family came here in the 1750s and took over this hall when the locals chased out the former owners. Werewolves as well, from the Nordic countries.”

Duncan stared at Soderberg as he continued. “Your family went out and found the original owners and had pity. They welcomed them back and our family has worked for yours for generations.”

“How am I a werewolf?” Duncan asked.

“All in good time, Sir. I will bring you up to speed on the family tree if you like, but first let’s get this cleaned up.”

An hour later Duncan stood on the front lawn in the rain. Soderberg and Elsa had taken care of Grosvenor, and everything was cleared away. Duncan turned and looked at the estate. The faces of Nordic gods screamed from gargoyles scattered around the building.

Duncan turned his attention to the words on the sign engraved on the pillars. A sign of his past and family, the name Fenrir Hall leapt out at him as he questioned everything.

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