Chapter 4

Last night when the moon appeared

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Everyone in the lobby rushed to the door slamming their bodies against it to prevent the creature from breaking through.

“Get the keys!” Robert screamed again. “On top of my desk.”

Sansia could feel herself being crushed against the door from the pressure of the ten bodies behind her, she could hardly breathe. The creature backed slowly away from the door and looked as if it was assessing the possibility of being able to break through the reinforced glass. Ann Marie came hurrying to the door with the keys jangling in her hands.

“The keys, the keys,” she said sticking them out and Robert reached back and snatched them from her hand.

Sansia stared as the monster outside watched carefully as Robert turned the key in the lock. It stared at her one more time then turned about and bounded down the steps.

“Did you see that?” A young man that was pressed against the door asked. “That animal looked as if it was reasoning.”

“Animals don’t reason,” Robert said trying to sound calm. “It was probably just as afraid of us as we were of it.”

“Well I have wet pants that say differently,” the young man responded.

“It killed Jason,” Sansia said. “It killed Jason right in front of our eyes.”

“It probably escaped from a zoo or something,” Robert persisted.

“What animal have you ever seen in a zoo that looks like that?” Sansia demanded.

“It looked like some kind of wolf,” Robert said.

“It walked on two legs,” Sansia pointed out.

“Lots of creatures walk on two legs – bears, dogs…”

“We need to call the police,” Sansia said pushing through the crowd and heading to the security guard’s telephone.

“I’ll make the call,” Ann Marie volunteered hurrying across the room to her glass case and slipping inside.

Ten minutes later Ann Marie peered outside and announced, “I can’t reach anyone.”

Sansia inhaled a deep breath and released it slowly.

“I’ll call security at the front gate and see if they have any information,” Robert suggested.

Robert shook his head. “No response from the main gate.”

“We can’t just stay locked up in this building. We need to find out what’s going on out there,” the young man said.

“Didn’t you arrive here just a few hours ago?” Robert asked.

“Yes.”

“Was anything going on out there when you came in?” Robert demanded.

“Not that I noticed, but clearly something has changed,” the young man shot back.

“We all just need to try to stay calm until we get some report from the police,” Robert suggested. “I’ll inform management of what has happened.”

“I’m going to my office,” Sansia said hurrying out of the area. There were no answers there and she needed answers.

***

“Where’s Anara?” Dr. Murphy asked as soon as Sansia walked into the lab. “And what is the status with the report? It’s almost eleven o’clock.”

“The report has already been passed to Mr. Payne, and I was hoping you could tell me about Anara.”

“Why would I be able to tell you about Anara?” Dr. Murphy demanded.

“Did she call in sick?”

“If she did I wouldn’t be asking you about her would I? That girl is completely unreliable.”

Dr. Murphy turned away angrily and headed towards his office.

“Jason Stuart is dead,” Sansia said and Dr. Murphy stopped and turned about.

“From accounting?”

“Yes.”

“How did he die?”

“A wild animal ripped him apart.”

“Goodness. When did this happen?”

“Ten minutes ago in front of our office doors.”

Dr. Murphy was silent.

“Something’s not right doctor, something happened last night when that moon appeared,” Sansia said.

“But that’s ridiculous. Some bleeding hearts must have let creatures out of a zoo or something.”

“I know what I saw just now and what I saw was not an ordinary wild animal.”

Dr. Murphy turned on the radio and propped his hand on the desk.

“Well if there is something going on there is sure to be news about it.”

There was static on the radio. He flicked to another channel and then another.

“So strange there must be something jamming the signal.” Dr. Murphy continued flicking. “Wait, I think I’m getting something.”

Sansia hurried over to the desk.

‘Stay indoors. Find a strong safe building and stay indoors. Keep all doors and windows locked and stay indoors. Updates on the situation will be announced on an hourly basis. Stay indoors.’

The voice continued to repeat the same message.

“What does that mean?” Dr. Murphy asked.

“Sansia,” Raydon Payne came hurrying into to the science lab. “I heard there was an incident outside the building. Are you alright?”

Sansia nodded.

“Do you have any idea what’s going on here Mr. Payne?” Dr. Murphy asked and then glancing at Sansia suspiciously said. “You can go back to your desk Dr. Beacon. This is a management discussion.”

“No,” Raydon Payne said immediately. “This is a discussion that she needs to be in on. In fact we’ll be calling a staff meeting soon.”

Dr. Murphy looked only momentarily embarrassed.

“Of course.”

“The majority shareholder and the chairman of the board flew in a few minutes ago in their helicopter. They landed on the roof of the building. They brought some news with them from inside sources, at least what little news there is.”

“What did they hear?” Sansia asked her face a picture of concern.

“Pretty freaky stuff,” Raydon admitted.

“Couldn’t be worse than what I witnessed just moments ago. It’s completely unreal, I feel like someone is pulling a giant prank on me or something,” Sansia admitted.

“I just dropped my kid off at school, if something is going on I need to go and collect her,” Dr. Murphy said. John Murphy was a lot of things but he loved his family.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, for sure they are asking people to stay inside if going out can be avoided,” Raydon explained.

“Why didn’t they say that earlier? Almost half the staff is here already,” Dr. Murphy said angrily but it was obvious he was more upset that he was there than that half the staff was.

“Whatever happened last night seems to have affected communication lines to some extent, added to the fact that there would have been a sudden surge in usage would have created certain problems. What we need right now is information, we can’t just run off without knowing what’s going on out there,” Raydon explained.

“I still haven’t heard anything from Anara yet,” Sansia put in.

“Perhaps after the meeting I’ll try to see what can be done about your friend,” Raydon promised and Dr. Murphy spared him a surprised look.

“Thank you,” Sansia muttered.

“Meet me in the main hall in one hour, both of you,” Raydon instructed and then strolled out of science lab.

“Since when did you become so chummy with Mr. Payne?” Dr. Murphy demanded.

“Chummy?” Sansia almost choked on the word. “We’re not…chummy.”

“Not only does he seem to know who you are all of a sudden but even seems to know the name of your stupid friend,” Dr. Murphy pointed out and marched off angrily.

***

There was muttering and whispering in the main hall as all the people in the building grumbled about what was going on and tried to figure out if it would be better for them to try to get home instead of staying locked up in a seven storey building. As soon as the shareholder and director walked into the room everything went quiet.

“First of all I want to say thank you for venturing out on a strange day like today to be at work and I want to thank you again for coming to a meeting which has been called with no notice whatsoever. However, this meeting is necessary as certain information has come to the attention of our major shareholder Mr. Anthony Belle and he believes it is in the best interest of all concerned to share it,” Raydon Payne said. “I don’t want to take up too much time because this is turning out to be a day where time could be of the essence. Mr. Belle Senior please.”

With that Raydon Payne stepped aside and Anthony Belle Senior stepped forward. He was a pleasant looking man for the most part, snow white hair, possibly somewhere in his late sixties, short and stocky. Everyone at the company had a great deal of respect for Anthony Belle Senior, he had brought Gofrey Chemicals from nothing to an internationally trading company, a self-made millionaire.

“I’m Anthony Belle,” he said quietly and everyone muttered their acknowledgement. He was one of those persons who needed no introduction because his picture was in almost every room in the building. Next to his picture was the picture of his son Anthony Belle junior, the chairman of the Board of directors. The two were like chalk and cheese. While Anthony Belle senior commanded the center of attention of the room; Anthony Belle junior tried to shrink into the background.

“As my boy Raydon has said,” he glanced over at Raydon with such a look of fondness that it didn’t take a rocket scientist or a medical scientist to see that Raydon Payne was just the kind of man he would have preferred to have as a son. “Information is crucial in this situation. I came here with the intention of participating in a very important meeting but all of that changed when I received certain news while on my way here.”

Sansia couldn’t help the sense of anxiety she felt, why couldn’t he just get to the point?

“It appears,” Anthony Belle Senior took a deep breath and then pressed on. “Something happened last night that scientists are still trying to understand.”

There was no response, everyone just stood there with bated breath waiting to hear more.

“The meteor which was headed towards the earth was quite sizable from all reports,” Belle Senior explained. “Based on various reports and detailed research it was clear it would pass closer to earth than any meteor that size has ever passed.”

“That’s what Anara said,” Sansia muttered to herself.

“A decision was taken to try to destroy the meteor before it reached too close to the earth to mitigate the risk of it actually crashing into the earth and causing catastrophic damage,” Belle Senior went on.

“Makes sense,” a few people muttered around the room.

“Earlier probes had indicated that the meteor might be contaminated with a dust that affected animals but how or why was uncertain. The missile they sent to destroy the meteor was a success and broke the meteor into smaller particles. The action saved the earth from a catastrophic disaster but the bits of rock from the meteor seem to have gotten wedged just between the gravitational pull from the moon and the gravitational pull from the earth,” Belle Senior explained.

“What does that mean?” Robert the guard yelled and several persons turned and glared at him.

“It means that somehow the rocks have become locked in the orbit of the earth with the moon, hence the strange ‘swiss cheese’ look of the moon. In fact what you’re seeing is the rocks blocking part of the light of the moon.”

“And why do we care?” Robert persisted.

“Actually we don’t, because those aren’t the rocks that we really have to worry about at least for now. The rocks we have to worry about are the ones that actually burned up and came through earth’s atmosphere like dust,” Belle Senior explained. “It is those rocks and the dust that was on those rocks that are causing the problem.”

There was silence, everyone had a million questions but no one wanted to ask them.

“The dust in the atmosphere,” Belle Senior said as if frustrated that he had to spell the situation out to everyone, “is changing people.”

“Changing people?” Someone shouted and then laughed. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Not everyone changes, as I said there are still more questions than answers. My sources say that maybe one out of ten thousand people would change as a result of the dust,” Belle Senior said.

“Change to what?” Sansia asked although she already knew the answer in her heart.

“Some change to a wolf,” Belle Senior said and several people laughed. “Others change only part of the way; part man and part wolf or become a man wolf or as is more commonly called by the Latin ‘were’ wolf.”

“Are you trying to tell me the moon is creating werewolves?” George Griffith from the A-1 science lab asked.

“The moon isn’t creating werewolves but the contaminated rocks are and it is accentuated somehow by the moon and the rocks that remain trapped in the gravitational pull,” Belle Senior said.

“Hog wash!” George Griffith yelled angrily.

“So how do you explain that creature at the door this morning,” Sansia put in and everyone stared around at her as if it was the first time they had ever seen her at the work place.

“Sansia is right,” Raydon said. “Something is going on out there and we can either bury our heads in the sand or face what’s happening and make a plan to deal with it.”

“How do you deal with werewolves?” Robert demanded.

“I thought werewolves were supposed to come out at night only. Maybe our best bet is to try to get home before it gets late,” Sandy Davis from accounting said.

“Werewolves are myths,” George Griffith put in. “Something might be up but it’s nothing to do with werewolves. The government probably caused some wild animals to get free and are trying to cover it up with this crazy story.”

“Yeah,” Dr. Murphy muttered. “I think the best thing to do would be to close the office and let everyone go home until this hysteria blows over.”

“I was rather expecting…or hoping you would see Gofrey Chemicals as a safe haven and instead consider encouraging your family to come here during this trying time,” Belle Senior suggested.

“And before you respond,” Raydon cut in. “You have to admit it has strong security systems, night cameras that we can activate during the day for protection, security guards…”

“Fat lot of good that did for the guy that got ripped apart outside your doors this morning,” the young man from the lobby cut in.

“We weren’t expecting that kind of attack then, we’re expecting it now,” Raydon said firmly.

“I think I’d prefer to brave it out there. I didn’t see any of those things when I came in, I’d feel safer at home,” another young visitor explained.

“I can fully appreciate that,” Belle Senior said. “And any of you who wish to leave will be given the opportunity to do so at one pm. Just know that when you leave this building you won’t be allowed to return.”

There was a great deal of muttering at this announcement.

“Based on statistics alone there can hardly be more than a hundred of those things within proximity of this building. Chances are there is every chance that you can get home safely without coming in contact with any of them,” Raydon said.

“But if you do,” Belle senior added, “you’re not likely to live to tell about it.”

“Everyone who wants to leave be at the main exit at one pm sharp,” Belle Junior put in.

“Thanks for coming,” Raydon said.

Sansia glanced about nervously as she noted Raydon was hurrying through the crowd towards her.

“Oh,” Sansia turned a surprised face towards him when he reached.

“I hope you’re not thinking about leaving the building?”

“I have to look for Anara,” Sansia said.

“I told you I would help you look for Anara,” Raydon said.

Sansia nodded.

“There’s a helicopter on the roof, I think I might be able to persuade Mr. Belle Senior to allow us to take it out for a short time, if you agree not to leave the building.”

Sansia’s eyebrow rose and she fidgeted with her glasses.

“Why…why does it matter?”

Raydon shrugged.

“It’s the least I can do after you gave up your night to finish my report.”

“Of course.”

“We’ll leave in three hours,” Raydon said. “After the mass exodus.”

“Of course.”

“You said she was with friends, perhaps you can use the time to see if you can reach any of her friends to give us a clue as to where we should start looking.”

She hadn’t thought about that, it was a good idea. She didn’t know a lot of the telephone numbers for many of Anara’s friends but hopefully the few numbers she had should give them some sort of lead.

“Thank you so much Mr. Payne,” she muttered.

“Occasions like this call for first names, don’t you think?”

“I…I’m…I wouldn’t want to step over my…I…”

“I guess Mr. Payne will do then,” Raydon said and turning away headed off behind the shareholder and chairman. “I’ll meet you in your office.”

Sansia started to walk towards the door but stopped and turned around when someone shouted.

“Oh my gosh, one of them is in here!”

Sansia screamed, the entire roomed seemed to rise up like a wave and rush towards the door. They were going to crush her. She tried to turn her body to get to the door and avoid the stampede but it was too late. Everyone seemed to be racing much too quickly towards her and she felt like a tiny little colt in the midst of an elephant stampede. Sansia braced herself for the onslaught but was instead surprised to find her body wrapped in arms so strong and powerful that the elephants were forced to race around the barricade.

“Raydon,” Sansia muttered lifting her head from his chest.

“We need to get out of here,” Raydon whispered his head bowed so that the heat of his breath brushed her face and set her heart racing.

“What’s going on?”

She was too short to see past Raydon but she could hear screams from behind him. Raydon didn’t answer only wrapped his arms about her slender body even tighter and pressed her forward towards the door.

“Aaaaaaahhh…” Another scream echoed inside the room.

Raydon slipped through the door with his arms still protectively wrapped around Sansia.

“We have to close the door,” someone outside the room yelled. “Or that thing is going to get out.”

“There are still people in there,” Sansia said.

“Do you have a gun Robert?” Raydon demanded.

“No,” Robert responded breathlessly.

“I need a weapon,” Raydon said.

“You can’t go in there,” Sansia shouted forgetting herself for a moment and gripping Raydon’s wrist possessively.

“She’s right, there’s a wolf in there,” Robert said.

“Where did it come from?” Someone asked.

“The authorities might have figured that the changing is over, but something tells me it’s only just begun,” Raydon said.

“I’m getting out of this place,” the young man from earlier shouted and together with a few dozen persons raced towards the door.

Raydon gripped the baton that was kept on the side of Robert’s uniform and pulled open the door.

“You take care of her until I get back Robert,” he ordered. “If anything happens to her you’ll have me to answer to.”

“Yes boss,” Robert said obediently.

“No,” Sansia yelled but Raydon had already pulled open the door and slipped inside.

*****