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PARTY ON HORROR BEACH

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CHAPTER THREE
“Okay! Let’s pick up Scene Twenty Seven—Footprints of the Monster. Rod, you ready with the Doc’s first reveal?”
Rod Spencer, former Western Heavy turned brooding Method Actor, as of about two years earlier, came trotting out of the make-up tent. Chiseled good looks with a hint of perpetual glare around the eyes, Spencer was playing the second lead scientist, Dr. Adams. He was graying at the temples, which Margie the make-up girl accentuated with a bit of hair paste, and had salt and pepper tangles of hair over his chest and stomach. A bit of an aging stud, but Spencer kept to a grueling regimen of morning and evening swims against the surf to stay in shape. He looked pretty good, for a washed up second stringer trying to jump-start a second acting career.
Roger was happy to have him. The familiar name would do wonders for the Marquee when the movie opened, and a seasoned hand might help whip the gaggle of stunt men and dancing girls he was forced to work with into some kind of real performance.
Speaking of which, Roger frowned and looked around.
“Where’s Bobbi? Isn’t Andrea supposed to be in this scene?”
“She’s off somewhere with Bobby.” Mike called back.
“What the hell are they doing?”
“Bobbin’.” Giggled Toni, the blonde dancer who was really a brunette under a bad peroxide job and an okay wig.
“Again?” Roger was stupefied. It seemed like he had to yank the Bobbies out of a clench every time he turned around. It happened so often that the rest of the cast and crew had taken to calling any kind of sexual shenanigans “Bobbin’” after the over-eager couple.
“Fuck it.”
He drew a line through several lines of dialog.
“Hey Red, want some extra lines?”
Some quick actress substitutions might settle his main lead down some, plus it would score him points with the red-haired firecracker, who had made it abundantly clear that she hoped to get more out of the production than a dancing extra credit.
Roger had high hopes for cashing in some of those points at the wrap party when the shoot was over.
“Sure, what do I have to do?”
“Just listen to the Doc here and react to whatever he says. Nothing fancy, just play him up some. Got it?”
“Got it!”
“And…ACTION!”
Doctor Stephen Adams, marine biologist and world class spear-fisher, was going for a walk along the moonlit beach (under a blazing three pm sun) with Bridget, the hot tamale party girl he’d had his eye on lately.
Roger scribbled the name “Bridget” and “hot tamale” on the page in his shooting script, so he’d remember the off the cuff character name later on. Just in case there was an opportunity to score some more points with the firecracker.
“What are these?” Asked the Doctor suddenly, dropping to a crouch to examine something in the wet sand.
Hot Tamale Bridget, curious, leaned over his shoulder to get a look, bikini-cleavage aimed straight at the camera.
That’s a girl! Thought Roger with a grin. The girl was a natural.
“Why, they look like footprints, but these were not made by any human feet!”
Bridget’s eyes went wide, her mouth formed a frightened “Oh”.
“What are they then, Doc? If they ain’t human?”
Roger blinked but gestured for the actors to keep the scene going.
“Why, from the shape of those lateral fin tarsals, and the rudimentary phalanges… No, it’s not possible!”
Bridget raised fingers to her mouth, nervously tugging at her lip.
Oh, good girl! Roger gestured for the camera to move in some.
Thompson was way ahead of him.
“Why, these look like the kind of marks that would be made if a South American Fantigua fish grew to huge proportions, at least six, seven feet long, over three hundred pounds, easy—if it were using its anterior lobe fins as, well, as legs of some kind. As feet to walk upon the land!”
Doctor Adams rose slowly to his feet, a look of dawning horror on his face.
Bridget clutched his shoulder, her eyes wide with contagious dread.
“What the fuck is a Fantigua fish?”
“CUT!”

Larry was having the dream again.
He always had it, when the Moon was nearly full. It was one of the dreadful constants in his otherwise currently idyllic existence.
He was The Wolf, in the dream, chasing a terrible enemy through a confusing maze of darkened rooms. Furniture and other obstacles crashed, thrown aside as he continued the chase. Doors closed in his face, only to be broken to splinters. Other prey animals bleated with alarm, but he had no time for those just yet. His deadly predator’s mind was entirely focused on the enemy, who continued to elude him, but only by the slimmest of margins. His enemy’s lead shortened with every frenzied exertion, each burst of ferocious energy The Wolf could muster.
The enemy’s scent filled his nostrils; rank curdled blood and the dusty stink of something long dead, mixed with a strong musky cologne and the whispery smell of fine cloth. It moved with preternatural quiet, slipping like a shadow from room to room, but The Wolf’s keen ears could still follow the faint scuff of shoe leather, the rustle of a silk cape, the flutter of a bat’s wings. The usual sounds of prey, panting breath and pounding heartbeats, were absent. In times past that absence along with the lack of sweat’s aroma or the whimper of panic had confused The Wolf. But he had hunted this prey before, many times. By now he was familiar with all the peculiarities of this particular Enemy. The Wolf could no longer be misled or shaken from the hunt.
Even the presence of the lumbering Other was no more than a slight distraction. It was big and it was loud, its heart banged like a huge tympani drum, far too fast and far too hard to be anything human, but it was slow, clumsy. The Wolf knew the smells of the Other far too well to be alarmed by them. Spoiled meat, the antiseptic sting of medicinal fluids, the nostril-tingling prickle of ozone, these things no longer startled or confused The Wolf.
The Enemy and its utter destruction by fang and claw was all that The Wolf cared about.
And, finally, that precious mouth-watering moment arrived! The Enemy, out of places to run, with no place to hide, found itself trapped between The Wolf and a wall. There was only a glass window overlooking the sea open for a possible escape. The Enemy shed its false human form, took on the shape of a huge bat, and tried to smash through that window to reach the open sky beyond. The glass slowed it just enough. With no hesitation, no concern for the long certain fall to rocks and sea below, The Wolf leaped after its prey.
There is no human equivalent for the type of joy felt by The Wolf when its prey is seized, when the hunt has reached its inevitable conclusion. The wholeness of being, the utter savage satisfaction of digging fang and claw into something that one has pursued with single-minded intensity for far too long---it is something that cannot be experienced by sane men.
The Wolf felt that bestial tranquility when it sank its teeth into a fat, furry body. As its claws shredded paper-thin wings, it was as if some excruciating inner itch were being scratched. As the pieces of the bat came apart with a great burst of stolen blood, sundered like a flimsy chew-toy shaken to bits by a great hound, The Wolf felt the complete satiation of its predatory yearnings.
A vast swell of joy filled its furry chest, just before it hit the crashing surf. That joy was so great that even the bone-shattering benumbing shock of landing on rocks could not overwhelm it. Being engulfed by the South Florida sea was like diving into a vast pool of warm, salty blood. The Wolf embraced the blackness of oblivion with the shreds of its enemy sticking to its teeth, happily fulfilled.
Lawrence Talbot woke long afterwards, his body washed up on a sandy beach. The taste in his mouth was even fouler than usual after a night spent as The Wolfman. He spat it out and took in mouthful after mouthful of clean saltwater, swirling and spitting that out until the godawful taste of death was purged. Larry sprawled for a long time right where he found himself. His face was hot from the sunshine beating down upon it. His body shivered from the chill of being long submerged in deep water. Each wave lifted him slightly then dropped him back on soft sand. The incoming tide nudged him bit by bit up the beach.
When his head cleared as much as it was likely to, and the fractured memories of what he’d done as The Wolfman began to form a coherent picture, Larry laughed out loud. He whooped with glee and slapped his arms in the thin fringe of surf.
Dracula was dead!
That much he remembered with startling clarity. He remembered the bat coming to pieces in his teeth. The sweet music of its pained shrieks still echoed in his ears. After long years of stalking and hunting the Undead thing that had killed his wife, Millitza, Larry finally felt the sweet joy of revenge.
The crisp, calculated balance of scores settled, of justice achieved, the deep methodical click of all the pieces of an equation coming to final resolution, was something that no frenzied, chaotic animal mind could comprehend.
For the first time in many years Lawrence Talbot was fully and utterly at peace.
His body felt like it weighed a thousand pounds when he finally dragged it to its feet and stumbled out of the surf. Though he initially had no idea where he ended up, Larry soon enough learned that he was still on the island of Viuda, off the coast from the city of La Mirada, Florida. The tides and current had washed him out to sea, then rolled him southeast along the sandy shoal of the island before eventually washing him back up on the shore.