The photo below is of Lon Chaney Jr.'s famous film depiction of what a werewolf might look like. Below, Craig Waltman gives a written description of what a battle with a werewolf might look like.
C. L. Smear and the Werewolf
(The Pluckley Incident)
Craig A. Waltman
“Old chum,” said Sir Smear with cane in hand, “how are your botanical experiments coming along…they seem afoot?”
“Most capital,” replied Fladdeus, “indeed, the whole enterprise has been giving wings. Surely the Queen will be most pleased with my experiments.”
“Yes,” replied Sir Smear, “you’re becoming quite the rosarian too; I’ve never seen such verity and color.”
Then swiftly as if his nose was buffeting against an invisible guard thundered Sir Smear, as he protested with buckled knees, “Good heavens, man, what’s that ghastly aroma chafing my sinuses?”-- said he with a wheezing gasp, as all the while trying to squelch the sparks in his eyes with his burning tears, and was not his efforts pointless, for he could not dowse the flames of Fladdeus’ concoction, no not in the least for such was its maladous vapors which now lingered as a heavy malaise all about him.
“It feels as the whole of my senses has been thrown into a furnace,” Sir Smear tried to speak.
“Oh, do please forgive me, Sir,” apologized Fladdeus,” it’s my olfactory adaptation I fear acting up once again!?”-- as he then cinched the little pouch of his formulation and thus secured it his coat’s breast pocket. Then without so much skipping time he replied to Sir Smear's query, “It’s just a wee, little amalgamate of lye, hydrogen borate, oil of pepper seed and some basic compounds of my own preparation, and, of course, my secret ingredient. Oh, and too, I mustn’t forget a sundry assortment of preservatives to help seal in its chemical freshness.”
“What on earth is it for?” a curious Sir Smear inquired of him even further.
“It will not only help nourish plants,” Fladdeus retorted, ”but furthermore, it will perform as an insect repellent against even those most pesky of pests. Why, my formulation is so potent just a modicum of it will suffice a plant throughout the year.”
“Ingenious!” declared Sir Smear, “Bravo, bravo… well done and congratulations!”
“You’re most gracious, Sir,” replied Fladdeus, “thank you, and may I ask what is that device you have mounted to your cane?
“Oh,” replied Sir Smear, “it’s a little electrical contrivance I invented to put ruffians to rest and make delinquents mind their parents.”
“Why, however does it work?” Fladdeus further inquired of him.
“You see this button in the handle,” instructed Sir Smear, “I just simple press it and at the other end two electrodes protrude, which are connected to a series of condensers, in parallel which are in turn wired to a battery…Oh Fladdeus, you’ve done it again, you’ve got me bloviating about my own twittle-twattle. I’m afraid I’m not here to discuss such trivialities, for we have more pressing matters presently at hand. You must put away your exploits for now my dear friend, for I have received a most urgent telegram from inspector Walmsley. It appears some tenant farmers have lost their sheep, among other mysterious happenings just south of Pluckley, in a most charming little place called the Screaming Wood. We shall receive further details when we reach our final destination, of course. For now, Miss Tamposy, our lady of the office has already procured use of a coach…we must leave at once before things get worse. Their situation seems quite dire…so I’ve been instructed.”
Alas, when Fladdeus and Sir Smear arrived at Pluckley, later that day just before dusk when inspector Walmsley accompanied by constable Beasley and his yellow cur Nickajack almost at once greeted them at the livery and said in concord, “Glory be! You made good time…I pray your trip was uneventful?”
“Simply plum my good fellows, no trip could have been planned any better,” replied Sir Smear.
Then inspector Walmsley began to tell them about a curious occurrence that ended in the most unbelievable of stories, of a howling monster stalking the back wood no less, scratching and sniffing under doorways and growing bolder every full moon, and thus constable Beasley concluded as if he believed every word of it and said,” The old-timers reckon it to be a Lighten Throat.
“Balderdash!” Sir Smear exclaimed, "You summoned us all the way out here for a ‘so called’ werewolf? If I were to wager, I would definitely have to say it was some landlord’s rambunctious Irish hound running amok.”
“Agreed” said Fladdeus.
“We must inquire of the local animal surgeon to see if there’s any rabies going about,” concluded Sir Smear. And inspector Walmsley was all too happy to accommodate them, and in short order they were calling upon the good, Dr. Gillian Gawthorpe, the town’s veterinarian, who by all appearance had his coiffure parted with a gardening spade, which extended as a long, raised, singular scare from the crown of his head, to just beneath the corner of his left eye, and no sooner did they bombard him with a battery of inquiries, which he replied wholly and altogether without a single affirmative, he rebuffed all their questions with a steady chorus of no’s, for there, of course, was no such incident, but he did declare he once beheld the creature glaring at him through the dark casement of his bedroom window, which he was thoroughly convinced of, of which there was no doubt by how he trembled in his telling of it.
Then as they left, just outside of the good doctor’s earshot Sir Smear exclaimed, “Poppycock, have you’ve all gone mad!? I can only surmise if you next hear a twig snapping in the forest you’ll presume horns erupting through skulls transforming men into devils, but I’ve seldom seen devils brandishing horns, for they usually come polished, smoothed shaved and well refined and all without the benefit of cloven hooves and brimstone I might add.”
And, alas, when Sir Smear concluded with his lecture, with again the rattle of the carriage beneath them and such a verbose reprove it was that by then the dusk had faded into darkness and a full moonrise had just began to peek raging in its maximum brilliance, when suddenly their mounts reared up and halted, for there was an haggish, old woman standing there gating the road with her cloaked arms, forbidding them to go any further as she warned with a voice as shrill as a whipsaw drawing across a dry shinbone and said, “ If you enter the wood none shall see sunrise, you’ll perish, you’ll all perish I say, for tonight the beast must draw man’s blood…it can’t resist any longer! So Beware, beware of the foul mist which heralds the beast’s call! “—and then she began to whirr some strange, unfamiliar dirge and chanted: “Four traipsed into the mystic copse and altogether will be scattered and have no grave, and where your gnawed bones are kept only the sparrow will know and its secrets are well kept.”
And then she crooned, "Howl and clatter…the wolf unshackled...the ground runs bright…gorge…gorge…gorge…to feast upon your flesh as the choicest of mutton…with shrieks and wails…to plunder your souls just for spite. Surely as the born must passeth away, Death, this night will begin to hunt you down.” -- and so sang she as she warbled on and slowly vanished away into the wood and was hence seen no more.
“Good heavens, what was she going on all about!?” Sir Smear complained.
Then constable Beasley informed him and said, “Matilda is the town’s necromancer, for she can speak to the departed, and some say she can even foretell the future. She even on one occasion told me where I had lost my gilt pocket watch.”
Then Sir Smear quickly jibed with a quip and said, “Let me guess…behind the bureau were you always kept it?”
“Why yes, Sir, how did you ever know?” “Hobgoblins and necromancers, indeed,” said Sir Smear, “I would expect to see this in Salem, good man, however, this is the nineteenth century, wakeup from your superstitions dear fellow!” And so finishing with his finale admonishment of him Sir Smear concluded. "Spookables and boogiemen, grown men all! Heavens to Betsie what’s this world coming to!? I can only suppose you’ll be sticking hairpins in voodoo dolls before long. You needn’t the supernatural to explain the mysterious when logic abounds.”
Then Sir Smear firmly resolved as he had enough of their folly and said, “I do believe it is past time for us to stretch our legs in the Screaming Wood, inspector Walmsley you are our pathfinder, you may lead the way.” And being skilled in the art of body language and Grand-Trick-Track (chess) being one of his foremost past times Sir Smear detected inspector Walmsley’s apprehension as now a grave spirit of foreboding overcoming him as he said, “You’ll be trekking out there by yourselves, as for I and constable Beasley, we shall remain in the carriage minding the sherry with pistols made ready…we will hence go no further than this lane.”
“Pure twaddle, utter nonsense, codswallop all, I’ve never heard such tripe. As for I and Fladdeus,” said Sir Smear in his annoyance, “we’re going into the wood and frolic with the sprites and fairies and we’ll surely keep you apprised if we see any gremlins, but at goblins we draw the line.”
Then standing shoulder to shoulder, Fladdeus and Sir Smear marched off into The Screaming Wood with canes in hand rummaging the thickets and calling out for pixies. Then Sir Smear said, being the veteran that he was serving as an officer in his queen’s army, “A coward’s courage…lingering in the trenches when there is a battle to be won. We must face the enemy head-on, into the blazing guns and never show them your rear, for they will only give you the sward side of their Wellington (Boot)…no white flag, no surrender!” And just when he finished with his plucky parlance did no sooner a frenzied rat being pursued by a sturdy, little stoat scurried straight up Sir Smear’s trouser leg, and then out the other end they went…and too very much making the clatter of prancing little pins palming up bare tree bark. Then stood he there in his amazement, within an air of befuddlement Sir Smear was stunned as a goose hit on his head not knowing entirely what just had happened to him, and thus said he quite woozily as if he had half eaten spoiled blood clams,” That was rather most unpleasant,” as he gulped. “I feel though as I could leap a six foot hedge right about now with both legs broken.”
“No doubt Sir, “replied Fladdeus, “no doubt, indeed, that should’ve ended most ugly, especially if the stoat had caught the rat.”
Then when Sir Smear had regained his composure and said, “No good comes from dwelling in the past my friend…onward and forward for the present waits for no man.” Then, alas, when all had settled down and their hearts departed from their throats and returned to their proper places, and the world was yet again a succulent peach they were masters of their own destiny’s as they ambled through the wood. As all the while the moon sailed out far above the horizon upon its shimmering canvas awash in a glistening, buoyant sea of diamonds all casting their light through the tops of the trees. Its branches now appearing as rivers of black flowing upon the ground bordered with iridescent islands of luminosity beneath their daring stride, when then Sir Smear observing marveled at its grand opus and declared, “Viator luna (The Traveler’s Moon), I never saw a night as radiant as this, why you could read the London times by it."
“Yes,” Fladdeus dreamily responded, "the earth’s companion is keenly bright, and what better to see where we are going, we’re most fortunate for such a woolgathering moon as this. And as they were gazing up in their wonderment Sir Smear couldn’t help but to say, "Mundo perfecto (A perfect world), what could go wrong?”-- and then they both plunged head first directly into the open gullet of a pit, tumbling end over end as marionettes loosed from their strings, and thus their faces smacked with a sodden splatter, on account, of a drenching downpour that very morning, which had, in fact, filled the gulches and ravines and overflowed all the ditches now making things a tad bit swampy.
Then, alas, when Fladdeus finally reared his head from the boggy sludge in which it was mired in he bemoaned, “Oh, Sir, I do believe I want to laugh, but I fear my funny bone is showing the worse for its wear.”
“It seems,” said Sir Smear as he then spewed the earthen slurry from his mouth, spattering all the while as he replied, “your bowler has been put on with a rolling pin. I do believe we strode right into Danties’ gorge haven’t we? I can only deduce that some of the residents have been making themselves quite busy excavating tiger trapes.”
“Or forbid,” said Fladdeus,” pilfering graves.”
“Well, let’s make our way out of this quagmire…this mud doesn’t suit our fashion at all.”
"True," Sir, “responded Fladdeus “I’m not feeling very foppish, besides things are starting to get rather cagy down here, anyway.” And when Sir Smear went to arise and stand he found he could not, for in their tumble he had badly wrenched his ankle, and now it angrily pulsated were as no one could even touch it with a velvet glove…much less a feather. And so in his aching candor Sir Smear revealed, “ The reality is: we are all but one throbbing tooth ache or sprain away from bliss turning into perdition’s perfect torment, for now I feel though as my leg has been waltzed on by a bungling elephant.”
“Oh, Sir, “replied Fladdeus, “shoulder up with me and I shall surely help you out of here.”
“Say, the blind leading the blind, old man, carry on,” replied Sir Smear. And then with tooth and claw they, slid, slipped, and slithered their way out tearing themselves from the very earth in which they were entombed. And, alas, when they had found themselves grass side up once more, they began the long hobble back, plodding to the carriage now miles yonder through the wood with their eyes as sentinels guarding their every step, and when then they by as if some masterstroke of design happened upon a most ominous footprint and so said Sir Smear,” Holy Saint Francis of Assisi, Fladdeus, it’s an immanis lupus (enormous wolf)!” in a ‘somewhat’ subdued voice as he continued with his observations and explained, “It made a most monstrous impression,”-- he whispered, as he thus compared it to the span and length of his outstretched hand, and being a pugilist (boxer) from his younger years he concluded, "Certainly, there’s no going fists to cuffs with this bully of a beast.”
When then Fladdeus pointed out, “Look Sir…here’s another…and another, behold its gait…impressive.” And then as they were making their mental calculations they heard what sounded like a howl, but really more as a primordial roar deep and long it was from yet afar off.
“Pointed tails and pitchforks, Sir,” Fladdeus fearfully exclaimed, "did you hear that?” -- as if now he too started to believe, infected he was by Pluckley’s hysteria of wolves and monsters it seemed by the grim expression he wore upon his soiled face, with that uneasy feeling in his heart as if something just passed over his grave, for such an unearthly clamor it was as no other since nor heard before.
“Yes, Fladdeus, I’m afraid I did,” solemnly responded Sir Smear, “and I certainly wish I hadn’t. It sounds absolutely elemental in its rage…most unnatural.”
“Truly prehistoric, “replied Fladdeus, “definitely a force to be reckoned with I fear…positively murderous, indeed, without question.”
Then the strangest of dawning’s came over Sir Smear as he told,” Those Pluckley chaps might not be so far off after all; if we survive this ordeal I do believe I’ll owe them an apology, old chum.”
As then yet another beastly howl was heard, but only much closer this time, and now all the more guttural it seemed, as then a shiver crept up and stiffened their spines, as with cold steel, and were they not unable to move, on account, of it as Sir Smear then said, “It sounds as the devil’s own lap dog has been loosed upon us. Best make your way to the carriage and be lively about it, for now it appears the huntsmen is being sought as prey…indeed, things are getting a bit topsy-turvy around here.”
“Surely,” implored Fladdeus,”you don’t intend me to leave you here, Sir?”
“Indeed, I do,” Sir Smear sharply replied.
“Perhaps we can ascend yonder tree over there, it seems sturdy enough to provide some shelter for us, “alluded Fladdeus, now almost pleading he was in his tone.
“Well, we best not stick around here for the debate, "said Sir Smear, “for that thing has a bone of contention to pick with us…and it will be with our own bones I fear.”
“By all means, Sir, lets yield the floor to it.” And as they began to make their way towards their lofty refuge, they had not barely placed a foot in front of the other when frightfully a foul, odorous, mist such as the stench of a mangy dog enveloped them, just as the old hag on the road foretold they remembered. Which now was as a tickertape of glistening streamers before their eyes disorientating them, they knew not what direction to turn. Then Sir Smear said, “For all we know we could be cantering about a Maypole blind as moles were are. Great Merry-Ma-Tanzie it is as if were in the center of a Jingo-Ring!”
“Yes,” Fladdeus retorted “are playing Fox-In-Thy-Hole and were the chickens, of course.” When yet again from the wet foulness of the sickly mist was heard a most primal growl which clattered their hearts upon their ribs, and thus it now most frightfully orbited them as a dark satellite spiraling evermore inward towards them. “Listen, Sir,” stammered Fladdeus,” I do believe I hear the rumblings of its entrails.
“Yes,” replied Sir Smear, “it sounds exceedingly famished,” -- and just then the fearful shadow leaped from its world and into theirs with a ravenous eye upon their throats, with its hot breathe at their faces which smelt worse than the nethermost bowels of a rubbish can, when then quite skillfully Sir Smear intercepted the fiendish hound squarely in its snout with the full charge of his electrified cane, thus propelling the creature back into the fowl mist from whence it came, and should not this be cause for a fools comfort, for most woefully again was it once more obscured from their observations.
“Worry not Fladdeus, Sir Smear reassured, "I’ve hit that monstrosity with enough current to even render a lion unconscious.”
“Surely”, Sir, “no doubt you fried its thighs and curled its toes I hope.”
“Yes, it should sleep half past the apocalypse before regaining consciousness again.”
“A most horribly creature it was in its appearance, “-- exclaimed Fladdeus,” I do believe it wanted to vivisect our Adam’s apples.”
“Indeed it did,” and in his epilogue Sir Smear concluded,” It definitely lacks a puggle’s charm.”
“Without question,” agreed Fladdeus.
Then leaning one upon the other in a slant, they stood to attention as their world narrowed in as they heard an even more frightful growl from the mist, which was just upon them gaining ground and lost in the movement of the dark shadows abounded them when Sir Smear said in his amazement, “Remarkable, it should have been completely anesthetized.”
A pocket full of woe, grimly remarked Fladdeus, ”It appears that we only annoyed it further.”
“Well, it’s playing hard cheese, “replied Sir Smear, “and here we are with not even a bucket to stand on. What would Chopin say, Oh yes, if you’re going to dance a Bourree with the devil you’re going to get scorched," and just then being flung to the ground Sir Smear cried out, "Great, flaming hounds of torment!” as then the creature came roaring seemingly from the bleak nothingness, its boundless void, and thus quickly seized upon Fladdeus’ chest and commenced to wildly jerk him about…limp as he was as a child’s dolly in its ivory maws full of rage. And straightway at once Sir Smear hopscotched on his hobbled foot towards their fracas, when then suddenly Nickajack leaped as from nowhere and latched holt upon the beast’s thrashing tail, when then as some ghastly whirligig the raven wolf hounded Nickajack…faster and faster they went the roundabout, but Nickajack would not relent from his strong grasp, but bared he down all the harder when then how queerly the creature began to stagger as a well-oiled seadog, garroting madly as if though it was being strangled unto death by one of Fladdeus’ bones now making itself friendly with its larynx, and lastly with a timbre as sharp as a straight razor, as honed as filed fingernails drawn across a writing board it released a most wretched wail, as, alas, it freed Fladdeus’ lifeless form, and with but one more writhe with its eyes still fixed upon the Isle of the Lunarscape floating in the deep of night it fall deathly silent, as then even the mysterious mist returned to the ether from once it came and was no more.
And, finally, when Sir Smear had finished bartering betwixt his fear and courage, he wearily approached Fladdeus with bated breath with only the hope of promise in his heart, and then he said in the gentlest voice with the mist still lingering in his eyes, ”My dear friend, are you still among the living I pray?”-- but would only the wind answer him with its parky reply, and so said Sir Smear as he sadly muttered on,” We made quite the pair didn’t we, old chum? You are absolutely indispensable to me, whatever will I do for your my right arm torn from me…my world is asunder, I’m torn limb from limb?”
“As are you, Sir, as are you,” then softly replied Fladdeus with Nickajack still licking at his face. Angels of mercy, Fladdeus, you gave me a perfect fright, I feared you loose from this mortal coil…you mustn’t ever do that sort of thing again!”
“Sorry, Sir, I was momentarily discombobulated…truly a paragon of terror it was.”
“A jolly righto, old friend, indeed, it was.
Oh!” a then most happy Sir Smear said in his ill-measurable relief, “there you go again getting me bloviating all over trifles when the elementary question is: Why are you still held together in one piece, and all without a mark to show of it…incredible…most improbable?”
“The solution, “answered Fladdeus,”is entirely fatuitous, Sir, for the creature inadvertently restrained me by my coat’s breast pocket, the very selfsame pocket which contained my formulation…most apparently it did not suit it, therefore I reason it must be of an acquired taste.”
“Yes, everyone is a food critic,” replied Sir Smear, "and speaking of food that thing nearly creamed our corn, old chum.”
“Indeed, with all certainty, Sir, it nearly mashed our potatoes," and just then they heard a groan from where the creature fell, and then they beheld what was to be the finale manifestations of a wolf transforming into man now stirring on the ground before them.
“Good heavens,” exclaimed Sir Smear, “it’s Dr. Gallian Gathrope!”
“Yes, Sir, “replied Fladdeus, "I presume the reflection in his window was his own the whole time.”
“A most brilliant deduction,” responded Sir Smear. And when the good doctor had regained his senses and thus voiced recovering from his daze,” What on earth am I doing here worming on the ground, and from the looks of it twenty miles from nowhere?”
“My dear fellow,” replied Sir Smear, “do you not have any recollection of where you’ve been and what you’ve done since this evening…can you not account for your nocturnal activities nor its dark happenings?”
“Why, whatever do you mean?” replied the good doctor. And then Sir Smear not one to miss an opportunity to exhibit his prowess of memory explained, "Allow me to elucidate,” and he spelled the whole thing out expounding upon every nuance to the nth degree.
Then directly Sir Smear asked but one more question of him and said, "However did you receive your scar if you not mind my asking?”-- and the doctor explained that he recently was on holiday near the Romanian Carpathians were his party was subsequently attacked beneath the shadow of Mount Tatras by some unseen animal obscured in a strange mist, and was not as if his memory was swallowed up by the black hole of Calcutta, for he had no remembrance whatsoever of that thing which creased his forehead, but, however, this was how he claimed he received his injurious blot, and there seemed to be truth in his telling, as then Fladdeus and Sir Smear wisely looked at each other as completing each other’s very thought upon the subject, and so declared Sir Smear, “Eureka, a wolf’s fang had left its indelible mark!”
”Without question,” replied Fladdeus. And then who should they hear but none other than inspector Walmsley and constable Beasley calling out, for they too had fallen victim to the numerous pits which had been quickly dug, and then most strangely was heard they commenced to singing, "Oooh…lads what do you do when your cup runs dry…when your cup runs dry…when your cup runs dry. Oooh…lads what do you do when your cup runs dry…you ask for one more and another!?”
When then Fladdeus and Sir Smear with now the doctor in tow and good Ol’ Nickajack leading the way, which, of course, and with good reason they doted over the whole while, which was rather odd for Sir Smear was more of a cat man really, always fancying himself to design a better mousetrap, of course, arrived at the dark opening were the inspector and the constable were still merrily singing when Sir Smear called down to them and said, “Whatever are you doing down there my dear fellows…it reeks of a tavern?”
“Well,” dear Sir, slurred inspector Walmsley, "we drank all the sherry and that’s that, besides you only live once and you might as well have a story to tell.”
“Indeed, we do, “replied Sir Smear,” for we found your gremlin.” And so as they helped them out Sir Smear explained the whole, extraordinary matter, and, of course, as they already believed they did not need much swaying, it was as trying to evangelize the converted, for it was more than a matter of faith when inspector Walmsley said, “Seeing is believing old chap…there’s things out there that not even your wildest nightmares can dream up.”
And so Sir Smear sensing his cue just simply apologized and expressed his regret as he before promised and said, "And that is that, and I hope not ever to do that again (apologize that is).
Then with the clatter of the carriage beneath them once more the sun broke with the trumpet of the morning geese, when thus constable Beasley reflected and said, “Old Matilda was wrong about one thing.”
“And what was that?” replied Sir Smear. “We all made it to daybreak,”-- Constable Beasley most happily answered.
“Yes,” Sir Smear thoughtfully replied,” it is a new day.”
“All’s well that ends well,” concluded inspector Walmsley, as he was granted the last word and was not to be out done. And so it was when Fladdeus and Sir Smear returned to London all again was right as rain, better, in fact, what more could one ask for. Now then safely back in their office on Cannon street tending to their sprains, bumps, and bruises when Sir Smear inquired of Fladdeus, "What was that secret ingredient in your formulation after all?”
“Why, Arnica Montana, of course,” Fladdeus cheekily divulged grinning ear to ear.
“Wolf’s bane, "replied Sir Smear! "Indeed, old chum, you’ll soon have a cure for the common cold!”
"I’ll keep trying, Sir,” replied Fladdeus when then Miss Tamposy stepped in for work and seeing their condition and exclaimed, "What on earth happened to you!?”
And when they explained she said, "Aw, don’t be such namby-pambies …have you all been eating ill-prepared fugu (Pufferfish) or tainted haggis again!? I’ve warned you, if I warned you once I warned you a thousand times, but no one ever listens to me…a werewolf, indeed, please I haven’t the time for fairytales when I have an office to manage, now get your loathsome clods off the desk…and what is that stench have you been minding a mangy pooch!?”
Then Sir Smear looked at Fladdeus and said, “Now, where have we heard that before?”
“Yes,” replied Fladdeus, "it sounds quite familiar, Sir, the glove has found its mate and now we must wear it.”
“Indeed,” replied Sir Smear, “it’s a tight fit and there you have it. Truly, Miss Tamposy would blame us for a cloudy day.”
“Undeniably, Sir,” replied Fladdeus” no truer words ever spoken. And, indeed, she would never believe them, even though every word was true, even unto the last dot and tittle, and so goes the world in its tangled affairs as Sir Smear would often say…most curious how it strays.