The Hunter and The Hunted

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by Dr LercheDr Lerche

The Hunter and the Hunted

In the small hours in Ennepetal, Germany, a lone car was driving on the road. Norbert had just finished an overtime shift at the local hospital. Tired…and a little sleepy, he did his best to focus on the road. He had already drank a cup of coffee earlier, however, at this point, he had drunk so much that it had little to no effect on him. He continued driving down the road. It was a quiet lonely drive. Everyone would have already been fast asleep or doing…whatever they do at night. No one really should be out at this time. Honestly, not many would want to be out. At least he could drive a little faster without the worry of unwanted attention.

His thoughts stopped momentarily, however, when he caught a glimpse of something in the corner of his eye. On the side of the road was a figure sauntering along.

“Huh?!…Who would be taking a stroll at this hour?” thought Norbert, bewildered at the sight of this man. At that moment, probably alerted by the sound of the oncoming vehicle, the figure paused at a streetlight and turned to look at the car. Norbert stopped the car. In the brightness of the headlights and streetlights, Norbert had a clear look at the figure.

It was a scruffy young white man, probably in his early 20’s. He wore a dark green hoodie and jeans. He put his forearm up against his face, seemingly trying to shield his face from the direct glare from the headlights. Norbert, wanting to inquire the man, turned off the headlights. Just in case he locked the doors before winding down the window.

“Hello there!” he said, “What are you doing out here so late?”

The man observed him and the car for a few seconds before replying,

“I'm actually lost,” he spoke in a slightly tired but sober tone.

The man stared at Norbert, seeming to wait for him to do something.

Norbert looked back at the man. For a second he contemplated whether to pick him up. He is usually careful of who he allows into his car, but upon looking at the pitiful state of the boy, he reckoned he would not be a threat. Moreover, his duty as a doctor was to make sure people were alright. Especially now.

“Would you like a lift?” asked Norbert.

The man looked confused.

“Um…It’s fine sir. I’….,”

“Listen, boy. It is not safe out here now.” Norbert’s tone became stern and authoritative, “I can drop you off wherever you need to be.”

Seeming to think about the offer for a moment the man replied,

“Alright. Thank you.”

Norbert smiled as he unlocked the door allowing the man to take a seat in the driver's side seat. The man shook his hand, thanking Norbert once again as they drove off. As they shook hands, Norbert flinched at a slight pinprick on his hand. He looks at the bandaged finger, received at the workplace.

Must have rubbed it, he thought to himself. You have to be more careful dammit.

He shrugged it off and drove off with his new passenger.

“So where do you want to go?”

The man sat in his seat, hands crossed touching his elbows, seeming to try and keep warm.

“I actually need a place to stay for the night. I am not from here, you see.” Norbert sighed internally. Another careless tourist, it seemed.

“We’ll work something out. Anyway, what is your name?” asked Norbert.

“Maurice”, quietly replied the man.

“So how did you get lost?”

“Well, I was here on a trip with some guys I knew and earlier we attended a party. I got a little drunk and fell asleep. I woke up in a daze and realised they were gone. Here I am now, stuck. So much for friends, right?”

Norbert let out a slight, assuring chuckle.

“You know…you could stay at my place for the night.”

The man looked as if he was thinking about the offer.

"Really?!", Maurice asked bewildered.

"Sure. Just don't pull off any stunts and we'll be fine. Understand?"

“Yes Sir. I will not be a hassle. Thank you so much"

During the journey, the two men stroked up further small talk about their day. They drove for some time before Maurice asked.

“May I ask, what did you mean by it's not safe out here?"

Norbert turned towards his slowly and looked at him with a feeling of disbelief.

"Did you not notice that no one is outside?"

"Well, it is kind of late, so…"

"Yes, but you should have heard about the murders."

Norbert began to explain the situation. Over the past 8 months, several people were found dead in the nearby forest. The bodies had been mutilated and partially consumed. The police had at first suspected foul play, but the manner of the killings was akin to those in wild animal attacks. This was corroborated by the fact that wolves inhabited the region, and just two weeks ago a rabid one was put down by authorities after it had attacked two tourists who went for a walk in the forest.

"Well, that's why I steered clear of the forest. But they culled the pack responsible, didn't they? That's why the killings have so far stopped." replied Maurice.

“Yes, so far."

"So why is everyone still worried?"

"Because saying it's wolves is nonsense. I think something else is at play,” retorted Norbert

“So, it’s not a man-eating pack of wolves?”…Maurice asked, confused.

“That’s the official narrative. You can ask many of the locals, and they will tell you a different story. Many of us believe that a monster is lurking in this town. One of the farmers here, Lars, told that he had been woken up one night many years ago by a sound coming from his chicken coop. When he left the house to investigate, he saw some guy exiting the chicken coop.”

He paused in thought.

“Exiting is not the right word. He mentioned it passing through out of the door…like a ghost. The thing was…. he told me that it looked like a person, but he immediately felt something was off about it. Suddenly, the thing turned its head in his direction. He did not see the bugger’s face, but he knew it was looking right at him, before scrambling off into the forest. Lars ran to his coop to find that it had made a mess of some of his chickens, the floor covered with feathers and bones. He complained to the authorities, who dismissed it the work of a wild animal. Lars knew what he saw, and apparently a few others in the bar that day have seen a similar figure in the forest. A ghoul, we began calling it, and when these killings started we were convinced that the same thing is responsible.”

He looked back at Maurice, only to see a cynical expression growing on his face.

“Alright. I know what you’re thinking. Someone had one too many drinks and cooked this story up for bar clout… Not to say that Lars isn’t a drunk, but I’ve known the man for some time. Back then, Lars was a forestry ranger in East Germany. The man knows the wild. So for something to convince him like that…it damn well must have been something monstrous.”

Norbert watched his passenger through his rear mirror. The man merely stared at him in silence. He looked down at his hands, now on his laps lightly patting them. Norbert gulped some saliva and tightened his grip on the steering wheel.

“I’ve scared you, didn’t I… Sorry about that. Hehe”

“It’s fine Sir.” Maurice replied quietly. “Thanks for warning me though, and saving me.”

Soon the car parked outside of a cottage style house.

“Well we made it. Make yourself at home.”

They enter the living room where Maurice takes a seat.

“Would you like a drink?” Norbert asked his guest.

Maurice looked at Norbert as a cheeky smile grew on his face.

“How about some rum?”

Norbert sighed. The audacity of this boy.

“Hmmmhh…very funny. But honestly, I’ll need a glass as well after all that talking.”

He left his guest and entered the kitchen. Norbert took out a bottle of rum and poured the rich reddish-brown liquid into two glasses. As he did so, he took a quick glance at his guest.

Maurice sat in his seat, intently observing the trinkets on his cupboard.

“Perfect!” he thought to himself.

He opened a drawer and took out a small glass bottle. He felt the bottle in his palm, reading the label and warning:

Benzodiazepine. How well it has served him.

He carefully poured a small dose into one of the glasses. He could not contain his excitement of what was to occur. The poor fool would be knocked out in no time. Then he would lock him up in his basement where he will have his fun.

The body will then be disposed of in the woods. Over the years, he had become skilled in making his kills resemble animal attacks and predation. Police will claim it to be another vagrant or tourist junkie who got high and lost in the woods before getting himself killed by some wild animal.

Then the folk here will scare themselves to death convincing themselves that the ghoul had struck again.

A smile carves itself upon the doctor's face as he drops the ice into the two glasses before waltzing back into the living room.

He offers the deadly cocktail to his naïve guest, who sat comfortably on his sofa, unaware of what was to befall him.

"Here…bottoms up.”

Maurice takes the glass and raises it to mouth. Norbert, took a small sip of his, relishing the liquid as he watched the boy like a vulture would at a dying animal. Waiting for it to go limp before moving in to feast. Another victim to his body count.

Except that did not happen.

The rum in the glass never reduced. Maurice brought the it away from his mouth. He stared at the drink before turning to Norbert.

“You know…Benzo and booze is not really my favourite beverage”, he said sarcastically.

The words hit him like a freight train. Maurice, seeming to sense his growing fear, set the glass on the coffee table and calmly got up.

“I…I don’t understand” Norbert stuttered upon the realisation that the facade has worn off.

He tried his best to play it off, as he stealthily reached for the switchblade behind him.

"You do." Maurice stated curtly before stepping forward towards the doctor.

Norbert quickly pulled out the blade and in one swift motion, slashed a gaping hole across his neck.

It was like cutting water as the wound healed itself almost as fast as it was produced. Norbert stared at Maurice, utterly perplexed by this. Then he looked down and to his horror, the blood which spilt on the floor began flowing towards the man, as if it had a mind of its own and was seemingly soaked back into his leg.

Norbert, now clearly panicking, attempted a second hit but found his arm grabbed by Maurice. In one movement, his forearm was crushed by the force of the grip, making him drop the knife and scream in pain. Maurice then shoved his assailant into the wall.

Norbert collapsed, clutching his mangled limb as the man walked towards him. Norbert looked on in sheer terror as the man, now only a few feet from him stared at him with eyes that pierced his soul, before ominously saying,

“You reap, what you sow.”

As he said this, the hooded man transforms into a wraith-like mist of what Norbert could only make of as blood which flows out of Maurice’s clothes. The mist envelopes the doctor like a swarm of hornets and he begins to feel pinpricks all over his body, which he quickly realised was the feeling of flesh tearing off. He screamed in agony but it was quickly silenced by the mass rushing into his mouth. After a few seconds, he went limp. Later, the mass retreated back into the discarded clothes on the floor and returned to human form, leaving behind what was left of Norbert.

Satisfied at his work, Maurice walked over to the corpse. He crouched down to examine the pockets; taking a bundle of keys. He then moved to the cupboard. He fingered the trinkets, which had been glued in place before pushing the cupboard aside, revealing a hidden door. The lock looked like it had been used frequently. Unlocking the door, he turned on the light switch, lighting up a staircase leading to what appeared to be another door. Walking down the stairs, he placed his ears against the door. The ever so slight sound of sobbing was on the other side. He unlocked this door and let it slowly creak open before moving in with caution.

Inside was a dishevelled young teenage girl, chained by the leg to a metal pole next to an uncomfortable-looking bed. He could see the utter fear in her face, so he moved slowly to not scare her. Now nearer to her, he unlocked her bounds and placed his hand on her face as tears trickled down to comfort her.

“It will be all right my dear. You are safe now. You are free.” he assures her as she flinches.

On the 12th August 2008, following a frantic 110 call, police raided the property of Dr. Norbert Glenn to find various body parts and surgical equipment in the basement.

The Ghoul of Ennepetal was responsible for the horrific murders of 16 people from 1999-2008.

However, police were baffled by the case not only by the disappearance of Glenn but by the eyewitness accounts of 15-year-old Anna Dietrich. Police sketchers managed to produce a sketch of the man who saved Anna.

He was identified as 20-year-old Maurice Fischer. He had died 6 months ago in a mountain climbing accident.

All that was found of him were his bones and scraps of clothing.

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