Chapter 15: "Opening Day"
Docked at Westport, the Blint Mary from without looked quaint, pastoral, weathered but willing. She was at the very end of the northernmost pier, and the rain continued to pour out of the sky onto Smith, Thompson, and the agent as they walked the length of the pier. They boarded the vessel. It had been left exactly as the patrol boat had found it early that morning, the agent said. The bodies remained where they'd fallen.
The rain had washed off the most obvious blood puddles on the deck but the wood still had an obvious new rouge.
“She had a crew of eight. We found one of them intact, the captain, below deck,” the agent said, pointing down. “We found half a man on the bridge. And we found two of those hairy things—one felled below deck, one on the bridge. And some sharks. And that's what gets me. I've seen my share of wolf ladies before, in some very real ways. But never sharks coming topside uninvited.”
Before climbing up to the bridge, he led them all the way around the bloody deck. There were signs of a scuffle—fresh bullet holes here and there in the walls of the cabin, disturbed gear and tackle—and blood stains allover everything. What they were seeing was the battle aftermath of seamen's firearms and hooks, versus the surprise factor and rabid razor-sharp claws of the furries. There were blood trails leading over the edges of the vessel as well, in several places.
In the cabin they found: (1) most of one of the crewman, his head and upper torso having been bitten off by a shark; (2) two dead sharks; and (3) a dead womanimal. It was hard to tell who killed whom, except for the obvious logical eliminations to be made, e.g., the crewman hadn't bitten anyone in half; and a shark probably didn't fire the shotgun with which the womanimal and one of the sharks had been blown down. There was buckshot spattered allover the walls. The other shark had somehow been chopped in half, with some sort of razor wire or large blade or who knows what. One of the notable things here was, the wolflady was not wearing a Chino Wheeled Beavers uniform. Rather, she wore the red kilt of a Phoenix Bloody Roller.
The three men went then below deck, to find another dead Bloody Roller ragged with stab wounds and the body of the captain, locked together in sharing each others' death grip.
“A line overboard was bloodsoaked also. Beyond these stragglers, everyone else remains missing,” the agent said. “It looks like the Blint Mary was boarded, then some sort of three-party close-quarters brawl ensued, and now here we stand with the leftovers.”
“Seems like the crew were just fighting off whatever monsters boarded them, whether shark or zombie bitch,” Thompson said.
Smith added: “And this is part of a pattern, of the sharks and the wolfladies at odds. First, we found one of these girls inside a Great White that mysteriously appeared strung up on a scale hook at the Port of Olympia Marine Terminal. A few days later, we had a bloody shark versus wolflady scene at a convenience store off I-5 in Tacoma, with the clerk collaterally killed as well.”
“This wolflady thing has been going on for a week or two longer than the shark thing. But, whether shark or werewoman, we decided on the way out here that the only way to proceed is to call it an open season on them all,” Thompson said.
“They're operating outside the bailiwick of any criminal or other secular court. So it's become obvious to us that it is naïve to try to investigate or prosecute them normally,” Smith said. “They're wanted, dead or alive. Seems no other way to go about it. That is the challenge. Hunting to kill or capture walking sharks and underwater urban werewomen. Now that the thing has spilled over the coastline, maybe some aspect of the whole thing will reveal itself, bringing us closer to putting a handle on it all. A paradigm shift in the case, with hope. The Coasties will come in handy on this hunt.”
The investigator smiled the smile of a non-plussed, stoic mariner who had seen his fair share of seaborne weirdness in his career.
“We'll do what we can, and keep sharp ears and eyes,” the agent said. “You want these corpses?”
“No thanks, we've got plenty. Watch the fewolves, though. They tend to reanimate, so we recommend binding them well tight,” Thompson said. “And the sharks are prone to entirely disappear or disintegrate. On the other hand, they all make excellent firewood, if you read me.”
It was pushing six o'clock by the time the two detectives made it back to Tacoma. They stopped in at Kelly Sammys for steak and potatoes. Besides the swordfish missing from the rafters, the place showed no permanent scars from yesterday's brouhaha. The usual bartender was working. He gave a shrug when they walked in, as if to quickly acquit himself regarding the fiasco that occurred in the tavern for Santos' wake the day before. From Kelly Sammys, Thompson dropped Smith off at his car, which was still parked at the station.
“I'm going to watch TV in my underwear. Let's mull the onset of hunting season tonight, and we'll discuss our ideas tomorrow,” Thompson volunteered.
Smith nodded, and thanked him for driving all day. Thompson pulled away. Before heading home, Smith decided to pay a quick visit to the morgue.
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