The Wolf Man

By Bruce Thines

Gunther Wolf is originally from Canada, a large man who stands 6’5” and weighs 285 lbs.  He has deep set green eyes, long brown hair and a full beard.  His face has the look of a wild man, sort of a feral look, like you see sometimes in canines not completely bred right, with a strain of something wild still in them somewhere.

Gunther is a loner.  He works the 11pm to 7am shift as a psych nurse at the State Mental Hospital.  He sleeps most of the day, rising around noon to check his mail and go to lunch.  He spends the rest of the day at the Rundel Library reading medical journals and taking notes.  He is extremely focused when studying and is on a mission to discover something.

After a late dinner at the Red Front, he returns to the Elk to read and nap.  At nine he wakes from the nap and begins to prepare for the night shift.

At the front of the Elk there are two stores.  One is a woman’s hair salon run by Yolinda Marie – Julia St. Lulu.  The other store is run by Henry Poo who sells, ‘treasures from the Far East.’  Henry sells incense, vitamins, plants, roots and some strange things in jars with Chinese writing on them; he claimed all items in his store had healing properties.  Henry Poo also practiced acupuncture in the backroom.  The other day I was in his store checking on a water leak and while looking at some of the jars, I swore something winked at me.

One of Mr. Poo’s more frequent customers is Gunther Wolf.  Mr. poo has been treating him for strange urges and conditions that overcome him during the full moon.  Gunther had told Mr.Poo that he was bitten by a wolf while hiking in northern Manitoba five years ago. He has been acting strangely ever since.  When the moon is full something comes over him; he gets restless and is hair springs-up all over his body; his face grows larger and larger, and his teeth extend and his hands become paw-like, with sharp claws.  He also has a terrible appetite, just terrible, and for red meat!

Whenever the moon is full, Gunther takes a sick day from work.  He leaves the Elk Hotel before nightfall and heads for High Falls, to the old RGE electric plant, called Bee-bee Station, which has been closed since 1999 and now sits abandoned.  Bee-bee Station is the home of various wildlife: deer, possum, raccoon and beaver.  There are also the homeless who live in the abandoned buildings.  They can be seen fishing in the river at night and cooking their catch on open fires.  This is where Gunther hunts during the full moon.

Recently, there had been half eaten animal carcasses discovered by RGE security and on more than one occasion, human remains, with throat and chest torn open.  The discoveries continued.  The city police thought it must have been the work of wild dogs or coyotes sometimes seen on the riverbank at night, moving north towards the mouth of the river, keeping clear of human danger.

Back at the Elk, some residents had reported that they had seen Gunther returning during the early morning hours, looking as if he had been in a fight or some sort of accident.  I dismissed the rumors, after all, Gunter worked at the State Mental Hospital and that can be a dangerous job.  He had told me once that he was frequently bitten and assaulted by patients.

After four or five months the killings stopped at High Falls; no more carcasses and no more bodies were found.  Mr. Poo was giving Gunther a potion of ground-up bat wings with wild, northern Canadian hops; he was also giving him injections of snake blood.  Within six months Gunther was a changed man.  He no longer had the urges during full moons, nor did he have the need to prowl the grounds of the old RGE facility.

Bruce is a 76 year-old retired person and long-time patron of the Rochester Public Library.  He is a writer of short stories and the author of the forthcoming story collection, ‘Tales from the Elk Hotel’.