Wolfhound Chapter 7

Contrary to his muttered threat, Finch found himself looking for an upscale, dog-friendly restaurant for dinner after half of the afternoon had passed in fruitless research.

“He’s a very large dog; are you sure it won’t be a problem?” he checked before making the reservation. A tell-tale clacking of toenails informed him that Reese had walked into the room.

“We have seating and services to accommodate all sizes and breeds of dogs, sir,” the young woman on the phone assured him. “Our booths are big enough for even Great Danes to sit in comfortably.”

“Very good, then – six thirty it is.”

“We look forward to seeing you, Mr. Bustard.”

Ending the call, Finch turned to find Reese observing him with what, presumably, was intended to be an innocent smile, although the wicked twinkling in his eyes gave him away.

“After your ill-mannered behavior earlier, I considered going back to the pet store to pick up some kibble for your dinner,” Finch told him rather stiffly, hoping to make his displeasure known, “but for now, I’m going to overlook your canine improprieties by chalking them up to animalistic impulses. For now,” he added with emphasis as Reese’s tail began wagging impertinently.

Reese padded over to his array of keyboards and typed, VERY WISE OF YOU.

“Oh? How so?” Finch retorted.

EVER BEEN FRENCH KISSED BY A DOG, appeared on the screen as Reese’s one paw and nose flitted over the keys.

“No!” Finch gasped, horrified. “You wouldn’t!


“All right, all right! No kibble,” Finch conceded in defeat. “But you have to agree to not lick my face.”


Finch stared balefully at the large creature that was Reese, who only grinned at him with his sizable tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth.

“I think you’ve just depleted all the sympathy I had for you for ending up in this deplorable condition,” Finch stated in his driest tone.

MUST ADAPT TO SURVIVE, Reese answered with an equally straight face, then added, FOUND SOMETHING. BOOK DOWNSTAIRS.

“Oh?” Finch said in unfeigned surprise.


“Let’s have a look, then,” Finch responded, and Reese led him to a dusty room one level down – the religion section, which Finch had not revisited since culling all the books on philosophy that he thought were worthy of a place in his own collection. “I didn’t even think to look here for a book on Voodoo,” he admitted. “I’m surprised you found anything.”

Reese turned to grin at him, then continued on towards the end of a row where he leapt up to place his forepaws on a shelf. His nose was pointed at a book entitled, “The Cross and the Snake,” by Luis Jimenes, with a barely visible subtitle that read, “Wrestling against the Arm of Satan in Haiti.”

“Well, that’s certainly promising,” Finch said as he took it off the shelf and opened it. “Looks like an account by a Catholic missionary… Let’s see if there’s anything useful in here.”

Back in the office, Finch placed the book on the table (shoving his keyboards aside to make room) and began skimming through the pages. Reese waited patiently for the man to make some comment but after several minutes, when none seemed forthcoming, he placed his forepaws on the armrest of the chair to leverage himself up. Finding a wet dog nose in uncomfortable proximity to his own, Finch instinctively drew back; however, he knew he was still within striking range should Reese choose to go on the offensive.

“What is it, Mr. Reese?” he demanded.

“Whuf-fuf-iff-fay?” [“What does it say?”] Reese asked in turn.

“Oh. Well, nothing much… just the conditions of the native people when this missionary arrived. I haven’t come across anything substantial about Voodoo yet,” Finch explained, belatedly realizing how boring it must have been for Reese to watch him read. “I’ll tell you if I come across anything interesting, I promise.”

“Woof,” Reese said and hopped down. He typed on his keyboards, though, and when Finch looked up from the book, the message on the monitor said, CAN YOU MULTITASK.

“I suppose so… Why?”

BELLY RUBS ARE A DOGS BEST FRIEND, Reese punched out with surprising agility.

The expression on Finch’s face was one of disbelief mingled with outrage, but Reese ignored it as he padded over and once again jumped up onto his chair. Hooking his front paws under the armrest, Reese contorted his body so that his head lay against Finch’s hip and his side was conveniently exposed on Finch’s lap, right where his left hand would rest.

“You’re really pushing it, John,” Finch managed to get out at last. “Honestly! Belly rubs?

A whiny howl was all the excuse Reese made. With a longsuffering sigh, Finch started rubbing the furry torso presented to him. The deep, satisfied sigh that rumbled through the canine body did nothing to soothe his own ruffled feathers – or at least, that was what Finch told himself. Yet before long his hand was moving automatically as he paged through the book.

“This is interesting,” Finch began, slowing down both hands as he read in more detail. “It’s not transfiguration per se, but the missionary encountered a man supposedly under the spell of the local bokor, or witch doctor… This is the origin of zombies, it seems… A person who had died and been buried was brought back to life by the magic of the witch doctor – or the curse of Satan, as this missionary tends to believe – and was kept spellbound to do the witch doctor’s bidding… Perhaps if they have a cure for this, it may give us some clue…”

Finch continued reading for a while, not moving his hand where it rested on Reese’s pelt, but Reese did not interrupt, lying still until Finch started talking again.

“Okay, they ended up taking the man to a sangoma, another kind of witch doctor, or healer – a woman who was said to commune with dead ancestors and have the power to heal illnesses caused by magic. Now we’re getting somewhere… The sangoma had the zombified man re-buried up to his neck, then made him drink some medicine and poured the rest over his head, chanted some prayers, and had him dug up again the next day. The missionary says that the man was able to return to his family, quote, ‘sound of mind and body.’ Fascinating… He goes on to say that he suspects the medicine, produced from indigenous plant species, probably had something to do with the man’s almost miraculous recovery. Ah! He also mentions that the trance-like state might have been induced by some potent drug made by the bokor, too, although he doesn’t rule out demonic influences altogether…”

Finch looked down to meet Reese’s eyes, which were bright and intense with hope.

“So if we can just find a sangoma here in New York, she may be able to reverse the effects of this spell, or potion, on you,” he declared with triumph.

“Woof!” Reese answered enthusiastically.

“Let me start a search,” Finch said, drawing a keyboard closer. Reese got down off his lap without complaint, then walked around the chair and jumped up on the back so he could see the monitor over Finch’s shoulder. In all of New York, only one man was listed in the phone book as a Voodoo priest. Finch dialed the number, using the speakerphone function for Reese’s benefit.

“Hello,” a thickly accented voice answered.

“Hello, is this Jeremiah Nene?” Finch asked.

“It is. You are calling about a problem,” the man said flatly, as a statement.

“Well, yes… My friend had a rather… unusual curse put on him by a practitioner of Vodou,” Finch explained cautiously. “We were hoping you might be able to reverse it…”

“What are his symptoms?”

“Ah…” Finch paused, his mouth dry. “Well… as crazy as this may sound, he’s been… transformed. Turned into a… a dog.”

There was a moment of tense silence as both Finch and Reese waited, holding their breath. They finally heard Jeremiah Nene sigh before he answered, “I am very sorry, but I cannot help you. This is the work of Mawon – Nadege Mawon. She is a most powerful mambo. I cannot reverse her spell. Only she can cure him, but she is not easily placated… and your friend must have angered her greatly to make her use such a powerful curse. She is very dangerous. I am sorry.”

With a click of finality, the man hung up, leaving both Finch and Reese rather shell-shocked as they stared at the phone.

“He knew immediately who had put the curse on you,” Finch remarked. “It seems her reputation is… well known.”

With a determined gait, Reese walked over to his keyboard array and typed, IF SHES THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN REVERSE IT, WE HAVE TO GET TO HER.

“Agreed. But I don’t want to go after her without knowing more about… how she does what she does. If there’s some chemical substance that caused the transformation, perhaps we can figure out the antidote…”

Finch’s voice died out as Reese stared at him balefully with his dog face.

YOU REALLY THINK SOME EXOTIC MIX OF CHEMICALS COULD CAUSE THIS, he typed as quickly as he could. It was a rhetorical question, and Finch knew it.

“No… No, I suppose not,” he sighed, his shoulders sagging. “But if she could make it happen, we have to assume that she can make it… un-happen. I’d like to know as much about her as possible. Perhaps with enough cash, she will agree to reverse it.”


“Yes… That’s a possibility. All the more reason we should find out everything we can about her.”

WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR, Reese nosed, then stood up.

“Nothing, Mr. Reese. I’ve already been gathering surveillance footage from the cameras in her neighborhood.”

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  1. managerie76

     /  2012/06/24

    Love this one.
    Please continue!


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