For any readers not quite up to speed on the goings on here at Fakiegrind, Special Agent Donovan had been deployed on a mission to find a real live hobo and bring him back to headquarters for an interview as the culmination of hobo week. Our sensors, however, have been indicating an impending werewolf invasion brought about by our messing with the Template several weeks ago. Despite this threat, the intrepid Agent Donovan returned to headquarters without incident, and he brought with him a strange visitor. This was not your garden variety wandering hobo looking for a free meal and warm place to sleep before heading back on his weary way...
The man was of an indefinable age...he looked to be well advanced in years, but moved with the dexterity and speed of a much younger fellow. His long yellowish beard was matted and dirty, and his face covered in a grime that bespoke of weeks - or maybe months - gone without washing. But it was his eyes that set him apart from the common tribe of vagrants. It was impossible to look into them for any length of time without becoming extremely disturbed. Their grey-green pools seemed to speak of long journeys through vast interior regions of madness, despair and isolation, and yet there was a placid evenness to them that effected a shudder deep in the onlooker's soul. Clearly, this man hearkened from regions unknown.
Hey, stop gnawing on the mircrophone!
We showed him to the Fakie cafeteria, but he refused to eat (not that this was unusual - many an Agent has made a similar decision, especially on mac-and-cheese Saturdays). He asked only for some warm tea with whiskey which we produced in good stead and which the man downed with two or three voracious gulps. He then asked if either of us smoked, and Agent Donovan produced a cigarette from an interior pocket of his great coat. The man promptly removed the filter, then took some care in ripping open the paper skin of the cigarette until he had a small mound of loose tobacco in the palm of his hand. This he sumerarily tossed into his mouth and began to chew, much like a cow chewing its cud. After a minute or so of his chewing and Agent Donnovan and I staring off into random directions to avoid making any prolonged eye contact with our guest, the man suddenly broke the uncomfortable silence.
"Won't be long now," he mumbled in a gravelly voice that was mingled with equal parts derision and indifference.
"Won't be long until what?" I queried, trying to maintain my most pleasant, professional Secret Agent voice.
"No use hiding. He'll find us."
"Er...don't quite follow. Of whom do you speak, my good man?" The Secret Agent Manual counsels maintaining an air of jovial camaraderie when interrogating half-crazed hobo folk. (See Section 54-112-B "Storytelling Patterns of the Indigent")
"Same every year. Full moon brings it on. You can't escape."
"If you are referring to the immanent werewolf invasion, I can assure you we are quite safe in the bosom of Fakiegrind's state-of-the-art anti-lycanthrop facility. Those wolfies will have a hard time getting through our Lupine Repulsion Batteries, and even if they somehow were to penetrate past our parimeter defenses, a flip of the Panic Room Activation Switch will ensure that we are cozy and secure here in the heart of the cafeteria."
"You are fools."
"And you, sir, are a cryptic fellow quick to dole out reprimand but slow to justify your outlandish accusations. Do explain yourelf!"
The strange fellow parsed his cracked lips and spit a soggy wad of tobacco into the empty coffee mug before him. He stared intently into my eyes and I fought the urge to turn away in wild panic. He then let out a loud, long and girlish laugh that somehow managed to curdle the blood in my veins despite the nightly regime of anti-blood curdling meditational techniques that I dutifully pursue.
"You have prepared well...for werewolves. But there haven't been any werewolves in the world since before the Great Plague! You have no idea of the evil fate that is about to befall you. There will be chocolate...YES...lots of chocolate goodies. And colourful candy eggs strewn about which you will hunt for with great trepidation, continuing to find them weeks from now in the most unlikely of places, so crafty is the foe soon to be in your midst. You will be beside yourself with terror, and yet you will be none the wiser next year WHEN THE EXACT SAME CURSE VISITS YOU AGAIN!"
"What are you saying? You seem to refer to our harmless Easter traditions. Surely you don't mean...."
"Yes! Now you see! The chilling truth behind the ravaged heads of lettuce and descicated bags of carrots found each year in the larder. Not to mention the mysterious huge, hard brown pellets left strewn on the lawn. There is a powerful evil in your midst....a hideous, lawn munching, long eared...
"WERERABBIT! By Jove Donovan...we've been blind. BLIND! Get Q on the horn. Not a moment to spare...Me must notify Department H!"
The man broke into another peal of horrible shrill laughter and I motioned for Agent Donovan to hasten him back to the fetid alley from when he was snatched. I had been a fool not to see. What other entity would have the ability to sneak past our extensive Fakie sensor system to leave behind his colourful Easter confections? Only a wererabbit, with its ability to altar states between solid and gaseous form, with its uncannily nimble paws and hyper sensitive hearing (so as to better avoid the Fakie night watchman)...only such a beast could possibly infiltrate Headquarters year after year to leave behind its deadly legacy of tasty foodstuffs.
No time for self-reproach! There might yet be a chance to catch our foe unawares, but where would I find a sliver carrot at this late hour? I heard a strange sound from the corridor, a kind of heavy thumping getting louder by the second. Could the beast be upon us? In my mind's eye I saw the long, horrible incisors of the wererabbit flashing in the night. I shuddered and tried to steel my nerve. Then a deep, lisping voice echoed through the cafeteria, chilling me to the very marrow of my bones despite the microscopic marrow-warming nanodes I had had Dr. Flavour install in my skeleton against just such occasions....
"Whaaat'ssss Uuuuuuup Daaaaawk?"
It must have been then that I passed out, for when I awoke it was morning. There was a gamy unsettling stench in the air, a litter of half-eaten carrots spilling out of the larder, and a boxes and baggies of chocolate eggs and bunnies in a large mound on the table.
That wascaly wererabbit had evaded us this time, but next year he wouldn't be so lucky...