Fiction: On a Cure for Werewolf Bites

From the research journals of Louis Pasteur, as told by David Harrison
Art by Leigh Legler


12 August 1889

A man was brought to my Institut late tonight. Three foreigners brought the man to the front gates, gravely wounded. The night guard attempted to turn them away, but they said the man had been bitten by a rabid animal and implored him to call for me.

I arrived shortly before midnight and, with the help of his friends, placed him on the table in one of my laboratories. Between us we removed his trousers, which were badly torn and blood-stained, and I examined the wound on his leg. He had been bitten twice–one was a superficial wound, not much more than a graze; the second was a deep bite with multiple punctures and compound fractures to both the tibia and fibula of his right leg.

I cleaned the outside of the wounds as best I could and sent the night guard to wake my friend and colleague Docteur Grancher to deal with the fracture. Between us, we were able to set the leg and dress his wounds. It was necessary for Docteur Grancher to administer injections of cocaine to numb the leg, but despite this, the patient passed out when we set the bones.

The patient is resting, and I will review in the morning and speak with his friends about how he came to be bitten.

~

13 August 1889

I returned to the Institut this morning to find our patient still unconscious. I administered his first dose of my rabies inoculation while he rested.

His friends returned mid-morning to check on his condition: an American couple, Monsieur Butler and his wife Phoebe, and a tall Serbian immigrant, Monsieur Tesla. Tesla had come to Paris for the Exposition Universelle with our patient, declaring an interest in the scientific advancements on display, and the two had met up with the Butlers, who were also in Paris for the Exposition.

During their exploration of the Exposition, they had heard rumours of menageries of fantastic beasts, not just exotic, but otherworldly. I replied that there are many zoos and displays among the exhibitions of the show, but any talk of legendary creatures was surely nonsense.

They replied that they had thought as much, but had nonetheless decided to investigate, expecting no more than some charlatanism they might easily debunk. They were right for some of the displays they found, but the last one they visited, they claim, was no fraud, but contained several specimens of loup-garou, the werewolf.

While there, one of the wolves escaped from its confinement and bit our patient, after which it fled into the city. I am not sure I believe their claim that this was a genuine loup-garou. No doubt when the beast is caught, it will be revealed to be a simple wolf, or perhaps large dog.

~

14 August 1889

Our patient awoke this morning. He is still in considerable pain, from the broken leg, but was able to answer some questions and eat a little. His name is Sergio Martelli, as his friends had mentioned yesterday, an Italian by birth, but living in America these last few years. He had travelled to France with Tesla for the Exposition. He told me all this in somewhat archaic, but understandable, French, with an undercurrent of a northern Italian accent. When speaking with his friends, he switched back to English effortlessly.

When I asked him about how he came to be bitten, he gave the same story as his friends had told me, that a loup-garou they had found in an exhibition had escaped and bitten him. I professed to him my scepticism and administered him his second dose of my rabies inoculation, but he remained quite insistent. Eventually, I administered chloroform to sedate him, as his distress threatened to further damage to his injured leg.

~

15 August 1889

I administered the third dose of rabies inoculation. Docteur Grancher visited and inspected the patient’s leg. He proclaimed himself pleased with how the wound was healing, and that there was no sign of infection. After cleaning the wound again and changing the dressings, he remained for a while to talk with the patient and was regaled with the tale of the fantastic beast that had inflicted the wound.

Docteur Grancher spoke with me privately afterward, and expressed his amusement with the tale, but advised that perhaps we should go along with the patient’s version of events to avoid upsetting him.

~

16 August 1889

I tried to administer the patient his fourth dose of inoculation today, but he refused treatment. Although we have ceased to express our scepticism of his tale, he can tell we still do not believe him and has decided to refuse treatment until we are convinced.

I tried to get his friends to convince him to resume treatments, but they had no more success than I. In order to get him to take his inoculation, I have agreed to accompany his friends to see this exhibit where the attack took place.

~

17 August 1889

I met with Signor Martelli’s friends at the entrance to my Institut shortly before sundown. My patient had refused treatment for another day, saying he will wait until we return.

The four of us walked down from the Institut to the banks of the Seine and then along until we reached the entrance to the Exposition underneath Monsieur Eiffel’s tower. Monsieur Butler carried a long gun in the crook of one arm, while his wife had a pistol in a holster on each hip. Monsieur Tesla did not appear armed but assured me he was prepared for our outing. I carried only a stout walking stick, and a pair of thick leather gloves tucked into my belt.

We walked down the Champ de Mars as the sun began to set and turned off part way down to take the Rue Saint-Dominique toward Les Invalides. Before we could arrive there, we turned off down a narrow side street where the ground floor shops had been rented out to exhibitors for their displays.

Taking my bearings, we were near le camp exotique, an encampment displaying the different uniforms, weapons, and military practices of foreign nations and the colonies. Also close by was the village negre, displaying the native life of peoples from the African colonies. My companions ushered me away from the main exhibits and down the side street, where the signs suggested that our fellow humans were not the only beings displayed like zoo animals.

The first buildings we passed advertised humanoid displays that may have been fantastic or merely humans suffering some deformity–a dwarf man less than four feet tall; next door, a giant sitting hunchbacked in a chair too small for his frame, standing his head would have passed through the ceiling; a woman with webbed feet and hands lounged in bathing attire, a sign on the door advertising a boat trip on the Seine in one hour’s time, where she would display her aquatic prowess.

The next building had wooden boards nailed up over the windows, painted black. A man outside ushered people toward the door, offering a view of the blood-drinking undead. The next shop had thick black curtains across the door and a large sign depicted a horrific painting of a bird like an owl, but with the wings of a bat. From inside came a horrid screeching. Another display with blacked out windows announced the presence of creatures called Tzitimimeh. Outside, a Hispanic gentleman dressed in the colourful robes of the Azteca offered to show us the monsters, who descended from the stars. They were not, he warned us, for the faint of heart, as these creatures, which appeared almost human, fed exclusively on the flesh of men.

Just past these displays, we reached our target: a large shop front where the windows had been removed to allow a clearer view inside. Within, the rear half of the shop floor had been turned into a pen, with large bars at the front and rear of the room caging the people inside.

They were just people. Two men in front of the cage were calling to the crowds of people passing by, offering to show them fearsome loup-garou, but all I saw in the cage were humans–two men, one about in his thirties, the other just a boy approaching his teen years, and three women, one adult, the other two teenagers. They were all filthy, and clearly had not been given an opportunity to wash in some time. Their hair was matted and hung long about their shoulders, on both the men and women. Their clothes could barely be described as such–thin shifts for the women, which gave them scant modesty, and undergarments for the men, barely better than loincloths. Beneath the veneer of dirt on their skin, they appeared to be European, perhaps Slavic. Across the floor of the cage was a scattering of straw and a single blanket for their bedding. Piled in one corner was an assortment of butcher’s bones, all showing signs of repeated gnawing.

We entered the room, Monsieur Tesla paying our admission, and approached the bars of the cage. The people inside ignored our approach, staying huddled toward the rear wall. Once a few more people had entered to view the spectacle, a man stepped forward from the back room. He was a well-dressed man with a charismatic manner. His accent was not French, perhaps German, perhaps Dutch. He welcomed everyone and began to raise anticipation, speaking of the ferociousness of the beasts and the terrible sight we were about to witness.

Monsieur Butler nudged me and pointed to one corner of the cage. Two of the bars were newer than the rest, still with some oil on them and free of rust. An assistant came out from the back and handed a spear to the presenter. The head glimmered silver in the lamp light. When the spear appeared, the people in the cage stirred and backed away from it.

Without further ado, the presenter jabbed the spear into the cage and caught the elder male in the thigh. He screamed, a high-pitched yell that turned into an animalistic howl. He rolled on the floor clutching his thigh, and he began to change.

The first thing I noticed was the hair. He was hunched almost foetal clutching at his wounded leg. All over his body, short, bristly hair began to sprout, giving him a black pelt. As this fur covered him, his shoulders began to ripple and expand, growing wider and more muscular. His feet scrabbled at the floor of the cage as he attempted to stand, and his toenails had grown long and come to points. His fingernails were undergoing a similar transformation, turning his hands into clawed weapons.

The biggest change was his head. His jaw elongated and pushed out from his face. His nose flattened, fur grew to cover his face like his body, his teeth lengthened to points and began to drip with saliva.

When the change had finished, a beast stood in the middle of the cage. He was over six feet tall. The bottom half was still identifiably human, just fur-covered. The upper half was more strongly muscled than almost any man I have seen. The head was fully lupine, except for the eyes. The eyes retained some trace of humanity, though the emotions I read in them were feral.

The presenter moved the spear toward the others in the cage and jabbed a couple of times. The jabs did not make contact with any of the others, but the two youngest dropped to their hands and knees and began to shake as the change took hold. The presenter tried to jab again at the two holdouts, but they dodged the spear tip and skittered back to the corner of the cage, their teeth bared in anger.

When the presenter next tried to stab the two females, the elder wolf stepped between them and the spear, swiping at it with a clawed hand. When his hand made contact with the silver, he flinched away, and I saw his hand had been burnt by contact with the metal. Red welts were rising on his hands, but he didn’t move out of the way.

The others in the crowd responded with a mixture of amazement and horror. Some shrank back, and some tried to draw nearer to the cage, but were hustled away from the bars for their own safety.

An assistant brought forward a crate containing pieces of meat. A leg of some animal, perhaps a sheep or goat was extended through the bars of the cage, where it was immediately seized and fed upon, the beasts’ teeth stripping the meat from the bone with brutal efficiency. After the creatures had been fed, the men ushered us out with the rest of the crowd, declaring the show to be over.

We left and wandered back through the Exposition, discussing our next move. I had not believed their tales, but from what I saw, it is all true.

~

18 August 1889

I returned to the Institut this morning and spoke again with Signor Martelli. He allowed another treatment of my rabies inoculation but repeated his doubts it would have any effect. Afterward, we spoke for most of the morning about finding a more effective treatment. He told me he had read my research on viruses and the development of vaccines. It is his belief that the change victims of loup-garou suffer is caused by a virus transmitted in the saliva of the beast rather than being a purely supernatural effect.

He believes that if we can obtain some saliva from the escaped beast or one of its caged brethren then we could develop an inoculation treatment in the same vein as I have for the rabies virus. In theory he is correct, but it requires he be correct that the disease is viral. It also requires us to act quickly, as we will need time to cure the virus samples to weaken the infection.

I have agreed to pursue this avenue of research, as we are short on time and there seem to be no better options. I have warned him there is no guarantee this will be successful. Before my first successful treatment with the rabies vaccine, I tested it over fifty times with canine subjects. Even then, it was not initially effective, and since my first successful treatment, I have refined it further. We will not have time to do any of this, and I am concerned we may not have time for sufficient treatments before the next full moon, which is when Signor Martelli believes the change will attempt to take effect.

Signor Martelli has only heard of two other possible treatments. The first is St Hubert’s Key, an amulet in the form of an iron cross, blessed by a priest. The Key is heated in fire then applied to the wound. Traditionally this is done in the immediate aftermath of the bite, and I fear we may have waited too long to attempt this method. Signor Martelli is also of two minds as to its effectiveness. If the affliction is supernatural, the application of a blessed item may prove effective, but if it is a virus, then he thinks the best we could hope for is that the heated amulet cauterises the wound and kills any infection. If that is the case, then we should have sought a Key and applied it days ago.

The second treatment he has heard of is not one I am willing to consider. Aconitum ferox. Monkshood, also known as Wolf’s bane. The root of this blue-purple flower has long been known as a highly effective poison. My patient is aware of this but insists that if we cannot succeed in curing him, it may be a necessary evil to prevent him harming any of us.

I left the Institut after lunch, when Signor Martelli’s friends had returned to keep him company and spent the afternoon in search of avenues to obtain the necessary pieces of a potential cure.

I have most of what is necessary for developing a vaccine at the Institut. The key ingredient however is a sample of the virus. I returned to the Exposition and sought out the exhibit we had visited the night before but found the shop closed up and locked. From speaking to the neighbouring stalls, I discovered they only open their display in the evening, so as to set the scene for their show and be more dramatic. I shall endeavour to make contact with them later tonight.

My next visits were both on the Ile de la Cite. First, I visited the Paris Police Prefecture at the Place Louis Lepine, where I spoke with Lieutenant Michel Saint-Andre, an old friend who has served with the police his whole adult life. Already on multiple occasions he has helped me with locating rabid dogs both in Paris and the surrounding regions. Normally, such dogs would be killed immediately upon location, for the safety of all, and to end the beast’s suffering. Since I began working on a vaccine for rabies, Michel has helped me with the capture of rabid animals so I may obtain live samples of the virus, at considerable risk to both his career and health.

We took a late lunch together and I explained to him the situation. He was sceptical of some of the details, but I assured him I had observed the beast with my own eyes. Furthermore, I explained his belief in the more fantastic elements was irrelevant. This was a dangerous, most likely rabid, animal and I was asking his help in obtaining its capture, as we had done with countless others.

He had not heard of any attacks in the last few days but would keep an ear to the ground for any reports and let me know of any news. I thanked him and left for my next meeting.

My next visit was just around the corner. I met the rector of Notre-Dame de Paris in the courtyard in front of the grand cathedral. Though I do not attend the cathedral on a regular basis, I met the rector some years ago when he was visiting a patient I had helped treat, and we struck up a companionship after he expressed an interest in my research and the modern advancement of medicine.

I once again explained the situation, this time adding Signor Martelli’s comments about Saint Hubert’s Key. The rector promised to check the cathedral treasury to see if it held such a relic and, if it did not, to look into the process for consecrating such an item.

~

19 August 1889

No news today from either the lieutenant or the rector. Messieurs Tesla and Butler are planning to return to the Exposition tonight and seek a meeting with the exhibit owners. If they are successful, we would be able to obtain some saliva from their beasts by tomorrow, which would be most advantageous.

~

20 August 1889

Monsieur Tesla returned to the Institut this morning with poor news. The cage the beasts were kept in broke again last night. The assistants managed to force them back before they could reach the crowd this time, but one of them was dragged into the cage by two of the beasts and torn to shreds.

I cannot blame the beasts for acting out against their confinement. Clearly, they would pose a threat to good citizens if they were allowed to roam free, but the men who had captured them did not seek to restrain them for the public safety, but for profit. From my own visit, I could tell they were not treated well, and it is easy to see why they would seek retribution given the chance. Even so, that is a horrible way to die.

Monsieur Tesla retreated from the exhibit with the rest of the guests, but Butler remained behind and kept a watch out from across the street. Once the men had chased out the viewers, the shop was shut up and all windows blacked out. Monsieur Butler tried the door and found it locked. Given that the street was still somewhat crowded, he concluded he would be unlikely to learn anything loitering by the front entrance and went down the street to find an alley or back entrance.

There is a small alley running behind the street. Monsieur Butler found a doorway just along from the shop and hid. After a short while, the men came out the back door of the shop. One of the assistants fetched a cart and brought it to the end of the alleyway. Monsieur Butler watched as they loaded the cart up. From his vantage point, it appeared they were loading bodies. When they were done, they added sacks and blankets on top.

Monsieur Butler attempted to follow the cart but lost them after a couple of miles. They headed north across the Seine and appeared to be heading out of town. He returned to the shop this morning and found it still locked.

~

21 August 1889

My friend the rector visited me today. He had information on St Hubert’s Key. The cathedral did not have a Key in the treasury, but with some research, he found the method by which such a relic is created. It will take him a couple of days to get the materials necessary, but he is confident he will have a Key before the end of the week.

~

22 August 1889

Signor Martelli’s leg appears to be healing well. Docteur Grancher visited him again today to change the bandages and place a new splint and proclaimed himself satisfied with the condition of the wound and the progress of the break’s healing. There is no sign of infection, which was our greatest concern, save for the possibility of rabies.

We have continued with the rabies inoculations. Lieutenant Saint-Andre sent word that there have been reports of people bitten by a large dog. I have sent word to the city’s hospitals to let the Institut know if any victims are admitted so we may inoculate them.

The lieutenant is organising a search of the area where the reports have come from, and says he is hopeful the beast will soon be captured.

~

23 August 1889

The lieutenant sent word this morning that he believes he has found where the beast has been hiding since its escape. When it broke the cage and ran from the show at the Exposition it headed south-east, away from the river and the crowds at the Exposition. The last two nights, there have been dog attacks at the southern end of le Jardin du Luxembourg, and in Montparnasse.

He has led several searches through the area in the last two days and found that the most sightings away from the attacks are centred near Place Denfert-Rochereau. There are not many places in the area the beast could be hiding on the streets, but the area contains one of the main entrances to les catacombes.

Lieutenant Saint-Andre has used his authority with the police to close les catacombes. Throughout the Exposition, they have been open to tourists once a week. For now, they are closed. The lieutenant has three good men who will accompany him down into those passageways tonight to try and draw out the beast. Based on the attacks, the beast has been venturing out after dark each night to look for food.

I will meet Michel at the entrance to les catacombes tonight with Monsieur et Madame Butler, and Monsieur Tesla. Hopefully by tomorrow we will have this beast caught.

~

24 August 1889

Lieutenant Saint-Andre’s hunch on where the beast was hiding was correct. The eight of us gathered at the entrance to les catacombes as night fell. Two more police were stationed at the entrance, with instructions to guard it and prevent anyone else entering.

Michel and his police all carried nightsticks and revolvers. Monsieur et Madame Butler carried American guns, Colt .45s. Monsieur Tesla carried just a stout wooden stick about two feet long, with a pronged metal cap at one end. It did not look like much surrounded by the guns everyone else was carrying, but he assured me it would be sufficient to keep him safe.

I did not take a weapon. They are not in my areas of expertise. Before we started our search, Michel briefed everyone on what we knew, mainly for the benefit of the policemen he had brought. He made sure to emphasise the preference for capturing the beast alive. Once he was done talking, we lit our lanterns and descended into the passageways.

Les catacombes house the remains of over six million Parisians. After the cemeteries of the city were all filled to capacity over a century ago, they were emptied, and the remains transferred to the tunnels of the old stone mines beneath the city. The entrance is a narrow flight of stairs we had to descend single file. Michel led the way with one of his officers second. The tunnels were slightly wider for the most part, allowing two to walk abreast. Along either side of the path, bones were stacked shoulder high. Raising my lantern, I could see the bones went back twenty or thirty feet.

We found the beast after about forty minutes. It came out of the shadows ahead, growling menacingly. We had just passed an intersection of two passageways, which widened out where they met. Keeping an eye on the approaching beast, we all backed up and spread out. As it neared, I reminded them that we needed live samples to create the vaccine. The men merely nodded.

The beast sprang forward without warning. Michel and two of his men stepped forward with their nightsticks to intercept the beast’s charge. They landed a couple of blows but fell back under the impact of its charge. Before the beast could strike again, Monsieur Tesla stepped forward and struck the beast with his stick. He may have a slight build, but his tall frame allowed him to attack without being at too much risk from the beast’s claws.

When the tip of his stick hit the beast’s shoulder, sparks flew from the contact point and the smell of burning hair filled the air. The beast howled, half in anger, half in pain, and backed away from us.

The animal attacked again twice, each time retreating under blows from the policemen and Monsieur Tesla. Small patches of its fur were singed where Tesla’s blows had landed, but otherwise the beatings it had received appeared to have had no effect–it was still as strong and as fast as when it first attacked.

On his next attack, the monster ducked low to avoid the blows of the policemen and succeeded in slashing two of them about the legs. They fell to the ground, and the beast grabbed Michel by the ankle and bit. I was standing back, but even from a distance, I could hear the bones crack over the shouts and screams.

It set to attack again, but before it could get up from the ground, Monsieur et Madame Butler levelled their weapons at it and fired. The shots were deafening in the enclosed space. Their first bullets struck the beast in the shoulders, keeping in on the floor. It tried to retreat again, and the couple fired again and again. The next bullets struck it in the legs, shattering its knees and ankles. It tried to rise, and they kept firing until their chambers ran dry. As they reloaded, Monsieur Tesla stepped forward again and struck the beast again, holding the points of his rod between its shoulder blades.

The beast spasmed under the sparks from the rod, and the last policeman and Monsieur Butler ran forward and grabbed its arms, kneeling on them to prevent it from rising. I stepped forward, my thick gloves already on my hands. I knelt in front of the beast and reached toward its mouth, from which saliva dripped freely.

I held a test tube beneath its jaws and let saliva drip into it. Once I had a good sample, I stoppered the tube and repeated the process twice more.

By the time I had enough samples, the men were struggling to contain the beast. I backed away with the samples to where Michel and his injured men had dragged themselves. The others released the beast and scrambled back.

As soon as they released it, the beast sprang back to its feet. Blood still coated its legs and feet, but it acted as though all the bullet wounds it had taken were completely healed.

The Butlers unloaded their revolvers into the beast again as we retreated, but with our injured men, we were unable to proceed with any speed, and despite the many wounds it was taking, the loup-garou kept pace with us as we retreated.

Seeing we would not be able to continue with the beast pursuing us for the whole trip back to the surface, I reached into my pocket for the one thing I had brought that might be able to fight the beast. Aconitum ferox.

I told the Butlers I needed them to shoot the beast in the head. Specifically, both its eyes and its jaw. Monsieur Butler seemed uncertain, as he was shooting while also helping one of the policemen limp down the passageway. His wife waved him away, motioning for him to keep helping our companion escape and stepped up beside me alone.

She told me to say when to shoot, and I let the beast approach close before nodding. Three shots rang, out one after the other, and gouts of blood appeared where both its eyes had been and at the edge of its mouth.

Her next three shots took out its knees and one ankle again. I ran forward with the poisonous herb and thrust it into the broken mouth, and to the back of its throat. I withdrew my hand and a moment later its jaws snapped shut. I looked back at the beast as we retreated and saw its eyes had somehow healed as well. It made to come after us but now seemed slower. It made a couple of steps then spat, and a gob of herbs came from its mouth.

We kept up our retreat, and it soon became clear the poison was having an effect. We increased our lead and made it to the entrance without it catching us again. Lieutenant Saint-Andre ordered the men guarding the entrance to keep les catacombes sealed until he returned. We made our way back to my Institut and met Docteur Grancher waiting for us.

He helped us get the injured policemen up to a room and prepared to treat their wounds. I woke my assistant and sent him to the cathedral. While I awaited their return, I removed my gloves and inspected my hands and arms for any sign of injury. Luckily, while I had quite a large amount of the loup-garou’s saliva over the gloves and my forearms, the beast had not broken the skin. I washed my arms with soap and water several times nonetheless, just to be safe.

Docteur Grancher treated the wounds of the two policemen and administered standard rabies inoculations to them. Michel’s wound was more complicated, quite similar to Signor Martelli’s. I left Docteur Grancher to see to him and began preparation of the new vaccine. Once I had completed the initial work, I checked on our patients and retreated to my rooms to rest.

This morning, our patients were doing well for what we all experienced last night. The vaccine is progressing, but what it needs now is time.

The rector arrived early this morning with the Key of St Hubert. I offered its use to Michel, but he said he trusts my scientific knowledge. Signor Martelli believes it is too long since he was bitten for the Key to be effective on his wound. The rector has left the Key with me in case either of them change their mind. Along with instructions on its use.

~

25 August 1889

My patients are resting as well as can be expected. The two policemen have deep lacerations to their legs, but their wounds have been stitched, and while they need bed rest for a few days, there appear to be no complications.

Michel’s wound is more serious, and he will not walk for some time. It is possible he will always have a limp.

Michel sent policemen to scout les catacombes, and they returned with the carcass of the beast. It had kept following us and was just a few turns from the entrance, curled up in the foetal position. I examined the carcass when they brought it in. The beast remained in its monstrous form in death. It appeared to have vomited shortly before death. I found some of the herbs stuck in the back of its throat. I took samples of its saliva and flesh and will see if I can manufacture more doses of vaccine from them, but they will be a last resort, as I am unsure if the aconitum will have contaminated the body. Further testing is required.

~

The full moon rises tonight. The rooms in the basement are prepared.

26 August 1889

Signor Martelli is up and walking, albeit slowly and with the aid of a cane. My work on the vaccine is progressing; the samples need time to weaken so the body may encounter the disease and learn to fight it without simply being infected by that meant to cure it.

I have continued my examination of the beast’s corpse. After washing it, I discovered that despite the large amount of blood present on the fur of the creature, there was no trace of the wounds we inflicted on it. During our battle with the beast and its pursuit of us the Butlers shot both the creatures’ kneecaps on three separate occasions. When I examined the knees of the beast, the skin beneath its fur was smooth and unblemished, with no fracture or damage to the bone beneath.

I discussed this with Signor Martelli. He has heard tales and legends that say that such beasts have healing abilities that far exceed anything found in nature. It would appear the legends carry some truth in them.

~

27 August 1889

The vaccines are almost ready. I plan to administer the first doses tomorrow morning. Docteur Grancher is concerned we should perhaps wait another day or two to weaken the virus further, but if Signor Martelli is correct, then the latest that symptoms will begin to appear is at the next full moon. Signor Martelli has already waited longer than I would have liked for his treatment to begin. We cannot put it off any longer.

~

28 August 1889

We administered the first vaccines this morning. Docteur Grancher has remained with our patients all day, in case any of them have an adverse reaction. After giving them the vaccines, I spent the day examining the loup-garou. Apart from the thick pelt of wolf-like fur over its whole body, its legs are almost completely human. Its toenails are elongated and thickened into claws.

The torso and arms are humanoid as well, but the shoulders are wider and more heavily muscled than on an average human. The chest also has eight nipples. When we went to the exhibit and saw the captive loup-garou in their human form, none appeared to have extra nipples, so these must grow or appear when they undergo the change from man to beast. The hands are still human, but the fingers are bent rigidly. It is unlikely this is rigor mortis, as there appears little sign of that in the rest of the body. Again, the nails on each digit are thickened and elongated into claws.

The neck muscles are incredibly strong and support a large head, which is entirely lupine. I have never seen a wolf, either in captivity or the wild, with a head as large as this one. Indeed, the change seems to add mass to the body overall, as the beast is significantly more heavily muscled than the man was. The beast’s eyes are blue, which is unusual in a wolf, but I think matches with the eye colour it had when in human form. Its teeth are every bit as ferocious as you would expect. I have not explored the mouth fully, as I am exercising caution in proximity to it. The mouth contains a great deal of saliva, though this could be a side effect of the virus we believe the beast is host to. Rabid animals tend to salivate more, as it allows a greater chance of transmitting the virus to other creatures.

~

29 August 1889

We administered the second set of vaccinations. Signor Martelli is reporting some discomfort around where we injected him. Lieutenant Saint-Andre is recovering well. None of the men who were scratched are showing signs of infection, suggesting the virus is only transferred through the beast’s saliva, and not carried on its claws.

~

30 August 1889

We administered two doses of vaccination today. One in the morning and one in the evening. So far, everything is progressing as well as can be hoped.

~

31 August 1889

We administered the fifth set of vaccinations this morning. Signor Martelli is displaying some swelling around the injection site and has started running a slight fever. I was planning to deliver the sixth round of vaccinations this evening but will hold off until tomorrow. Michel is not showing the swelling or running a fever.

~

1 September 1889

Signor Martelli is still displaying symptoms today. We administered another round of vaccinations this morning. Michel is still without symptoms. Docteur Grancher has decided to remain at the Institut throughout the day to monitor our patients.

After the morning treatments, I returned to my lab and conducted a necropsy on the beast. When I previously examined the beast, I could find no trace of injury to its knees. After removing the beast’s skin on its legs, I found this was not the case. The patella on each knee has superficially healed, but there is underlying damage that has been unable to heal, presumably due to continual action and reinjury in the immediate wake of the initial injury.

The abdomen and chest of the beast contain all the internal organs one would expect to find in a mammal. They are all in proportion to the size of the beast, except for the heart and lungs, which are both about a fifth larger than would be expected.

We administered a second dose of the vaccine this evening, except to Signor Martelli, whom we will continue to observe overnight.

~

2 September 1889

Signor Martelli is still symptomatic. We gave him his next dose of the vaccine anyway. The next full moon is now just a week away. Michel remains asymptomatic, though his leg is giving him pain as the bone begins to heal. The men who were scratched are healing well and are no longer on bed rest. Second daily dose of the vaccine for everyone this evening.

~

3 September 1889

Another round of vaccinations after breakfast. Signor Martelli’s swelling has subsided, but his fever remains. His friends continue to visit, though today he sent them away and retired to bed. His fever has left him lethargic. Second dose of vaccine for everyone this evening.

~

4 September 1889

Signor Martelli spent most of the night restless with his fever. By morning though, the fever had broken, though he remains tired. First doses of vaccinations were administered following breakfast. Signor Martelli received a second dose this evening, as he missed one while he had his fever.

~

5 September 1889

Second to last set of vaccinations this morning. The full moon is only a few days away. Signor Martelli has completely recovered from his fever and the swelling.

Signor Martelli’s friends visited in the afternoon and spoke with him. Afterward, they approached me and asked how I plan to handle the night of the full moon. I have seen first-hand how strong a loup-garou can be, so restraining one will not be an easy task, should the vaccine prove ineffective.

~

6 September 1889

We administered the final doses of vaccine to our patients this morning. None are currently showing symptoms, but if the lore is to be believed, the test of our endeavour will be when the full moon rises.

I spent the morning discussing the concern Signor Martelli’s friends had brought to me with Signor Martelli and Lieutenant Saint-Andre. We have rooms in the basement of the Institut that should be strong enough to act as cells. They both agree this may be a necessary precaution and are willing to spend the night under lock and key. Signor Martelli has also suggested using restraints to tie him and the others to their beds so they do not injure themselves trying to break free. Another possibility would be to administer chloroform.

I have set men to strengthen the doors of the basement rooms, so we are prepared. Beds with restraints are easy enough, as we need them here at the Institut sometimes even with more conventional patients.

~

7 September 1889

We are now just awaiting the arrival of the full moon. No one is showing symptoms.

~

8 September 1889

Signor Martelli approached me privately today. He is still concerned about the possible danger of himself or one of the others escaping if they transform. I think we have taken sufficient precautions, but he has heard from each of his companions about our adventures in les catacombes and worries the implacability of the beast will mean restraints and doors are not enough.

He has requested I obtain some more aconitum. It would be a last resort, and one I am not comfortable with, but if the alternative is one of the patients escaping, it would be the lesser of two evils.

~

9 September 1889

The full moon rises tonight. The rooms in the basement are prepared. We moved the beds with restraints down into the rooms this morning. I have mixed a tincture of aconitum as I promised Signor Martelli. His friends are planning to stay the night at the Institut to keep guard. If it appears that any of the patients are about to break free of the cells, Monsieur et Madame Butler will be ready to stop them. They will have bullets coated with the tincture, and I do not doubt their aim.

I also have chloroform ready if anyone begins showing signs of discomfort or attempting to break free. I would prefer that this is all that is necessary to stop anyone, and it will be our first resort.

This day has been laced with nervous tension. Hopefully by tomorrow all will be resolved.

~

10 September 1889

It is over. It was a tense night, but we have all emerged well. The police officers who were scratched displayed no symptoms. I suspect they were not infected at all, and the virus is only transferred through the animal’s saliva. When morning arrived, I conferred with Docteur Grancher, and we agreed to discharge them.

Signor Martelli and Lieutenant Saint-Andre did not have as easy a night. Lieutenant Saint-Andre reported a headache and confusion early in the night. Toward midnight, he began to complain of a tearing pain in his bones and shortly thereafter began convulsions. I offered him cocaine for the pain, but he refused and asked to be sedated instead. I complied and provided him with chloroform, but while it quieted him, it was not completely effective and merely rendered him groggy, rather than unconscious. Nevertheless, he made it through the night without transforming and when morning came, and the sun rose, he reported the pain subsiding and his confusion gone. He still had a headache, but I believe that was a side effect of the chloroform, and it wore off over the course of the day.

He will still need time for his leg to heal, but I believe he has successfully avoided infection.

Signor Martelli had the hardest night of all our patients. He began feeling unwell as soon as the moon began to rise; first he complained of a headache, then his speech became less lucid and he began to drool.

It quickly became apparent that he was in considerable pain, though his confusion made him unable to voice any specifics. He told me this morning that his memory of the event was primarily one of pain, radiating out from within his very bones, as if his body was trying to rearrange itself and reshape its most basic components.

Shortly into the evening he began to convulse, and we attempted to sedate him, but his thrashing, even while restrained, made it difficult to administer even a small dose.

Signor Martelli’s thrashing eventually subsided and we administered chloroform, but like with Lieutenant Saint-Andre, it had limited effect. He spent the rest of the night shivering and sweating on the bed. It finally began to lessen after the moon set, and he regained his senses fully once the sun was risen.

After the sun rose, we released him and the other patients. Once he had bathed and had some breakfast, Signor Martelli joined Docteur Grancher and myself to discuss the previous night.

Based on his knowledge of the lore surrounding loup-garou and my and Docteur Grancher’s knowledge of viruses and medicine, we are confident the danger period has passed.

Signor Martelli’s leg still requires some healing. He can walk on it with the aid of a cane, but it will take some time before the bone is fully knitted. He and his friends were planning to remain in Paris for the remainder of the Exposition already, so he should be recovered before he has to travel, but he will have to watch he does not over exert himself. I am pleased he plans to remain in Paris for some time also, as it will allow us to observe him and ensure that no symptoms appear over the next few weeks, and to see what happens at the next full moon.

~

10 October 1889

Signor Martelli spent the night at the Institut for the full moon again. He returned to the cell in case of a repeat of last month’s convulsions, but it proved unnecessary. Michel returned as well and was similarly well. He and Signor Martelli spent the night in the same cell, playing cards and talking, and both reported feeling no change or symptoms as the moon rose and for the full extent of the night.

Signor Martelli is now convinced the vaccine has been fully effective. I have cautioned him that it is possible that neither he nor Michel were infected and the vaccine was not indeed necessary, but he countered that he has never heard or read of a case where a loup-garou bit a person and they did not change.

These past two months have been a departure from my normal course of research, taking me into an area I did not previously see myself dealing with, or for that matter believing in, but the success we have had in saving Signor Martelli and Michel and the manner in which it was achieved gives me immense pleasure and great faith in the power and efficacy of the scientific method.


Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French biologist and chemist. He is best known for his invention of pasteurisation, his advancement of germ theory, and his studies in immunology. His work in immunology lead to his developing many vaccines, including ones for anthrax and rabies (and were-rabies). Prior to his death, Pasteur asked his family to never reveal his research journals to anyone. Following the death of his last male descendant, the journals have been kept under lock and key in a restricted section of the French National Library.


David Harrison is a speculative fiction and mythology writer from Wellington, New Zealand. He graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with majors in Classical Studies, Religious Studies, and Latin and now divides his free time between writing and visiting the zoo too often (feeding giraffes helps with writer’s block). He can be found on Twitter @DavidSHarrison.


Leigh’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at http://leighlegler.carbonmade.com/.


“Fiction: On a Cure for Werewolf Bites” is © 2019 David Harrison
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Leigh Legler

Follow us online:
This entry was posted in Fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.