"Oh my gosh, I'm late," a man murmured as he walked alone through the forest. Everything was quiet except for the crackling sound of dry leaves and twigs when he stepped on them.
"I would have arrived home by now if you hadn't decided to betray me in the middle of the journey," he grumbled as he pushed his bicycle, glancing at the punctured tyre.
The path was visible because it was a full moon night. The leaves on the trees swayed, tuning with the mild breeze. The man hummed softly as he walked in peace to his home.
A faint crackling of twigs somewhere deep in the dark forest piqued his interest. He came to a standstill and looked about, but nothing caught his eye.
"I should get through the woods as soon as possible. Thank goodness the village is near," he thought to himself and continued to walk briskly.
Forest didn't have any known dangers. Although there were reptiles and other animals, no one ever claimed to have been attacked by the wild. Shepherds used to graze their cattle during the daytime and never encountered any threats residing in the forest. Nonetheless, traveling alone in the woods at night was risky.
The man was well aware of every corner of the forest as he came here every day to collect wood for the fireplace. He was relieved, knowing that it was safe here, so he walked casually, ignoring the nearing crackling sound of twigs.
Deep in the forest, a pair of ferocious red eyes trailed the man through his scent in the atmosphere. It snarled as the scent grew stronger and stronger. As the man entered the beast's field of view, it snarled even louder.
Hearing the snarl, the man stopped in his tracks and turned around, only to find a beast on two legs darting at him at breakneck speed. The beast's eyes were locked on its prey and viciousness reflected in its eyes.
Before the man could contemplate the creature in front of him, the werewolf attacked him with its curled paws. Within no time the man was shredded into pieces and the beast disappeared into the darkness of the forest.
A young man in his formals walked briskly across the corridor towards the magistrate's chamber. He wiped his forehead again and again as the sweat formed on his furrowed face.
Reeve Dederick, a novice who joined the council. He was a thin man with pale skin. His hair was dark brown and unkempt. He was currently working for the magistrate to train himself in accordance with council protocols.
He knocked on the door and dashed towards the magistrate without waiting for a response.
"What's the matter, Reeve? Why are you drenched in sweat?" The magistrate, Baron Ernald, inquired his junior with a scrunched face.
"S-sir, sir, a dead body has been reported this very morning," he stuttered and gasped for air as he came hurriedly.
The magistrate sighed in boredom as if it was no new news and deaths were common in the village. "Write down the place and start with the investigation. Find the culprit behind the murder as soon as possible," he said monotonously and concentrated back on his work.
"Sir, it's not a human who did this," Reeve said, worriedly.
"How do you know that it wasn't a human who murdered him? Did you see the body?" Magistrate questioned him as he put aside his quill to listen to his junior.
"You don't trust what villagers say. Investigate yourself and then write the report," the magistrate interrupted him in the middle.
Before Reeve could say something, he continued, "I will look into the matter when you get the reports. Now if you don't mind I have bigger fish to fry."
Reeve bowed in helplessness and marched towards the forest where the body was reported along with another teammate.
The rusty smell of blood greeted him as he approached the crime scene. The body was surrounded by a few people who had come to graze their cattle and a few who had only come to confirm the veracity of what they had heard.
"Step aside, step aside. Let us investigate the body," Vicar Folkes said as he made his way through the bunch of people.
"My goodness! What on earth is this?!" He exclaimed as soon as the body came into view.
It wasn't a body any longer. There wasn't much left to claim it as a body. The organs had been dismantled, there was blood on the ground, and the face had been ruptured. Witnessing the scene required three hearts, and anyone who sees it would never forget it.
"It's true what we heard from the villagers," Reeve murmured.
"I wonder what animal is wandering in the forest," Vicar wondered as he looked around.
"Well, I will take the samples and send the body to the laboratory, until you can investigate with the people," Vicar suggested, bending down to examine the body more closely.
He wrapped a handkerchief around his nose, unable to bear the odor, and began collecting the required samples. Meanwhile, Reeve inquired with the people on the scene.
"Who had sent out the boy to inform us?" He inquired.
"It was me," said an elderly man. "I came here to graze cattle and discovered this," he explained.
"Did you see any wild animals near the body at the time?"
"No, I was alone in the forest with my grandson, and as far as I know, nothing dangerous exists here. I'm not sure what has entered now," he responded.
"Can you identify the body?"
"No," he replied.
"Does anyone know anything about the body?" Reeve asked loudly to everyone.
Everyone tilted their heads in no. He sighed as he had already anticipated the responses. He didn't blame them because the body's face was completely destroyed.
He took out his diary to make a note of the points that needed to be entered while writing the report so that he didn't forget anything significant to mention in it. He spotted paw tracks on the ground around the body, which indicated the presence of a wild animal and quilled that as well.
The information was obtained, and the body was transferred to the laboratory in the carriage. As a result, the team marched back to the magistrate's office to provide the requested reports.