“I’ve got bad news, Herr Planck,” said Herr Von Klück, “I just heard on the radio…Germany has declared war on France and viceversa. What shall we do?”
Planck and Von Klück were in the Hunters Klondike cabin, waiting for the others to return from the Hunt. Planck had been sleeping quietly in an old mattress when his partner Von Klück woke him up. Despite the wolves’ presence in the area, Planck slept calmly, being a seasoned veteran of the organization; Von Klück, on the other hand, wasn’t as seasoned as his partner, and did not slept at all. The radio news had disconcerted him, bringing about doubts that he hadn’t considered before.
“What do you mean, ‘what shall we do’?” asked Planck.
“Officially, the French are now our enemies,” replied Von Klück, “and sooner or later, England is going to join them. The United States is friends with England, so them eventually entering the war is not so far fetched.”
“And your point is?”
“Well, our partners here are mostly French, English, and Americans…”
“Herr Planck! We’ll be surrounded by enemies! Which takes precedence, our duty to the nation or our duty to this organization?”
“Herr Von Klück,” said Planck, “unless you want to see the world filled with vampires, duty to the organization takes precedence. And I wonder why you ask me this, you knew that in the case of wars, collaborating with your nation’s enemy to eradicate these monstrosities was a big possibility.”
“They are our allies, understood?”
A few moments passed.
“Now, what time is it?”
“0:10 hours,” said Von Klück.
Planck began to worry. “Shouldn’t everyone be here by now?”
“The Hunt began at 23:55,” said Von Klück, “and the wolves’ cries took six minutes between cycles. Meaning it should have been over some ten minutes ago.”
“I do not like this,” said Planck, “at least some of them should be here by now. Stay alert.”
A few minutes later, they heard footsteps approaching the cabin. Herr Von Klück readied his rifle, but it turned out to be Esteban and Philip. Philip had been wounded by a wolf, and was bleeding profusely. After bandaging Philip, Esteban asked for his son.
“We have no word on Ignacio nor Pierre, Herr Esteban,” said Von Klück.
Esteban sighed, “I pray to God they are fine. So far tonight, it has been a disaster. My God, we lost Leo and Joe…” his voice trailed off.
The rest kept silent. There were still four Hunters – including Ignacio and Pierre – who had not returned to the cabin, despite the Hunt lasting only six minutes maximum. A Hunt that was supposed to be easy turned out to be a disaster, and Esteban still couldn’t think of why. But it dangerously seemed like a set up; what Philip had seen in the wolf’s neck was a collar. Bulletproof collar. The bullet had momentarily shaken the wolf, but it was far from being dead at the time. That meant that the wolves were prepared for this Hunt; someone had told them. It didn’t make sense, though. Who could have told them? He had a lot of explaining to do, not only to his superiors but also to the families of Leo and Joe. His head was starting to spin…
Someone knocked on the door, making everyone jump where they were. None of them had heard anyone or anything approach. Von Klück peeked through a small window, and moments later the door opened to reveal a pale-faced Ignacio.