“Don’t worry, sir,” Tabitha told the hotel clerk as she took the room key. “We’ll be both thorough and discrete in our investigation.”
The hotel clerk nodded. “I’m sure you will.”
Tabitha and Dirk ascended the steps and found the room in question. The sound of a blaring television set could be heard as they approached. Tabitha placed her ear against the door and listened. She could hear nothing other than the sounds from the television. She knocked on the door and called, “Pardon me, but we’ve received reports of a disturbance coming from this room. If you’d speak with us and give us a chance to clear this matter up, we’d be grateful.”
She waited half a minute, but there was no response. She knocked louder and called, “Did you hear me? I apologize for the inconvenience, but we need your help to investigate this report.”
She pressed her ear to the door again. After waiting for thirty or forty seconds, she turned to Dirk and nodded. Dirk drew a weapon as Tabitha unlocked the door. After drawing a weapon herself, Tabitha cautiously began to push open the door. After peering inside, she opened the door the rest of the way and stepped inside. Dirk followed to cover her.
The curtains were drawn, but there was enough sunlight to provide some illumination for the suite. There were pieces of luggage sitting neatly near the closet, but there were also articles of clothing strewn haphazardly on the floor. Three glasses of liquor sat on a table, but two of them appeared to have been mostly untouched. There were two beds in the room. Upon each bed lay a man, clad only in underwear and a blindfold, with his hands and feet bound to the bedposts. The two men lay still, seemingly unaware of Tabitha and Dirk’s presence.
Tabitha and Dirk had seen it before. Visiting businessmen would decide to pick up a “friend” for the night, only to be bound as part of a supposed sex game, or else slipped drugged food or drinks, and robbed. Tabitha turned off the television and watched the two in case this was some sort of set-up. Dirk reached into the back pocket of one of the pairs of pants that had been strewn aside. He pulled out a wallet, opened it, and inspected the contents. He reported, with some surprise, “This is still full. There’s nearly three hundred dollars in here.”
“Really?” replied Tabitha. “What about the other one?”
Dirk quickly checked. “Same thing. So, it looks like robbery is out. You think this was some kind of revenge?”
“Maybe. It’s not as common as robbery, but it wouldn’t be the first time.” She watched the men in thought for several seconds. “I think they’ve been drugged. Let’s shed some light on the subject and see what we can find here.”
She went to the curtains and pulled them open, causing sunlight to flood into the room. She turned and looked at the beds. “Well, what in the…”
Now that they were illuminated by the sunlight, wounds could be seen clearly on the bodies of the two men. The wounds were identical. Their wrists and ankles were chafed and red-violet, indicating that the men had struggled violently in a futile attempt to escape their bonds. There were bruises on both sides of their collarbones – a large, purple, nearly peanut-shaped bruise just below the collarbone and a smaller, darker, circular bruise closer to the sternum. Based on their pattern, Tabitha realized that someone had grabbed the men by their shoulders and squeezed tightly. Though she couldn’t know for sure without looking, she imagined that the backs of the shoulders had bruising from fingers grabbing tightly. The wounds that were really alarming, however, were the bite marks on the necks of the men. She had seen bite marks before, but these were different. Two rows of deep and jagged puncture marks lined both sides of the neck. Dried red rivulets showed evidence of blood having flowed from the wounds. Dirk leaned over for a closer look and then said aloud what Tabitha was thinking. “My gosh, that looks like a dog bite!”
Tabitha shuddered and observed the overall condition of the man closest to her. His breathing was shallow and his skin was pasty. Speaking from her experience with medical emergencies, she speculated out loud, “I don’t think these guys were drugged after all. I think they’re in shock from whatever happened here.”
“I think you’re right.”
Tabitha paused. She wanted to get a pulse, but the wrists were bound and the necks were wounded and streaked with dried blood. Deciding on the lesser of two evils, she told Dirk, “Let’s get these bonds off them. I want to check their pulses before calling the ambulance.”
Dirk nodded. The two prepared to cut the bonds off the captives. Tabitha carefully grabbed the man closest to her by his left wrist. In an instant he let out a terrified scream. As he began to toss and turn in a panic, the second began to cry out and thrash out as well.
“Calm down!” Tabitha told them. “We’re here to help!”
“Don’t worry! You’re safe now! Let us help you!” added Dirk.
Something happened to the frightened duo upon hearing Dirk’s voice, a sudden realization that caused their fear to ease ever-so-slightly. They gradually began to respond to Tabitha and Dirk’s repeated reassurances and calls for calm. Eventually they eased, and as their bonds were removed they lay still as if exhausted. Upon having their blindfolds removed they looked at their rescuers. Though fear still shone in their eyes, they began to look relieved. They allowed Tabitha and Dirk to check their wrist pulses without a struggle.
“I’m going to call an ambulance,” Tabitha told them. “We have top-notch medical care in this city. I can speak for the care provided personally. We also have top-notch counselors who have dealt with a wide variety of assault victims and others who’ve experienced traumas.”
She paused for a moment, then added, “It looked like you started to calm down after hearing my partner speak. Your attacker was a woman?”
The men shuddered and held their heads. Tabitha gently continued, “There’s no need to be embarrassed. Obviously you were tricked into being bound, so there’s no shame in being overpowered. From the looks of it, whoever did this to you was a monster.”
One of the men drew a breath. “It was.” His energy fading again, he wearily sighed, “White… Lady…” before he passed out again.
Late that afternoon Tabitha and Dirk met with the police detective who was investigating the case. He seemed somewhat unnerved and confused, but he gathered himself as he began his report. “The two victims show no signs of sexual trauma, and aside from some deep scratch marks there don’t appear to be any wounds other than the ones you already noted. However, there is something unusual. The attack happened late last night, but the men are suffering from exhaustion.”
“‘Exhaustion’?” repeated Tabitha.
“Yes. It’s like…” He took an odd pause before finishing. “It’s like the energy was sucked right out of them.”
Tabitha and Dirk stared in apprehension, taking in not only the detective’s words, but also the manner in which he said them. The detective took another pause before continuing. “The victims reported that they met with an Asian woman at a club close to the hotel. One thing led to another and they wound up inviting the woman to their hotel room. She wore a white dress, and after she entered the hotel room she donned a white mask. Apparently ‘White Lady’ is an alias used by their attacker, a reference to the dress and mask. We’re going to check with police from neighboring districts and see if they are familiar with anyone operating under that name. The two men disrobed and allowed themselves to be bound to the bed. When ‘White Lady’ went to blindfold the first victim, the second victim… saw something.”
Somewhat reluctantly, he handed a piece of paper to Tabitha. The paper bore three illustrations. The first was of an attractive young Asian woman wearing a dress. The second depicted the same woman wearing a white mask with a design resembling an animal’s face. The third drawing, however, was shocking. The figure depicted was as tall as a human, but had a fox-like body with pointed ears, a tapering snout, and nine bushy tails. It stood on two legs, which bent backward. Each of its fingers and toes were clawed. It wore the same dress, but its mask was different. It now had demonic-looking eyes and a mouth consisting of a wide grin filled with sharp teeth.
As Tabitha and Dirk looked, their eyes grew big as the realization of what they were looking at hit them. “What is…You’re telling us that this sketch is from the descriptions the victim gave?!” asked Tabitha.
“Yes.” He cleared his throat. “The witness says he saw the woman transform into this monster before she went over to blindfold and attack him. After she was finished with him, she started on his buddy.”
During the pause that followed, Tabitha thought about the terror that the two victims must have experienced. The detective offered, “We’re still waiting on the toxicology report. It’s possible that they were slipped something and the witness hallucinated.”
Tabitha slowly shook her head while unthinkingly rubbing her own throat. “It would be nice to think so, but hallucinations don’t leave bite marks on necks.”
There was a pause as the trio tried to absorb the horrible situation and figure out where to begin in solving this case. There was a monster on the loose, a monster which could apparently change into human form. This meant that the description of the form she had used in luring the two men would probably be little help, and she could strike anywhere at any time.
I was going to post a picture of White Lady in her fox form (her true form), but instead I’ll let you artists out there submit your own renditions. My drawing of White Lady disguised as a human stays where it is, but feel free to post your drawings of White Lady, in human form or fox form, here.
Written by Raidra