Sam heard a noise. She wasn’t sure what it was, but it had woke her up. She grabbed her robe and headed for the hall. There in the hall was a man slumped over on the floor. “Oh God!” she thought, wondering which one of her guests had fallen. Then she realized as she knelt next to the man that he was naked. “Buster?” she asked.
“Help me up,” he said in a whisper. He was wiry and frail. A very old man. Sam helped him to her room and set him on the bed. Then she grabbed a cover and wrapped it around him.
“Buster, whatever made you shift back?” she asked.
“Wanted to tell you goodbye and that I love you for all you did for me,” he said.
“Oh Buster, you didn’t have to do that,” Sam said with tears beginning to run down her face.
“Seeing those two, I wanted to come back and talk. Now it’s almost too late,” he said. His voice was so soft, Sam could barely hear him.
“No, it isn’t. It’s never too late,” said Sam.
“I…” Buster started and then was wracked with a cough. It shuddered his whole body. “I want you to send my stuff to those two young wolves,” he finally got out between coughs.
“You mean Patrick and Ginny?” Sam asked.
Buster nodded. He coughed and wheezed.
“Let’s get you comfortable,” said Sam.
“Okay, never thought I’d end up in your bed,” Buster said half joking.
“Oh you!” said Sam. A smile broke thought the tears still streaming down her face. She turned because she heard a noise. There in the doorway stood one of her guests.
“Is everything okay?” asked the man.
“Yes, just an old friend not feeling well,” said Sam.
“I’ll call a doctor if you want,” the man said.
“No, no need, I’ll call Doc Rogers in a minute once I get him settled,” said Sam.
“Are you sure? It’s no problem,” he said again.
“I’m sure. I don’t want any fuss. I’ll call the doctor in a few minutes. It ain’t like he’s gonna do more than hold his hand anyway,” said Sam getting frustrated.
“Okay,” said the man and went back down the hall.
“Damn tourists,” mumbled Sam.
“Sam, my name is Brian Davy. Don’t think I ever said,” said Brian.
“You told me once, but told me to call you Buster. Never explained that,” she said. “I’m gonna call Doc and I’ll be right back.”
Sam headed down the hall to the phone. She got there just in time to see the guest hang up the phone. “Now what in the Sam Hill did you do?” she asked.
“I called the ambulance since you weren’t going to. That man could die because you didn’t do what you should have,” he said righteously.
“That man in there is old. He isn’t worried about dying. Now get out of my way so I can call Doc,” said Sam. “Oh, and pack your bags. Get the hell out of my Bed & Breakfast!” she said. Then she called Doc Rogers. After a few minutes, she headed back to the bedroom and Buster.
“That idjet called an ambulance. I called Doc and he’ll try to cancel it, but we may have a few more people than I expected,” she told Brian.
“No hospital,” he said.
“No, I understand. Won’t let them take you. Now, I’m going to get some pajama bottoms on you afore Doc gets here,” she said. She turned to a dresser and pulled out a pair of pajamas that had belonged to her husband. She’d kept them all these years and never knew why. Now she had a reason. Between the two of them, they got the pajamas on and Brian back under the covers.
Fifteen minutes later, Sam heard car doors slam and people coming into the B&B. Brian was almost asleep. She went out to meet whoever was heading her way. It was Doc Rogers and the paramedics.
“Now you young men just go back to the fire house and pester some motorist,” said Sam. “Doc can take care of Brian just fine. He don’t want to go to the hospital so you ain’t needed.”
“Oh come on Sam. You know the rules. We have to hear it from the patient that he doesn’t want help,” said Matt. His buddy Dave just nodded.
“I tried the same thing Sam. Didn’t work for me either. So let’s go see Brian,” said Doc.
“Fine. Just don’t startle him none. He’s asleep,” said Sam.
The four of them walked down the hall to Sam’s room. The two paramedics walked straight over to the bed and without thinking, started checking Brian out.
“Hey! I said leave him alone!” cried Sam. “He’s asleep!”
“Sam, we gotta do our job,” said Dave. He said it loud enough, that it startled Brian.
“Who? Wha!” Brian called.
“Sorry Brian, these idjets can’t listen. I said you were sleeping, and that you didn’t want to go to the hospital, but they can’t listen,” said Sam.
“Mr… um…. Brian, now we are hear to help you. We’ll take you to the hospital and get you fixed right up,” said Matt who was trying to take Brian’s blood pressure.
“Get that thing offa me! I am not going to the hospital. I want to stay here at Sam’s. If I die, so be it, but get away from me!” shouted Brian as he ripped off the pressure cuff and threw it in Dave’s face.
“I told you to leave him alone,” said Doc and Sam almost at the same time.
Dave turned to Sam and started pushing her out of the door. “Sam, I think you aren’t the best person to have around at the moment and you are upsetting the old man,” he said as he tried to shove her out the door.
There was a growling noise and then a high pitched girly scream behind Dave. Dave turned to see the old man seemingly start to shift into a wolf and Matt pass out on the floor. The ‘wolfman’ was heading straight towards Dave. Dave let go of Sam, and ran for the door screaming at the top of his lungs.
Doc and Sam ran towards Buster/Brian and caught him as he fell off the bed.
“Oh Brian,” cried Sam. She and Doc put him back on the bed. Brian was half shifted and seemed even frailer than he had moments ago. Doc checked his pulse and when Sam looked up at him, he just shook his head slowly. The Doc dragged Matt out of the room and threw all of the paramedic gear out in the hall. He shut the door and locked it.
“I love you Sam. You remind me of my daughter,” gasped Brian. He coughed and wheezed.
“Oh Brian,” was all Sam could say as the tears rolled own her face. She curled up on the bed beside him and held him. Brian coughed again and shuddered as it subsided. Sam just rocked him slowly back and forth. His breathing became shallower and shallower until it was just a rattle in the back of his throat.
“Doc? I think he’s gone,” said Sam.
Doc came over and checked Brian’s pulse. Nothing. He checked again. Nothing. “He’s gone,” said Doc. “I’ll make out the death certificate.”
Sam still held Brian in her arms. “What are we going to do with them? And how are we going to deal with Betty Jane, the coroner?” she asked.
“I’ll deal with Betty Jane. As for them, they saw and old hairy man. That’s it. Now cover him up, because I think we are going to have company. I hear sirens,” said Doc.
Sam nodded. She kissed Brian on the forehead and covered his ears with his hair the best she could. Then she pulled the sheet up over his face. “Goodbye Brian,” she thought to herself.
No sooner did they get things set when someone hammered on the door. Sam walked over and unlocked it. At the door was Matt, Dave, the guest who started all the trouble, and Sheriff Dobbs.
“Um, Sam, um… These men say you won’t let them in to treat a patient. And, they are saying he’s some sort of wolfman. Do you have any idea what the hell their talking about?” asked Sheriff Dobbs.
“Yes, I do. One of my oldest friends fell ill, and this nosy bastard came in just as I was trying to get him to bed. He called the paramedics and I called Doc Rogers here. He’s Brian’s doctor. Now Brian didn’t want to go to the hospital to die, and told these two yahoos to leave him alone. When they didn’t leave, he got upset. He got more upset when they tried to push me out of my own room. They panicked and made one hell of a scene.
“Okay, and what about this old man Brian being a wolfman?” asked the Sheriff.
“Well, Brian is a furry kinda guy. A lot of those Canadians are that way. He growled at them and then coughed and fell out of bed. So if that makes them think he’s a wolfman, it ain’t my fault,” said Sam.
“And how is Brian doing?” the Sheriff asked Doc.
“He died about fifteen minutes ago. Might have made it long enough to call his family if these two shits hadn’t harassed him,” said Doc. He scowled at the two paramedics.
“Hey man, we were just doing our job,” said Dave.
“No, you were interfering with a man’s right to die peacefully,” said Sam. Now get out of my place!”
The two paramedics grabbed the last of their gear and headed for the door. Matt turned around. “What about Betty Jane?” he asked.
“I’ve already called her. She’ll bring the morgue wagon and we’ll deal with him,” said Doc.
Matt nodded and walked out.
“I still need to see the body,” said the Sheriff.
“Come on in,” said Sam. She wasn’t happy and felt no problem in letting everyone know it.
Sheriff Dobbs walked over to the bed. He pulled down just enough of the sheet to see Brian’s face and then let the sheet fall. “Sure hairy enough. Musta been a shave twice a day kinda guy,” was all he said. He tipped his hat to Sam and Doc. “My condolences.”
The Sheriff left the room and soon it was just Sam and Doc. Sam looked around. “How long till Betty Jane gets here?” she asked.
Probably two hours. She’s gotta put on that fright face she calls makeup and then wake up Teddy to drive the hearse. Why?” he asked.
“I’ve got a phone call to make,” said Sam.
“Can’t it wait? It’s 3am,” said Doc.
“No, not with those two idjets spreading rumors and such. Plus, maybe they know a place to take Brian so there aren’t no photos or autopsies,” said Sam.
“Then what you waiting for?” asked Doc.
Sam went and got the phone and brought it back to her room. She dialed Ginny and Patrick’s number.
Patrick heard the phone and tried to ignore it. Ginny woke up and got the phone. “Better be important if you’re calling at 3:05am!” she thought. “Hello? Oh Sam!” she said.
Patrick woke and sat straight up when she heard Ginny say Sam. He listened as Ginny talked. He nodded and went to get his own cell phone. He took it out to the living room and called Dr. Jeff. He explained what he’d heard from Ginny and then rang off. When he got to the bedroom, he found Ginny crying. Patrick took her in his arms and just held her. He knew he’d get the whole story when she stopped crying.
Dr. Jeff called a friend of his who ran a family mortuary less than ten miles from the B&B. He arranged for them to pick up Brian from the B&B. Then he called Doc Rogers and let them know what was going on. Then he went back to sleep.
“So, she got him back in bed, and he told her that he loved her. That she reminded him of his daughter. Then he died,” said Ginny still crying. By this time, Patrick, George, Angie and Ginny were sitting in the kitchen. “Oh, and he said we were to have all of his stuff.”
Angie wrapped her arms around Ginny and the two of them cried. Patrick motioned to George. The two men walked over to the far side of the kitchen.
“Are you thinking there is going to be trouble?” asked George.
“Depends if those two paramedics decide to make trouble,” said Patrick. “We just need to be ready. It’s happened before, and with all the books out about shifters and vampires, who knows what will happen.”
“Yeah. My Gran said there was a horrid time when she was a child. Whole families moved in the middle of the night just so that people would leave them alone,” said George.
“Well, I just hope no one gets any pictures,” said Patrick. “From what Ginny said, he partially shifted to protect Sam.”
“Shit,” was all that George said.
Doc found Sam in the kitchen of the B&B. She had locked the room where Brian was and had come to make coffee. “Sam, Dr. Jeff sent a funeral home that deals with good people,” he said not wanting to be overheard saying the word ‘shifter’ as the paramedics were running their mouths about wolfmen and werewolves.
“When will they be here? Betty Jane is due any time.
“They called and said they’d be here in about five minutes,” said Doc.
“Good. Patrick and Ginny will be up in the morning. Said they were coming up with friends,” said Sam.
“Okay. Here’s hoping that Matt and Dave don’t turn this into a circus,” said Doc.
“They better not. Else, I’ll let Patrick eat them,” said Sam.
Doc nodded in agreement.
“Sam!” called Betty Jane. She was looking around the lobby and didn’t see anyone. “Sam?”
“Back here dear!” called Sam. She had just taken the coffee cups back to the kitchen. She walked up to Betty Jane and then they headed to Sam’s bedroom.
Doc was sitting in front of the bedroom door. The two men, Donald and James, from the funeral home were there too.
“Howdy Doc,” said Betty Jane. She nodded towards the two morticians. “Shall we get this show on the road?”
Doc stood up and unlocked the door. They all walked into the room and Betty Jane did what was required under the law. “What time did he pass?” she asked.
“About 3am,” said Sam.
“Okay,” she said and walked over to the table to fill out the death certificate. “I take it you’ll hold on to this?” she asked Sam.
“Yeah, at least until we go through his papers and see if there is any next of kin,” said Sam. “You two ready to take care of him?” she asked the morticians.
“Yes ma’am,” said Donald, the taller of the two.
“Then get going. It’s been a long night for all of us,” said Betty Jane. “I’ll send Steve over to steam clean the mattress if you want or haul it off.”
“Thanks Betty Jane. I’ll walk you to the door,” said Sam.
“Good. You can tell me why those two idiots were talking about werewolves,” said Betty Jane as they walked towards the front door.
“You have as good an idea as I do. Just ’cause some old man is a little furry and they startle him awake doesn’t mean he’s unnatural. I think they’re just pissed that I didn’t let them haul the poor old guy off to the hospital to be kept alive and run up bills no one can or will pay,” said Sam.
“Agreed. Some people should just be allowed to die. That man musta been at least 100,” said Betty Jane.
“At least that. He’s got pictures of him in a WWI outfit in his room,” said Sam.
“Oh my. Hope you find some relatives to give that stuff to,” said Betty Jane.
“That’s what I’m going to do later today. After everyone’s gone, I’m taking a nap!” said Sam.
“Don’t blame you. If I hear those two idiots running their mouths, I’ll smack ’em for you,” said Betty Jane. “Bye!”
“Bye dear,” said Sam as she closed the door. She wrote a note and stuck it on the bulletin board stating that the kitchen was available for whoever wanted to cook. Then she headed back to her room.
Donald and James had just left her room as she came around the corner. Donald continued down the hall with the gurney. James came to talk to Sam.
“We’ll cremate him and have his ashes ready for pick up in a day or so. I’ll call you,” he said.
“Thanks James. Was there much… um… mess?” Sam asked.
“No, I don’t think the poor old man had eaten much in the last day or so. Steam cleaning will be real easy. Plus, we got here quickly. If you have any questions, just give me a call,” James said and handed her a card.
Sam thanked him and went into where Doc sat in her room. He was holding the death certificate and starring off into space.
“Wool gathering?” Sam asked.
“Yeah. Too damn early to be up,” he said. “I’m going home to take a nap. I suggest you do the same.”
“I am. Going up to #5 and locking the door. I only have three guests and left them a note to fend for themselves for breakfast,” said Sam.
“Good. See you later,” said Doc and he left the room with her.
Sam locked the door and headed up to room #5.