Read Emma and the Werewolves Online

Authors: Adam Rann

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Emma and the Werewolves

 

EMMA AND THE WEREWOLVES

 

by

 

Jane Austen and Adam Rann

 

Published by Coscom Entertainment at
Smashwords.com

This book is also available as a paperback at
your favorite online retailer like Amazon.com, or through your
local bookstore.

 

* * * *

 

This book is a work of
fiction. Names, characters, places and events either are products
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual places, events or persons living or dead or
suffering from lycanthropy is purely coincidental.

ISBN -
978-1-926712-10-9

Emma and the
Werewolves
is Copyright © 2009 by Jane
Austen and Adam Rann. All rights reserved, including the right to
reproduce in whole or in part in any form or medium.
Emma
by Jane Austen was
originally published in book form in 1815.

In this publication, the
original text of
Emma
has been left intact to preserve Jane Austen’s work as
intended. The only liberties taken were to accommodate formatting
for this edition and mild editing of the original text to correct
any blatant errors and the occasional adjustment to suit the
story.

Published by Coscom Entertainment

www.coscomentertainment.com

eBook Edition

Cover Art by Sean Simmans

 

* * * *

 

VOLUME I

 

* * * *

 

Prologue

 

HIS EYES SPRANG OPEN. The impact with the
ground had nearly left him unconscious. He took stock of his
situation and rolled through the mud as a massive paw-like hand
slammed into the earth where his head had been. Leaping to his
feet, he stood face to face with the monster. It towered over eight
feet tall, all muscle and fur. Razor sharp teeth filled its mouth;
the thing snarled at him. It charged him once more. Taking a deep
breath, he centered himself and waited until the last possible
moment to sidestep its attack. Its clawed fingers sliced empty air
as he turned his dodge into an attack, plunging the silver dagger
in his hand deep into the thing’s back. The monster loosed an
inhuman cry of pain and toppled into the mud. It struggled to reach
the blade buried in its flesh, but to no avail. Pulling a second
dagger from the ring of sheathes on his belt, he advanced on the
beast carefully. There was fear in the monster’s eyes. It knew it
had been beaten. The thing still had plenty of fight left in it,
though, despite the poison of the silver which now coursed through
its veins. It lashed out with one of its long arms, taking another
swing at him from where it lay.

This time he made no effort to avoid the
attack. He met the swing head on with one of his own. The blade of
his weapon sunk clean through the beast’s arm as it unleashed a
deafening howl of pain. He gave the blade a hard twist before
ripping it free. He leapt onto the wounded monster, grabbing it by
the mass of hair atop its head. He jerked its head back, exposing
the monster’s throat, and with a quick slash of his blade ended its
time on Earth. Hot blood sprayed into the night, mixing with the
brownness of the mud around them. It gushed over his hand as the
creature twitched and died beneath him. Only when he was sure it
was dead did he let go of it and back away. Slowly, its body
changed. Its long hair vanished into its skin and its massive form
returned to that of the simple farmer it had been before it had
become infected.

As he watched the transformation, he swore
to himself, “As surely as my own and my father’s name is Knightley,
I shall end the darkness and disease your kind have brought to this
place. Highbury shall be free of your evil, this I swear.”

Knightley spun, leaving the body where it
lay, and vanished at a run into the trees as the full moon looked
on from above.

 

* * * *

 

Chapter I

 

E
mma Woodhouse, handsome, clever
, and
rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to
unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly
twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex
her.

She was the youngest of the
two daughters of a most affectionate, indulgent father; and had, in
consequence of her sister’s marriage, been mistress of his house
from a very early period. Her mother had died too long ago for her
to have more than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses; and
her place had been supplied by an excellent woman as governess, who
had fallen little short of a mother in affection.

Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr.
Woodhouse’s family, less as a governess than a friend, very fond of
both daughters, but particularly of Emma. Between them it was more
the intimacy of sisters. Even before Miss Taylor had ceased to hold
the nominal office of governess, the mildness of her temper had
hardly allowed her to impose any restraint; and the shadow of
authority being now long passed away, they had been living together
as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just
what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor’s judgment, but
directed chiefly by her own.

The real evils, indeed, of Emma’s situation
were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a
disposition to think a little too well of herself; these were the
disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The
danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not
by any means rank as misfortunes with her.

Sorrow came—a gentle sorrow
and one that utterly paled to the horror which plagued the village
of Highbury—but not at all in the shape of any disagreeable
consciousness. Miss Taylor married. It was Miss Taylor’s loss which
first brought grief to Emma. It was on the day after this wedding
of her beloved friend that Emma first sat in mournful thought of
any continuance. The wedding over, and the bride-people gone, her
father and herself were left to dine together, with no prospect of
a third to cheer a long morning. Her father composed himself to nap
after breakfast, as usual, and she had then only to sit and think
of what she had lost.

The event of the day before
had every promise of happiness for her friend. Mr. Weston was a man
of unexceptionable character, easy fortune, suitable age, and
pleasant manners; and there was some satisfaction in considering
with what self-denying, generous friendship she had always wished
and promoted the match; but it was a black morning’s work for her.
The want of Miss Taylor would be felt every hour of every day. She
recalled her past kindness—the kindness, the affection of sixteen
years—how she had taught and how she had played with her from five
years old—how she had devoted all her powers to attach and amuse
her in health—and how she nursed her through the various illnesses
of childhood. A large debt of gratitude was owing here; but the
intercourse of the last seven years, the equal footing and perfect
unreserve which had soon followed Isabella’s marriage, on their
being left to each other, was yet a dearer, tenderer recollection.
She had been a friend and companion such as few possessed:
intelligent, well-informed, useful, gentle, knowing all the ways of
the family, interested in all its concerns, and peculiarly
interested in herself, in every pleasure, every scheme of hers—one
to whom she could speak every thought as it arose, and who had such
an affection for her as could never find fault.

How was she to bear the
change? It was true that her friend was going only half a mile from
them; but Emma was aware that great must be the difference between
a Mrs. Weston, only half a mile from them, and a Miss Taylor in the
house; and with all her advantages, natural and domestic, she was
now in great danger of suffering from intellectual solitude. She
dearly loved her father, but he was no companion for her. He could
not meet her in conversation, rational or playful.

The evil of the actual disparity in their
ages (and Mr. Woodhouse had not married early) was much increased
by his constitution and habits; for having been a valetudinarian
all his life, without activity of mind or body, he was a much older
man in ways than in years; and though everywhere beloved for the
friendliness of his heart and his amiable temper, his talents could
not have recommended him at any time.

Her sister, though
comparatively but little removed by matrimony, being settled in
London, only sixteen miles off, was much beyond her daily reach;
and many a long October and November evening must be struggled
through at Hartfield, before Christmas brought the next visit from
Isabella and her husband, and their little children, to fill the
house, and give her pleasant society again assuming they didn’t
decline on their promise of coming out of fear of the dark times of
the region.

Highbury, the large and
populous village, almost amounting to a town,
had become overwhelmed with fear these days.

It had all begun a few months ago. An
elderly man named Hawthrone had gone out for a walk one night and
never returned. This occurrence had caused quite the uproar,
especially when two days later his partially-devoured body had been
found near the river to the north of town. No one quite knew what
to make of it. Many supposed it was an attack by a wolf or some
sort of large cat that had brought about his end. His remains had
been buried and most everyone in Highbury, as they should have,
attended his funeral. This was only the start of the terrors that
would come, however. Not three days thereafter, a child vanished
and her body had yet to be found even now but everyone knew she was
dead. The rash of killings continued. To-day, almost a dozen of the
town’s inhabitants were simply gone. It was not something that was
spoken of openly. Every attempt at finding the animal that was most
certainly behind these ghastly deeds had failed. Emma tried not to
give such things much thought. She had plenty of her own troubles
and blessings to attend to. She rested in the knowledge that
Hartfield was safe. No wild beast had ever wandered onto it lands
before and she possessed no reason to believe this murderer of men
and children would come now. So far, all the attacks had happened
in the woods proper and she was certain they would stay there. Such
was her arrogance or her need to believe so as a form of
denial.

Highbury to which Hartfield, in spite of its
separate lawn, and shrubberies, and name, did really belong,
afforded her no equals. The Woodhouses were first in consequence
there. All looked up to them. She had many acquaintance in the
place, for her father was universally civil, but not one among them
who could be accepted in lieu of Miss Taylor for even half a day.
It was a melancholy change; and Emma could not but sigh over it,
and wish for impossible things, till her father awoke, and made it
necessary to be cheerful. His spirits required support. He was a
nervous man, easily depressed; fond of every body that he was used
to, and hating to part with them; hating change of every kind.
Matrimony, as the origin of change, was always disagreeable; and he
was by no means yet reconciled to his own daughter’s marrying, nor
could ever speak of her but with compassion, though it had been
entirely a match of affection, when he was now obliged to part with
Miss Taylor too; and from his habits of gentle selfishness, and of
being never able to suppose that other people could feel
differently from himself, he was very much disposed to think Miss
Taylor had done as sad a thing for herself as for them, and would
have been a great deal happier if she had spent all the rest of her
life at Hartfield. Emma smiled and chatted as cheerfully as she
could, to keep him from such thoughts; but when tea came, it was
impossible for him not to say exactly as he had said at dinner,


Poor Miss Taylor! I wish
she were here again. What a pity it is that Mr. Weston ever thought
of her!”


I cannot agree with you,
papa; you know I cannot. Mr. Weston is such a good-humoured,
pleasant, excellent man, that he thoroughly deserves a good wife;
and you would not have had Miss Taylor live with us for ever, and
bear all my odd humours, when she might have a house of her
own?”


A house of her own! But
where is the advantage of a house of her own? This is three times
as large. And you have never any odd humours, my dear.”


How often we shall be
going to see them, and they coming to see us! We shall be always
meeting! We must begin; we must go and pay wedding visit very
soon.”

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