Aconitum JP 30
M. Howalt
(9 reviews)
Complete as of June 2015. As if being a certified werewolf hunter isn’t enough of a moral morass ... Show More
Genres:
Cross-Genre, Fantasy, Literary, Mystery, Paranormal
Tags:
werewolves, werewolf hunter, supernatural, aconitum, wolf's bane, hunter, gunslinger, literary supernatural fiction

Chapter 1

The air of the small town was thick with tension. Hector felt it the moment he passed the first few houses. It was not just a matter of dead cattle, the letter had said. There had been an attack on a young man and Hector made his way to see him right away. It was the clergyman who took him there and no doubt the clergyman who had suggested finding a hunter instead of carrying out an execution right away. They had locked up the victim in the cellar of his own home. The children had been removed from the house and were being cared for by nervous neighbours, and the wife was squeezing a crucifix in her hands while Hector was talking to her.

“Are you going to kill him?” asked the wife the moment he approached her on the porch in front of her family’s wooden house. She looked Hector straight in the eyes, bracing herself for the answer.

He shook his head. “Not if I have a choice. If he has not been bitten, there is no danger.”

“But if he has,” said the wife, still holding his gaze, “then you must do it. He is a good man. He would rather die than become one of them.”

Hector took off his weather-beaten hat and put it on the banister of the porch. The air was stale in the summer heat, but now was not the time to wash off the sweat and the dust from the road. “I understand. Who examined him?”

The clergyman cleared his throat. “I did,” he said. “But …”

“Silver?”

“He reacted violently, but I don’t know if … It did not look like bite wounds, but …”

“I see.” None of them were experts. None of them were sure what to look for, and they were too scared to look properly. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Thank you,” said the clergyman and painted a cross in the air between them with two shaky fingers. “God bless you.”

The wife motioned for him to follow and descended the stairs to the porch. There was a narrow, unmarked door next to it. She stopped for a moment and took hold of Hector’s arm. “Hunter. Promise me that you will do what you have to,” she said, unnecessarily.

“Of course.”

“And … Tell Mattias that I love him.”

“I will.”

She took an oil lamp off its hook by the closed door and handed it to Hector. Then she put the key in the lock. Hector stepped into the darkness with the lamp in front of him in one hand. In the other hand, he had his trusty revolver. It was loaded with silver bullets, naturally, but he did not expect to have to use it. If the man had not been bitten, everything was fine. If he had been, Hector would make a proposition. It was that simple.

The door shut behind him. The stairs creaked with every step he took. He was met by the smell of dried meat, herbs, blood, urine and infection. The light reached a crouched figure behind rows of ham hanging from the ceiling.

“Mattias?”

“Oh god. Oh god, you have come to kill me!” whimpered the figure.

“My name is Hector,” he continued. “I am a hunter. You know what my prey is. Are you one of them?”

An almost unintelligible stream of words followed. The victim was probably as uncertain as the people waiting upstairs.

“I am here to help you. If you attack me, it won’t matter if you have been infected or not. I will put a bullet through your head,” Hector explained. “But if you do as I ask, I won’t hurt you. Come here.”

The young man struggled to his feet and staggered towards Hector. His clothes were torn and bloody and his face a pallid mask of fear.

“As you probably know, werewolves are allergic to silver,” Hector explained calmly while he put down the lamp and the revolver. He straightened his back again and looked into the eyes of the young man. “So let us see what you make of this …” He drew his hunting knife.

Whatever colour was left in Mattias’ face drained. His eyes darted from Hector to the shiny blade. It looked as if he wanted to say something or scream, but not a sound reached his lips. He did not even breathe. Hector reached out just in time to grab his arm firmly before the young man collapsed. He made certain that the impact with the floor was not too hard and then let go, sheathed the knife again and knelt next to the poor man. “Mattias.”

The young man quickly regained consciousness, but he was dazed enough not to be frantic anymore. That was something at least.

“My knife is not made of silver. You panicked. How long have you been down here?”

The man slowly turned his head from side to side. “I … I don’t know. Maybe two days.”

“Alone?”

“Yes.” His eyes darted upwards, and Hector followed his glance. Pieces had been torn off one of the chunks of ham. Would his wife had dared to feed him if he had not been fortunate enough to be surrounded by something edible?

The hunter grunted impatiently. It wasn’t strange that the young man was besides himself. The fear of transforming must have been choking him and if he had not been properly treated by a physician, he must be in pain. “Please tell me what happened. Calmly now.”

Mattias explained, stuttering and stammering, that he had been on his way home on his horse one night when something had followed him in the darkness. He had spurred on the horse and galloped towards the town as quickly as he could. But the pursuer had caught up with him and jumped onto the horse. It had puts its claws in his back, and the horse had reared in fear. The creature had been tossed off and somehow Mattias had made it home.

“And the horse?” asked Hector.

“It must have been put down.” The young man shook his head again. “It was in a bad shape.”

“Could it have been an ordinary predator? A bear?”

The young man shook his head once more.

“Are you certain that you were not bitten?”

“Yes … Almost.”

Hector nodded. “Good. Wait here. And undress while I’m gone. I want to examine your injuries.” He stood up and ascended the staircase while he removed the bullets from his revolver. He would not need them.

“I need a bowl of clean water and a washcloth,” Hector told the clergyman and the wife who were all but pacing back and forth outside the door to the cellar. “And have you no doctor in this town?”

The clergyman cleared his throat. “Yes, but we could not risk her getting infected as well.”

Hector managed to keep himself from rolling his eyes. The headquarters in Frankfurt did not have the means to send a doctor along for ordinary travels, so he had a certain kind of expertise at this point. “Get her. She might as well learn what to look for.” He sent the wife a measured smile. “There is hope for your husband. Water?”

Hector watched them go and leaned back against the warm brickwork of the house. The attack had not taken place during full moon. That was good news. It meant that he was looking for an animal, and that was always easier.

It was not long before the doctor arrived. She had brought the right equipment and seemed to be of the kind of person who could face anything as long as she was in the heat of the moment.

“Hold the lamp please,” said Hector when they went into the cellar together. He put a hand on Mattias’ shoulder as the young man sat down on the floor with his legs crossed. “This will probably hurt,” he continued and knelt. He soaked the washcloth and ran it over Mattias’ back. “Well, then. Come closer, doctor. What do you see? Claws or teeth?”

The doctor squinted and leaned a little closer. “Claws from a large animal.” She pointed at the long gashes on the young man’s back. “Four claws here, and one almost like … a thumb. Here.”

Hector nearly smiled. Not bad. “Yes. That is correct. And now that we have washed his back, we can see that there are no more wounds here. Yes?”

“Yes. I agree.”

“Can you stand up, Mattias? We need to see the rest of you.”

They examined him together, identified bruises and old wounds that had healed long ago. “It is the saliva of werewolves that carry the infection into the bloodstream,” explained the hunter. It was basic information, but who knew what superstitions ran wild in a small, rural town like this. “And we have not found any bite marks. So he is well. Or as well as one can be after a predator attack of any kind. You can take care of him while I get his wife.”

A few moments later, after the reunion of husband and wife, Hector approached the clergyman on the porch. “He was not infected.”

The clergyman sighed, relieved. “Thank you, hunter.”

“It is a little early to thank me yet,” Hector replied. “There is still a werewolf somewhere close.”

“But you will help us with that too, won’t you?”

“Yes.” Hector rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ll go out after sunset. But first I’ll eat and get ready.”

“Your horse is being cared for, and your bags have been brought to the inn,” said the clergyman.

“Thank you.” Not all of them. He never let anyone take the most important things. He kept his weapons and the medicine with him at all times.

It was not a long walk to the inn, a two storey building with low, wooden ceilings. The ground floor was a tavern and a sweet smell of food and beer wafted through the room. A number of curious and slightly anxious glances followed Hector when he sat down on a bench as far in the back of the room as he could without appearing suspicious. A couple of men looked like they had been sitting there all day and not been stingy with the beer expenses. One person in the corner seemed to be a fellow traveller. He was bent over a map that he studied while he picked at some kind of porridge with a spoon. And the last two people in the room must have wandered straight in from tending to the fields surrounding the town. They did a poor job of hiding their glances towards Hector’s rifle.

The reactions to a hunter in small towns like this were always a little strained. In some places, people even seemed scared as if he would attract more werewolves than he would kill, or as if he would accuse innocent people of being infected and execute them on the spot. But in most places he was met with reactions such as these. People praised his work and thought that he could merrily saunter from chatting at the dinner table to slinging his guns at a wolf without any transition. They were scared, had questions, wanted safety. But Hector was not here to pat their heads and tell them that the big, bad wolf would go away soon. He was here to do his job, and his job demanded concentration.

“Hunter!”

Hector looked up from his meal. “Yes?” One of the farmers had gathered her nerve to speak to him.

“Is it true that Mattias Freihausen was bitten by a werewolf?”

Hector tore a piece of bread off the loaf on the plate and weighed it in his hand. “No. Attacked, yes. But bitten, no. He will be fine.”

“So he isn’t …”

“No.”

The farmers exchanged relieved looks. “What about the wolf, then?”

Hector put the bread into his mouth and chewed carefully before he answered. “I take care of it tonight.”

The two farmers lifted their mugs. “Cheers to that! Have a good hunt!”

“Thank you.” Hector raised his mug too and drank. The two drunkards joined in on the toast. The traveller looked a bit confused and then lifted his mug. He might not even speak German. In theory, any of these people could be a werewolf. But none of them had attacked Mattias, for it was not full moon yet, and no one turned back and forth like that. There was a werewolf somewhere outside the town, and Hector would find it.
Log in to add a comment or review for this chapter Chapter updated on: 1/8/2015 11:38:33 AM
  • Yashita Ghazi commented on :
    5/31/2017 3:16:49 PM
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  • annah brown commented on :
    4/1/2016 12:22:24 AM
    Hello good day, i will like to meet you in person, am miss Anna, am from France and am leaving in London, please contact me on my email id at (annh1brown@hotmail.com), ... Show More
  • Angi Shearstone commented on :
    10/26/2015 1:27:40 AM
    Werewolves and werewolf hunters, I'm a fan. I've got vampires and vampire hunters that set up camp in my imagination. Looking forward to seeing how your story develops.
    • M. Howalt Hey, thanks a lot for checking out Aconitum! I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the first chapter. :) I've got some vampires around too, but they belong to a very different story which is not (yet?) on JukePop.
      11/4/2015 1:23:25 PM
    • Angi Shearstone I hope you get to post that someday! How did you decide what to post here?
      11/4/2015 3:50:52 PM
    • M. Howalt I may do that someday. :) Initially, I looked at the stories I had a semi-complete first or second draft of that I could work from and decided that Aconitum was most suitable to begin with because it's independent from other stories I've written and because I was curious to see what potential readers would make of the narrative style. I think in a way it was the story I felt most satisfied with at the time and the one I wanted to get feedback for most. I was a little concerned if the structure would work for serialisation (versus a regular book), but it seems to have worked. :)
      11/23/2015 9:18:45 AM
    • Angi Shearstone Indeed! It works so far as I've read. And I'm about to read more. The past few weeks have been killer! I'm dying to catch up on my favorites here.
      12/14/2015 2:12:59 AM
  • David Lerner commented on :
    10/8/2015 4:16:21 PM
    I read through your first chapter; it's quite the gem. Reads well enough to suck you right in, reveals Hector as a calm, take-charge kind of guy (which is a good person ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Hi David! Thanks a lot for giving Aconitum a shot. :) I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the first chapter. It sounds like Hector is coming across like I was hoping. I hope you'll enjoy the next chapters too. :)
      10/29/2015 12:32:51 PM
  • Cameron Floyd commented on :
    9/19/2015 3:05:58 PM
    What a wonderful introduction. I am not against it but I have not read much werewolf related fiction so I am not an expert on any tropes or anything but I do like how ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Hi Cameron! It's great to see you here too. Thank you for giving Aconitum a shot! :) I'm happy that the beginning drew you in, thank you! :D And it's not necessary to have read any werewolf fiction beforehand. I like to think of this more as fiction that just happens to have werewolves anyway. ;)
      10/11/2015 8:41:39 AM
  • Nic Eaton commented on :
    9/23/2015 11:47:36 AM
    I enjoyed this a lot! I was skeptical, as werewolf fiction can get kind of hokey, but this was a great introduction! Looking forward to reading more.
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for giving Aconitum a shot! :) I'm happy to hear that it worked for you. And I'm always thrilled when my take on supernatural elements (or, in this care, werewolves) manage to draw in a new reader. :)
      10/9/2015 9:59:12 AM
  • TP Keating commented on :
    7/31/2015 10:50:21 AM
    Hi M. Howalt, Loved this chapter from the start, all the way through and right down to the last line, which is a neat way to pique our interest for chapter 2. Nicely ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thanks a lot! I'm excited to hear that it got you hooked! :)
      8/1/2015 3:21:51 PM
  • David Khalaf commented on :
    7/18/2015 5:20:15 AM
    Have been meaning to get to this story and am glad I did. Great action and tension right out of the gate. Good depiction of character through thoughts and dialogue.
    • M. Howalt Thanks for checking out Aconitum! I'm super glad to hear that you enjoyed the beginning. :)
      7/18/2015 12:36:03 PM
  • Will Arbaugh commented on :
    7/4/2015 6:03:06 AM
    You had me at "It was not just a matter of dead cattle..." :) I haven't been that intrigued so early in a story for quite some time. :)
    • M. Howalt I'm really happy to hear that! Thank you for giving Aconitum a chance and for leaving a comment. :) I hope you'll enjoy where it's going.
      7/4/2015 11:28:39 AM
  • D # commented on :
    6/25/2015 2:23:44 PM
    I happened to notice on some thread that you just finished Aconitum. Congratulations! I've had it on my shelf, but I'll have to read it now. I remember adding it after I ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thanks a lot, David! :D Haha, I think that's an excellent reason to read a book. I've just started a new story and I see now that it was a mistake to set it in a fantasy world where France doesn't exist. ;) I just bookmarked your new serial, by the way. Looking forward to checking it out. :)
      6/26/2015 7:59:35 AM
    • D # So, I like the first scene here. And I like Hector. He really gives the impression that he knows what he's doing, and that's a good quality in a werewolf hunter. Werewolf hunting is not unlike brain surgery in that respect. Great work establishing the mood.
      7/2/2015 8:15:39 PM
    • M. Howalt Thanks a lot! It's great to hear that you enjoyed the beginning. He definitely knows what he's doing. :)
      7/3/2015 9:11:04 AM
  • Richard Allen commented on :
    6/20/2015 6:05:10 AM
    My kind of book! Digging it so far! Nice work and Hector is awesome character!
    • M. Howalt Thanks a lot, Richard! I'm happy to hear that it caught your interest and that you like Hector. He does carry a lot of the narrative. I hope you'll continue to enjoy the story! :)
      6/20/2015 11:50:18 AM
  • Trey Lyncher commented on :
    6/18/2015 7:46:34 AM
    This Hector sounds like a cool kinda guy I can really relate.
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for giving his story a shot! I appreciate it a lot. :) And I hope you'll like where it's going.
      6/18/2015 9:18:25 AM
  • Eliza Knightly commented on :
    5/30/2015 2:21:01 PM
    You have great, short dialogue here. It keeps the story moving quickly. Nice writing!
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for checking out Aconitum! :) I'm happy to hear that the dialogue works for you!
      5/31/2015 8:37:32 AM
  • Robert Winter commented on :
    4/12/2015 6:18:25 PM
    I'm a fan of this sort of theme, and you write it well. I thought it was going to be generic, but I was pleasantly surprised by your writing and the feelings and images ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Hi, Robert, thanks a lot for checking out my book! :) I'm happy to hear that you liked the first chapter and hope you'll enjoy what's in store for Hector. I'm glad it doesn't come across as generic; I'm always trying to portray the characters as believable/human and explore their mentality. :)
      4/13/2015 10:32:58 AM
  • M. Calventas commented on :
    3/14/2015 3:44:11 AM
    You set the tone of the story beautifully in this first page. Is it weird (not to mention counterintuitive) that in my head Hector looks like Wolverine?
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much, fellow M.! :) I'm happy you decided to give my serial a shot. It's pretty darn amazing that you see him like that, actually. You're the first to say it, but I've personally always imagined that Hugh Jackman would do a brilliant job of playing Hector in a film version.
      3/14/2015 12:47:03 PM
    • M. Calventas lol yeah, Hector strikes me as someone who would be 6 feet worth of scruffy hotness!
      3/14/2015 11:35:22 PM
  • Cherry Algrave commented on :
    3/9/2015 10:45:07 AM
    Hector is the strong silent type I like that! So hooked! I haven't read anything where werewolves are common knowledge this is going to be fun!
    • Cherry Algrave I have read through quite alot but I felt bad for just rushing through and not commenting - I wanted to let you know your work was good and I loved it!
      3/9/2015 10:50:38 AM
    • M. Howalt Hi! Thank you for checking out my serial. :) I'm happy to hear you like it. I'm glad Hector works for you; he carries a lot of the narrative. Thank you for commenting, too. You don't need to, of course, but I do love hearing from readers. It's awesome to hear what you think. :)
      3/9/2015 12:05:45 PM
  • Emily Llyod commented on :
    2/28/2015 10:43:28 PM
    I'm not a fan of werwolves but for this I'll make an exception. Proper brilliant writing!
    • Ryan Watt It really is worth it. She has won over a ton of non-werewolf fans.
      2/28/2015 11:02:29 PM
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much, Emily! I'm happy to hear that. I like to think that you don't have to be a great fan of werewolves or know a lot about them to get something out of this story. And thank you for the support, Ryan! It's awesome to hear. :D
      3/1/2015 3:44:43 PM
  • J Everette commented on :
    2/24/2015 4:00:03 PM
    Hector is a good, strong character so far good work.
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much! I'm happy to hear you think so. :) A lot of the novel depends on him working as a character.
      2/24/2015 6:58:49 PM
  • Caleb Jones commented on :
    2/24/2015 12:44:32 PM
    I only just started and I am already inspired by your work. I'm already a fan. What I especially like about your style is that it has this easy balance of story ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Wow, thank you very much, Caleb! Hearing that really makes my day! I hope you'll like where the story is going. :)
      2/24/2015 3:45:09 PM
  • Erica Langley commented on :
    2/24/2015 8:33:16 AM
    Cool work. Can't wait to see how it goes.
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much! I hope you'll like what's in store. :)
      2/24/2015 3:24:34 PM
  • Steve Conary commented on :
    2/23/2015 12:43:29 AM
    I've never been a fan of horror stuff, the closest I come is being a huge Buffy/Angel fan, but I definitely liked this so far. I was pulled in almost immediantly and ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Hi there! Thank you for reading and commenting! :) I'm happy to hear that you liked it and Hector. As for the darkness ... Well, in a traditional horror sense, it doesn't get much darker than the first couple of chapters. From an emotional/character development perspective, I can't make the same promises. But there will be a bit of comic relief too along the way. I know that's a little cryptic, but if you do read on, you'll see what I mean. :)
      2/23/2015 9:07:23 AM
  • Andre Clemons commented on :
    2/22/2015 3:37:05 AM
    Normally, I'm not really much of a werewolf fan but this story definitely converted me from the beginning and now I want to keep reading, if anything, due to the ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for giving Aconitum a shot despite of the werewolves. (Don't worry; Hector isn't a fan of them either. ;)) I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it and hope you'll like what's in store! :)
      2/22/2015 6:08:15 PM
  • N.C. Gossner commented on :
    2/12/2015 6:23:55 AM
    And just like that you have 901 +votes and another reader hooked! I would go so far as to say a budding fan. This chapter was great! Hector seems like a strong character ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Yay, thank you so much! Happy to have you on board. :) I can promise that you'll learn a lot more about Hector, gradually, and I hope you'll like where the story's going.
      2/12/2015 8:50:37 AM
  • Jershon Yong commented on :
    2/11/2015 7:06:39 AM
    Wow! If I had to use one word to describe this, the word would be 'Vivid'. You painted the picture so well that it allowed me to envision myself beside the hunter in a ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Hi Jershon! Thanks for giving Aconitum a shot. Vivid is definitely an impression I'd love for readers to have, so it means a lot to hear that. I hope you'll like the direction of the story. :)
      2/11/2015 12:46:10 PM
    • Jershon Yong Well, I'm definitely reading on. Haha! I have a new story just up lately, and would love to receive some critique or feedback from other authors~
      2/11/2015 3:36:28 PM
    • M. Howalt Thank you! :) I generally get curious about what kind of stories people who enjoy mine (or absolutely don't enjoy) write and try to find the time to check them out, but I'm trying to catch up on so many that I'm quite the slowpoke these days.
      2/12/2015 7:51:58 AM
    • Jershon Yong I've had a couple of feedbacks from authors and friends haha. It's not exactly too well done. I didn't expect too much anyway, looking at the amount of effort I put in >…< But I would love any advise that would improve my story :)
      2/12/2015 7:58:45 AM
  • J.A. Waters commented on :
    2/8/2015 1:42:19 AM
    Nice, we get introduced to the main character, some of the things he has to do as part of his job, the way he's treated to some extent, and the way people react and know ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for the comment and for giving Aconitum a shot! :) It was imperative to me to give readers enough knowledge of the world and Hector to get engaged without doing a lot of explaining. (Nice comment on the title, by the way. ;))
      2/8/2015 10:23:47 AM
  • Kathy Joy commented on :
    2/7/2015 8:05:37 PM
    Wow. The chapter flowed so well, it seemed I got to the end in no time. What fantastic build up and a wonderful introduction to Hector. The details ate done with perfect ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Hey, thanks a lot for checking out Aconitum! And thank you so much for the kind comment! I'm happy to hear that it worked so well for you. Hector's a pretty straight-forward narrator, so it's good to hear that you liked the style.
      2/8/2015 9:27:25 AM
  • Aden Ng commented on :
    1/31/2015 7:23:37 AM
    I am trying so hard to catch up on my reading list. But between all the paperbacks still waiting on my shelves and the digital ones online, it's proving difficult. But ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Hey, thanks a lot for giving my story a shot! :) I can't keep up with half of the books and serials I want to read, so I know the feeling. I'm just happy you liked the beginning of this and hope you'll like what's in store if you find the time to read on. :)
      1/31/2015 1:23:25 PM
  • J.S. Tatham commented on :
    1/21/2015 5:02:26 AM
    This is such a well written chapter! It's nicely paced and I loved all of the characters. I'll definitely be sure to read more.
    • M. Howalt Thank you so much! That's great to hear. I hope you'll enjoy what's in store for Hector.
      1/21/2015 11:22:57 AM
  • Robert Arrington commented on :
    1/19/2015 3:40:49 PM
    Hmm. Interesting take on the werewolf legend. If I'm reading this right, there are humans who are cursed and shift at the full moon, but there are also animals who are ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you for giving my serial a shot! I'm happy to hear that you liked it so far. Yes, while all werewolves (to Hector's knowledge) started out as humans who were then infected, the "illness" does not always manifest in the same way. Some shift at full moon while others, indeed, are savage wolves with a taste for human flesh all the time.
      1/20/2015 8:52:20 AM
  • Jake Young commented on :
    1/6/2015 7:54:28 PM
    Just one minor edit: "The victim was probably be as uncertain as the people waiting upstairs." Obvious typo, just wanted to call it out. Bravo on the first chapter! I ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for giving my story a shot! I'm glad it worked so well for you despite its not being in your preferred genres. Beer is an excellent choice for Aconitum (it's definitely Hector's choice). Herbal tea works too, however. ;) I hope you'll like where it goes. Thanks for catching the typo; I'll fix it in the next edit.
      1/7/2015 8:30:40 AM
  • Steeven R. Orr commented on :
    1/6/2015 5:21:17 PM
    Great start. So far this is right up my alley. Added to my bookshelf.
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for checking it out! I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the beginning. I hope you'll like what's coming, too. :)
      1/6/2015 7:24:47 PM
  • Evelyn May commented on :
    12/31/2014 4:51:15 PM
    This is a great start! I'm always on the lookout for a good paranormal-type story, and I think I just found one!
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much! I'm happy to hear you liked the beginning. And I hope you'll enjoy what's next. :)
      12/31/2014 9:41:59 PM
  • Julius Buelow commented on :
    12/10/2014 2:16:28 PM
    Great start--I like Hector's tough guy/visiting sheriff feel. "Step aside, citizens, I've got a job to do."
    • M. Howalt Hello there, welcome to Aconitum! :) I'm glad to see that you've started reading it, and very happy to hear that you liked the beginning. :) Haha, that's pretty much his attitude, yes. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting!
      12/10/2014 9:23:39 PM
    • Julius Buelow Your welcome--my pleasure.
      12/12/2014 1:14:44 PM
  • Sean Tierney commented on :
    11/25/2014 1:42:25 PM
    Fantastic first chapter! I'll be catching up for sure. Not a genre I usually read, but I'm glad I gave it a try... Kind of off topic, but it made me want to revisit my old Hellboy comics :)
    • M. Howalt Wow, thanks a lot! I'm glad you gave it a try, too. I love it when people give my story a chance even if it's not in their preferred genres. I hope you'll enjoy the next chapters! Hellboy, eh? Definitely not a bad thing to be associated with. :)
      11/25/2014 2:31:46 PM
  • HemDiva commented on :
    11/16/2014 5:47:42 AM
    Awesome start! But, I am so late and there's so much I have to read! I am hooked! :)
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for reading! I'm glad to hear that you liked the beginning and that you're hooked. I hope you'll enjoy what's in store for Hector. :)
      11/16/2014 9:53:27 AM
  • Amanda Cus commented on :
    10/27/2014 12:57:14 PM
    I love the foreshadowing at the end of the chapter. The descriptions are vivid, and they paint a clear image of Hector's environment. Also, with all of the vampire and ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for reading and commenting! I'm glad to hear that you liked the destriptions and the foreshadowing. I think the different monsters/supernatural elements can all be used for various purposes. I've written about vampires before, but I'm enjoying using the "otherness" factor in this way.
      10/27/2014 3:17:16 PM
  • Jack McGuigan commented on :
    10/21/2014 5:54:19 PM
    Ah! A gritty werewolf story about a man of few words with a cool name and a cool hat. This is exactly what I want to read. I like the way the Matthias bit ends, I thought ... Show More
    • M. Howalt I'm going to attend a pitch meeting with my critique group tonight; Any chance you could tag along and pitch for me? ;) In all seriousness, that was a catchy description of the story. And I'm happy to hear that you liked it and that it surprised you. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting!
      10/22/2014 8:06:49 AM
  • T. Phillips Holland commented on :
    10/10/2014 10:33:22 PM
    This is awesome! And I am not a fan of supernatural, vampire, zombie, etc., fiction at all. The fact that I loved this has everything to do with your writing, and the ... Show More
    • A. R. Emmé Amazing isn't it? *fangirl moment over here*
      10/11/2014 7:21:08 AM
    • 10/11/2014 8:07:19 AM
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much! That is great praise! I'm happy to hear that you liked it despite it being outside the categories you normally read! I like to think that supernatural elements can help the plot/character development along through the meeting of humans and the un-human (and sometimes inhuman) - if that makes any sense. :)
      10/11/2014 2:12:45 PM
  • Garth commented on :
    10/10/2014 5:11:13 PM
    Your descriptions were very clear and allowed me to picture the elements well! I struggle with this myself, so it helps to see it done well. +voted!
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much, Garth! I'm happy to hear that it worked so well for you. It can be really tricky to get the right amount of description. I find that some stories need a lot for the reader to be able to picture what's going on while others can work with less.
      10/10/2014 9:57:01 PM
  • Conni Byron commented on :
    10/4/2014 2:01:06 PM
    Interesting first chapter. There is a few little mysteries woven it to the plot already. I love stories that start off like this. Looking forwards to finding out my ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much! I'm glad you have questions already; hopefully some of them will be answered soon and others will appear.
      10/4/2014 5:35:44 PM
  • BJ Holder commented on :
    9/30/2014 10:42:53 PM
    I love chapter one of Aconitum! Hector is a strong character and makes me think of the actor Sam Elliot from Ghostrider, he was the cemetery caretaker. I look forward to ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for reading and commenting! I'm really glad to hear that you like Hector. Sam Elliot? I haven't pictured Hector like that myself, but browsing through pictures, I can actually see what you mean! That's quite interesting - there must be something in the personality or attitude. Very cool! And really fun to hear how you see him.
      10/1/2014 9:25:38 AM
  • Virginia McClain commented on :
    9/13/2014 10:42:03 PM
    This is a great opening, and I'm looking forward to reading more of the story. I have to say I think the start would be stronger if you nixed the whole first paragraph ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thanks a lot for the comment, Virginia! I'm glad you liked it! - And thanks for the suggestion as well. That would make it even more in media res and throw the reader into the story head first, so I'll definitely take it into consideration. :)
      9/14/2014 1:56:30 PM
  • Joan Albright commented on :
    9/9/2014 7:25:15 PM
    Great writing, good pacing and very engaging. I got a little lost near the end, and I would delete almost every instance of the word 'had' in the chapter, but this is by ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for the feedback and the compliments! Both are very much appreciated and useful! I can see what you mean about the "had"s - I have a penchant for past perfect that needs to be tamed once in a while. And I'm guessing that the inn scene seemed out of place to you? (Originally the chapter ended before it, so if that's the case, I may not have masked my editing as well as I hoped).
      9/9/2014 7:42:34 PM
    • Joan Albright Yes I have to prune out my own 'had's very vigorously. 'Was' also. You're right about the inn scene. Let's see if I can get more specific ... it should be marked off with a scene break, giving you an excuse to skip some of the in-between action. The description is too bunched up. Maybe have him moving through the space to break it up. It also doesn't move the plot at this point. I'm guessing that the purpose of the addition was to introduce the foreigner as a character, but that's the only thing that feels relevant. I want to see the people actually shying back from him, or whatever the particular reaction is. Mostly - and this is probably the most common problem with prose, even my own - there aren't quite enough emotion markers in the narrative. A rule of thumb I heard once was to put in more than you think are necessary, and then it's probably enough.
      9/9/2014 7:59:28 PM
    • M. Howalt Thank you for elaborating! You have some excellent points. The point of including the scene was mostly to show Hector's reaction to regular small town people's curiosity/fear, but now that I'm re-reading it, I can definitely see that some more emotions markers would help getting that across. Thanks again!
      9/9/2014 8:08:40 PM
  • Christina Ratcliffe commented on :
    9/4/2014 6:06:12 PM
    Great start, takes you straight into the story with the first attack having already happened. Interested to read more about Hector and the rules for being a werewolf in ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked the chapter enough to add the story to your shelf! :) I do know the feeling - there are so many stories I want to read or catch up on. Yes, this is hopefully a new angle on the werewolf myth/concept. :)
      9/4/2014 7:12:55 PM
  • Nathaniel Tower commented on :
    9/4/2014 1:06:43 AM
    Fantastic opening. This is how serials should start. Throw the reader into the scene and give us enough action to make us come back again and again. Excellent work.
    • M. Howalt Wow, thank you so much, Nathaniel! That is one of the biggest compliments my fiction has ever had. I'm really glad to hear that it works so well for you. Hopefully I can continue to make you come back for more. I'll be doing my best to!
      9/4/2014 7:59:04 AM
  • Derrick Cummings commented on :
    8/30/2014 11:14:48 PM
    Pretty rad little intro into the story. You do a nice balancing act between introducing your character and hooking the reader.
    • M. Howalt Thank you for reading and commenting ! I'm glad to know that the balance works. And I hope that you're hooked enough to read on. :)
      8/31/2014 8:58:27 AM
  • Laura Morrison commented on :
    8/27/2014 12:21:00 AM
    I really enjoyed this! Looking forward to chapter 2.
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much, Laura! I'm so glad that you liked it. :) Chapter 2 will be up tomorrow.
      8/27/2014 10:12:35 AM
    • 8/27/2014 12:41:48 PM
  • Jennifer Flath commented on :
    8/25/2014 10:06:19 PM
    Clever way to throw everyone in to the story. You have that magical way of doing a lot with just a few words. (I do not have this ability. :-) ) Your main character has a ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you so much, Jennifer! I'm really glad that the style works for you. :D I aim to explain some things, but leave others to the imagination. And you will learn the background for Hector's disposition throughout the story. ;)
      8/26/2014 8:10:06 AM
  • Jennifer L. Barnes commented on :
    8/23/2014 6:27:44 PM
    I'm a sucker for a good werewolf story and nice touch for the title to be the the plant name for "wolfsbane".
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much! I'm glad that you like the title too. Fun fact: Although the stories of its use are the same, the plant has a completely different name in my native language ("stormhat" which translates to "gale hat").
      8/23/2014 8:19:55 PM
    • Jennifer L. Barnes Oh nice! They're beautiful plants, and extremely poisonous. Which is why they got the name "wolf's bane" because the plant was used to make a poison that was used to kill wolves. Which also explains its part in werewolf lore.
      8/23/2014 9:45:51 PM
    • M. Howalt Indeed you are right. And ... No, I'm not going to spoil anything. ;)
      8/24/2014 7:04:04 AM
  • Ryan Watt commented on :
    8/23/2014 1:43:10 PM
    Very nice start. I like how it jumps right into a tense dramatic moment, and uses it to explain some of the basic rules of the world.
    • M. Howalt Thank you so much! I was trying not to do too much exposition, but still try to explain bits about the world. I'm really glad that it worked for you!
      8/23/2014 6:17:34 PM
    • Ryan Watt It did! It is a tricky dance, I know from Flocked. So good work!
      8/23/2014 6:25:45 PM
  • a dabra commented on :
    8/23/2014 4:37:37 PM
    Sounds like a very gripping story in making. keep it up!
    • M. Howalt Thanks a lot! I'm glad you liked it. :)
      8/23/2014 6:18:05 PM
  • Eric commented on :
    8/22/2014 10:08:49 PM
    What a great start to a story. Hector is a no nonsense guy and I enjoyed reading about him! haha. I'm excited for this serial, I haven't read a good werewolf book in ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much, Dustin! You're spot on about Hector, and I really hope you'll enjoy the ride as the story unfolds.
      8/23/2014 8:35:06 AM
  • K. R. Kampion commented on :
    8/22/2014 5:30:38 PM
    Love the world building you have going on here! I'm also a huge fan of Hector. I think he and Isaac would get along as well as they're capable of :) Can't wait for the next chapter!
    • M. Howalt Thank you so much! :) I'm really glad that you like it, and as for Isaac and Hector, I'm going to go right ahead and admit that I've already had that thought. :)
      8/22/2014 5:34:29 PM
    • K. R. Kampion Hahahaha!! Great minds think alike! When our fandoms get big enough we should crossover XD
      8/22/2014 6:00:09 PM
    • M. Howalt I like that idea! :) (It may involve large amounts of whisky.)
      8/22/2014 7:22:44 PM
    • K. R. Kampion Oh yeah, so much whiskey, and probably at least one bar brawl :)
      8/22/2014 10:29:01 PM
  • Z Z gave
    4/29/2015 1:43:51 PM
    I think that it's the combination of this chapter and the next that will form a complete introduction to the world you've crafted here. Here, it's more about the ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thanks for reading! I'm glad this first chapter piqued your interest in the story. You're quite right that the first couple are like a pilot episode in themselves, but of course a lot will be revealed later.
      4/29/2015 2:31:03 PM
    • Z Z Sweet, but I was also wondering if you'd like me to review every chapter I read, or just one big review when I get to the end? I'm not accustomed to Jukepop yet and was wondering how reviewing is handled here.
      4/30/2015 12:38:23 PM
    • M. Howalt Reviewing is handled very different from person to person I think. I comment (and not review) and give feedback, ask questions and make suggestions for individual chapters. I like to review only complete books on JukePop because I personally don't feel comfortable rating parts of the whole and also like to write longish reviews. I've noticed that some readers leave very short reviews with excellent ratings (thus letting the stars almost speak for themselves) on a number of chapters of their favourite stories and never leave reviews for novels they don't care much for while others write longer reviews on select chapters that they especially like in a given serial. Yet others leave reviews on just the first chapter of a lot of stories whether they like them very much or not.
      5/1/2015 5:21:08 PM
    • Z Z I've been feeling somewhat similar when dealing with giving stars or just comments. Reviewing feels like it should be a finalized notion instead of just something that goes chapter to chapter. I'd rather give feedback instead, but was unsure of your preference or those of others. Now that I know I'll try to save my reviews for something substantial such as the end of a story or if an aspect really stood out. Just a side-note, I just bought a game about demon slaying called Bloodborne, so I was more than happy to begin reading a story about monster hunters.
      5/1/2015 5:26:03 PM
  • 3/9/2015 9:28:32 PM
    Awesome opening chapter, your writing style definitely took me right there-love it! Can't wait to keep reading :)
    • M. Howalt Hey, thanks a lot for reading and for the review! I hope you'll like where it's going. :)
      3/10/2015 2:31:57 PM
    • Annabelle Lecter I've only had the chance to read the first chapter so far, but I'm definitely looking forward getting a chance to the rest :)
      3/10/2015 2:40:30 PM
  • 2/12/2015 6:24:38 AM
    You had me hooked with just the first paragraph. I am looking forward to reading more! :D
    • M. Howalt Fantastic, that is great to hear! Thank you for reading and commenting/reviewing. :)
      2/12/2015 8:51:32 AM
  • 1/21/2015 4:17:12 PM
    Great fun already! The whole thing is forming a dark, perhaps gothic image in my mind and I'm excied for the adventure of it all! Looking forward to reading the rest shortly! Nice one!
    • M. Howalt Thank you very much for giving Aconitum a shot and a review. :) I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it and hope you'll like what's in store.
      1/22/2015 8:06:16 AM
  • Dean Moses gave
    9/17/2014 4:16:15 AM
    I love how the world I entered was easily digestible, everything necessary was explained without having any lengthy tirades. The pace was kept brilliantly, from the ... Show More
    • M. Howalt Thank you so much for the review, Dean! I really appreciate the kind words, and I'm happy to hear that the opening chapter worked so well for you. I think it's safe to say that you will learn more about Hector's past along the way.
      9/17/2014 8:33:23 AM