The officer's growl suddenly catches in his throat. He looks in momentary bewilderment at his hand, whose fingernails are long, chipped and filthy, but by no stretch of the imagination claws. He shakes his head, and an instant later the beast is back, but Tully has noticed the lapse.
"Feeling a little under the weather, are we?" he says. "Dear oh dear, it looks as if we're looking at stage two."
"Stage two of what?" the cop growls.
"Why, lycan lichen, of course," Tully says. "The fungus itself is just an irritation, but in a tiny percentage of cases it can carry a virus which is far more dangerous. As I was telling your priester--"
"Alpha," the cop corrects him.
"Your, ah, Alpha, of course, forgive me. Failure to treat with the appropriate remedy can lead to...all kinds of complications." Tully shakes his head. "I wish he had listened to me." He gazes sympathetically at the cop, who is looking increasingly worried. "Headache? Tense, nervous headache? Feeling blocked in your sinuses? Digestive system starting to act up?"
"Gotta...gotta call in..." The cop releases Tully and fumbles for his phone. Meanwhile, the fairy has unhooked the cloth from the statue and is holding it in mid-air nearby. Tully touches the paw design, and the fairy returns the cloth to its place.
"Something very odd is going on here," Tully says. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about it, would you?"
The fairy opens her eyes wide, crosses her forefingers in front of her lips and shakes her head, then flits away.
"Oh well," Tully says to the world in general. "One to go. I hope I'm on the right side here."