Monday, July 4, 2016

"Get out of here, now!" I screamed.

February 18, 1887
Near Sun Ranch, Montana

"Get out of here, now!" I screamed. I'm not sure if it would have mattered. Deep down inside I knew that Israel would never run, would never back down. This was his land, it had been his father's land before him, and his father's father's before that.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that this thing, the garganta, had most likely called this place home long before the arrival of those first red skinned men who eventually became the Ioway had first arrived here. For all I knew, this thing could be older than me... Something like thunder rumbled, but I realized too late that it was not thunder at all. It was the creature, growling as it made its way stealthily down the hill.

Snow began falling faster, deadening the air in the ancient, but recently bloodied, rill.

Israel was pumping shells into his brand new Winchester 1887 as fast as he could get them out of his coat pocket. I'd never seen a weapon like it, nor a weapon that could put as much lead downrange as it could. It was impressive and Israel'd paid a load for it, but I was not sure that it was going to keep us alive against the wolf-fiend that was stalking us.

"Where's Jo?" the rancher asked, scanning the odd skies--white flecks on velvet night--as he sought out his prey.

In all of the confusion, the Doctor had slipped my mind. He run off after his horse, firing blindly up the rocky rill when last I'd seen him. I wondered, briefly, what his stance on 'this supernatural hogwash' was now. I sought him out with my odd eyes, but in the high contrast, white-on-black world that was closing in on us, I could not find him.

Then, I saw it.

Emerging from the pitchy night, the garganta seemed to slowly take form. It was as if the fat, wet snowflakes were sticking together and taking on the wicked, twisted form of a massive wolf. A distended, almost skeletal jaw emerged, dripping a hot, steaming stream and long, horn-like ears swept back from the creature's narrow skull. Long spikes protruded from it's hump-like back and unlike any other wolf, the garganta now possessed cruelly dexterous, claw-studded hands and it walked upon its hind legs. I knew it could move quicker on all fours, so I knew that this was not a hunting posture...

It had come to inflict and enjoy pain. It was solely focused on Israel, the man who had killed it's spawn a year before--almost to the day--and there was a hellish malice that flickered in its pale eyes.

I had to act now.

Reaching into Beyond, I drew Sicol silently from the snowy sky beside me. If the garganta noticed any shimmer in the Curtain, it did not show any sign. I took that small blessing, added three bounding steps and a massive, utterly non-human leap and drove my silvered spirit katana right into the wolf-thing's ribcage. It was only as I neared it that I realized how truly immense this thing was; it was easily three times my height and four times my weight.

The Fallen howled like the Pit itself had been opened. With a titanic whack of its right elbow, it smacked me into the rill wall. I heard things crack that should not when I hit and felt lightheaded all of a sudden. For some reason, I had lost track of some important body parts like my arms, hands, and legs.

A growling, snarling voice ripped into my musing moment. "Don't worry. In a moment, you won't have them to keep track of anymore, Betrayer."

The wolf-fiend was reading my unprotected thoughts...things had just gotten a great deal worse.

"You have no idea, Tenet," the wolf-demon-thing barked, its massive tooth-filled maw inches from my face.

Israel answered that bark with seven 10-gauge barks of his own, all delivered within less than a few seconds.

The garganta howled and leapt into the air, twisting like a dog trying to avoid a striking snake.

"Blessed bullets, Holy Man! Hoooo Waaaa!" the rancher cackled in victory, cutting his eyes toward me while quickly pumping more cartridges into his rifle. "I learn't a thing 'r two when I took out 'at Shunka Warakin thing last year!"

Art Source: "Out of the Darkness" (c)/by Abz-J-Harding
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #Tenet, #Tenetstales, #Montana, #ShunkaWarakin, #JosephSherwood, #IsraelAmmonHutchins, #ShamtheWonderHorse


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