Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The garganta, its hide still smoking from Israel's well-timed and blessed shots, whirled to face the man who'd wounded it and slain its progeny.

February 18, 1887
Near Sun Ranch, Montana

The garganta, its hide still smoking from Israel's well-timed and blessed shots, whirled to face the man who'd wounded it and slain its progeny. As the wolf-demon spun, its tail thickened and lengthened, transforming itself into a grotesque parody of something akin to a scorpion's tail. The creature leapt at the rancher, its slavering jaws snapping at Israel and its tail stabbing at me.

I rolled quickly to the right and then to left, guessing and praying that I'd chosen the right combination to avoid the garganta's stabs. In the shuffle, I heard my cowboy companion bellow in pain, followed by three quick barks from the Winchester. A reflexive whoosh of air, another cry of pain and I heard the rifle clatter to the rocks.

The wolf-thing yelped in pain and shook its muzzle vigorously. Streamers of white, smoke-like stuff began leaking out of multiple sizzling holes in its face. Israel had made his shots count...which was good, because I was betting he was empty, or near too it, even if he was able to get the gun back.

And all we'd succeeding in achieving was making this thing really, really, really angry. I knew I had to take things up a notch, but doing so meant taking some major risks. I rolled to my feet, slicing across the tip of the garganta's tail with Sicol. My spirt-blade sliced into the wolf-demon's tail, removing the last three feet cleanly.

"Betrayer!" the garganta howled in pain, whipping around to face me. As the creature pivoted, I caught a glimpse of Israel: he was still moving--barely--and he was bleeding from several savage wounds.

"Right here, Rover," I spat, sheathing Sicol and fishing around in one of my many belt pockets. Quickly finding the small delicate item I needed, I palmed it into my right hand and then pointed towards my face. "Come get me."

Driven frothing mad, the wolf-fiend lashed out at me with claws, teeth, and gore-stumped tail. I felt the claws sink deep into my chest and abdomen, ripping at wool and tearing at skin. I no longer cared about the tail, but it slammed into my thighs like a massive, bloody battering ram. It was the mouth that I was focused on, and just as I'd predicted, the garganta, true to its name, came right for my throat. I waited until the last possible second and then shoved my right arm as far down the demonic wolf's mouth as I could get...and then I crushed the ancient clay container like an egg, spilling all of the contents down the beast's gullet.

The garganta's pale eyes went wide with pain-laced surprise as it instantly felt the strange fire erupt in its throat and begin consuming its insides. It thrashed, snapping my arm in several places and nearly knocking me over with a wave of intense and immediate pain. The demon-wolf howled and screamed at me, writhing in agony as fire it could not quench ate it away from within. "What have you done to me, Betrayer?" it screeched, clawing at its own throat in desperation.

"I've set you up for what you deserve, demon" I dove out of the way, knowing full well what was coming next. Wincing, I hobbled over to Israel, trying to keep all of my insides where they belonged while attempting to do the same for my friend. Gritting my teeth against the surging pain in my right arm, I started dragging Israel up the stony rill as quickly as I could.

The garganta, regardless of its own pain, stumbled after me. Pale flames licked its frame, but it would not be denied. "Nooo! You'll not take my vengeance from me, Tenet! I will have the human's blood!" The demonic canine scrabbled after us, twisting, twitching, rolling, and roaring every few feet to try and escape the strangely colorless flames that were now roaring within its ribcage. Each bone stood out in stark shadow to the profane fire that burned inside its skin and organs.

I groaned, pulling Israel as quickly as I could, trying desperately to stay just a little head of the wolf-thing. I was getting dizzy, my silver blood spilling from my wounds and my shattered arm, but I kept checking the dark, snow filled sky for what I knew was to come. Desperately, I kicked loose rocks towards our lupine pursuer, hoping to harm or slow it further.

Haze-and-pain-filled moments later, I felt my center of gravity shift and new I was to the top. It was like my stomach was about to burst from the pain, but I managed to roll the nearly unconscious Israel over the lip.

"NOOOOO!!" howled the garganta and I felt its long, talons sink into my calf. I could feel the simmering heat from inside the beast, even through its claws.

The sky began to brighten. It was like day was rudely intruding into night.

"No," I gasped weakly. I did not want to be this close when IT happened.

The Fallen wolf thing pulled itself up over me and my woolen cloak began to smolder. It's lava-like saliva dribbled across my face, scaling it like hot grease. "I may go before the Throne this night, Tenet, but you shall stand beside me."


The maw descended.

The sky brightened. The sun had risen directly over the rill. The darkness was done. The snow was melting from the air and from the ground.

"Help!" I cried, desperately. There was no one there to hear me.

Suddenly, the garganta was blasted away from me as if it had been launched out of a catapult. I fierce, defiant whinny resounded across the stones and I heard the heavy clomp of Sham's rear hooves hit the ground.


Sham, my wonderful, glorious steed and saved me! He'd bucked the garganta clear off me and into the bottom of the rill.

At that moment, the sky tore asunder and fire from Heaven--a literal column of white-hot flame hotter than a million suns--slammed into the demonic wolf beast and in the span of three heartbeats...

..nothing remained but a slowly pool of cooling now-igneous rock.

I lay back against the stones and laughed. I laughed until I cried.

Eventually, I heard Israel laughing too, from somewhere behind and above me. I was hurting too badly and was too exhausted to look, but I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was on his back too.

"What's so funny?" I asked, in between giggles.

The rancher kept chuckling as well, but replied. "Hell, Holy Man. I don't know, but I figure if you ain't screamin' then you ain't dead...I figure if yer laughin', then it's a good sign we ain't gonna die."

Sham came over and nuzzled me with her muzzle. "No, thanks to Sham, we're alive."

"What in th' world did ya do to that thing?" Israel asked.

With my good arm, I tossed a piece of the clay container towards the cowboy's voice. "Catch," I called.

He did, and I heard him fumble with it a moment or two. Still snickering, he read "Nadab. Nadab? What in th' world's that?"

I'd stopped laughing, watching the sky finally return to its normal state of darkness. The snow had not yet come back, however. Finally, I answered. "Old Testament stuff. Nadab and Abihu offered God some strange profane fire as an offering. God didn't take to it too kindly. I quoted: 'And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.', Leviticus, Chapter 10, verses 1 and 2."

Israel was quiet for a minute. Then, he asked. "Really?"

"Yup." I replied.

"Nadab. That's some good stuff!" Israel commented.

"Nope, not really." I deadpanned.

We both busted out laughing again. We were still laughing hours later when the Doctor finally found us...

Art Source: "Intense screaming" (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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