Sunday, July 3, 2016

"Whad'ya mean, Tenet?" Israel asked.

February 18, 1887
Near Sun Ranch, Montana

"Whad'ya mean, Tenet?" Israel asked. He was picking up on my uneasiness, as was his horse, Bandit. The sorrel mare was whickering and throwing her head a bit. There was something on the wind. Israel went to her and tried to comfort her, pulling his rifle from his bedroll behind the saddle as he did so.

"I mean your actions last year may well have set our fates for this night. The creature that you killed and that Joseph stuffed," I pointed my goat-bearded chin towards Doctor Sherwood, "was likely a Shunka Warakin, as you claimed. But there's something you don't know about these creatures."

Joseph slipped off his small, round glasses and wiped some of the wet snow from them--it was falling faster now--before perching them again on his nose. His thick, bushy moustache was quickly filling with fat white flecks as well. "Speak plainly, Tenet. Some of us don't kin to any of this supernatural hogwash, ya'know."

I looked down at the mangled corpse of the alpha wolf at our feet. "This was the piece of the puzzle I lacked, well, this and the fact that there are no tracks here...whatsoever."

The Doctor cocked a bushy eyebrow and scanned the ground again. Apparently, this was a detail that he's overlooked.

"The Shunka Warakin is nothing more than a local name that has been given to a much older, more diabolical creature. I believe the Ioway named them such and that the phrase means, 'carries off dogs' for their habit of sneaking into the natives' camps at night and dragging off their guard dogs." The snow was coming in faster and heavier now and the sky was quickly getting darker. I knew that we were terribly exposed in the small, slushy rill and began scanning the scrub in surrounding ridge lines for any sign of what I now knew was out there.

"These creatures would do this to lure men out into the wild where they could capture them and torture them. These things hate mankind with a burning passion and will do anything to cause him pain or harm. They are a type of the Fallen, but they are more twisted and perverted than a mere Fallen. Long ago these things made a pact with a dark Power which was tied to the land, and have been forever been bound to it ever since. They were first called la garganta by the Spaniards-"

"The ravine?" Israel asked, who obviously spoke the language.

I nodded, trying to calm my own horse, Sham, who was flicking his tail and his ears nervously. "That is one meaning of their name, as they are the most powerful in low-lying, forsaken places - like this rill. There are other meanings of la garganta as well, speaking primarily of the way they feed--to gorge--and their favored target..."

I pointed to the massive, ninety-pound wolf body on the ground, it's throat ripped out and spread across the rocky, defiled earth. "...the throat."

Just then, a shivering howl pierced the snow-laded skies. Somewhere to the west, I felt the sun slip below the horizon. Joseph's horse, Soot, who was barely tied to a scraggly sagebrush, bolted out of the rill and Sham and Bandit started rearing and squealing madly. The Doctor, taken by complete surprise by Soot, was knocked to the rocks and it was all that Israel and I could do to keep our steeds in check.

"Let them run!" I yelled, letting go the reins of Sham. "Maybe at least they will make it out of here alive!"

Just as Soot crested the top of the ridge, the shadows themselves lashed out and the horse screamed in pain and terror. Horribly vicious sounds of ripping, roaring, and tearing echoed down the stone-strewn embankment.

Men started screaming. Guns started firing. Blood began flowing.

Art Source: "Out of Tar" (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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