In a previous post, My Scene, a story line began as a writing exercise. I thought the character was interesting and mixing urban fantasy with a western novel flair made me curious to write more of the story. So, I’m writing it a in series of flashes and I plan on this being a short story when completed.
Warning!!! This section is a little graphic in its depiction of an animal carcass. if you are sensitive to this please skip this part. I will summarize it in the beginning of that next post.
We ran through a short breezeway that opened out into a large patio at the back of the house. The patio area included a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and outdoor kitchen. The whole area was surrounded by six-foot high cast iron fence. As we skirted the pool, I could see a group of people gathered at the fence beyond the far side of the pool. We got closer and I saw something hanging from the fence. My gut started to clench in anticipation for what I suspected was coming. We came up to the group and they turned toward us. Their faces were twisted in horror. One woman dropped to her knees and began vomiting on the flagstones. Amy stopped several feet from the fence and her hands went to her mouth. I pushed past her and my guts twisted harder as I saw what everyone else was looking at.
Hanging from the fence was the carcass of a javelina, a small wild pig native to this part of the world. The spike on top of the fence had been forced through the lower jaw and protruded from the poor creatures open mouth. Its skin was peeled back in strips from its head all the way to its haunches and hung down like bloody ribbons. The javelina’s belly was opened and its entrails spilled out against and through the fence. Blood was still dripping from the carcass which meant it had only been recently left there. My skin crawled at the feeling of evil which hung in the air.
Few things bother me as much as blatant cruelty to animals. My teeth ground so hard, I could feel my jaw start to throb from the pressure. I unclenched my fists and reached forward. A scrap of buckskin was attached to the javelina’s head with what looked like a carpet staple. Something, was scrawled on the leather. I pulled the buckskin free. When I did on of the javalina’s back legs kicked. I stumbled backwards and almost fell down. Somehow the thing was still alive. Behind me I heard people gasp and begin to wretch.
“Christ,” I said. “Everyone get back.”
I stepped back further and drew my revolver. The roar of the.357 stole the sobs from those present. The animal flinched, then hung still. Silence followed for a moment. Then in the distance, a coyote began to howl.
“Take that you bastard,” I mumbled to myself as I holstered the gun. Puma had been right. Whoever was doing this, was drawing power from the pain and suffering of the animals and then drawing even more from the humans fear that the suffering caused. The evil feeling seemed to lessen. By ending the javelina’s misery, I broke the flow of power.
I looked down at the buckskin in my left hand. The writing had smeared slightly as some of the blood had not dried. There were four symbols which I did not understand. They resembled sand paintings in their shape. But the rest of the message was easily read. Soon I will come for you!
I turned around. Amy was on her knees holding the woman who had been vomiting on the patio. The woman was sobbing and kept saying, “I’m so sorry, Ms. Hatcher. I’m so sorry.”
Amy stroked the woman’s hair, “Shhh now, Gayle. It’s going to be okay.”
Amy looked up at me. Her eyes pleading for me to do something. I turned to the Indian boy who had led us here. “Son, bring me some gasoline and a shovel.”
I turned back to Amy and she was helping Gayle to her feet. Bill came running around the pool carrying a Winchester lever gun and looking for something to shoot at.
“It’s okay, Bill” I said holding up my hand.
He came to a stop and looked at the carcass. He shook his head and said, “I heard a shot.”
“It was still alive,” I said. “Let’s get everyone inside. The boy and I’ll take care of the mess.”
Bill began to object and I stopped him by saying, “I’ll be in as soon as I’m done. All of us need to have a talk.”
Bill and Amy nodded and started herding everyone back towards the house. I looked at the symbols on the buckskin but still didn’t recognize their meaning. I stuffed the message into the pocket of my coat and started back toward the fence…