December 12, 2022.
By Henry Dumas
Steven glanced at his best friend Robert. He shook his head from side to side and quietly scoffed. “You look like crap; do you still want to go duck hunting?”
Steven’s long, red, tangled hair and unshaven face made him appear like he had spent a week in the woods without a comb or razor. His friends described him as one of a kind. He’s a handsome, young-looking fifty-year-old with a charming disposition. His baby blue eyes and auburn curly hair that dangled from under his cowboy hat down to his shoulders, made him a prized possession for single ladies. He wore his favorite camo hunting gear and carried a cancelled weapon tucked into his waistband. which he was prepared to use if necessary.Read more: Turnabout Is Fair Play
Robert scowled. “What do you expect? I worked a double shift at Walmart; came home and fell asleep on the couch with my clothes on. Now, I’m standing out here in the freezing cold at two in the morning.”
Robert was a typical trailer trash redneck. His long legs, wide shoulders, and slim waist made him appear taller than his six-foot frame. He learned how to box at a young age. He became the golden gloves champion in Nevada. He enjoyed his part-time job as a bouncer in a local bar and took pride in being the toughest badass. His hunter-orange vest and pants made him look like he was glowing orange.
“Have you packed everything you need?” Steven mocked. “I hope there’s room in the Jeep for all your stuff?”
Robert stood in front of Steven, loaded down with excessive hunting gear, and looked like a pack mule. He held his hand in front of his face, counted his fingers, and named items. “I have my gun, extra clothes, shells, lunch, and my dog.” He tossed his equipment into the back seat of the Jeep; looked at the black female Labrador wagging her tail in anticipation and extended his hand toward the dog.
“Up,” he said.
The dog jumped into the back of the Jeep and circled around like she chased her tail. She found a soft spot and plopped down on top of the hunting gear.
“It’s a long drive to Duchesne, Utah,” Steven said. “I don’t like the road we’re driving on with its long isolated stretches. I also dislike the weather forecast. It looks like it’s going to snow.”
We’ll drive past Skinwalker Ranch. Robert exclaimed! Yesterday, on the news, they talked about weird things happening at that ranch. UFOs, people disappearing in the night, and strange wolf-like creatures. Robert pumped his fist into the air and shouted. “If we see a wolf-like creature, run over it.”
Steven shrugged and stuttered. “I…, I remember two years ago on that same stretch of road. We doze off and woke up four hours later in front of a cafe and couldn’t remember how we got there. I’m still skittish about that night, so zip your lips about wolf-like creatures.”
Several hours later, they’re in the middle of nowhere, driving in a blizzard. Robert and his dog were sound asleep, snoring like chainsaws as Steven drove down the snow-covered road. Snow flurries gusted horizontally and stuck to the windshield, causing the wipers to work harder. The rhythmic sound of the wind made it difficult for Steven to keep his eyes open. He tried to stay awake, and he wished he had brought the cassette tapes he left on the kitchen table. The snow on the road caused the tires to lose traction, and visibility was so poor he couldn’t see past the hood. Because of the difficult driving conditions, he was exhausted and looked forward to bacon, eggs, and coffee at the café a few miles down the road. It took all his concentration and driving skills to keep the Jeep from skidding into a snowbank.
“The weatherman was right,” Steven whispered to the sleeping occupants.
The dog woke up growling. Her piercing brown eyes looked out the window at an unseen threat.
“What’s the matter, girl?” Steven asked. “Is something upsetting you?”
Without warning…, a seven-foot tall, wolf-like creature passed in front of the Jeep inches from getting run over. Its hair-covered body and human-like face made it the stuff nightmares are made of. It walked on two legs with knee caps that faced backwards, giving it an unusual stance. It looked at Steven with glowing red eyes and effortlessly jumped over a four-foot-high barbed wire fence. Seconds later, it vanished into the raging snowstorm.
The dog sat up and barked out of control.
Steven slammed on the brakes. The Jeep skidded sideways, slid to the side of the road, and hit a snowbank. He screamed, his hands clutched the steering wheel and his eyes were wide open with fear.
Robert woke up with a gasp, turned to Steven, and shouted, “what in the hell is going on?”
“I… I almost hit something. It was big and walked on two legs,” Steven stuttered. “We made eye contact, and it wasn’t human.”
“Was it a moose or a bear?” Robert asked.
“No!” Steven shouted.
It stopped snowing. The sky cleared, and full moon shadows lit the road. Steven backed the Jeep up, rolled the window down, and pointed at large tracks in the snow.
Steven pointed at the footprints in the snow, and shouted. “See, it looks like a barefoot human footprint, only larger. I can’t imagine a human running in the snow barefoot.”
“Is that blood?” Robert asked. He pointed out the window at a bright-red blood-soaked trail in the snow. “You hit it!” He shouted. “Let’s get our guns and chase it down.” He reached into the back seat and pulled out his gun. He pointed the barrel toward the floor and slid a shell into the chamber.
“I’m not chasing that thing down; we don’t have the firepower,” Steven said. “A shotgun is no match for what I saw. If you want to chase it, do it. I’m staying close to the Jeep.”
Robert blurted out before Steven could finish talking. “Look at the barbwire fence. It came back and brought two more creatures with it; and they look like they want to kill us.” The three creatures stood next to the fence, stared angrily at the Jeep occupants, and snarled.
Steven slowly turned the steering wheel and lightly touched down on the gas pedal. The Jeep spun in the slippery snow and did not move.
“We can’t run, so we have to fight,” Steven said. He slowly stepped out of the Jeep. Pulled his shotgun from its case, slid five shells into the magazine, and pumped one into the chamber.
“Let’s do this.” He sighed.
The wolf-like creatures jumped over the barbed wire fence and ran toward them.
Robert laughed. “Let’s shoot that big one. He’s going to make one hell of a trophy.”
With a boom…boom…, the shotguns exploded, sending lethal bullets toward the creatures. The sound thundered in the canyon; causing a flock of blackbirds nesting in a nearby tree to scatter in all directions. Steven reached into his waistband, pulled out his handgun, and fired several rounds at the creatures.
The huge wolf-like creature at the front of the pack staggered to the ground. The dog jumped out of the open passenger side door and ran toward it. The hair on her neck stood up like porcupine quills as she hovered over the dying creature. She barked and snarled at the two wolf-like creatures as they ran toward her. They froze in their tracks, terrified of the dog.
“Let’s get out of here while we can,” Steven shouted over the barking dog. He ran toward the Jeep, and jumped into the driver’s seat.
“Sounds like a smart idea to me,” Robert said. As he ran toward the open passenger side door.
“Come,” he shouted at his dog. They both jumped into the Jeep.
Steven smashed his foot down on the gas pedal. All four tires spun on the slippery, snow-covered road. The Jeep would not move.
“Go…, go faster!” Robert shouted.
One of the creatures, possibly a female, bent down, and cradled her blood-soaked companion in her arms, trying to save it. The other creature ran toward the Jeep. It stood at the back of the Jeep and pounded on the window, trying to get in. The window cracked and exploded into a million pieces.
The dog snarled at the creature as it reached its leather-like arm into the back of the Jeep. “Get it,” Robert shouted at the dog. The dog leapt into the back of the Jeep and grabbed a mouthful of the creature’s arm. The dog aggressively turned its head from side to side like it had a chew toy in its mouth, and wouldn’t let go. The creature screeched in pain. The tires found a dry spot in the snow, and the Jeep jumped forward.
“Off,” Robert shouted at the dog.
The dog let go of the screeching creature’s arm, as the Jeep slowly moved down the road. The creature slipped on the icy road, and fell face down. It stood up and ran toward the jeep. It stopped in the middle of the road, and let out a blood-curdling shriek to say. “This is not over yet.”
“Holy cow, that was a close call.” Steven shouted over the barking dog. As they sped away.
“Quiet,” Robert said to the dog, rubbing her ears.
They both took a deep breath, looked at each other, burst out laughing, and shouted at the same time.
“No one will believe us!”