My luck ran out this morning.
It seems that someone figured out I was in the area and had Thorn, my new canine friend, not informed me of the danger, I might have suffered a great deal.
I just might have died as well.
But that’s putting the cart before the horse.
We were following a long road, one that encircles this version of Cross, and which turned out to be barricaded. Had it only been guarded by men, things wouldn’t have been nearly as close as they were.
As it was, they had something hidden in the wagon they’d used as part of their barricade.
There was a short, sharp exchange of gunfire, but one of the men made it to the wagon just as I put a bullet in his back.
He managed to stagger the last two steps to the wagon and pull the tarp down off it.
His dying act proved to be disgustingly useful to their cause.
The creature that rose up out of the wagon set Thorn to barking and me to swearing as I reloaded my Colts.
The damned thing was easily twice my height and covered in thick, coarse hair. I could smell its fetid breath from where I stood, and when it screamed, it set my head to pounding.
I’d only just cocked the hammer on the Colts when it charged at me, and even though I pumped twelve rounds into its overly broad chest, it didn’t stop. Didn’t even slow down.
I had enough time to draw my Bowie knife and slip out beneath its arms.
I drove the blade up into its armpit and then jerked the weapon out as it swung back toward me. Had the damned thing been not quite so ungainly, I doubt I’d be alive.
For nearly five minutes, we fought, and it landed a pair of solid blows against my left arm, snapping it in three places.
But it lost its strength as blood pumped from its wounds, and when it sank to its knees in the blood-soaked dirt, I didn’t waste any time.
Stepping behind it, I cut its throat clean through to the spine, and when it fell, I cut its head off.
Thorn and I left it behind.
My arm hurt like hell, and the beast was too foul to eat.