April 21, 1948

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They shouldn’t have run.

The pair of men were headhunters, of that I was certain. Champ had sniffed them out, and he had excitedly added that there was a pair of dogs with the men.

Champ had no sooner relayed this information to me than the two men popped their heads up over a line of rocks, brought up their weapons and opened fire.

They were not fine shots.

They weren’t even good shots.

In fact, if they’d been my father’s sons, he would have taken a birch switch to their hides for such bad shooting.

I, on the other hand, didn’t mind at all.

I brought my rifle up to my shoulder, and when I did, the men ran.

That was a poor decision.

Champ and I gave chase, but no sooner had we reached halfway up the hill than the men cried out in dismay. Someone screamed, and then there was a lone shot followed by the howling of dogs.

When we reached the crest, there was a hell of a scene before us.

The two men had lost their footing and gone down a rough section of rock. One man’s head was split open like the fabled ripe melon, and the other’s legs were twisted almost backward beneath him. Bones protruded from his trousers, and it wasn’t much of a surprise to see the barrel of his rifle in his mouth. Most of his brains were blown out across the stones behind him.

Off to one side stood a pair of dogs. One black, one white, and both happier ‘n hell to see Champ. The trio raced around, baying and yipping and calling out to one another, and finally, with their tongues lolling and their tails wagging, I was introduced.  

Marie and Felicia were dogs Champ was well-familiar with, and he’d had a litter of pups with each. They were as close to family as he could get. The females, like Champ, knew of my kind and were pleased to learn they were more than welcome to travel with me.

As the dogs chatted and caught up, I went through the packs of the dead men and found a fair supply of jerky and dried corn. It wasn’t much, but it would help, as would the ammunition. I was running short on rounds for the Colts, and the rifle was almost dry.

The only thing the men didn’t have was tobacco.

That was a damned shame.

#nature #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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