I awoke instantly, guns in my hands. It was pitch black, and very quiet. Something had disturbed me, but there was no sign of anything. It was raining, which I guess had put out the fire, but there was supposed to be a sentry. I froze, listening, and then rolled silently away from my bedroll, staying low.
I had been sent out here by old man Thorpe, with 3 of his bravest cowboys. Something had been chewing up his beefs, and the odd man, too. Word is it was a puma, but no one really believed that, not after looking at the corpses. And he’s a rich old boy, which explained us here.
Silence, just slow breathing from the other guys. I have some differences from normal folks. I can see in the dark, but my eyes glow red. I try not to do it in polite company, but I was going to risk it, briefly.
Ok, dead guy over there, heat leaving his body. Over there, 2 guys sleeping, and what the heck was that? Size of a bear! I heard a choking scream as one of the cowboys died, and I moved again, switching off the glow. The last guy was awake, sounded like he’d ratcheted his carbine. Panicking. ‘Anyone there?’ I kept silent, trying to work out what was killing us, and where it was.
He fired into the blackness, and then something hit him. He barely had time to scream, died fast.
I climbed to my feet, quiet as I could, and prayed that this thing worked on heat vision. I’m guessing it did, as it didn’t jump me. The rain damped down the scent, so we were both invisible to the other.
This was going to hurt, but it had to be done. I coughed, and all of a sudden it was there. Long sharp claws lanced into my sides, through my ribs, as it lifted me into the air. I let my eyes glow – last thing the creature saw. I brought my arms up and unloaded my revolvers into its head.
Silence again. I was in some bother. Deep gashes on my sides. The wounds were already starting to set, but to heal, I’d need meat, and I was feeling the hunger. I was going to need the creature to show old man Thorpe, but I could bury the cowboys here. Eventually.