In the previous episode, Mark agreed to be used as bait to lure the creature to a hill in the woods while his father, uncle, and Silas surrounded the spot. The creature drew near, tasting Mark’s scent on the air, and attacked. Readers voted that all Mark could see were teeth.
Teeth. Just teeth. They were inches from my face. Layers, rows of teeth in a mouth that had no end. It was not unlike our old Indian Cave.
I knew those teeth were the last thing I’d see in this life.
It was strange, the peace I felt.
Because some part of me knew that while I would be gone, there were three men here with me who would make sure no one else would be taken by those teeth ever again. And I was okay with that
But in the fraction of a moment it took this thought to pass through my mind, I realized something else: the teeth weren’t getting any closer to me.
The pressure in my chest relieved as I was finally able to draw in a breath, then, and with that breath, all sound and sight returned.
The thing was screaming in rage. It was like slivers of glass jammed in my ears.
“I’ve got you, Mark!” The sheriff was behind me. I felt a strong hand under each of my arms, pulling me away from the thing that had eaten some of Rivertown’s children for generations.
Silas was wrapped around the back of the creature, one hand tight around its throat, one barely pulling back on its forehead. His legs squeezed the middle of it so hard that I thought its bottom half would surely snap off.
But it didn’t snap. Because my Dad was there, too.
And with a strength and speed that could have rivaled Silas’ own, he drove the spearhead up into the belly of the thing.
I didn’t think the screaming could be any louder, but I was wrong.
It thrashed like a series of heartbeats or hiccups in Silas’ hold, trying to take us all to hell with it as it died.
We watched in silence, and when it lay still Silas allowed it to drop to the ground like a wet bag of sand.
Dad was the first to move toward it. I knew what he was up to even before he began.
“For Annie!” he shouted.
He drew back his foot and kicked the carcass, dead-center. Whump!
“For Tim!” next, a harder kick still. Whump!
“And Susan! Emmett!” Whump! Whump!
“For… for Inky!” His voice cracked. Whump!
I had never seen so many tears on my Dad’s face.
I’d done enough hunting with the sheriff that you’d think I’d be able to identify the innards spilling out of the hole in its center, but I couldn’t. Not a thing was familiar.
Dad kicked a few more times while Silas, the sheriff, and I all looked on nodding, watching him mourn.
We stood for some time, quiet, the way men are when there’s too much to say.
Silas nudged me. “We need to gather some firewood.”
“I’ve got some questions,” the sheriff interrupted.
“I know it,” Silas told him. “But they’ll keep. Let’s get this thing burned before anyone else sees it.” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.
< Previous Episode | Next Episode >