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Last Girls, Chapter Nine


  01:25:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 692 words  
Categories: Last Girls

Last Girls, Chapter Nine

They stopped moving when they heard noise coming from the brush surrounding their encampment.
?Probably a deer,? Denny said.
?Probably not,? Angel said. ?Deer would stay the hell away from the fire and all of our noise.? He leaned over to his backpack, and pulled something small and black out of one of its pockets. It reflected the light of the fire, and it was a moment before any of his friends realized it was a gun.
?Jesus,? Lark said. ?Put that the fuck away. What the hell were you thinking, bringing that and not even telling anyone about it??
?Shh,? he said.
?No, you shut the fuck up. What if it had gone off in the crash- or if there'd been a fire in the car. We wouldn't have even known to get it out of there before, the, uh,?
?It's called cooking a round off. It happens all the time with house fires. Responsible gun owners store loaded guns knowing it's possible they'll cook off uncontrolled at some point.?
?And a responsible gun owner would have told us it was in the car. Because in a car accident there's no telling which direction the gun can end up pointed in while it cooks off rounds. I just told you how much injury freaks me out, and you pull this-? Then she heard it, the reason he'd pulled the gun. A growl, low but growing in intensity. The brush nearest them moved, and gray fur pushed through its branches.
It looked enough like a wolf, that they all leapt to their feet, instinctively tightening their circle around the fire. But it wasn't, clearly. It stalked towards them on its hind legs, legs clearly built for running both on four legs and two. And its torso more closely resembled that of a human being, despit being streaked with gray and black fir. The face was that of a wolf, but larger, to stay in better proportion with its body.
While it stalked around the fire, and its gaze flicked across them all like the shadows dueling with the fire's light, its eyes returned every few seconds to Lark. For a moment, it was enough to pull her focus away from Angel and his pistol, to its rending teeth, and sharp claws, larger than you'd expect on a creature its size. It was a beast designed for dismemberment and debility.
?We're not accepting trick or treaters,? Betsy yelled, ?though if you asked nicely I might be willing to make you a s'more.?
?Yeah, dude,? Kelly said, ?it's not cool, sneaking up on somebody's campground.?
?I'm not sure he is a dude,? Alan said. The wolf snarled, showing a mouth full of teeth that hollowed into a too point snout; there wasn't enough room left inside the wolf for a human head. ?Jesus.?
?Get the hell out of here,? Angel said, stepping out of the circle, and aiming his gun at the wolf.
?'Fraid we can't do that,? a man said, stepping out on the opposite side from the wolf. His boots jangled from the spurs attached to them. Angel saw that the man had two pistols in a gun belt beneath his duster.
?Look, we didn't mean any harm,? he said, taking care not to point his gun anywhere near the man. ?Our truck got run off the road, and we hiked as far as we could to set up camp. If this is your land we can pack up and be out of here at first light.?
?That won't do either,? the stranger said from beneath the brim of a ten gallon cowboy hat. He brushed his coat back, exposing quick-draw holsters.
?Whoa, whoa,? Allan said. ?We can pack up now. We don't want trouble.?
?Well, trouble's what you got,? the cowboy said, grinning, finally looking up from the dirt enough that the campfire licked at his desiccated features. His features were hideous enough that Angel took a step back, and realized that the wolf was no longer where he'd last seen it, and spun to find it, too late.
Its jaws enveloped the gun and his hand, dead-ending at his elbow.

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