Thursday, December 20, 2007

Night Guest

One thing’s for sure. There’s no turning back—at least, not for now. Knuckles rubs his cold hands together, inches from the campfire that had warmed his supper, grits he’d bought in the small town thirty miles back. They now sit cold and half-eaten in a metal bowl at his side.

Shade, his gorgeous black mare, is unnerved by movements in the distance. The movements are just beyond her sight, but she knows that they are wolves. They’ve been following Knuckles and her for hours, waiting for the right moment to appear. The wolves in these parts are a bit abnormal; themselves descendant (spawn) of secret government breeding projects; carried out decades ago.

The project was intended to enhance the breed’s cognitive abilities, so that they would more easily adapt to the changing world around them. Rumor has it that the scientists experimented with human DNA, not resulting in deformities, or werewolf type creatures—but made the breed larger, and far more cunning.

Knuckles senses that Shade is uneasy, and he offers her what is left of his grits. She sniffs the bowl and then goes back to alert. Shade is descendant of thoroughbreds, and is the property of Knuckles’ recent lost love.

“What’s wrong girl?” says Knuckles, standing, “Is there something out there?”
He scans the darkness as he slowly removes his weapon.

The night grows silent, and is then parted by a deep growl of a voice from the shadows, “No gun,” it says. The project was also rumored to have granted some of its subject with abnormally humanlike qualities, vocal cords, developed and passed down through generations of alpha males.

Knuckles focuses more intently on the darkness and quickly realizes, courtesy of the campfire, that Shade and he are surrounded by more than twenty pairs of shinning eyes.

Empty dread floods him—likewise Shade, as the lake of eyes close in. Faint silhouettes moves into view and confirms what Shade already knows, as the raspy voice speaks again.

“Leave the horse and go.”