Cletus T. Broshus & the Blue Ridge Beast: Prologue - 4.

The boy walked off, quickly loading seed into the spreaders as his father stared distracted. He returned quickly, nervous energy putting a zip in his step. He handed one of the spreaders to his father, keeping one for himself. The pair then began slowly walking around in opposing directions; fluttering seeds like a whirling dervish as they paced methodically around the territory. Henry could see the boy moving along the site, bobbing his head as he marched along to unheard music. The spreader clicked along as Henry worked the lever, cranking the dial clockwise as he sent seed flying off in every given direction. 

This sort of work usually relaxed him, a few hours toiling his land the medicine to cure all that ailed him spiritually. But this day, Henry worried; his brain lingering on the improbably snapped branch. Each tick of the spreader sounded like snapping wood, growing louder as the thick fibers he imagined broke under some thing's brute force.

It had to be a bear, he said to himself; his busy brain already planning out the particulars of the necessary hunt to rid themselves of it. 

The pair had separated as they paced, Clive wandering further off as he made uneven passes along the field, nearing the woods that led back to camp. Henry had started working further out, near where some of the acreage was being overtaken by the advancing swamp. He had made several organized passes, thickly coating the area near the water with seed. The feeder finally emptied and Henry started making his way back when he heard the blood curdling squeals of a pig and violent thrashing sound. 

It was wet and sloppy, coming off the banks of the encroaching swamp waters a dozen or so yards just past the tree line behind him. He peered through the woods, seeing thick matted fur taking firm hold of a writhing, screaming swine a few yards off. It was a blur of violence, as he originally caught it; the great beast seeming to toy a bit with the struggling creature as it screeched and squealed in horror.

He turned, seeing his son half a field away from him; his ears tuning out the world under the screams of heavy bass and guitars. Scanning the ground around him, Henry found a small rock. He lobbed it with some force; the white pebble soaring high before coming down like a meteor near where Clive was walking. The boy raised his head, looking towards his father as he searched for who launched the stone. He could see Henry waving franticly, flagging for Clive to come towards him.   The boy gave a placating sigh, setting his seed spreader down on the lumpy ground and started making towards his dad. 

"Wha-," he started to say in a regular tone of voice before being silenced by Henry, shushing him silently with a thick finger pressed against his lips. The boy's voice immediately fell silent, his steps also slowing as he started walking more deliberate; assuming prey of some sort was near. He watched his father turn back over to the thick brush behind him, intently staring through the brush and branches. Clive slowly approached behind him, settling into a spot of his own. 

"What is it?" He asked, glancing over to his father, staring intently. 

"I think we found our culprit..." Henry said, eyes fixed on the violence just yards away.

"Bear. Just past the brush, by the water's edge." He said, motioning out beyond the wood. The boy peaked out, squinting his eyes a little to better focus in the bright light. He could hear struggling, violent splashing and groaning just a bit away; a blur of black and brown tussling by the edge of the waters. 

There were two beasts in the knot of churning flesh, a male bore (given the size of it) and what is presumably an bear, though to Clive it moved like no other beast he had ever seen. 

The beast was massive, seeming to have legs more like an ape than a bear as it broke from the fight, standing tall over the injured hog as it bayed in terror. The beast also fought more like an ape than it did a bear as well, grabbing hold of the struggling pig with crude, powerful claws; razor -like talons digging into the brown, scruffy flesh of the struggling swine. Blood oozed out of the deep groves carved into the flesh by the thick furred creature's slashes; bright gore further clouding the murky waters as the pig screamed in agony. 

The creature then gave a final slash as it dove down on the bleeding pig, sending a savage swipe of it's heavy claw across the bore, ripping deep into the pig's belly.  He rolled atop the creature as the bore instantly grew still, his innards pouring out in a agonizing hemorrhage. 

Henry watched with horror as the creature then tossed the bore aside, the dead flesh still twitching as the last of life drained from it. He watched as the creature slowly rolled over to its feet, pushing itself up on it's hind quarters; it's body gnarled and stiff. It turned his face towards the wood hiding Henry and Clive, it's monstrous face becoming clear as the beast was no longer entangled in combat. 

It stood roughly eight or so foot tall, with thick, matted black fur. Thick, raised spikes of hard skin traced along the beast's spine, running down the crooked creature, forming a short, thick tail that dragged behind him slightly. As for the creature's body, it was thick and muscular; long powerful arms coming off his thick torso, with heavy, powerful hands capping them at the ends. 

The creature's head rose off a short, thick neck oblong and alien as it seemed to sit awkward on the upright creature, seeming to strain as it stared forward. There were human like characteristics of the beast, the beast's eyes centered on the bony long skull; black, lifeless pupils staring out from behind the bloody, dreaded fur. A short, rounded snout extended off the creature's head, giving it a vague resemblance to a bear; though the more Henry watched it, the less he thought so. 

The creature paused before continuing with his feast, giving out a deep, bassy roar, claiming what was his by right of victory. The throaty noises echoed loudly, bouncing off trees as the creature twitched, it's hulking arms scratching at the air as it maintained it's delicate balance. 

Clive turned to his father in fear, eyes wide with disbelief at what he had just beheld. His father turned to him slowly, finger pressed firm against his lips as his free hand moved quickly towards his hip. His hand slapped against the side of his pistol; fingers wrapping tightly against the wood and steel as he jerked it from the holster. He trained the weapon on the creature, tensed a bit from the light click of the handgun popping out of the holster. The creature stood sentry over his kill, staring with useless eyes at the blurs of greens and browns that surrounded him in the bright midday sun. A slow rhythmic grumble pulsed out from his thick throat, occasionally slipping in a light hiss as he paused from gorging himself on his kill. 

Henry focused on the creature, slowing his breathing down to nearly nothing as be took steady aim and awaited the creature's next move. It grumbled a bit more as it shook its heavy head, staring into the woods. He gave another stern growl, slowly rising on it's hind quarters, menacing talons gripping the earth for balance. 

 

Henry steadied himself as he felt the beast's glare upon him. He knew the beast could not see him, his eyes on him as it scoured all the woods that surrounded him. It cocked its head around a few times, snapping its jaws as it grumbled out in warning before calming itself down enough to return to its meal. Henry gave out a long breathe, relaxing his aim. 

"You're not gonna shoot it?" Clive whispered in shock.

"No. We're leaving." Henry replied, slowly backing out of his perch; gun still trained on the distracted monster. 

"But-" Clive started but quieted once he caught sight of Henry's face; his skin white and thin. 

"We need the rifles... Maybe more. We'll come back..." Henry said, lightly pushing his son back as the pair exited back into the field. Free of the wood, the pair moved swiftly back towards their camp; careful to not make any noise.

"What was that thing?" Clive asked, more scared at the sight of his father the he was the beast. 

"Some ungodly creature. Ain't never seen nothing like it before." Henry replied, his chest burning as he struggled to take in air.   

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