The Border Agent is a story that is still being written, but whose concept has been in my mind for years. This is not some political allegory to the immigration debate in the US, this is just a story blending elements of the supernatural, scientific, and fanciful.
She could hear their hearts beating crimson as she arched her back and gripped the polished brass pole between her milky white thighs. The dim gas lit colors dance across her skin as she spins, a silent sirens song calling out to the lonely and depraved alike. Drawing them in, swallowing their inhibitions and feeding their desires until they believe anything you whisper to them while they stuff dollars between your tits.
Their sweaty, fumbling hands betraying their intentions; most girls find them repulsive, but she is not most girls. She revels in the scent of hormones wafting off their skin, a reaction like Pavlov gave his dog. Her years of experience telling her that this means they're ripe for the picking.
For over a thousand years she has played this game. Others would hunt, but hunting brings fear, and fear brings retribution. She'd found that to survive the game the prey must come to you, and in places like this they always come. The best part being that they rarely tell anyone where they are going, so few realize they are gone. From the slums of Carthage, the alleys of whitehall, to the dusty streets of Frontier City, they always come.
Just before dawn she slips out the back, her earnings in hand, and darts home as the morning twilight threatens the horizon. As she reaches the storm cellar of her landlord's house a hand reaches from behind and halts her. Another hand wraps round her throat as a raspy voice whispers "not so fast, sweety". The hand on her arms looses its grip and pulls a knife from a belt. The knife presses against her spine as the voice continued, "now open the doors, real slow" as the other hand released her neck.
She bent over slowly and opened the cellar, the knife digging into her back. Her pulse quickening as she stepped into the darkness below, she knew what this man was here for, and it wasn't anything she need fear.
He pushed her down the last few steps so she stumbled and fell to the floor. "No need to be so rough, love" she groaned as she pushed herself up to her knees. "Could you get the door, don't want anyone peaking in", the man seemed confused, but closed the door anyway, produced a lighter and flicked it to light his descent. At the bottom of the stairs he could see her, still on her knees, waiting for him.
"You are a filthy one, ain't ya? Just waiting for what I got." His letcherous voice rasping out his lungs as his feet fell with a thud to the ground in front of her, but she could not hear anything... Except his beating heart.
His pulse quickened as he fumbled for his belt with his one free hand, the cadence driving her mad with hunger. She grabbed his belt and swept his hand away, unclaspimg the leather strap, his pants falling to the floor. Holding herself back as best she could she laid before him pulling at his shirt to draw him near. She smiled as he lay his lighter down and pressed his weight on her, the beating of his heart thundering through his chest.
"Why the fuck are you smiling, slut?" He barked at her.
Her smirk continued as she replied "my name is Metucosa, and no one will miss you." As his muscles tensed and he began to thrust she pulled herself up and sunk her teeth into him.
Her mouth filled with sweet tangy taste of iron as she wrapped her arms and legs around him. He convulsed and tried to scream but the pain allowed no breath to escape his lips. She drank all she could and when his struggling ceased she lay beneath his heavy body, feeling the life that remained flow across her chest and onto the floor.
She would have to clean herself up and dispose of him, but for now she reveled in content ecstasy.
The battle scarred locomotive, pulling a single car, lumbered into the Frontier City station just before noon. The patrons stepped back as the crest of the Border Agents came into view. A ticket checker ran to alert the sheriff, a Border Agent in town meant something was wrong.
A plume of steam bellowed out and the wheels screeched to a halt as the crowd trickled out of the station. The riveted metal door made a grinding sound as it slid open to a thud, and a high leather boot stepped out onto the platform. Sevin, the senior Border Agent stepped onto the platform and took stock of the station and surrounding city. These isolated towns all looked similar and she had a hard time distinguishing between them all, never staying in one town very long exacerbated the issue. As she wondered how long this case would take the sheriff arrived with a preacher and someone who appeared official in town. “Afternoon, ma’am,” the sheriff managed to stutter out as he approached, “what brings you to our quiet prairy town?”
“You’ve got a problem” Sevin replied very matter-of-factly.
“I think you will find that we are a peaceful and quiet town, full of god fearin’ folks that wouldn’t bring any trouble to town” the sheriff assured her.
“All the same” the answered coldly, “trouble has found you. I need to be directed to the center of town.” Sevin walked past the sheriff and his associates without saying another word and started into the town. The preacher and man who could be the mayor scrambled after her as the preacher asked “aren’t you dressed a little… imodestly miss….”
“Sevin,” she answered sharply “and if my attire offends your sensibilities I expect you to stay out of my way.”
The city official chimed in “it’s just that… our town has a reputation as one of values, and” before he could finish, Sevin pushed him against the wall of a building, took his hand and pressed it to one of the scars on her exposed midrift. A seering pain shot through the official and he screaming as though burned by hot irons. “These are not ornaments, nor are they here to offend or entice. These are wounds from the creatures I’m here to protect you against, the pain you’re feeling is what happens when they are concealed. To cover these with anything other than the spells you see scrawled across each one brings pain on a level you can’t imagine.” With that she releases his hand and the official drops to his knees, quietly sobbing as the townsfolk trickle into the streets to see what the commotin was.
“My name is Sevin” she says, addressing the crowd. “I’m a Border Agent tasked with hunting and dispatching creatures that have crossed from Tesla’s Rift. I have reason to believe that such a creature resides in Frotnier City. As of this moment I am in charge of this town and all who reside in it. A curfew is in affect as of this moment, come sun down I don’t want to see a soul on these streets that I haven’t allowed. Go back about your business, and lock your doors tonight.” At that moment the Sheriff appeared again, agitated this time “what gives you the right to scare the whole damn town and impose martial law?”
“Sheriff, perhaps you haven’t felt it because this shithole town is your home, but something is here, and it’s my job to make sure that it doesn’t leave. Unless you want to see these ‘god fearin’ salt-of-the-earth folks you call friends fall victim to it, shut up, and stay out of my way.”
Fed up with the local leadership Sevin explored the town on her own, every cracked wooden walkway and peeling painted building. The tingle up her spine told her that something was wrong, but she couldn’t tell. After walking every side street she was able to determine the exact center of town, a spot about 10 paces from the fountain that marked the main square. Reaching into her sachel Sevin produced a small vial of what appeared to be fine metal shavings. Carefully she removed the lid and poured the contents of the glass vial to the ground, the shavings fell at her feet. Sevin seemed confused and let out a soft grunt of disapproval. That isn’t right she thought to herself, something is here, how can it avoid being devined? Frustrated, she walked to the sheriff’s station on the south side of the town square. Walking through the open doorway she found the Preacher, city official, and Sheriff vigorously discussing their fears. They were so adament in their discussion they hadn’t realized her enter, rather the room seemed to grow colder and they became aware of her presence.
“Can we help you?” the Sheriff asked in a tone bordering on indignant and fearful.
“Have there been any unexplained deaths in the area recently?” Sevin asked.
“No ma’am, if there had been we might have expected someone such as yourself to show up.” This answer added to her frustration. The creatures she encounters are not known for subtlety or discression, they are universally animalistic in their methods and intent, so why would she be here…
“Have any horses gone missing?” she inquired, her tone shifting from authoritative to curious.
“Well…” the sheriff paused, “a few horses have been reported stolen in the night by a few different ranches outside of town.”
“Can you show me where these ranches are located?” As the sheriff fumbled through his desk looking for a map she extended her hand to the official, “I apologize for my prior rudeness, long days of travel can take a lot out of you, mister…”
“Mayor Watkins, Madam Agent. We are just a little caught off guard by your presence and appearance. We have never seen a Border Agent here before. We are several towns away from the nearest reported anomolies, and we haven’t had any incidents like we’ve heard reported.”
“That’s what worries me, Mr. Watkins, there are none of the normal signs of possession or infestation, but all the same there is something here.” The sheriff had produced a map and began placing bullets on the spots of the reported horse thefts, about a dozen in total, all circling the town but keeping a few hours’ distance from it. Something was in Frontier City, something that was being very careful.
Night was fast approaching, and Metucosa was stirring beneath her prey. She had not prepared for this feeding, so she had to hurry once the sun was down and find out how to dispose of the body.
She cleaned herself in the shallow pan on her night stand, the dried blood at first flaking off her pale skin, then slowly turning into a thick paste as the water reconsituted it. She had to work that night, so there wasn’t any more time to waste, it would take a lot of her strength to cover her tracks this time. Cloaking herself to avoid the final rays of the sun and buy her a few extra minutes travel she quietly exited the cellar, leaving the slumped body covered in a blanket. Closing her eyes in the gaining twilight she focused her senses on the distant farms, there were few left that she hadn’t already visited, she would have to move on soon, but not quite yet. Finally coming into focus was a mare left tied outside the stable 10 miles east, it would do nicely, she was strong, but not strong enough to carry a man as far as she needed to. Her gloved hands tied the cloak’s hood tightly and she began running. Like a thoroughbread she sped across the fields of scrubby brush, the growing darkness camoflaging her figure, had anyone seen her they may have mistaken her for a lost wolf, or simply a shadow in the corner of their eye.
Reaching the farm she slowed and began to crawl to avoid being seen and further observe the occupants. A family just sitting down to supper, the farmhands in the second house drinking and playing cards, and the mare, tied to a post outside the stable. Methodically she moved closer, careful to stay down wind of the animal, though not her prey animals are typically spooked by her presence. As she got closer she reached to her belt and pulled out a small leather sack. Very quickly she sprang from the ground, poured the contents of the bag into her hand, and covered the horse’s nose with it. The horse let out a sharp whine then stiffened and grew quiet. She could see the horse’s pupil dilate in the darkness, the horse could see her eyes shining like little lanterns in the night.
After untying the horse and mounting it bare Metucosa leaned forward and simply let out a soft “tsst” and the horse leapt into the hardest run of its life. Racing across the tracks Metucosa had left earlier the horse now carried her back to the little house on the edge of town. The half moon had not risen when they arrived further covering her efforts as she carried the body up the stairs and tied him to the mare’s back. Then with another “tsst” they both ran west to the cliffs of liar’s gorge. Arriving there as the moon rose above the horizon behind her, she lead the horse to the cliff’s edge. The horse was panting and frothed with sweat, the body on its back weighing it down more as it seemed unable to slow its heartbeat. Covering its eyes with her hands Metucosa stood the horse at the very edge of the cliff and listened to its breathing become more labored then the short shallow breathes, and all at once the horse collapsed and tumbled over the edge, taking its cargo with it.
Metucosa arrived at the bar a little late, her energy sapped from the effort of disposing of the body. The bar was on the outskirts of town, forsaken by the good people of Frontier City, yet somehow always full of patrons from near and far. Miners and wanderers fresh off the train station always found there way here, people new in town or just passing through, a seemingly endless procession of the downtroden and desperate, just looking for a moment of happiness and peace. No matter how they felt coming in, all of their cares melted away the moment the candle lit spotlight illuminated the stage with its stained glass cell and she walked on. The owner didn’t know what it was about her that made the room stop but Metucosa, known to them as “Mindy”, always took their breath away. Her legs tattooed with symbols from a strange language, her fluid like movements seemed too perfect to be real, it was as though a painting had come to life before them, and the real world wasn’t vivid enough to compare to this illusion. No drinks ever sold while she danced, but the deluge of requests once she had stopped more than made up for any lull in activity. Truthfully the owner and bar keeps enjoyed the break while she danced, and found themselves losing focus as she spun and slid before them.
Sevin had the Sheriff round up his Deputies and head out to the farms with the missing horses to find out what he could. In the meantime she sat in the middle of town, the spot where her devining had failed earlier, in a trance. Her eyes remained open, unblinking, and unfocused. The creatures who cross from the other side always carry a charge of electricity and magnetism that allows her to track them. But in this case there was not measurable charge within range of even the finest of her powders.
The town had grown silent as night fell, the townsfolk returning home dissapointed that they had not gotten to see a Border Agent engaged in their fabled work. Across the square a sound gently became noticable, a piano playing a kind of dirge, low on the scale and in minor keys, not the normal cadence of a saloon or brothel’s atmosphere. Sevin snapped out of her trance and began walking towards the sounds, heading outside of town.
It wasn’t a long walk, but the cooling air and stillness of the town make each step feel like a death march; hairs standing on end, heart audibly beating in the chest, breath visible in the air before you. The saloon where the music was originating was anything but special, not quite fallen into disrepair, but obviously not worried about its aesthetics. As Sevin approached the man at the door stood from his stool and rested his hand on his gun, “this is no place for a lady, ma’am, I suggest you..” but he couldn’t finish his sentence. Sevin did not stop in front of the man but rather walked into him forcing him to step back and fall onto his stool once more. Now standing eye to eye with the man Sevin simply raised a single finger to his lips and gently but sternly let out a “sshhhh”, like a mother silencing her child in front of company. Stepping around the door man she entered the saloon and surveyed the establishment. The music had stopped as she approached and the bar was now packed with patrons scrambling for the attention of the two men behind the bar.
Sevin sat at the end of the bar and watched as each man threw their money at the bar keeps and drank as though they’d been parched in the desert. When the crowd had finally calmed and returned to their tables, one barkeep approached her and inquired if she was in the right place. Pushing a coin across the bar she simply replied “Scotch”. The barkeep inspected the coin as he walked to the till and returned a moment later with her glass. She took a sip as a man was lead to the piano and helped to sit before, the blind old man felt the keys for a moment and straightened his posture. There was no signal for him to start playing, but after a long minute of silence his fingers struck the keys and the room filled with a solemn march the cover of the spotlight was removed and the stage across from the bar was bathed in a rainbow of amber hues. The men drank and spoke for a moment until the dancer appeared, her slender physique disguising the power with which she walked, letting her robe slide from her shoulder and castching it in her elbows the room began to calm. Lifting a leg and grasping the pole with the back of her knee she spun in a slow twirl, it was then that Sevin caught sight of the tattooes running the length of the dancer’s leg. Strange but familiar symbols. Seving continued to sip her scotch as the dancer continued. Dropping her robe completely the woman was now completely nude before the whole room. Not a sound could be heard outside of the piano, it was as though no one in saloon breathed. Not a foot tap, nor cough; glasses were half raised to lips, but stuck in place, like a photograph. The dancer continued, not noticing Sevin at the bar.
Sevin stared at the symbols and removed a book from her satchel. The old leather cover was cracked and the stamped lettering was barely legible, but appeared to read “Unconfirmed Reports”. Thumbing through the pages she came upon a chapter regarding the old folklore of humans turned into monster that preyed upon their own. The pages mentioned wendigos and cannibals, wild men and skin walkers. Finally she came upon a page that read “unclassified”. These pages spoke of people who drank the blood of men possessed abnormal strength, and were only slowed by weapons, not killed. The symbols associated with the creatures were forms of sanskrit and babylonian. She looked up from her book to see the dancer staring directly at her. Sevin did not know for how long she had been watched, but the dancer stood unflinching and the music played, the room still silent as a graveyard, and the dancer’s eyes shining in the dim light like a wolf. Suddenly the dancer turned and left the stage, the men all downed their drinks and crowded the bar as the piano music trailed off, almost as though it had lost its way.
In the commotion of frantically served drinks and money exchanging hands Sevin walked onto the stage and through the curtains into the back. Several girls sat semi clothed in front of mirrors and were startled when Sevin entered. “What are you doing in here?!?” one shrieked as they all covered themselves. “Where did she go?” Sevin barked at them.
“Who?” another girl replied.
“The dancer who was just on stage.”
“Mindy? She just left.” The girl answered as she motioned towards the door.
Sevin swung the door open but paused a moment to exit, her eyes adjusting to the moonlit field once more. The door had already begun to swing back as she stepped out into the cool night air. The tracks were coming into focus as her eyes adapted to the darkness. She heard a shuffle of gravel and dirt around the side of the building and pulled a knife from her boot. The handle of the knife was engraved with a phrase in Latin that roughly translates to “The darkness shall reveal itself.” Sevin slid herself along the wall approaching where the sound had originated. Crouching to allow her more upward force with her blow she grasped the knife with both hands and turned the corner ready to drive the blade up into whatever awaited her. But she found herself staring at emptiness. She relaxed her muscles and listened to try and hear where the woman had run to. As she listened she was suddenly hit on both shoulders with the full weight of Metucosa as she leapt from the roof onto the head and shoulders of Sevin knocking her to the ground.
Metucosa was weak, still not recovered and fed from her earlier exersion, but with strength enough to pin Sevin to the ground. “I don’t think I’ve ever been hunted by a woman before, or ever tasted one, come to think of it” Metucosa purred seductively as she ran her nose along Sevin’s neck.
“What are you?” Sevin growled through gnashed teeth as she struggled to to break the moster’s grip.
“We have no name, but we are the ones who made you fear the dark so many years ago.” Sevin was about to speak when the creature reared back and head butted her, rendering her unconcious. Metucosa didn’t have the strength to carry even this woman back to her lair, so she had to get what she could before anyone else came along. She pried Sevin’s fingers off the knife and threw it aside, she didn’t want to get injured by any involuntary spasms. Taking a long deep breath of her prey’s essence, Metucosa tilted the unconcious woman’s head to the side and sunk her teeth in. Almost immediately a surge of pain engulfed the monster, her teeth backed out of ther Border Agent’s neck and was knocked to the ground by the convulsin of Sevin’s seemingly lifeless body. The creature found itself unable to control its movements, trapped writhing in anguish alongside the similarly afflicted Sevin.
Sevin awoke in the Sheriff’s station sometime later, the morning twilight just starting to fill the east facing window. “Are you with us?” the Sheriff asked. Sevin’s vision was still coming into focus and she simply gestured for the Sheriff to move. Standing from the bare cot in an unlocked cell she took a few uneasy steps and steadied herself against the bars. “Where is it?” she asked bluntly.
“The woman?” The Sheriff asked. “We have her here, we weren’t sure what the story was, but we thought it best to let you sort it out.”
Sevin found her balance as she walked to the front of the other cell and saw the creature huddled in the corner under the cot like a frightened rat. “How many men did you kill, monster?” The creature just stared back at her from its hiding place. “I don’t have to come in there, and I know that our weapons won’t kill you, but I imagine it won’t feel to good to use you as target practice until you talk.”
“Only what I needed to survive” Metucosa replied in a raspy whisper.
“Where are they?”
“At the bottom of Liar’s Valley. No funeral’s for them, they belong to the vultures.”
Sevin turned to the Sheriff. “We need to get to Liar’s Valley immediately.”
“A little early to drag bodies up a canyon wall isn’t it?”
“Have you been here long enough to notice there are no cemetaries in this town? They burn their dead. We’re too close to the epicenter for it to be done any other way. They burn their dead here, so they can’t come back.”
Liar’s valley is a desolate place, so named because the land there was sold to wealthy landowners from the east site unseen. When they came to develop the land what they found was a parched sandy ravene with barely enough grass to sustain the few skinny hares that seemed trapped in it. Undetered the rich men tried to conquer nature and make the place a paradise. They built homes and tried to divert water into the valley to feed their would be oasis. When the water came it did not bring life to the valley, it only took the earth out from beneath their homes. The bones of those old structures can still be seen half sunk into the earth of the dried riverbed.
The sound is hard to make out at first, a shamble of scratching, groaning, and an animalistic bark. The first figure to crest the edge of the valley was missing part of its skull, its walk was labored and its eyes black and hollow, like staring into a mine shaft. The others that followed were all similarly desheveled; men and the horses that had been dropped into the valley, a dozen men and a dozen horses, now host to some ungodly creatures that crawled into this world to tear it down.
The men sneered at one another as they gathered near the edge where their hosts had all fallen. The sound of broken bones snapping back into place filled the air for a few moments, and the grotesque jockies mounted their steeds and began riding for town.
As the sunlight trickled into the sheriff station Metucosa stripped and held her clothes up to keep her corner as dark as possible. Sevin and the sheriff argued about sending a group out to Liar’s valley to burn the bodies of the men in the bottom. If she could wait until nightfall she should try to find a way out, but for the moment she was helpless, a feeling she had not known for a long time.
“If you are unwilling to ride with me,” Sevin shouted “are you at least capable of guarding this beast?” The Sheriff seemed dazed, as if reality had become a lie, or a truth too hard to understand. Sevin reached back and slapped the sheriff, nearly knocking him to the floor. “LISTEN TO ME!” Sevin ordered the Sheriff as he picked himself back up in his chair. “You have 12 men who, if we’re lucky, are rotting at the bottom of that cliff. We need to make sure that they stay down there. Will you come with me?”
“I… I can’t,” he stammered.
“Then stay here. I’ll need your horse” she replied in a dissapointed tone as she walked out.
Her engine and car had been pulled onto the bypass tracks in the night, a little further to walk, but giving her time to clear her mind and forget what may be coming. Climbing into her quarters she began opening chests and cabinets, assembling the tools she would need and loading them in her saddle bags. Mini crossbow, objects of varying metal composition, vials of powders and liquids from a rack on the wall, a shotgun, and her boot knife. Whatever was out there, she would be ready.
Walking back to the Sheriff’s station she found a horse waiting for her, tied out front. A grey horse, just slightly past its prime; still strong, but tired from age. She slung her saddle bags across the the front of the saddle and lashed them to the horn. The sun was inching towards its summit as she rode out of town, and unseasonal clouds had begun to gather on the horizon.
Back in the Sheriff station Metucosa had begun cutting symbols into her arms with her nails as she cowered from the daylight, she needed to sleep, but could not find rest in such a place.
The twisted and rotting horses thundered across the plains that lay between the valley and Frontier City. Their veins and muscles coursed with the electricity of the monsters that possessed them, leaving them with no need to rest or even breath. The lead rider spotted a figure approaching at full gallop atop their horse, and raised his hand to draw the attention of his fellow riders and a hungry grin crept across their faces. They slowed their horse’s sprint as the approaching rider drew near.
Sevin saw the riders slow and pulled back on her reigns stopping a short distance from them. “Turn back,” she ordered. “Return to where you came and leave these bodies, you have desecrated them enough.” A chorus of laughter erupted from the dry dust choked throats of the possesed corpses.
“We will fest upon your soul,” the riders replied in perfect unison, “and then all the people in this town.”
“What are you?” she asked as she pulled out her devining powder. The contents stuck to the side of the bottle nearest to the creatures.
“We are hungry,” the lead rider replied alone as his horse began to slowly walk towards her. She pulled from her saddlebags the crossbow, a coper core dart, the wire, and the metal spike. Attaching the wire to the dart and the spike she held her arm out and dropped the spike to the ground.
“Go back now,” she warned as she took the crossbow in her hand.
“And who are you that we should heed your empty threats?” Without responding Sevin fired the crossbow, the dart struck the rider in the leg and followed through into his horse. For a moment the rider looked perplexed, unsure of what was happening, then its muscles twitched, same with the horse’s. Again they twitched, and again until they both tensed and a blinding light shot from the dart, across the wire, and into the ground where the spike lay. The remaining riders clutched their reigns and all whispered to their horses. All at once they sprung into a full sprint all headed toward the town, now visible in the distance. Sevin turn and pulled the spike from the ground as she gave chase. She could not catch the posessed riders, all she could do was hope her preparations would slow them down.
The skies had now grown dark as if midnight had come to mid day. The riders closed their ranks as they neared the town, having left their pursuer far behind. Just as they lined up two wide to enter the town the front four horses and riders were suddenly pulled to the right and collapsed over one another around a large magnet. While distracted by their fallen brethren the next two rush into the copper wire strung across the western entrances to the town, in a flash they both fell, leaving their horses to gallop into the town riderless. The remaining horsemen, visibly angered by their thinning rankes stormed into the town.
Sevin arrived at the four riders and horses attempting the stand or clawn their way clear of the magnet’s pull. Again dropping the spike to the ground she pulled her knife from her boot, wrapped the wire around the base of the blade and its hilt and stabbed each of the beasts shielding her eyes with the other hand.
The five remaining riders and sevin horses had begun laying waste to the town with unnatural strength and malevolence. The two riderless steeds crashed through the wall of the general store and began demolishing the support posts for the store and the living quarters above. The riders spread out through the town and began hunting for the townspeople to drag into the streets, wailing in terror. But each door kicked down, every cellar opened, each apartment and hotel room they found empty. The Sheriff, presumably with some help, had managed to evacuate the town before they had arrived. The horses and men gathered in the square as the cracking and splintering cacophany of the general store, and the apartments above crumbled behind them. They saw the Sheriff station, and all began walking towards it.
Metucosa had dressed again and was sitting on her cot basking in the unnatural darkness when they entered. The riders stared at her with their empty eyes, as if searching her for meaning. “Let me out” she begged them. “I know what you are, and I can help you, but let me out.”
“You know not what we are,” they answered still surveying the frail animal before them. Not human, but of no concern to them. As they turned to leave the door slammed shut and was braced from the outside. Sevin stepped into view through the barred windows, saddle bag across her shoulders, aiming the crossbow between the bars. Firing another dart she struck one of the horses, the light filled the jail and Metucosa panicked, throwing herself to the floor and covering her eyes. Sevin cut the wire and began loading another dart as the horses within began to kick wildly. Their strength did not affect the stone and mortar walls of the jail as it did the store, it was their bodies that gave before the structure. Bones snapped and protruded from the skin, the horses fell to the ground one after another as their blind rage crippled their hosts. The five men stood silently and formed a circle, reaching out a single hand onto the shoulder of the man across from him. The skies grew restless and began to pulse. Sevin ran from the jail as quickly as she could but turned just in time to see lightning strike the roof of the jail destroying the wood and shingles. As the former roof rained down upon her in splinters she saw the men crawling over the walls and into the street before her.
Sevin cut the copper wire from the spike and tied it to a belt with small fluid filled jars lining it with a wire connecting them all, the other end remained around her knife. Slinging the belt across her shoulders she pulled the shotgun from her saddlebags and dropped them to the ground. The men were walking towards her and charged as she checked if the shotgun was loaded. Closing the gun just as they were on top of her she spun and kicked the first man in the face, sending him to the ground. Continuing to spin with her momentum she extended her arm and fired the shotgun sending the second man back into the third, knocking them both to the side. The fourth man swung for her and as she ducked she stabbed the first man in the chest as he began to stand. The light was less intense this time but filled the jars on the belt causing it to retain a glow. The fifth man she emptied the second chamber into, striking his face and taking the man off his feet.
Sevin stabbed the fifth man in the thigh as she kicked her legs up and grasped the fourth man’s head between her feet, pulling him to the ground. The bottles’ glow grew brighter as she withdrew the knife from the fifth man and drove it into the stomach of the fourth. The other two were upon her before she could pull her blade from the fourth man. Black puss oozed from the shotgun would of the second man as he wrestled her hands away from the knife, still stuck in the fourth man. The third man pinned her legs beneath his and used his body weight to keep her still.
“Eyes are the windows of the soul. But windows aren’t just for looking, they’re for coming in and stealing what isn’t yours” the third man said as he laid his hands on Sevin’s face and began to press his thumbs into her now clenched eyes. As the pain was almost unbearable Sevin heard a clap of thunder and the pain from her eyes was gone, along with the pressure on her legs. Lifting her legs up and reaching them to her hands she grasped the second man’s head and flipped him over her, freeing her hands in the process. Following the momentum she tumbled with the man, pulling her knife from the fourth man and driving it into the second as she kneeled on his arms. The third man was pulling himself up as Sevin turned to face him. Another clap of thunder rang out and the grotesque body’s shirt and ribs tore away but still the beast would not relent. It lay against the fountain in the square and tried to pull itself up as Sevin put her boot on its chest.
“Windows are also for letting the light in to drive out the darkness” she whispered to the creature as she slid her knife into its left eye. Another flash and the belt slung across her shoulder glowed like she’d captured lightning. Straightening herself she turned to see the sheriff there, his eyes wide with fear. “Thank you.” She said as she walked back towards the jail. The Sheriff just stood there, clutching his shotgun, smoke still pouring from the muzzle. He didn’t even hear the crippled horses in the jail as Seving dispatched each one.
Sevin and Metucosa locked eyes as they stood on each side of the bars. The roof had been destroyed, but the cell was lined all the way around by iron bars, so there was no escaping for this monster. “What are you?” Sevin asked, as if nothing had interrupted her questions previously.
“Let me out of here and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.” Metucosa replied.
“That’s not happening. Tell me what you are, if there are more of you, and where they can be found. Then I will decide what happens next.” The clouds began to thin, the darkness began to recede. Metucosa began to panic.
“There is no name for what I am. There were many of us, a long time ago, but I haven’t seen another in a lifetime. NOW LET ME OUT!!! Please.” The fear in her eyes was real, but it was not moving to Sevin.
“A lifetime you say. How many men have you killed in your lifetime?”
“I don’t know, please let me go. PLEASE!! At least let me cover myself.”
“Why? What happens if you’re not covered?” Sevin continued in her calm interrogation. But Metucosa would not reply. She was trying to get enough wood pieces to pile around the cot and block the light. The clouds were clearning more and more. Sevin walked around the cell to the wall there the cot was. The woman cowering beneath would not look at her. Finally the sun broke through the clouds and filled jail. Sevin backed away and Metucosa began to shriek. Even in the shade of the cot the skin and flesh began to melt away from her bones, falling off in chunks and pouring off of her. It didn’t take long for the screaming to stop, and Sevin watched the whole ordeal until it was done. Then, walking back to her saddle bag she pulled a glass jar from it and collected some of the liquid that was now eating through the floor.
She walked out of the jail and found the Sheriff sitting on the edge of the wooden walkway before you reach the unpaved street. “You ok, Sheriff?” She asked.
“No… No I’m not.” He answered.
“Well, you will be. Get the people back here, round up the bodies and burn them. There’s some just outside of town, and another 2 a few miles west. Do it quickly.” She began walking back to the train station, the belt glowing brightly across her torso. “And Sheriff” she should back, snapping him to attention. “Thank you again. I mean it. You saved my life… or at least my eyes.”
Back in her rail car Sevin studied the fluid in the jar under a microscope. Taking notes in the Unconfirmed Reports manual. The creatures hunt at night exclusively. Sunlight appears to react with their biology creating a kind of acid that degrades the soft tissues quite rapidly. They possess human level intelligence and may even be more cunning and intelligent than most, given what appears to be their excessive life span. No formal name was able to be obtained from the creature, but will submit my analysis for assesment and classification.
Sitting in her chair, a leather seat with rivets holding the seams, she pulls a bottle from the cabinet next to her and takes a drink straight from it. Turning a small brass horn toward her she asks “any new assignements?” 3
Her conductor answers “yes ma’am. Carrier just arrived a few hours ago. Appalachia is our next assignment.”
“Shit” she says under her breath as she takes another drink, “that’s the furthest east we’ve had to go in years.”
“Well, get us moving. Let me know when we cross the Mississippi.” And the train pulled out of the station, leaving Frontier City behind. From the window she could already see smoke coming from the town’s square, and the line of people returning to town and Sevin was happy she never had to stay and see what comes after the fight. The tray of food was on the table next to her chair, she removed the cover to find some beef ribs and black beans. Staring at it for a moment she found herself not hungry, and resigned herself to wathing the landscape pass before her.