Bewere the Night

Free Bewere the Night by Ekaterina Sedia

Book: Bewere the Night by Ekaterina Sedia Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ekaterina Sedia
he hated it. He hated chasing anyone, or anything. Over the years, he’d developed a tactic for monster fighting, and that tactic did not involve a whole lot of dashing around.
    He was big and he knew it. It was easy to look slow and soft and vulnerable. It was easy to draw the predators out to him.
    But the damned monster was loping toward the barn, and toward the frantically chattering goats locked within. Kilgore did his best to lope faster.
    He burst out of the vegetation with his remaining gun held firmly upraised and cocked. The object of his chase beat its head against the barn door, ramming it again and again, and squealing with each impact. The machete was still protruding from its neck, being farther jammed with every head-butt.
    Kilgore tried to roar, “Oh no you don’t!” but he was winded, and it came out in a raspy cough.
    The creature turned. It scratched one front hoof into the dirt like a bull preparing to charge.
    And Kilgore didn’t waste any time unloading three more shots into that rolling, bucking shadow the size of a bear.
    While it shuddered and shrieked, The Heavy drew his Bible with his free hand. It snapped up out of his belt, and he held it up over his heart like a shield.
    He approached the creature with swift and measured steps. It was dying. Nothing man, beast, or other made a noise like that unless it had glimpsed the light on the other side and felt the Goodness of it burn like lava. It writhed and whimpered, and it splattered Kilgore with hot, gushing sprays of blood as black as oil.
    “In the name of the Father,” it spun around in the dirt, throwing a death tantrum. “And the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” Kilgore told it as he came up close and brought the gun down. “I unmake you.” One of the hateful red eyes glowered up from the paste-like mud.
    Kilgore fired into the eye because it was the only thing he could see well enough to aim for, and the fire there winked out.
    The creature quivered. One of its legs twitched, scraping a mindless reflex.
    The Heavy exhaled a huge breath and backed away. He knew, and the deep-bitten scars in his calf could attest, that there was no such thing as “too careful.”
    Keeping one eye on the carcass, he rifled through his bag and pulled out his flashlight. “Now let’s see exactly what the hell you are, Mr. Goat-killer.” His thumb caught the sliding switch and the bright white beam cut the night so sharply that for a moment, the man was blinded.
    When his eyes adjusted, he followed the circle of light down to the gruesome mass of bullet-broken bones, torn hair, and hooves. And that’s when he saw the tusks. “Tusks? This is . . . ” He used the edge of his steel-toed boot to nudge the pulpy skull. “A goddamned were-pig. Were-boar. Were . . . son of a bitch.”
    The corpse shifted by slow, nearly imperceptible degrees, sliding around in the muck and losing the edges of its hulking shape. Kilgore reached back into the bag and whipped out the digital camera. He readied the flash and framed the shot. He caught the image just in time.
    A moment later, the thing collapsed into an unrecognizable pelt.

TUSK AND SKIN
    MARISSA LINGEN

    The research station was just as Peter had imagined it: small, cozy, remote, bright. The snow reflected in all the windows in the daytime and cast a glittering pall on the night. The station was immaculately clean, except for the lab, which was filled too full of instruments and computers.
    “There’s a lot to keep track of,” Jens Olafsen, the research head, told him. “We send backups off every night. Can’t afford to lose the data. Temperature, acidity, salinity—” He grinned, teeth white in a sunburned face. “But you know all that.”
    Writing for Green Traveler , Peter did. He had never been to Greenland before, but environmental scientists were much the same in the Sahara and Katmandu. Different flora and fauna and weather, same recycled-fiber, isolated good cheer. Peter felt he already

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