The Banshee
entered his mind. He tried hard to shake it away, wanting instead to concentrate on the peaceful night and the sound of the crickets.
    Murphy checked the doors of the closed shops as he passed, ensuring they were secured. It was at the Hardware store when he first noticed the silence.
    Scanning the street, he found no movement or sound. The crickets no longer made their steady drone and the cool night air had become humid and sticky. He turned towards a scratching sound from a nearby doorway. It grew louder as he approached. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. The noise ceased, followed by a low growl.
    Murphy froze in a crouched position, ready to pounce on an intruder, or be pounced upon.
    Goddamn dog
, he thought, relaxing his stance but kept his hand near the holstered revolver on his belt.
Feel like I’m looking for the boogieman.
    Then he saw something, a shadow at first, and then a solid form, large, distorted, horrible. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Was the perspiration dripping from his forehead blurring his vision? Was he seeing things?
    He stood, unable to move. Only his eye muscles responded and followed the beast. It left the doorway, crossed the street and brazenly entered the darkness of the field, but not before looking back at Murphy with eyes that blazed. It seemed to urge Murphy to follow.
    Come on, Chief of Police, catch me, I dare you
    Then it disappeared into the darkness. Murphy remained in the middle of the street for a few moments. Perspiration soaked his shirt. His mouth hung open in disbelief. The return of the crickets snapped him from the hypnotic state. He ran as fast as he could back to the police office and dialed Keith’s home phone.
    â€œHello?” a tired voice answered.
    â€œKeith, get to the office right now.” Murphy spoke quickly between gasps for air.
    â€œI just sat down with Mary Ellen for dinner.”
    â€œDamn it, Keith. I just saw the thing that killed Andy,” Murphy was almost yelling into the phone.
    â€œI’m on my way,” Keith said, hanging up.

    * * * *

    When he entered the office fifteen minutes later, Keith found Murphy at his desk with a shotgun on his lap.
    â€œLet’s go,” he said handing Keith the shotgun, “it’s got a head start.”
    â€œWhat’s got a head start? What are we looking for, Chief?”
    â€œBelieve me, when you see this thing you’ll know it’s what we are looking for. And listen, don’t hesitate, shoot to kill.”
    Murphy drove the patrol car to the approximate spot where he saw the beast enter the field. They got out and followed the headlights’ illumination.
    â€œIt came this way.” Murphy pointed his flashlight onto the deep prints embedded into the grass, three digits protruding from a triangular shaped foot, an obvious talon at each tip.
    Keith placed his size eleven shoe next to the print and directed the light onto the flattened print of the animal and his shoe next to it, showing the obvious contrast in size. The print was double his shoe. “Damn, look at that.”
    â€œLet’s go,” Murphy said, noting the difference.
    They continued following their flashlights with worn batteries. Keith aimed his light in a sweeping motion then back to the tracks. “It’s getting hot.”
    Murphy felt the sweat begin to bead again on his forehead, “Keep your eyes open.”
    They stopped where the tracks ended, by the Oak tree.
    â€œMust have crossed here, probably halfway to Canada by now.” Keith relaxed.
    Murphy continued to sweep his light across the brush and high grass of the streams bank with the same results. They noticed the air cooled again. Murphy felt exhausted and defeated. “Maybe the stress of the murders has got me hallucinating.”
    â€œYou gotta get some shut eye, Chief.”
    Keith recognized the spent facial expression on his boss, due to the turmoil brewing inside. His wife missing, a

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