Authors: Eric Barkett
Cursing, Ross drew a Colt. Growling came from one of the rooms and he went to investigate. In one of the bedrooms a werewolf was dragging itself through the bent out bars. Ross fired running towards it. He got to close and it lunged forward, backhanding him to the floor. Dazed he shook his head to clear it. The werewolf was maneuvering its legs to get past the bars. It was having trouble, the meal right out of reach was distracting. A clawed hand stretched only to come up short.
Ross stood, careful to maintain his distance. “Nice try, you dirty mutt,” Ross snarled.
He emptied the rest of his rounds into it. He reloaded and fired savagely. It slumped over, motionless. Darkness prevented the deputy of seeing if it was healing. Placing a boot on its head, he pushed. The werewolf started slipping back, but not before it grabbed his boot and pulled him with itself.
Both man and beast fell heavily on the ground. It was an awkward land. Ross bit his tongue as he avoided crying out. One of his ankles was sprained and several fingers on his hand felt broken. Using his free hand he picked up the Colt and started smashing the werewolf’s skull. Breaking through bone was never easy, but he managed after enough blows. Fatigued he lurched to his feet.
Beth threw the beast off. It sprawled on the ground for a moment. Then it leapt to its feet, teeth barred. Jumping, Beth socked the beast in its face. Giving it no time to react she kicked in the stomach. She felt the bones crack at the ribs. Holding her fists together, she landed an uppercut.
Jed needed help, the werewolf was inches from mauling his face. Taking a step toward him, the werewolf shot down from the roof latched its jaws on her calf, biting hard and swallowing the blood. The other werewolf descended from the rear, chomping down on her shoulder.
The gunslinger was staring at the open jaws of Hudson. He figured it was the werewolf form of the spindly station master. The beast on top of him was small. Any larger and he would have already been dead. A long line of drool flowed in a thick stream to his chest. Jed felt the hot breath on his face, not the first time.
Pushing his legs, he created an extra inch between them. He brought his head back and slammed it forward. His forehead pummeled the werewolf’s sensitive noise. Hudson yelped and scrambled off. Jed slugged it in the face. He rolled, coming up with both guns in hand. Hudson ran off as he fired.
Bringing his attention to Beth, he saw her valiantly fighting off both werewolves. One was chewing through her the bone in her leg. The other one she grasped its open jaws. A long moist tongue panted. Beth pulled the jaws apart further. Panicking the werewolf flayed her skin with its claws. There was a crack as she broke the jaw bones apart. She let it go to retreat on the ground.
Jed went to the back of the werewolf biting Beth’s leg and riddle it with bullets. He emptied all twelve lead shots into its back. Beth stumbled when the dead werewolf released her leg. There was no skin left. The gunslinger killed the wounded mutt swiftly. When he turned back to Beth her leg was completely healed. He did notice she gazed at him in a frightening way. One that bespoke of hunger.
From the back came racing Obadiah and the others. “We have a problem,” the red haired gunslinger breathed.
A monstrous foot smashed through the wall of the house. Then an arm. Jed agreed, however, they were being boxed in. The rest of the werewolves were prowling. The group backed up against the next house. The werewolves seemed to wait. A thunderous noise came as a massive whole appeared in Beth’s house. The King of the Hunt stepped outside.
Jed had the vague sensation his jaw was dropping. He had never seen such a werewolf before. Bjorn stood over eight feet tall. The width of his shoulder was larger than two men placed together. Most mutts had elongated sinewy limbs, especially the arms, filled with wiry strength. Not Bjorn. The fire from the burning house, now a raging inferno, illuminated the dense muscle crowded his arms. The gunslinger had once been to a circus. One exhibit held a massive cow swollen with muscles. Every muscle was clear and defined. Bjorn was like that. Biceps bulged in his arms. Abdominals had distinct ridges separating each one. Thighs larger than men’s heads. Dark grey fur grew about his neck.
From the recess of his mind, Jed remembered Bjorn explaining his name’s meaning. Bear. A fitting name.
“We had set him on fire,” Obadiah whispered, fear taking control of his voice.
Jed felt the thick case holding his silver bullets in his pocket. He wondered if a bullet could even penetrate such thick muscle.
Hooves pounding down the street. In the brief moment of quiet they thundered. Horsemen were riding fast and hard down the street. The werewolves turned to the unexpected incomers. It was Jonathon and Douglas leading several other vampires. Coated thickly in sweat, the horses had been running since the first shots had sounded.
The steeds were unlikely to charge the werewolves and Jonathon leapt from the saddle. He flew twenty feet, landing on a werewolf. Crashing feet first and squashing the beast. The rest of his men followed suit. As they jumped, the werewolves charged forward. The two sides crashed into one another. Bjorn growled and charged the vampires.
It was a terrible struggle. Vampires and werewolves bit and slashed each other. A vampire was hurled into the burning house by a pair of werewolves. Both creatures of the night grappled ferociously. Jed moved in, firing his Colt into the back of one mutt as it tangled with a bearded vampire. Obadiah ran up to one also, waiting for a shot and emptying his chamber when he had one.
Douglas was fighting a beast much larger than he was. But the mayor moved with blistering speed, a phantom effortlessly avoiding attacks. Punching the chest, he broke the sternum. Fingernails had transformed into long, bitterly sharp claws. He sunk them into the werewolf, tearing the flesh. The werewolf slashed his face, ripping off the skin and breaking bones. Almost instantly Douglas healed. Then he dug further in, plunging his whole hand inside. Grasping the werewolf’s heart, he dreadfully smiled as the beast howled. Douglas pulled, ripping free the heart from chains of veins and arteries.
Jed saw Douglas easily kill the werewolf. It was worrisome, the mayor had the power of an older vampire. He was not some innocent freshly turned vampire. Jed spilled the spent rounds of his Kruger on the ground. It appeared they were winning. The strategy had evolved to the vampires holding the werewolves so the gunmen, Obadiah and Ben, could riddle them with holes. The combined power of the guns and vampires was winning.
Except for Bjorn. The mighty werewolf held a vampire in his jaws. The hapless man was screaming bloody mercy. Slowly the jaws began to tighten. Beth charged from behind, raking its back with her nails. Bjorn snapped his jaws shut suddenly and the vampire’s head exploded. She ducked underneath, moving faster than any man. Jonathan also attacked, jumping above Bjorn and hammering his skull with a mighty blow.
Bjorn dropped to his knees. An arm swung, catching Jonathon in the chest. He sailed twenty feet, his chest crushed by the blow. Beth stepped out of range. Part of her dress was shredded as Bjorn slashed.
Jed dropped the silver bullet in the last cylinder. Snapping it shut he shouted, “Beth turn him around.” He had a perfect angle for a shot.
She nodded, moving underneath two slashing arms. Chasing her as she sliced across his stomach, Bjorn snapped. Stark white fangs caught her foot. She gasped, falling to the ground.
Cocking the hammer back, Jed pressed on the trigger. The shot never went off. Out from the shadows, Hudson sprang. The werewolf bit his left hand. The teeth carved the veins in his wrist, slicing the muscle and caused him to drop the Kruger.
Bjorn flung Beth after a twist of his head. Another werewolf attacked her as she landed. Douglas was there before anyone could see, kicking the leg of Bjorn. While Bjorn stumbled he heaved his knee upward to the gut. The force actually lifted Bjorn off his feet. Then he was gone, slicking by the furious strikes. Bjorn howled desperately trying to catch the fleet footed vampire. The werewolf held three feet over the spinning mayor. Yet he was unable to catch him. Punches, slashes, the blows were unavoidable due to the blistering speed of Douglas. One blow knocked Bjorn back.
Nearby, Jed and Hudson were rolling. Not releasing his hold upon Jed’s hand, Hudson started chewing. It was an indescribably awful pain. Gritting his teeth, Jed drew his Colt. The revolver cracked as he fired. It was impossible to miss. At last, Hudson opened his jaw. Smacking the iron barrel against Hudson’s jaw, Jed disengaged, trying to create as much room between him and the werewolf.
Hudson growled, bunching his muscles in anticipation. A fiery bottle sailed in the air. Flames exploded as it shattered next to Hudson. Eagerly the hungry flames licked his arms, catching hold of the fur. The werewolf yelped running off yet again, this time ablaze. Jed had no time to thank Nadi for her saving throw. He scooped up the Kruger in his right hand. The left arm was useless, hanging limp by his side.
Douglas, the gunslinger could see, was in trouble. Somehow, Bjorn managed to bite his arm. Fangs gleaming, Douglas pummeled Bjorn, trying to free his arm. Unaffected by the blows strong enough to kill a man each, Bjorn started tearing at the arm. Razor sharp teeth dug into the meat and bone. Those burly arms grabbed the shoulder, twisting and pulling. Screams and furious denial wailed from Douglas. A tearing racket as the arm came loose. Suddenly it was off. Bjorn held this gory trophy in his hands, howling to the moon in bloody triumph.
Jed fired. The silver bullet struck Bjorn in the chest. The beast touched the bullet hole, examining the blood freely pouring. Jed couldn’t believe what he saw. A bent out of shape silver bullet clattered on the dirt. Yellow eyes stared deep within Jed’s. The gunslinger cocked the hammer back.
Roaring, Bjorn charged. Beth leapt from behind, tackling the legs and tripping Bjorn. A strong back kick, knocked her away. Single-mindedly it ran forward. Jed was already moving, in the midst of experiencing serious doubts about his ability to kill Bjorn. Glancing back he saw the monstrous mutt, snarling in the air.
To the side Jed rolled, barely dodging the landing. Air swished by his head as Bjorn swiped. On his feet, Jed twisted, fired a shot and moved to the saloon. The bullet sunk home, halting Bjorn. The werewolf bowed. It rose. Once again the silver bullet did not kill him. The blood that so unreservedly flowed, shortly tapered to a stop.
Jed ran on, into the building whose bold lettered name was unreadable in the night. Even so he knew the name of the saloon. The Lucky Strike was the perfect name for his situation. Without some luck, he was not going to survive. It was pitch black inside the saloon. Jed swung over the bar, hiding. His arm was giving him hell. He hated to imagine what it would look in the light. He tried to slow his panting. At least he was going to get his wish. The saloon doors opened. Bjorn was inside and Jed only had three shots. A piece of wood creaked.
Obadiah knelt down. “Are you okay?”
Ben looked up from his wound. He had tied a piece of his shirt to cover the bite wound on his leg. “I’m fine,” he grimaced.
Obadiah gave him a pat on the shoulder. Business seemed to be over. The werewolves were dead or now naked men, shivering from hunger and exhaustion. Bodies were strewn across the street in front of the house. A house that had neatly taken to flame. The whole place was burning. Any moment the frame would collapse.
It was none too soon, the bullets on his belt were empty. Save for a couple already loaded, he was out of ammo. From the side, Ross came limping, a rifle was used by way of a cane. One of his hands had fingers facing funny directions. Everyone else was standing unsure what to do in the quiet moments after battle.
“Where’s Jed,” Obadiah asked. He had been focused on prying a werewolf off of Ben and did not see the gunslinger run.
Jonathon responded, thankfully looking human as the pale face and glowing eyes receded. “That giant werewolf was chasing him. They went over there.”
Obadiah gaped, “We need to help him!”
Rubbing his head, Jonathan said, “Good luck with that kid.” He moved to Douglas. The mayor was clutching his shoulder frantically. Not far away was his other arm, lying in a pool of blood.
“There is no way he is going to survive kid,” Ross goaded, hoping close.
“Shut up.” Obadiah snatched the rifle from his grip. He needed another weapon. Off balanced, the deputy fell. As Obadiah ran, Ross yelled every curse that he came to mind and repeated.
Jed stood from the bar cover. It was not Bjorn standing between the tables. It was Beth.
“Where is it?” She hissed.
He shrugged wildly. Walking around the bar, he whispered, “Didn’t you see it come this way?”
“For a moment, then it disappeared.”
That was just perfect. He had three silver bullets left and he did not know where Bjorn was. The question arose in his mind how a werewolf escaped the sight of a vampire who could see in the dark. “Let’s go.” He directed her to the doors.
There was a cacophonous clang as something came crashing from the roof. It was Bjorn demolishing a poker table as he landed. Jed covered his eyes from falling debris of wood shards. The werewolf howled, striking Beth. Rolling with the blow, she lashed out tearing the face. A furred hand swung down. Beth caught it. Bjorn roared and whipped the arm around, tossing her across the room.