Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We Are Not Alone... Skyflash...

Rabbit Warrior by Tweekt~deviantart.com

Summer-hot howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.

Gosh, so sorry for the late posting. I just can't get my act together these days. However, I hope the following flash scene, another aerial adventure above the rampaging mutant mammoth-werewolf, is worth the read.

We Are Not Alone... Skyflash...

Blade Runner, the Peak's own extraterrestrial rabbit shifter, carefully maneuvered his small UFO craft, staying close to the top of the mountain. Upon arrival, mere moments ago, he'd activated the sharp spire of granite with a resonance frequency that kept his disc craft hidden. Enemies lurked everywhere in the unfriendly skies, especially the so-called 'visiting' otherworld races.

With Pachyderm-wolfzilla quaking the ground toward Talbot's Peak, Dante had contacted briefly, both of them aware of a galaxy-sized problem unknown to most. So, despite his earthquaking tryst with his fox-fairy lover that had him sleeping like a newborn rabbit, Blade Runner hopped out of bed. In a matter of minutes, he'd booted up his trusty, pie-pan craft, and soared to the best mountaintop vantage point he'd discovered.

"Skyflash," he identified the incoming ET ship. The quick explosion of light faded as fast as it filled the western quadrant of the Montana sky. "Not good," Blade Runner muttered in his lingo. Immediately, he put on his rabbit ears -- the tech from his world that would give him listening access to the crew -- auto-interpreting their language.


"Brother Qiy, the genetically modified mammoth has a most impressive profile. The Earth scientist must be a rogue."

"I see what you mean, Brother Xuon. The beast has certain advantageous capabilities."

"With a few tweaks we would dominate not only sections of Earth, but there are other planet worlds we could trample... hehe... into obedient slaves."

"My thoughts exactly. Do you recall the primordial-stage planet we discovered three-point-five-eight years ago?"

"Yes. I understand. A perfect breeding ground for a pair of weaponized mammoths. The other mutated canine beast riding astride, are his genes useful to us?"

"Perhaps, more than I first realized. He is controlling our future weapon. I will program the retrieval probe to gather both samples."


Knowing he didn't need any more information than what he'd just heard, Blade Runner rapidly punched in his own program to intercept the collection probe, and to take evasive action. No doubt, the Crugriox would attempt to laser-burn the hide off him and his craft, about one-tenth the size of their atmospheric cruiser.

Blade Runner grinned, his own rogue nature coming alive. He lived for these David-Goliath contests, as some humans called them. On screen, he watched the probe, tiny as a sliver of glass, deploy.

He darted out of the resonance field, diving his craft like a bat out of hell, as the saying went. Given timing was crucial, Blade Runner flashed toward the now popularly named Hellephant, whose rampage down the highway was leaving  potholes that could eat a small car.

Within a split second, the Crugriox detected his presence. Invisible to the human eye, beams that would make him invisible sliced through the air toward his craft.

"Yahoo and screw you, wabbit killers." With the skilled swift precision that made him excellent with a rapier, Blade Runner dashed through the pelting rays. "This is one rabbit you won't fry up for dinner."

Not that the Crugriox dined on small mammals, their diet being mostly crustaceans. That hardly mattered in the heat of battle, in gaining his prize -- the probe now aiming for the franken-mammoth's monstrous butt like a hypodermic needle equipped with a nano jet pack.

Blade Runner avoided another blast from the Crugriox ship, this one meant to destabilize his power source and disrupt his craft's flight path. Deploying his own catcher beam as he called it, once the hyperspeed calculations completed, Blade Runner quickly lessened his speed.

In a sweeping arc, he flew about half a mile above the Hellephant and its malformed werewolf rider, who appeared to be clutching some very unlucky woman beneath a hairy brute arm. "Heroes desperately needed," he muttered, hoping Dante and crew were on the case. His aerial rabbit butt was about to be roasted, if the Crugriox had their way.

"Gotcha!" Blade Runner triumphed seconds later. With the gene-collecting probe in containment, he flipped his craft upside down, his magnetic boots holding him in position.

On screen, Blade Runner watched the unsuspecting group gathered below never gaze skyward, except Dante, who gave him a brief salute from astride his ultra-tricked out Harley.

An onslaught of microwaving beams struck the bottom of his craft, as expected. Unexpected, the interior steam-heated quick, even though it was protected by a sheet of specialized foil.

"Defcon one, scramble, scramble," Blade Runner repeated the military mantra, thinking fast. "Time to play tilt-a-whirl."

To save himself and fight another day, he tapped the large gold button. Instantly, the craft spun, righted itself, then zoomed across the sky while wobbling madly.

"Riding the whirlwind." Blade Runner shouted. "Cook me now, shrimp breaths." Even as his head dizzied, and his eyes took turns crossing and uncrossing, Blade Runner pumped his fist.

Minutes passed one click at a time. Then, as if a giant hand reached down, his craft stopped its spin and ascended straight up. The loud buzz signaled Blade Runner he was out of range, or the Crugriox halted their pursuit. A swift glance at the instrument panel, once his gaze steadied enough, had Blade Runner hopping up and down with glee.

His hand flew over the weapons' panel preparing the strike. One sizzle and bang to the power unit of the Crugriox's ship, and they'd be the prey. Blade Runner collected every last ounce of energy from the craft's systems that wouldn't cause him to fall unceremoniously out of the sky.

"Butt-whipping about to take place." Stealthily, Blade Runner positioned himself above the cruiser, now concealed by a large cumulus cloud. Likely, the Crugriox waited for another chance to steal the lab-brewed monster's gene material. Enough to risk an attack.

"Pow, pow..." Blade Runner crooned, and palmed the shoot-to-destroy button. He pushed.

Streaks of red pulsed through the cloud. "Wow! Target is attained... target is attained," Blade Runner celebrated. On screen, he watched the neon stream blast the exterior of the cruiser, then penetrate the power unit.

Wise enough not to push his luck, or his craft, Blade Runner unlocked. Zipping high into the sky, he returned to the mountaintop, and hovered. Just in case...


Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dante Takes a Stand

Dante managed to squeeze in a couple of hours’ sleep before the first frantic reports flooded in. There were calls from Deuce and Hoover on his personal phone, and dozens of others on the public “hot line” in the bar. The trouble with being Talbot’s Peak’s unofficial alpha wolf was that people tended to treat him like their personal 911 unit.

This time, that panic might be justified.

He only needed to listen to a handful of calls to get the gist of the peril. Still aching from the wounds he’d sustained in the Philippines, he nevertheless rolled out his motorcycle and roared it down the road toward what sounded like a major disaster.

“Ewan,” he muttered under his breath, “what the hell did you do?”

One look at the hybrid mammoth monster lumbering up Route 15 and Dante shifted blame to where it belonged, onto Dr. Morloxian’s shoulders. He got his bike fairly close to the beast before it tried to stomp him, but that was near enough to see the mutant werewolf perched on its skull and controlling its progress. A second rider saw him and tried to jump. The werewolf caught her in one brawny arm and crushed her struggling body against him.

Dante’s mouth thinned. Hostage. The seriousness of the situation rose another notch.

He swung his bike around and sped back up the road, scanning for the best place to mount a counterattack. The most defensible spot—if a defense could even be devised against something like that mutant pachyderm—was the bridge spanning the unfortunately-named Schitt Creek. “They were an early settler family! It’s a legitimate name!” the town historians had sworn when Mayor Gil questioned them. Like the Mayor, Dante had his doubts on that score. However, he didn’t doubt that if the mammoth made it past the bridge, all of Talbot’s Peak would be up Schitt Creek in more ways than one.

Movement overhead caught his eye. Two winged beings swooped down from on high and landed before him. One was one of the golden eagle twins—Rafe, by his scent. The other caused Dante’s brows to climb. He’d heard of Pegasus shifters, but had never seen one until now.

The winged horse shifted into a slender, lovely young woman with a waist-length mane of red hair. She introduced herself as Syprelli. “I’ve been following the monster since it broke out of the earth down by the interstate,” she said. “It’s definitely headed for the town. The creature directing it has a hostage. A young woman. I tried to get close enough to help her, but … ” She waved her arms. “It’s difficult. My other form has no hands, and this form has no wings.”

“Same for me,” Rafe, now in his human form, added. “Not to mention that trunk is a bugger. I made a dive at the werewolf on its back and Dumbo nearly nailed me. If you’re going to bring it down, it’ll have to be from a distance.”

“I have access to weapons that could stop it,” Dante said, “but I’d rather not use them until we get the girl off its back. Provided we can.” His mouth tightened. “She’s the mate of a friend of mine.”

Syprelli nodded. “I saw them. Two wolves. They’re following the monster in a car.”

“Then Ewan has a plan.” If he didn’t, he would when he got there. Coyotes were more seat-of-the-pants types. As long as it worked, Dante would back it.

The sound of a motor on the road from the Peak side made all three of them turn. A dusty camo-painted pickup truck trundled down the road and rolled to a halt before them. Dante recognized the driver as Abram Turkle. His passenger Dante only knew by his bad reputation: the human hunter, Cochrane.

“Heard you had some trouble brewing,” Turkle said. “We’re here to help.”

Dante glanced at Cochrane and let the “we” slide by. Any port in a storm. “Do you know what we’re up against? Did you bring sufficient weapons?”

Turkle snorted at the obvious. “We’ve got two elephant guns and a grenade launcher,” Cochrane said. “We just need to figure out how to get close enough.”

“If that doesn’t do the trick, I can run home for the cannon,” Turkle said. “The aim ain't accurate, though. We only fire it on the Fourth of July.”

“There’s a hostage on the mammoth’s back.”

Cochrane looked at him. "And there's a mammoth headed for your town. Let's stay focused on the big picture here."

Dante bit back a growl. He truly detested the hunter, but the man seemed honestly willing to help. “We think the mammoth may be a genetically-mutated human. One of yours, in fact. Does the name Atcheson mean anything to you?”

Cochrane’s expression darkened to downright murderous. “It means I get the first shot. Ass-kissing psycho, that’s what he is. I should have punched his clock a long time back. I hope you aren’t planning on taking him alive. From what we heard on the police scanner, that doesn’t sound like an option.”

“First we rescue the hostage. I’ve got a man working on that.” He hoped. Dante turned back and peered down the highway. The beast had not yet become visible from the bridge, but its hate-filled bellows could be heard for miles. “Come on, Ewan,” he murmured. “Whatever you’re going to do, do it fast.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dragon Air...Come Fly the Ferocious Skies.

“No, Fair One, this will not do.”

“Yeah, Gree, though I loath to, I’ve got to agree with the horned slime one here…this is a bad idea.”

Greely looked at her traveling companions and once more wished she could produce smoke from her nostrils and breathe a bit of fire over their asses.  “And how exactly would you both explain a dragon,” she whispered behind her hand, “landing right on the strip?”

“So we land further out of town and call a taxi to come pick us all up, Gree.”

“Yes, hump back, that would be acceptable.”

“Hump what!?  You did not just call me that, Slimy.  No you did not!”

“Oh for the love of… Erol, Karma, shut-up!  We are going to have fun on this trip, not call each other names and snark.  Now, both of you march your asses into that airport and suck. It. Up!”

Greely grabbed her suitcase, pulled out the handle and wheeled it towards the entrance.  She’d had enough of the two of them and their bickering and this trip had just started.  All they’d done so far was make it to Billings and were going to catch a flight to Vegas.  If, of course, she could get her dragon lover on to the plane.

“Oh shit.”  Greely stopped, a cold sweat flashing over her skin.

“Now she’s thinking this through.” Her best friend chuffed, before sitting down on her suitcase.

What had she been thinking?  A dragon on a plane?

“What fools presume to carry me to this place of sin in a long metal tube?  What could they know of lift and drag?  How will they skirt the turbulent skies with immovable wings?  I shall discuss their so called qualifications with these so called Air Jockey’s.”

OMG, he would to…try to confront the pilot’s that is.  Then they would find themselves confronting air marshals, the FAA and the whole of the US government.  They’d be put on do not fly lists and would be considered terrorists.  She didn’t want to be at odds with the government.  Sure she didn’t always agree with them, but this country was her home and she loved Talbot’s Peak and never wanted to be forced away.

“Hump Back, where do these monkeys sit to fly their plane?”

“Damn Slimy, that nickname is getting old.  They sit in the cockpit ~don’t you just love that word~ in front of the plane. There’s a little door separating them from us, but it’s always locked.”

“I am Dragon!  Locks mean nothing.”

Oh God.  “Okay wait…” Greely turned back to look at her love and her smirking friend. “Perhaps you both are correct and it would be best to fly dragon air into Vegas.”

“Now you’re talking, Gree.”  Karma rose from her suitcase and adjusted her clothes.  “Let’s get this party started, shall we?”

“Dragon Air, Fair One?”  The look he gave her would have drenched her panties if she’d been wearing any.

“Let’s just go, okay?”

Erol nodded to her and took up the lead heading out of the airport.  Greely walked and watched as his sexy backside rolled beneath his jeans.  Damn, she couldn’t wait to get to the hotel.

“Roll your tongue back in, Gree, or you’ll catch some flies.  Unless, of course, that was your plan.”

“Shut it, Karma.  And don’t think I don’t know this con has your camel stink all over it.  Did you really want to ride a dragon this bad?”

“Hell yes!  Who doesn’t want a reptile between her legs every once and a while?”

Greely rolled her eyes and laughed.  “Put it back in your pants, camel, or I’ll be forced to push you off over Reno…and don’t think I won’t do it.  That jumbo is mine.”
First stop...Vegas, baby!  I wonder what kind of trouble our trio can find in Sin City?

Have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Talk Nerdy To Me

Continued from last week and partially inspired by this video:

Myra looked around, bewildered. She was standing there just inside the bar she had been planning to visit. Her outfit was torn and dirty. She had blood drying in her hair and a neat row of butterfly Band-Aids holding a three inch long section of her scalp together. And somehow, she'd let the bouncers from the bar drag her inside for a complimentary drink "on the house."

Actually, she hadn't "let" them talk her into it. They had insisted she come inside and had dangled the free drink like a cookie before a screaming toddler. Myra, being somewhat more mature than the average four-year-old, had understood that she could go quietly and have a drink or she could be flung over someones shoulder and carried in kicking and screaming. Considering her state of dishabille, o one would say a word against them carrying a hysterical woman inside for her own good. She decided that discretion was the better part of valor. It had better not be a bottom shelf drink, though.

"What's up with her?" someone asked. Myra peered myopically at the speaker, her glasses now ground to dust in the parking lot.

"She got run over by the helliphant," gnarly bouncer dude said. That's how she thought of them, gnarly bouncer dude and hick bouncer dude. One was dressed like a biker and the other like a giant sized ranch hand. Not very imaginative, but considering that her head was pounding like something huge and prehistoric had run her over--because something prehistoric had!--she figured she could slide on it.

"Really? And she's up and walking around?"

Myra decided sight unseen that she liked the person speaking. His voice was tinged with mild awe and a healthy dose of appreciation. That was not how most people reacted to her skating through her mishaps mostly unscathed.

"I'm flexible like that," she said with the best smile she could summon, knowing it probably wasn't a very appealing one. She just didn't care at this point.

"No, really. How are you still standing?" another blurry person said. Myra shrugged. screw it, she thought. So what if her geek flag was about to fly.

"I do RPGs. You know, roll playing games? Last fall, my game leader decided to write a whole slew of scripts based on giant rampaging monsters. I guess we worked that scenario so many times that, when faced with the real thing, I just sort of reacted instinctively. Not surprising, since Marlo had us doing it over and over again until we'd come up with actual usable kata for surviving battle elephants, dragons, and hydra."

She cringed, waiting for the scorn to flow, but it didn't.

"OH, man, you're in pain! How stupid of me. Here honey, take my seat."

"I'll run up to the bar and grab an ice pack for you," another voice said.

"So, what role do you play? Are you, like, a battle mage?"

"No way, Larry! She's clearly a warrior princess. You are a warrior princess, right?"

"Um," she said, nonplussed. where was the scorn? These guys sounded like they actually knew something about how RPGs worked. "I'm a worgen, actually. We do D&D."

"That is so hot!" the ice pack guy said as he slid said ice pack into her hand.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On a Mission of Mercy While the Hellephant Rampages

 Mid-July howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.

So, while Ewan is heroically trying to save his damsel in distress, and Talbot's Peak is in the path of the mutant mammoth werewolf's mighty trampling feet... what are our other heroes doing?

On a Mission of Mercy While the Hellephant Rampages

The day before Mammoth-zilla...

About to lift the stein of ale, and enjoy a long draw of the premium brew, Dante paused, then asked, "Gorgio, what can I do for you?"

The goat shapeshifter approached, a nervous smile on his Greek-handsome face. Popular with the lady patrons at the pub, Dante had recently promoted Gorgio to a head server, a raise in pay included, of course.

"Sorry to disturb you, boss. I know you must be busier than–"

"Yeah," Dante interrupted, taking hold of the printed page Gorgio was about to crumple by handling it too much.

"My friends are in danger. Since you don't allow cell phones here..." Gorgio bleated the explanation, even as Dante began reading the intriguing but disturbing news article.

'Werewolf' wreaks havoc on livestock in Central Philippine island

A series of livestock attacks, occurring during the full moon, has Manilla farmers on edge.
 Manila: Bloodsucking creatures are devastating livestock herds in the island of Sibale.

Residents are at a loss over what vicious animal would leave only carcasses of its prey after feasting on them.

An article published recently by the Manila Standard Today said farmers are becoming increasingly fearful of the creature, which strikes when the moon is full, sucks the blood of its prey and tears off the limbs of livestock such as goats.

“It’s a continuing goat massacre happening at the onset of the full moon almost every year since 2012. So far, more than 200 goats had been massacred by this unknown killer,” Sibale Mayor Lemuel Cipriano was quoted as saying by the report.

Locals believe that the culprit was similar to the mythical werewolf, a creature that strikes during the evening and transforms into a four-legged creature. ~gulfnews.com/news/world/philippines/werewolf-wreaks-havoc-on-livestock-in-central-philippine-island-1.1359060~


"Nifty, effing nifty," Dante growled in his *about to shift into a werewolf* voice. He scanned the panel instrumentation of Blade Runner's disc-shaped space craft, then watched the ET rabbit shifter expertly control their descent into the Philippine jungle.

"Damn trippy ride through that dimensional rift... like surfing atop Jello," White Fang gutturally commented, then elbowed Dante.

Dante's super wolf buddy -- technically another ET from a planet ruled by wolf shapeshifters -- pointed to the wide screen above the panel. "Looks like we've been discovered."

An array of formidable, futuristic cannons emerged into view. Perched on a rugged, massive cliff above the towering treetops, the sci fi weapons raised into position, obviously targeting them.

"And a fun time was had by all," Blade Runner drily smirked.

He dived the small craft directly toward the cannons. They picked up speed so fast, Dante could barely make out the approaching landscape with his superior vision.

As laser beams streaked and flashed, Blade Runner zigzagged them through the constant fire like a rabbit evading a predator. In this case though, instead of running, Blade Runner played dodge ball, or dodge-the-laser.

Dante resisted the urge to clutch his stomach. Blade Runner had warned him about the physical effects of flying and maneuvering at supersonic speed. At the same time, he grinned, his wolf fangs scraping the corners of his mouth. Wolf hunting howls, his blood rushed through his veins with the wild-thrill ride.

Quick enough, Blade Runner danced the craft past the long established black-ops base. Slowing, the warrior rabbit shifter dipped them beneath the umbrella of foliage, then sailed a path that would take them straight to the cave lair of the so-called werewolves.

Before boarding the craft, White Fang had flown Super Man style over the island of Sibale. He'd used his incredible powers on the reconnaissance mission, discovering the daytime lair of the five beast men, a race ancient to the Earth.

Problem -- according to the psychic remote viewers in the Peak's Witch Circle -- the bestial predators were being programmed by mad scientists at the secret base. Also, their DNA, and even their seed, was being used to build a legion of monster soldiers.

Within minutes, Blade Runner hovered above the cavern, hidden by a blanketing layer of vines. On screen Dante watched the five, thickly furred bipedals with canine heads awaken, and leap to their feet.

"They've been warned about us," White Fang stated in his warrior voice. "I attempted to mind contact them. It's been blocked by their brain implants."

"Magneto grid around them, too," Blade Runner reported. "My limited weaponry can't penetrate. You're on your own, wolf boys. I'll hold down the fort, as your human counterparts say. Or  more precisely, I'll keep the frequencies now targeting my ship from blowing it into ion particles."

"No choice." The words growled up from Dante's gut. His wolf had sensed the killers unsatiated need for a bloody feeding could only be stopped by death.

With his fur sprouting fast, and his shift to full werewolf accelerating by the moment, Dante focused his altered gaze on the ramp Blade Runner now lowered. Beside him, Dante keenly felt White Fang morph to his wolf form, his force nearly overwhelming.

In sync, and on all fours, they both launched out of the craft. Side by side, he and White Fang raced toward the cavern's small entrance.

As he ran, the bloodthirsty side of Dante exploded, then consumed his very being. He rarely entered this state, but when he did...

He sprang, his jaws snapping around the bipedal werewolf's huge throat. Dante drove his fangs deeper and deeper as they savagely wrestled body to body, claw to slashing claw. All the while, the enormous fangs and claws of another bestial wolf man ripped at his hide.

After several quick rolls, Dante tore out his foe's throat. In the great spray of blood soaking him, he whirled on the beast wolf ruthlessly attacking his flank.

Dante lunged for his enemy's belly, shredding the tough-as-steel hide with ferocious zeal.  Simultaneously, his own hide was being viciously raked off in hunks. He didn't feel a thing, the high surge of adrenalin protecting him as he rapidly tossed large pieces of flesh, seeking access to the beating heart.

With a mighty crunch of his jaws, Dante chomped through bone, and snagged the swiftly pumping heart. He burst it with several quick penetrations of his fangs, then spun toward the remaining bipedal who had a muzzle full of Dante's fur.

White Fang joined the battle, and between the two of them not much remained of the beast wolf's body.

"Time to depart!" Blade Runner hollered from his craft. "Six bogeys bearing down on little ole rabbit me. And someone needs to clean up this mess. Can't let those scientist idjits have any of your genetic material. Right, wolf boys."

Once he and White Fang ran inside and collapsed, Blade Runner lifted off, even as the ramp closed behind them. Dante yielded to the excruciating pain caused by his rapidly healing body. But, howls yeah, it had been one hellishly good fight.


Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance

Monday, July 14, 2014

Armed and Dangerous

The human kid behind the counter at the sporting goods store barely glanced up from his texting when Ewan and Deuce burst in. “Help you gents?” he said distractedly.

“We need an elephant gun,” Ewan said.

“What the hell for?”

Ewan pointed out the window. “For the elephant.”

That got the kid’s mind off his cell. He pressed his face to the window and gawped at the mutated mammoth wading through, or in most cases on top of, the slew of cars stalled out on the two-lane, while their drivers wisely fled on foot.

By now the police had arrived. The cop cars hung well back. There wasn’t much they could do against this sort of traffic hazard.

Meanwhile, Ewan and Deuce did a quick inventory of the gun racks. “Is this all you got?” Ewan called.

“Yeah. Where are the assault rifles?” Deuce demanded. “You’re a gun store in America. You’re supposed to have assault rifles. The right to bear arms and blow shit up and all that.”

The kid wrenched his gawp away from the window. “We don’t carry those. Just regular hunting gear. I mean, since when does Montana have elephants?”

Obviously the kid had never ventured into Talbot’s Peak itself. Ewan assessed and mentally discarded the array of rifles, compound bows, hunting knives and other sportsmen’s implements of mass game destruction. Nothing here would pack enough wallop to even put a dent in the former Freddy le Douche. What could they use that would stop him without putting Maureen at risk?

“I can’t let you have a gun anyway,” the kid continued. “There’s a waiting period. It’s the law.”

Deuce jabbed his finger at the window and the chaos beyond. “He’s not waiting.”

“He’s not trying to buy a gun. The best I can do is sell you a bow. The elf guy killed an elephant with a bow in that hobbit movie, right? That should work.”

Yeah, if you were a stunt man working with props and the elephant would be added later via CGI. Live, PO’d mutant werewolf/mammoth hybrids were trickier. Especially when they had your mate trapped on their back.

Ewan turned away from the gun racks. The kid did have a point. He’d seen Lord of the Rings several times, especially the last one with all the action sequences. A gun wasn’t going to cut it. If only he could get close enough to get Maureen out of harm’s way …

Maybe, just maybe, he could. All he needed was a different movie.

He bolted for another section of the store. Yes. They had what he wanted. He yanked one out of its rack and waved it at the kid. “Is this what I think it is?”

“Yeah,” the kid said warily. “We don’t get much call for those around here. I don’t see what—”

“I’m taking it for a test drive. Bill me.” Ewan grabbed Deuce’s arm and charged out the door with his weapon of choice gripped tight in his other hand. This would work. It had to.

God, it was said, looked after little children and idiots. Chaos didn’t look after anybody. Coyotes quickly got used to handling disaster on their own. And they were damn good at it, too.

Ewan and Deuce piled into the car. The former Freddy had already left the strip behind and was moving at a rapid clip up the road. Ewan dodged Dante’s muscle car around abandoned RVs and soccer mom mobiles and took off in pursuit.

# # #

Abram Turkle’s daughter Sharon liked to listen to the police scanner while she did her chores. Now she called out to him. “Pa! Come listen to this. Something weird’s going on down at the exit.”

Turkle listened intently to the hysterical voice of the dispatcher and the disjointed reports from cops trying their mightiest to stay calm in the face of insanity. As he listened, his grin got wider and wider.

When he figured he had the full picture, Turkle went into the den, where his house guest was field-stripping and cleaning—with the proper care and reverence, Turkle was pleased to note—the family’s collection of defensive weaponry. The man had a keen eye for quality hardware and healthy respect for a gun. Pity about his human parentage. He’d’ve made a damn fine turkey.

“Trouble down at the exit,” Turkle announced. “Sounds like a woolly mammoth’s running loose.”

Cochrane glanced up from his cleaning. His glance became a stare when he realized Turkle wasn’t kidding. Not that Turkle was much of a kidder to start with. “Woolly mammoth? Aren’t they extinct?”

“Guess this one didn’t get the memo. Y’wanna go kill something big?”

Cochrane got up. His grin matched Turkle’s for sheer ferocity. “Point me at it.”