Monday, July 28, 2014
Following the Hellephant’s progress wasn’t a problem. The once-human creature fed as it went, ripping branches from trees and huge swaths of grass from any meadow it passed. This resulted in large piles of natural “breadcrumbs” left in its wake. Deuce, behind the wheel, swerved around one and rolled up his window. “He does like grass,” he remarked. He glanced over at Ewan. “You sure you wouldn’t rather have grabbed a gun?”
“This’ll work.” Ewan was fitting his weapon together—no easy task, as its larger piece was ten feet long and stuck out the passenger-side window. It made stringing the line somewhat difficult. “It’ll get me on top of him. After that I can wing it.”
“I know you’re a coyote and all, but … a fishing rod?”
“Surf rod,” Ewan corrected. “I grew up using these, back in New Jersey. You can reel in a two-hundred-pound marlin or a shark with one of these babies. Hey, if they’d had a grappling hook I’d have taken it. It’s all about the improv. Any word from Dante?”
“Last time I talked to him, he was making a stand at Schitt Creek. He’ll hold off as long as he can, so you can get Maureen. That means we—there he is!”
Ewan shot a look out the windshield. The broad, brownish-blond line of the mammoth’s back towered above the treeline. Deuce floored it.
The car shot around a curve, right into a pile of poop. The engine ground and shut off.
Deuce worked the windshield wipers, and got only a field of streaky brown. “Dante’s gonna have a goat,” he said.
Ewan, rod in hand, was already climbing out of the car. If anything, Freddyphant had picked up speed. Maybe whatever human memory was left to him recognized the road to Talbot’s Peak. He’d come here to kill shifters, and now he had enough natural power to do some serious damage. No wonder he was eager.
“Get his attention,” he ordered Deuce. “Stall him. Then run and catch up with Dante. I’ll take it from there.”
“Yessir, boss.” Deuce dumped his clothes and shifted. His gray wolf form raced after the motoring Hellephant.
Ewan made a couple test casts to get the feel of the rod and make sure all the parts were working properly. If he could pull this off, what a tale he and Maureen would have to tell their grandkids. “Lord of the Rings,” he murmured, “meet Jaws.” He dashed up the road.
# # #
Deuce did his bit, as well as he was able without getting tromped. He didn’t exactly stop the beast, but he slowed it enough for Ewan to catch up. Then he whirled and ducked into the safety of the forest lining the highway. The Hellephant bellowed its rage. It seemed unaware of the second peril creeping up behind it.
Here goes nothing, Ewan thought, and cast.
The heavy hook snagged in Freddyphant’s shaggy coat, high up on its side. Before Ewan could give it a test tug the Hellephant tugged first, with a long stride back on its course. Ewan was yanked off his feet. He stumble-ran-got-dragged several feet before he could reel himself up. The braided line could hold several hundred pounds of fighting fish; it should be able to handle his one-eighty long enough for him to grab a handhold of mammoth pelt. It was the hook that scared him. If it tore loose—
The hook held. Ewan had one iffy moment when a treetrunk leg swung back at him. He kicked off it and upward and landed near Freddyphant’s underbelly. By the time the hook finally ripped free Ewan was scrambling hand-over-hand up the mammoth’s side. He reached the top, reeled in his line, and took a look around.
The first thing he saw was Maureen. She was clutched beneath the arm of a seven-foot mutant werewolf. The werewolf held onto the swaying pachyderm with its foot-claws and steered it by tugs on its ears. It didn’t appear aware of Ewan’s arrival. Maureen spotted him and clapped her hands over her mouth so she wouldn’t cry out and betray him.
Something must have, though, because the werewolf suddenly turned. Its muzzle wrinkled back from a set of teeth that put a shark’s to shame. It dumped Maureen on the mammoth’s head and charged.
Ewan swung the pole. The werewolf swatted it aside. Three feet of pole snapped off and tumbled to the ground, trailing line. Ewan dodged the werewolf’s lunge and reversed the pole in his hands. He brought the heavy grip end up between the werewolf’s legs. The big reel landed exactly where he aimed it.
Well, howzabout that. Mutant werewolves could yodel.
The beast crumpled, clutching at its groin. Its feet lost their grip on the Hellephant’s pelt. The werewolf slipped and fell over the side.
Ewan darted along the mammoth’s spine and peered down at its flank. No clinging mutant werewolf. If Mutie had hit the ground and survived, he wouldn’t be in any shape to tag along.
Then Ewan’s arms were full of hot, frightened woman. A she-wolf’s hiked scent hit his nose and a tongue crammed into his mouth. Ewan crushed his mate against him and kissed her hard while maintaining both their balances on the back of the swaying mammoth. No easy feat, but coyotes are nothing if not adaptable.
At last he could see her tits. They were everything he’d dreamed they’d be.
Finally they broke apart. Ewan grinned down at her. “You are one tough gal to land a date with.”
“You’re deranged.” Her laugh had only a little hysteria in it. Commendable, given the circumstances. “That wolf thing—he used to be Pete. This—this is Atcheson. Pete told me. They're going to destroy Talbot’s Peak.”
“He’s got a long way to go and quite a few tough characters to get through before that happens. Be nice if we could stop him. You know how to drive this thing?”
She shook her head. “Pete was controlling him, but it was getting harder. I could tell. Atcheson always was a contrary bas—”
The mammoth lurched. Both Ewan and Maureen fell atop its spine. Ewan dumped the rod and grabbed Maureen in one hand and a hunk of thick hair in the other. Freddyphant, it seemed, had finally realized there was no one at the wheel.
Ewan tried to get up. The mammoth’s trunk curled back and quested about for a target. Maureen yanked him back down right before the trunk smacked him. The mammoth trumpeted.
“New plan,” Ewan said. “Here’s where we get off. Wrap your arms around my neck and hang on.”
Maureen clamped her arms around his neck and her legs around his torso. Just in time. Freddyphant suddenly reared up. His back rose at a steep vertical angle. Ewan slid the length of the mammoth’s spine. He managed to snag hold of its lupine tail. They swung there while Ewan scanned the ground for a spot less hard and rocky than the rest.
There. He swung out and let go. They landed dead center in the chosen spot and sank. It wasn’t ground. It was soft and grainy and filled with bits of grass and leaves and stank like a son of a hound. Maureen shook clods of it off her hands and wiped smears of it off her glasses. “Shit!”
“Pretty much,” Ewan said. “Beats broken bones, though not by much. You okay?”
“I will be, after a week-long shower.” She leaned through the crap cushion to press against him. They held each other close. Freddy was already nearly a mile up the road, still stubbornly on course for Talbot’s Peak.
“Are you going to take your hand off my boob?”
“Not in this lifetime.”
“You damn well better not.” She grabbed him by his hair and crushed her mouth to his.