A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters 10 - Page 12

Then the werebeast fled .
Percy immediately mounted the nearby horse , pulled me up behind him , stood in the stirrups , pointed ahead and shouted , " The werewolf !" There was instantaneous chaos . The horse galloped in circles while Percy fired off several shots in random directions . It was all I could to do regain control of that horse from the second place . Slapping my glove smartly onto my mare ' s flanks , I charged after the beast . Wind lashed against my face , but I was heedless of any possible injury .
In my wilder fantasies , I had dreamed of something very like this : riding through the dusk of an expansive horizon in the company of a handsome man , our weapons loaded with silver , our nerves teased by danger , until — running up beside us was a pack of wolves ! It was , perhaps , less desirable to have that man hanging precariously over my lap like a sack of wet cats .
We were quite in an abandoned expanse of terrain .
" Mr . Longville ," I called , " it seems I require your aid in a small matter ." I handed him the reigns , then aimed my tiny weapon . The beast was in my sights , but as we galloped , more beasts came from the darkness . They were wolves , but real actual wolves , not werewolves . They began to follow further off , to avoid the weapon . We had lost sight of the large werewolf by that time , and my eyes again began to play tricks on me for one of the following wolves looked rather less like the others , like a marionette , or again , like an animal pretending to be itself .
There was a small gated homestead only a short distance off and we made straight for it . The horse leaped over the small gate , and the fence blocked our pursuers . The night had fallen and rushing out of the house with a lantern came that exotically handsome young native man who had visited the town earlier with Old Squaw Frew — or should
I say Mrs . Little Wolf . He steadied our horse and his lantern cast light towards the fence .
Just outside the lantern ’ s cast , strange dark figures appeared . It could not have been the wolves for every feature seemed suddenly elongated and more human . They seemed to be actively trying to scale the short fence but were weirdly unable to get over the top . I have seen the effect before — in a school of fish vying for a treat in a pond — but never with wolves . But they were shadows , not wolves .
" There is an evil spirit after you ," the boy said , helping us off the horse . He led us into his small home and barred the door behind us .
" Thank you for your help ," I said most politely . " May I ask what you mean by evil spirit ?"
" I can tell you no more ," the young man replied , looking out the window . He let us sit down .
His home was one room , clean but shabby . " You are not American ?" he asked . " No , we are travelers . We are on a world tour where our group hunts the most vicious and depraved monsters ! I have seen you in town ," I mentioned , hoping to sound friendly . " My name is Philomena
Dashwood , and this is my traveling companion Percy Longville ."
" Around here the folks call me Thunderboy . I was brought into this world on the night of a powerful storm ."
I felt that the introduction held some native mystery , and I did not want to offend him with more questions .
" It is a very pretty name ," I smiled , observing our surroundings .
" If you are not American , and you intend to destroy monsters , perhaps you have come to the right place ."
On the mantle I saw a photograph of a young man and an old woman .
Percy exclaimed , " Oh , no ! Missus Dashwood , isn ' t that the old woman who came to meet us in