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lavoro pubblicato martedì 26 luglio 2016
ultima lettura venerdì 22 giugno 2018

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Red Eyes Among the Bushes

di DrWatson. Letto 505 volte. Dallo scaffale Straniera

Seconda storia dei cacciatori Jamie&Marya. Sequel di The Night When The Evil Runs Free. L'ho appena finita di scrivere, per cui devo ancora rileggerla, ma sembra che sia già a posto così :D E' il secondo caso della serie, e molti devono ancora venire..

It's night and a man is tidying up some things outside his farmhouse. He's storing things from his car's trunk to the stock. He takes up some boxes and hay, takes them inside the building and then comes out again to take more. He's just working, he does it every time and at every hour. He doesn't care of the late hour and he doesn't notice something is observing him. Something is slowly moving behind the green leaves of the bushes behind him. He hears something, he turns around and glances back but he sees nothing, he's looking at a too high level. Whatever it is, the creature is still observing him. It's hidden in the darkness but its red eyes shine among the leaves. It waits patiently for the man to come out again and turn around, when the creature swiftly jumps out of the bushes and attacks him. The animal-like and undefined creature jumped out of the darkness and the man screams loud, as it bites him and sinks its teeth on his neck. The man tries to push it away, he's terrified but also shocked because of the horrible vision of that unknown and frightening animal. But even if he tries to fight back, the creature is stronger and quickly overcomes him, forcing him down on the ground and ending him, sucking his blood and then running away in a strange way, on four legs.
Few days later, Jamie is at a motel and he's taking a shower. He's enjoying a little moment of peace, running his fingers through his long hair, covered in shampoo and under a hot flow of running water. He keeps his eyes closed, when his phone starts ringing. He looks around perplexed and a bit annoyed. He opens a bit the door of the shower-box and grabs his phone on the table. He answers and leaves his phone on a shelf in the wall, inside the box and at a higher level with respect to the water. It's Marya on the phone.
"Jamie? Hey! Where are you?" she asks. Jamie is a bit surprised.
"Under the shower. Why?" he replies, still washing his hair. Marya isn't less confused than him.
"Under the shower?"
"Yes, I'm taking a shower! You know that thing when you wash yourself and get covered with shampoo and bubble bath, standing under a flow of hot water..." he says, in a pleased tone. She shakes her head.
"Oh, well..." she replies, a bit disgusted. "Thank you for the picturesque image you just gave me". He stares at his phone with a grumpy expression.
"What? Don't use that tone, I'm beautiful, I'm better than a Greek statue"
"Yeah, yeah, well..." she tries to change topic, a bit embarrassed. "But what are you doing with your phone in the shower? No no, wait, I don't wanna know..." she asks and corrects herself.
"Hey! Don't make me sound like a psychopath. I took it just because you called, and I'm using speakers now, so it doesn't get splashed" he says, proud.
"Uh... Alright, anyway"
"Yeah, anyway, why you called? Did you miss me?". She chuckles.
"Yeah. No, well, I have a case and it's leaving me a bit puzzled"
"What's this about?" he asks, still massaging his hair.
"Chupacabra? I thought it was a urban legend" he says, confused.
"Yeah, that's what I thought too, but everyone keeps describing this animal in the same way and it coincides with the Chupacabra legend. So, I'm a bit in difficulty. I don't know what to believe"
"Ok, where are you staying?"
"Ahm, in a motel outside San Antonio"
"Ok, good. I'm kind of near, I'll reach you there... in a few hours". She laughs.
"Yeah, keep enjoying the hot water. And cuddle your beautiful curls"
"Oh yeah, I'll do that" he replies, not caring if it was just a joke from her side. She chuckles and closes the call. After a while, Marya is reading again her information on the case when her phone rings, it's Jamie sending a picture. She stares at it surprised, unsure if she should open it or not.
"Oh, God..." she comments and then opens it. It's just his selfie, a potrait under the shower with his hair all covered in bubbles and he, happily smiling. She smiles at it and laughs.
"I'll save this one. It's cute" she says and poses her phone down again, focusing on her case.

After a few hours, Jamie arrives outside her motel in San Antonio. He parks his car and gets out. He takes his bag on one shoulder and goes to her door. He knocks and looks around. She gets up from the desk, where she was slowly falling asleep, and glances through the peephole. She sees him waiting there, glancing around and with his curly hair still a bit wet. She doesn't hesitate more, she quickly opens the door.
"Jamie, finally!" she exclaims. He smiles widely.
"Hello cousin! How's it going?" he asks, coming in.
"Fine. Except for this little case" she replies, closing the door and hugging him.
"Oh don't worry, we'll solve it quickly now. Like it happened before, we can solve everything together" he tells, smiling. She takes his bag and leaves it on her bed.
"How was the travel? Do you need something? Water?"
"Oh, well, it was a bit boring, but it could be worse. Do you have beer?" he says. She looks at him, half smiling.
"Jamie, Jamie... You know I don't drink beer"
"Yeah, well, I tried" he tells and sits on her bed, resting a bit. She fills a glass of water and gives it to him.
"Thank you" he says, drinking. She sits again at the table and scrolls on her laptop.
"So, what's this case about?" asks Jamie. She turns her eyes on him.
"Ok, so, few days ago I found this article on a newspaper" she starts, handing him a piece of paper. He looks at it. "It's about a man, a farmer, who was carrying his things at home when he got assaulted by this creature. Witnesses say he started shouting so they came out of home - they are all farmers, neighbours - and they saw the animal running away. They said it had red shiny eyes, hairless and it walked on four legs. But when it went away, it started walking on two". Jamie looks at her perplexed.
"Well, this is new"
"There are too many new things in this job. I searched for previous cases and I actually found a lot. I found a lot of animals murder, cows, sheeps, hens. And also people, some other people got killed by this strange creature"
"The cause of death?"
"Bloodletting. It sucks their blood, and it did it with both people and animals. Now, if it wasn't for what people say, I would have never thought of this"
"People, you mean the farmers? What do they say?"
"They say it's something they already saw. It happened before, it's the Chupacabra. They say this animal looks like a monster, no one ever caught one but many saw it. It kills their animals and sucks their blood. They think there's an actual family of Chupacabras here". Jamie looks at her ever more speechless as she talks. He's a bit confused too.
"So, what are you thinking?" she asks.
"Ahm... I don't know, I can't believe in such a thing. I mean, we see a lot of incredible things, but this... A Chupacabra? This is more like a story to scare kids! But, obviously, you never know... With this job..." he reasons, making gestures and funny expressions. "So, maybe we should search some other details and try to see what we get from there. Maybe it will be clearer, and less absurd"
"Ok, then" she says, closing her laptop. He looks at her, a bit surprised. "I'm tired Jamie... I wanna rest a bit" she explains.
"Oh, ok. Fine, I'll take a look at your notes, I'll see what I can find" he tells getting up and going to the table. She smiles and messes up his hair a bit. He moves back.
"No, come on, don't touch my hair, I just fixed them"
"Oh, such a good job you did" she jokes.
"Well, come on Mary, go to sleep" he says, pushing her and forcing her on the bed.

After a while, Jamie shakes her arm and calls her.
"Mary! Mary! Come on, wake up" he repeats. She was still sleeping and slowly wakes up, blinking at him and giving some bad look. She mutters something.
"Uh... Jamie, what's up? I was sleeping..."
"Yes, I know. But I got news" he tells, standing up. He goes to the table again and she slowly sits on the bed, rubbing her eyes. Her hair is a bit messy and Jamie laughs a bit, glancing at her.
"So, what's this? Tell me it's worth a sudden awakening" she asks.
"Yeah, yeah, yes it is. I think you should stop working when you're tired". She looks confused at him.
"I was looking through your notes and I found the new trace, simply there. You told everyone, all the farmers, told the same story: a Chupacabra, which hunts their animals and sucks their blood, and blablabla... But there's not just that. There's a man who said a different thing. Look at this" he says, showing her a cut-out from a newspaper, taken from among her notes. She observes sleepy at it. "This man was clearly against the Chupacabra theory. He said his neighbours refused to see the truth and kept blaming it. But he thinks differently. I also searched for him on the web" he tells, turning to the laptop and opening some pages. "It appears this man made a big deal of it. He went everywhere, he tried to attract attention, telling his own version of the case. But you forgot about him" he ends, staring at her. She's a bit puzzled.
"Well, I'm sorry... I must have missed it"
"Yeah, because I found it here. Anyway, we can still go and listen to his version in person. I'm sure he will be happy to tell. Come on sleepyhead, put on your shoes!" he tells, going to her and dragging her up. She protests but he's a very active guy.
Afterwards, Jamie and Marya go talking to the man, that is another farmer of the zone. He quickly welcomes them in his property as they tell him they're journalists for the local newspaper, inquiring about the strange case.
"Ha! No one listened to me! But still I know this is the truth!" he tells. He's a man around 60, surely not that educated and looks a bit crazy.
"Oh... Well, we're interested to know your version of this story, since you're the only one out of the chorus" says Jamie, taking out his casebook and pen. Marya observes the man intently.
"Yeah, surely I am. Those idiots just say what is convenient to them, what they want to think. But they can't even believe themselves"
"So, what do you think it actually is the monster that strikes at night?" asks Marya.
"I don't know precisely what it is, but I know it's not a Chupacabra. Maybe it's a new monster. But I can tell you, I saw it. I was right there when it happened" he points a bit farer. Jamie and Marya turn around to see.
"You and Mr. Brown were neighbours?" Jamie asks.
"Yeah! And I was near the fence when the beast attacked. He was taking things inside the stable when the thing caught him from behind. It was huge and had red eyes. It bit his throat and sucked his blood. Then it run away"
"Until now, that's also what the others told..." Marya comments.
"But it's not a Chupacabra" he remarks, a bit irritated. "It went away on four legs and then walked on two! Chupacabra don't walk! They are animals, awful, terrifying, but animals. And they're not that big". Jamie stares at him a bit confused and surprised. He doesn't know anymore if the man is a reliable source or if he should start believing in Chupacabras. The man notices his expression.
"We caught those things, we saw them" he adds. "They are small, like coyotes. And that's how I can tell that wasn't one of them. The others say that because it's better for them to think it's just an animal out there, that can be killed. But it's something more, something diabolic. But they're scared to admit that. The cries in the night? 'It's the Chupacabra!' they say. But Chupacabras don't cry like that! They mutter noises, they don't yell. And they never attacked people before. They kill animals because they are in advantage. We had them here many times and hunted them down. They were a problem for the cows and hens, so we're experts". Jamie is still a bit speechless.
"And can you remember something else from that night? Some other detail?" Marya asks.
"For the whole night, the cries stopped. It looks like the beast wasn't hungry anymore. And not it's been few days, so I'm afraid it will strike again. I always keep my rifle next to my bed and I suggest you not to go around searching for it at night" he warns them. "I don't understand why CIA isn't working on this yet" he tells, and Jamie and Marya exchange a puzzled look.
"You are not of CIA, right?" he asks, suspicious.
"No, no, we're not" Jamie says quickly.
They come back to the motel and Jamie wanders around, thoughtful. Marya sits on the bed and observes him.
"So, Jamie? What do you think?"
"I'm a bit confused" he mutters. "I don't know if I'm more shocked because Chupacabras are real or because this looks like a whole new kind of monster" he says, going back and forth and scratching his head.
"Yeah, well... That man looked a bit... touched, don't you think?". He looks at her.
"Yeah, without doubt. But that's probably the effect of seeing such a thing. We'll probably know soon" he says and makes a pause. Marya stays silent too and looks around. "Every how many days did it strike?" he asks then. Marya thinks for a while.
"Uhm, something around two or three days"
"And the last one was..."
"Two nights ago. You're thinking the man could be right, about the next strike?"
"Yeah, well, it makes sense. We must be there when it happens. Or better, we must kill it before it happens". She nods.
"When is the last time you went hunting?" he asks curious. She looks at him a bit confused.
"Jamie, I do that every time"
"No, no, I mean, real hunting, in the woods, hunting animals" he corrects himself, making gestures.
"I... never did" she says unsure.
"Oh, ok. I'll have to teach you then. It will be fun" he says, smiling.

The next morning, Jamie and Marya go hunting in the wood just outside town. They took their rifles with them and walk among the trees, searching for every useful trace.
"You see, every animal leaves a different trace on the ground and accordingly to how deep the mark is, you can tell how much it weighs and approximately even its height" tells Jamie, pointing at the signs on the ground. "That one is probably a rabbit and that one a deer"
"How do you know all this?" she asks, curious. He looks at her.
"My father took me hunting when I was a kid. He took me and Jeremy many times, it was part of the training" he explains.
"And why did he never take me?" she asks, a bit disappointed and sad.
"Well... My mum didn't want to. She said it was dangerous and you were too young, so..."
"Ha, but killing monsters is not dangerous"
"Yeah, I know, it doesn't make much sense. In fact I was a bit surprised to know you never hunted before, I thought my dad took you too once"
"Oh ok... Well, probably he thought of taking just his sons" he says. They keep walking in the wood with their rifles on the shoulders. Jamie shows Marya some broken branches.
"Look, something passed here and broke these. It must have been something big because these branches are all destroyed"
"Can it be our creature?"
"Yeah, technically it can. I'm no expert of typical fauna of the place but I don't think Big Foot moved here. It would be too much in two days" he comments looking around. She chuckles a bit. Then they hear some leaves moving. Jamie halts Marya and makes her sign to hush.
"What's it?" she whispers.
"Give me some seconds..." he says. He looks around and up on the trees, keeping her behind him. Then a little squirrel runs in front of them and he leaves her.
"Nothing, just a squirrel" he says and keeps walking. She laughs a bit.
"You couldn't recognize a squirrel?". He glances at her, a bit annoyed and a bit embarrassed.
"Well, in a hunt like ours, it's always better to be cautious..." he comments.
"Right" she says smiling, knowing this is just his way of admitting a failure.
"When you go in the woods is always important to be able to orient yourself. Like for example, from the height of the sun..."
"Yeah, I know that, darling" she stops him, smiling. He looks down at her with a resigned expression.
"Ok, good" he says. Then he stops, noticing something strange on the ground. He stares at it while Marya stares at him, waiting explanations.
"What's up?" she asks, moving in front of him. He halts her and drags her back.
"No no, stop, don't go there!" he says. She looks frowning at him. "There are traces" he explains, moving his hand ahead. She looks down.
"Yeah, oh... These are strange" he says, still looking down.
"Look, they seem like clogs' marks, like deers'. But these are way bigger and deeper than usual"
"You mean that our creature left them?"
"Yeah, it can be. I never saw anything of the kind before" he tells, looking up the tree they have in front of them. He cautiously follows the marks, walking at the side and reaches the base of the tree. He crouches down and moves the leaves a bit, while Marya reaches him, following his steps.
"What did you find?". He raises up his hand, dirty with some blood, and shows it to her.
"We found it, or at least we know he passed here" Jamie tells.
"Up the tree?" she asks, pointing at the vertical signs on the trunk. Jamie looks up and stands up. He turns to her, with a puzzled expression.
"What the hell is this thing?" he asks.
"Don't ask me, I have no idea" she says.

They get back to the motel room and start searching on her laptop. She types on the keyboard and he goes back and forth, talking and reasoning at loud voice. He always does it when he thinks.
"So, we know it drinks blood, it moves at night and can climb up the trees" he says.
"We also know it walks on four or two legs" she adds, following him back amd forth with her eyes. He stops and looks at her.
"Right. And we don't know why he does one or the other"
"Because on four legs it's faster?" she tries.
"But it's also vulnerable. It can maybe jump better, but I have my doubts about running because it seems it's not that light"
"Ok... Ahm, I'm not finding anything useful" she says, looking at the screen. "Just the usual things, vampires, vampires and stupid books..."
"We have to find it, quickly. Because it can strike again tonight and we must be prepared. It's been already a stroke of luck that it didn't kill yesterday night"
"Yeah. But I don't know where to search, this is nothing that fits our case". He reaches her, all armed with good intentions.
"Ok, let me do it" he says, pushing her away. She stares at him a bit bothered and gives him a bad look, but at the end he can do everything and she won't get mad.
"Ok, let's see... Vamps, vamps, ..." he reads, scrolling the pages. "Chupacabra, no thanks! Dracula, werewolves, creatures of the night... Let's see what it is..." he comments while she stands there, waiting and observing him.
"Uh... Listen to this: "it hides among the bushes before attacking its prey. Its eyes are red and it has clogs at its feet. It drinks people's blood and stays on the trees while hunting" "
"What's this?" she asks, getting closer to read.
"Sasa... Sa-Sasabonsam" he reads, with some difficulty. He turns to her and moves back a bit, finding her just next to him, focused on the screen.
"And it's some kind of vampire..."
"It says it's a creature that wanders at night and during the day it's just a normal person"
"It turns at night?"
"Yeah. But even during the day it can be identified because some characteristics of the creature remains"
"That's why it walked on two while going away"
"Yes, it can be. It tells it stays on the trees while searching for his prey and can catch people even from there, so it's pretty dangerous. It describes it as a creature with two halves, a monster-like one, but still 'normal', you can say, and a horrible one, putrescent and bad smelling. If you get in contact with the first one, you still can be saved, but with the second... you can't"
"Well, that's disgusting" she says.
"Yeah, I don't know if it actually corresponds exactly to reality but this description is not so comfortable"
"Indeed... And how can we kill it?"
"Ha, it always surprises me when we find this kind of information on the web... But still here there isn't any. It says though that it has two hearts, so I suppose we have to stop both, maybe shooting at it. I'd try with silver bullets"
"Ok, then. We can't identify the person during the day, right?"
"No, we don't have enough information for that. I think we should go to the wood tonight and see what we can find"
"Ok, perfect. Going to the wood at night, exactly what that man asked us not to do". He looks at her.
"Yeah, but he doesn't know hunting monsters is our job"
"Yeah..." she says, thoughtful. He turns to the laptop again, checking if he can find something else.

The night, Jamie and Marya come back to the wood, with their rifles at hand. They're walking near the place where they found the traces during the day. It's a cold night, even for Texas latitude, and there's some light that allows them to see a bit among the trees. They're a bit tense because tonight is very likely something will happen, so the hunt can be both successful or dangerous. Jamie is always protective towards her, he knows this is dangerous and she's not much experienced on hunting, so he always keeps her behind him and screens her when he hears something. But after some time, still nothing happened. They sit down on a trunk on the ground and wait. He plays with his gun, rotating it in his hands.
"Do you think it got smart and won't attack tonight?" she says.
"Monsters are not intelligent creatures, most of them. They just obey to their needs" he replies, without distracting himself from the rifle.
"Ok, so maybe it's not hungry?"
"Maybe. But the night is still long" he says, when some noises are heard, like of leaves moving. He quickly looks up and around, holding his rifle. She looks around too when he gets up. She gets up too and stays behind him. He searches for her, looking over his shoulder, and takes her closer, holding her wrist. He glances all around in the dark but the noises stopped and he can't understand where they came from. After a while the noises come back and louder, clearer. It's the heavy sound of steps over the crunching leaves and they get closer. Jamie holds the rifle pointed ahead and Marya covers his back. The steps are irregular and confused, also it seems that who's coming is trying to be stealthy. Then, slowly, in front of him, Jamie can see a darker figure getting closer. He fixes it intently, trying to understand if that's what they're searching. The noises surely come from there, Marya stares at it too. But the figure gets bigger and bigger as it gets closer and it has an undefined shape, not like the one they could expect from the monster. Jamie is always ready with his finger on the trigger when he realizes the figure ahead is not just a single figure, but many. He looks at them surprised and a bit worried. The figure is nothing more than a bunch of people, armed with rifles and getting closer to them.
"Hey! You!" shouts Jamie, trying to warning them before they can shoot at them. Marya is a bit confused by her cousin's behaviour. The people quickly stop and point their guns at them.
"Hey, put down those rifles! We're not going to shoot at you" adds Jamie.
"Who the hell are you?" asks one of the group. Jamie takes down his rifle and pushes down Marya's too.
"Why are you here? It's dangerous" Jamie says. The men take down their rifles and slowly get closer.
"For the same reason as you, I guess" replies the same one.
"You're hunting... The animal?" asks Jamie.
"And we're going to kill it. It's enough now. We're going to end this tonight"
"Look, this is not what it seems. It's dangerous and it's better if you come back home"
"Ha, look who's telling it. We are more, we have better chances to win. You are two, you should come back. And this is not a place for ladies" he tells, referring to Marya. Jamie gives a quick look behind and tries to convince them without telling much.
"Look, you should trust me. The fact is... this is not a Chupacabra, it's worse and more dangerous. We can take care of it but you are running an useless risk"
"And what should it be then?" asks another one.
"Who are you? How can you know that?" asks a third. Jamie is a bit in difficulty and exchanges a look with Marya.
"We're... We're from CIA" he answers. Marya tries to contain her surprise.
"We're special agents and we've been sent here to deal with this case. I can't tell more because it's top secret"
"Oh please, she's too young, she just finished high school". Marya looks at him a bit annoyed, she finished high school few years before.
"She's a cadet, of the Army. She's with me for her first experiences out..." he invents. "And now, please men, come back home and leave us do our job"
"No, we're here now and whatever thing it is, we're going to kill it" they reply. Jamie is exasperated and doesn't know what to say. Marya pulls his arm and makes him sign to talk privately. They move back.
"What is this CIA story?" she whispers.
"It's the first thing that came to my mind" he replies.
"Well, luckily you have a good imagination..."
"Yeah. We needed just a farmers' expedition now"
"But maybe they can help us, they're much more and armed"
"Mary, they don't know how to act, they know nothing. They just risk to get killed. We can't allow this"
"But maybe..."
"No Mary. They have to go away. It's better for everyone". Marya desists and they reach the group again.
"Men, we can do this on our own. Thank you for your help but it's better if we carry on alone" Jamie says, when some other noises are heard. Jamie looks around, concerned while all the men point up their rifles. Jamie and Marya hold theirs too and try to find the Sasabonsam among the trees, or up the trees. Suddenly, one of the men screams loudly. Everyone turns around and Jamie quickly hurries there. The man is held up on the tree and he agitates his legs down, while screaming. The farmers step back incredulous and afraid while Jamie tries to shoot among the branches. He doesn't know if he hit it or not, but the man falls down on the ground, half-eaten, and a long arm grabs Jamie's rifle and throws him away. Even Jamie didn't expect that. The farmers, shocked by what happened to their mate, randomly shoot at the tree, putting the creature on the run but not killing it. Marya stares shocked at the whole scene. Jamie falls down few meters away from there, after hitting a tree. Marya quickly runs to him and kneels down.
"Jamie! Are you ok?" she asks, worried. He sits on the ground with some difficulty and complains a bit, holding his chest.
"Yeah, I'm fine... Uh... Maybe I have a broken rib..." he says.
"Damn... Don't strive" she says, helping him up and caressing him. He grabs his rifle that fell not so far from him.
"Don't worry, it will pass in a few days"
"Well, you should take some more than few days of rest"
"Not now. We have to finish this" he tells, leaning on her as they come back to the others. The body of the man is still lying there, no one dared to touch it, as a poor example of how things could go wrong. Jamie gives them all a bad and a bit aching stare, but now the Sasabonsam ran away and they wasted an occasion. They can do nothing more there.

The next morning, Jamie is lying on the bed of the motel room while Marya reflects and observes a map on her laptop. She takes a look at him.
"Jamie, how are you?"
"And the rib?"
"It hurts only when I breathe" he says, pressing it a bit. She goes to him to check it out. He follows her with his eyes.
"Show me where it hurts" she says, moving his hand. He's a bit surprised but she always cared a lot and worried for him.
"Here..." he says, pointing with his hand. She touches him a bit. "Ahi..."
"Yeah, that's probably a rib. You should see a doctor" she says, trying to identify the direction of his ribs.
"Ha, there's no need. It's not the first time I got some broken ribs, it will heal by itself" he tells. She glances at him and starts going back to the table.
"You must stay at rest, and probably you'll need some painkiller"
"I can stand it"
"Jamie, don't pretend it doesn't hurt. It means that I'll do he hard job in this case..."
"Yes, shut up. And I'll stay with you until you're ok."
"I can't let you..."
"No, that's out of discussion. Now we'll try to see how we can kill this thing and then you'll take the time to heal". He looks up, resigned, knowing that she won't leave it.
"Ok, fine" he says.
"Good. So, how can we find it now? Do you think it's really impossible to find it during the day?"
"It can be everyone, it will take a lot. If only those idiots stayed at their place..."
"We could have already finished it. Also, it's stronger than I thought"
"Yeah, I see that"
"But at least I'm sure now those men won't try 'hunting the Chupacabra' again"
"If it always comes back to that place every night, it can be that it's someone who lives near there, right?". He looks at her.
"Mm, well, it can be. But there are a lot of farms there"
"We can check them. And we can see who among those farmers wasn't at the expedition yesterday night". He thinks for a while.
"The number reduces. Those people were around ten. Surely we have to consider their families too. Anyone can be it"
"Yeah, ok, we have the whole day to gain an advantage and maybe we can kill it before night, being it weaker". Jamie looks around, thoughtful.
For the whole day, they go around the farms, asking people and searching for everyone that was at the expedition the night before. For all the others, they invent some way to get in conversation, to gain some information or just have more time to observe them and see if they can find any weird characteristics. At evening, they're staying in his car, after another round of questioning, thinking of their next move. Marya is sitting at the driver's seat and Jamie is drinking coffee from a thermos and looking a bit tired. She's focused looking ahead and thinking, then turns her eyes to Jamie.
"Jamie! Stop drinking so much coffee!!" she says, pulling the bottle away. "Don't mix it with the painkiller". He gives her a bad stare.
"It's coffee not alcohol. And I need to stay awake" he replies.
"You have the time to sleep a bit if you want. We can come back to the motel"
"No, no" he says, shaking his head and sitting better on the seat. "We have to find the Sasabonsam, we still have some hours before night..." he says, rubbing his eyes a bit sleepy. She looks at him like he was a cute little puppy.
"Alright, I'll do that. You'll have a sleep"
"No, I'm fine"
"You're falling asleep. While hunting. Not only this is dangerous but I also need you at your best. Or at least, not sleepy". He looks at her and smiles a bit.
"Ok, what can I do when you act like this... It will take a bit though for me to fall asleep, with all the caffeine I took..." he says when his look falls for an instant outside the car. There's a man there, walking on the sidewalk. Jamie is rubbing his eyes when he sees something strange. For an instant, the man's eyes turned red. Jamie stares surprised and incredulous, he's sure of what he saw.
"Mary! Mary! It's him!! I saw it!" he says. Marya looks confused at him and then outside, where he was pointing. But there's no one outside.
"What? Who, Jamie?" she asks puzzled. He looks out, disconcerted.
"He was there! He was there! I saw it!" he says, nervous.
"Ok, ok, calm down. You stopped with coffees for today. Tell me what you saw"
"There was a man, walking, and his eyes were red. Just like the creature. It was him!" he explains, even more agitated.
"Are you sure? Because I see no one here..."
"He was there! Then he wasn't anymore. He must have found some way to go away, some second road"
"Are you sure it's not just your impression?" she asks, cautiously. He looks at her in a bad way and offended.
"I'm not crazy. I know what I saw. I'm still a hunter, I know how to distinguish what's real from a simple impression"
"Ok, ok... Don't get mad. I'll take a look around" she says, starting the engine.

They took a ride around the block and a bit farer, but the research didn't lead to any useful trace. Even if Jamie intently looked around, trying to find the man, the creature disappeared and they were again at a dead end. So they came back to the motel, so that Jamie could have a rest and they could go back to the wood at night. In fact, the night they come hunting again. Jamie looks around among the trees, annoyed and a bit angry.
"Are you mad at something?" asks Marya.
"No, I'm just a bit... bothered by all this story. The people yesterday, if it wasn't for them, we could have already finished here, and then the sighting that I had of that man, that disappeared again... It's all a series of things that annoys me"
"Well, but maybe we will finish it now"
"Yeah, I hope so because I'm having enough" he says. Jamie grabs Marya's wrist and holds her, stopping her. She quickly gets he heard something and starts looking around, searching for the creature. They look all around and point their guns, when something starts moving over their heads. Marya hears it and looks up, alerted. She can discern a pair of red brilliant eyes looking down at them and soon pushes Jamie to the ground, even if she could hurt him like this. He tries to understand what's going on and looking up he sees the monster too. The Sasabonsam jumps down from the tree and stands, towering over them, who are lying on the ground. The sight is not of the best ones: the Sasabonsam really has two different sides, one is frightening, with hairless and dry skin, thin and with long fingers and arms, the other side is disgusting, with pieces of grey skin falling apart, wounds everywhere from which the interior is visible, or sometimes the interiors themselves are falling out. Over both, a paor of shiny eyes staring at them, as he slowly walked toward them, uttering some noises. The vision is so terrible and awful that even Jamie and Marya stare at it, shocked for a while, as they creep back on the ground. The smell that it emanates is strong and nauseous, Jamie cover his nose with his hand. Then grabs his rifle and shoots at it, in the direction of where he supposed there was the heart. The Sasabonsam yells highly and keeps muttering noises, but keeps going and seems also a bit annoyed. Jamie tries to stand up, even if it means losing some time to the creature and even if his rib still hurts a bit, and then helps Marya to get up. She lost her rifle while pushing Jamie to the ground, and so Jamie has to shoot the second shot too. He loads the gun and prepares to shoot again, when the Sasabonsam suddenly jumps ahead over him, with its pointed teeth shining in the darkness. Jamie pushes Marya away, as the creature gets over him and pushes him with his back to the ground.
"Maaaryyy!!!" he yells, desperate while that horrible creature stays over him. The Sasabonsam tries to bite him, while Jamie tries to push it back, turning his head, disgusted. He doesn't care anymore about what side he shouldn't touch, he just tries to get free. Marya doesn't care either, she attacks the Sasabonsam from behind, trying to pull it back from Jamie, but she can't. His rifle fell with him and hit him on the face, but now it's stuck between him and the creature. Marya bends down and tries to catch it, forcing her hands under the monster. She manages to grab the grip of the gun and starts pulling it. Jamie keeps yelling, telling her to be quick while he tries to keep the monster away. The Sasabonsam tries to bite Jamie and yells too, when Marya pulls the rifle out. She can't shoot while Jamie is there, under the monster, she can't risk of hitting him too. So, she gives the monster a strong kick on the side. The Sasabonsam turns to her, mad, and yells at her. But contemporarily it moves up from Jamie and Marya shoots all her shots at it. Jamie covers his head with his arms, the Sasabonsam gets triggered by the silver bullets and emits a last cry of pain. Then it falls down on the ground, dead, next to Jamie. When he opens his eyes again, he sees it just in front of him and quickly moves back, still a bit afraid but especially, disgusted. Marya kneels down to him and tries to calm him down a bit.
"Hey, hey, it's dead, don't worry" she says, caressing his head. He looks at her, he has a little wound and some blood on his lip. "Are you ok?" she asks. He nods.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I got another hit, but I'm fine"
"Awesome, come on, get up" she says, pulling him up. He looks down at the dead body.
"We have to take it away... And burn it" he comments.

Later, at the motel room, Jamie is sitting on the bed, keeping a sack of ice on the back of his head. Marya goes back and forth and he follows her with his eyes.
"Is it better now?" she asks, still moving.
"Yeah, better" he replies. She sits next to him and has a handkerchief in her hand. She grabs his chin and tries to stop the bloodletting from his wound. He moves back but she holds him tighter.
"Don't move, I'm helping you" she says. Therefore, he just stays there, still and keeping the bag of ice.
"Chupacabra, they said..." he comments "I wish it was a Chupacabra". She chuckles a bit, he looks at her and smiles. But doing so, the wound on his lip, that was just closing, opens again.
"Ahi, dammit..." he comments. She smiles.
"Don't laugh Jamie. It won't close otherwise"
"Right" he says, trying not to move his lips.
"So, now you can take a proper break. You'll need some more medicines"
"That won't last long, though"
"Yeah, yeah, but I know you even too good. You won't stop working, so I have to watch over you"
"Oh, come on, I promise you I won't hunt" he tells, like chanting a forced promise.
"Yeah, good, but I don't believe you" she says, smiling. "Also we're stronger together". He thinks for a while, she's actually right.
"Yeah..." he mutters.
"And it's funnier. It's more entertaining". He laughs a bit. "You are hilarious and having different points of view can be useful. What I don't see, you see. And we can protect each other"
"Yeah, it's true. You're telling all this because you want to hunt together?" he looks at her.
"Yeah, why not. But only after you healed"
"Yeah, sure" he says, and looks back at the empty bed. They exchange a quick look and soon get what the other is thinking. They throw themselves on the bed, but only Jamie can take enough of it, while Marya just finds herself in equilibrium on the border. So, she gets up, a bit annoyed.
"Alright, take it. I'm leaving it just because you're hurt" she says. He smiles at her. "Luckily we'll have two beds next time" she comments, going to the table.
"Oh, one thing: I'll drive" says Jamie. She turns around, incredulous.
"What? No, I'll drive"
"No, I. I'm older, I have more experience"
"Yeah, and when will I get experience if you drive every time?"
"Wen I'm tired, and when I'm sleepy" he adds, smiling. She stares at him, grumpy. "Night, Mary" he tells, turning on one side. She takes a look at him.
"Yeah, good night".


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