Beltran stumbled down the side of the hill, blood gushing from the bullet-holes in his shoulder. His face was wet with tears and smeared with dirt. He pressed his good hand against the holes, blood running down his arm.

Marella stood at the top of the hill in her prairie bonnet, holding the still-smoking rifle. She shot him a few more times in the back, the reports from the rifle echoing across the valley. He tumbled and ended up on his hands and knees on the yellow grass, little Tommy and the dog Peppermint rushing up to him. While Pepper licked his face, Tommy leaned down close. Beltran spat up blood. “You gonna take that from a woman?” Tommy asked, in his high-pitched little boy’s voice.

Beltran glanced sidelong up the hill at Marella’s silhouette in the setting sun. “No, I ain’t,” he managed to say. “Here, Tommy… Bite my arm.” He held out his forearm. The boy looked at him strangely, then grinned with a grin full of sharp pointy teeth. He bit Beltran’s arm just as the man was collapsing onto the ground. Then Tommy glanced up at Marella’s dark form at the top of the hill, moving slowly towards them.

Soon Marella stood over Beltran, aiming the gun at the back of his head. “Get that dog away from ‘im,” she said to the boy. Tommy pulled the dog back by his collar, staring up at the woman.

Just then Beltran turned, his face paler but eyes burning. He grinned, displaying new rows of pointy teeth. “What the hail is–,” Marella started to say. Then Beltran leapt up at her, tearing open her neck with his teeth, taking her down like an animal.

After feasting on her blood, he got to his feet and started back up the hill, Tommy and Pepper at his heels.

Just as the three crested the hill, Marella rose up on one arm. She stared angrily up at their dark forms, the setting sun turning the sky a deep crimson behind them. “Damn you, Beltran,” she hissed.

With her fingers she felt her mouth. Her teeth were growing and sharpening. “Damn you to Hell!”

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *