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The Creature of Mount Emmons
Crack! The shot echoed throughout the valley.
“Got ‘em.” Erik said. I looked through the scope and saw the elk drop on the spot.
“What was the range again?” Brandon asked.
“Eight hundred and fifty four yards.” I said, ejecting the shell from my rifle and placing it in my pocket as a souvenir from my first elk hunt. I got up and stretched. We had been sitting on a cliff that overlooked the saddle between two mountains for six hours straight. I picked up my pack and my rifle and said “Let's go get him.” We started off.
“Now it's just up to me.” Brandon said. “Erik got his bow tag filled already. By the way nice shot. Sixty yards isn't easy with a bow. And Jacob, you just got yours.”
“Yeah you’re lagging behind.” I said laughing. We walked for about an hour through the thick underbrush underneath the pine trees. The scenery was beautiful. The mountains of northern Utah can't be beaten. We approached the clearing where the elk went down. We waded through the thick grasses and wildflowers. We came upon the downed animal and what we saw was quite a shock.
The animal was down alright, but there was something wrong with it. The flesh on the ribcage had been gnawed off and most of the organs were missing. There were streaks of blood in the grass heading north into the treeline and up another mountain.
“What happened here?” I asked. “Something got to it.” Erik said. I looked toward the blood streaks and bent down. The tracks that had been left in the soft earth were like nothing I had ever seen. The front legs looked almost… human? There was just one thing wrong with them. At the end of each finger was about a two inch claw mark. The rear legs were just as strange. They looked like elongated dog prints. They were about six inches long and three inches wide. Nothing I had ever seen matched that. I pointed it out to the other two.
“You're right.” Brandon said “Those are really weird looking.” He kneeled down to examine them closer.
In that moment there was a loud low pitched screech from the northern end toward the mountain. Where the blood trail and the tracks lead.
“What was that?” Brandon said.
“Probably the thing that took my kill.” I replied. “Lets track it down and see what this thing is.”
We headed off cautiously into the woods. We crept along following the tracks deeper into the pine forest and farther up the mountain. We had gone for about twenty minutes when we came across a small fissure in the side of the mountain. As I approached I felt a heavy, dark feeling wash over me. I also felt as if I was being watched. I looked over at Erik and Brandon and they gave me a look that confirmed that they felt it to. I started, subconsciously, breathing heavily. It felt as if there was a weight pressing on my chest. I approached carefully and peered down into the depths of the cave. It was just large enough for a full grown man to crawl into. I took out my flashlight and clicked it on. The beam shot through the opening and hit a pile of white objects. I squinted to get a better look. It was bones. There was a pile of bones sitting at the bottom of the small cave. There were skulls of small animals, femurs, and even a few rib cages.
“ What would be large enough to take down something like that?” Erik said, eying what was an elk skull.
“I don't know.” I replied. All of the sudden I heard a high pitched screech to my left. I swung around drawing my revolver and c***ing the hammer. I sighed in relief as what had made the sound was a crow. It was sitting on a rock about ten feet away. It squawked at us again and took off.
“Darn thing scared me half to death.” I said re-holstering my gun.
“Well, It looks like the little thief isn't home right now.” I said. “Let's go.” We headed back to the elk to salvage what little we could. We took the head for mounting as well as some of the meat that hadn’t been ruined. There wasn't much left. As we packed what little we could we could still feel that oppressive feeling of something watching us. The feeling faded slowly as we hiked back to the small clearing where we had made camp. It was about a fifty by fifty foot clearing with a fire pit in the middle and our tents in a triangle around the fire. We had a perfect view of Mount Emmons from where we were with one being only about a thousand yards away. We unloaded our 1bags and I started to clean my rifle as Erik started a fire. It was about six o’clock in the evening when we had gotten back. The fire was crackling warmly as we talked about the day's events.
“Too bad something got to your elk.” Brandon said.
“Yeah, I’m a little upset at whatever took it. The thing took over half of the good meat.”
“It was probably a mountain lion.” Erik said. I wasn't so sure. The tracks were just too weird.
We cooked up some of Erik’s elk for our dinner and made elk tacos. It was a recipe that I had never heard before but they were really good.
At about nine o'clock I said “We should probably rest up for tomorrow. Especially you Brandon, you need to fill your tag.”. I headed off to my tent as did the other two. We left the fire going because we had it contained in a ring of huge rocks. There was no way that it was going to get out of control. I took off all of my gear and crawled into my sleeping bag. It wasn’t hard to fall asleep with the soft crackle of the fire and the sounds of the night.
I jerked up out of my sleep in a cold sweat, my chest heaving. I looked around dazed. The fire outside had gone down to just embers and I could see a faint glow through the tent. I looked down at my watch. It was one in the morning. I started thinking, what made me wake up like that? I layed back down pondering this when I heard a rustling in the brush behind me. The oppressive feeling of dread washed over me again. I went stiff as a board, not moving, hardly breathing. Was it a bear? A mountain lion? At that moment a shadow stepped between my tent and the glowing embers of the dying fire. It stood on two legs and sniffed the air before dropping back down to all fours. It looked almost human, except for its limbs. Its arms were too long to be a humans. The legs were inverted like a dog’s. And the face was elongated into a snout. I heard its raspy wheezy breathing. The sound reminded me of dry paper being crumpled.
I slowly reached for my revolver. I unholstered it and slowly and quietly c***ed the hammer, my shaky hands pointing it at the thing on the other side of the tent. I must have sat there like that for an hour before the thing moved off. I normally would have thought nothing of it but I couldn't shake that feeling. Something deep down in my gut told me that this thing was not to be messed with.
At that moment I heard a scream from my left followed by a gurgling noise. I sprang up. That was coming from Brandon's tent. I tore open the tent flap to see the thing standing hunched over before me. It’s skin was a pale yellow and I smelled the stench of death. It had a small patch of stringy black hair on its head. The things arms, legs, and torso looked too thin for it to be alive. It’s ribs and spine could be seen through the stretched skin and at the end of each finger was a long dirt covered claw. It’s eyes were a terrible milky white. It opened its doglike snout to reveal a row of sharp fangs and let out a low pitched, gravelly screech. I emptied all six of the rounds out of my revolver but missed every shot due to the panic that had ensued. The sound of the .357 magnum left my ears ringing and sent the beast scurrying into the woods. I slowly lowered my gun and looked around. Erik stepped groggily out of his tent.
“What happened?” He asked. I said nothing as I looked to Brandon's tent. There was a large gash in the fabric of the tent where the creature had entered. I slowly peeled back the material to reveal my dead friend. The beast had slashed his throat and chest. He had been eviscerated by the things claws. I turned back to Erik with a look of fear on my face.
“We need to go.” I said. “Now.”
We quickly grabbed our bags and threw them in the truck bed. We didn't bother putting out the fire or packing up the tent.
“Wait.” Erik said as I opened the driver side door. “We can't leave Brandon behind.”
“You’re right.” I said. We ran back to the camp and slowly approached the tent. Erik opened the tent flap and looked inside.
“Oh god. I think i'm going to be sick.” He said in disgust. His body now lay in a dark pool of blood. We wrapped him in his sleeping bag and carried him through the woods to the truck. We loaded the bag in the truck bed. I scrambled to start the truck and speed of as quickly as I could.
“I can’t believe it. He’s dead.” I said. We rode in silence for about a minute. I looked down to the speedometer. We were flying down the road at about fifty, weaving in and out of the mountain passes when I heard a thud. The truck veered to the right.
“What was that?” Erik said. I looked out to the left and there, running alongside the truck at fifty miles per hour, was the creature.
“How is this thing keeping up!?” I yelled franticly, stepping on the gas even harder. The thing jumped into the side of the truck, with a surprising amount of strength for what it looked, and the truck swerved even harder than the first time. It was still keeping pace.
“Oh my god we’re gonna die!” Erik yelled. The thing threw itself against the vehicle one last time and I lost control. I slammed on the brake as we careened into a ditch and flipped. I went unconscious.
I heard several faint explosions as I came to. I looked to my left. Through the broken glass I saw Erik. He was shooting his side arm into the woods. When he finished I said “What are you doing?” in a faint raspy voice.
“That thing came back for us.” He said opening the door and dragging me out. After a few minutes I came to my senses. We were both surprisingly intact save a few cuts and bruises.
“The car is totaled.” I said looking to the truck that now looked like a soda can that had been stepped on.
“We need to kill this thing.” I said.
“How?” Erik asked doubtfully.
“Lets think. The thing attacked our camp right? Lets lure it in and then take it out.”
“Yeah. Good idea, but where are we going to shoot it from? It will smell or see us before it gets into the clearing.” I thought for a moment. Finally I said “The mountain. Remember? We can see Mount Emmons from the campsite.”
“Yeah you’re talking about a thousand yard plus shot.”
“I'll take my chances if we can kill that thing. It killed Braden.” I said trying to hold back tears of anger and anguish. We didn’t sleep the rest of the night and agreed that we would set another fire in the camp to attract the creature.
The next morning we gathered our gear and went off to the camp. When we got there we worked in silence to start a fire. We built it high to make it last longer. Once we had finished we headed off up Mount Emmons.
After about an hour and a half of trudging through the underbrush and onto a cliff face that was clear of trees. I set up my rifle, spotting scope for Erik, and my weather meter.
“What’s the range?” I asked. “One thousand one hundred and six yards.” Erik replied. I turned the turret on my scope accordingly. We waited for hours until the sun started to go down and the campfire was nothing but embers.
“It's getting late. We need to get out of here.” Erik said.
“No.” I said. “That thing killed Braden. I won't rest until it's dead.” I said. No sooner had I spoken when I saw a figure emerge from the treeline and sneak into the camp. The thing sniffed around looking in the tents.
“There it is.” I said. I started to steady my breathing for the shot. I closed my eyes and thought about Brandon. That thing had torn him to shreds. I used my anger to focus. Just as I was about to take the shot the wind went still. I put the crosshair in the center of its torso. Everything seemed to go in slow motion. I slowly squeezed the trigger. Crack! The shot rang out. The round took two seconds to travel through the air. It tore through the beasts lower legs, leaving them shredded and mangled It let out a blood curdling screech that could have been heard for miles. It dragged itself out of the campground before I could get another shot off.
“Did you see how much blood came out of that thing?” Erik said.
“Yeah, it can't have gone far.” I said. “Lets track it down and finish it.” We hiked back down to the campsite and found a blood trail. By that time it was dark, so we pulled out our flashlights and went off. The trail lead back into the woods where we had found the cave. The feeling of dread fell over me like a curtain. This time worse. I started to hyperventilate but not even that could stop us. Our determination overpowered whatever this thing was. The blood trail led right to the cave where we had seen the bones.. I drew my revolver and looked around. Finally, seeing nothing around the cave, I looked into the cave's opening. There, staring back with its milky white eyes, was the beast. It was badly wounded from the shot I had taken earlier, its hind legs left shredded and bleeding profusely. Not even its blood looked right. It was a thick dark red and it flowed like syrup. It let out a raspy growl and slowly slunk towards us on its front two legs, dragging its maimed hind legs behind. The feeling of dread grew worse with every inch it moved closer. My hand shook as I tried to overcome the feeling. Finally, I put a round in its god awful face, blowing it to bits. The dark, oppressive feeling stopped.
I fired the last five shots into its disgusting yellow corpse with malice, screaming in rage all the while. I burst into tears and slumped to my knees. I felt Eriks reassuring hand on my shoulder.
“It’s ok man.” He said, choking back his own tears. “It's over.”