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Terror From McKellar Forest 9

Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!

He's wounded!

He's wounded!

Confronting a Formidable Enemy ...

It’s almost 5:45 pm as Officer Tim Collins, along with Officers Alan Parker and Buddy Houston make their rounds along the outskirt of Morgan’s Bluff. Then deliberately, they head back toward the center of town.

“No sign of that grizzly, thank goodness.” Buddy Houston sighs with relief.

“Never let your guard down for one moment, Buddy. From what the Chief says that bear can popup without the least bit of provocation or sound of warning.” Tim cautions his fellow officer and friend.

“You know, I can’t help but wonder if everybody is making too big a deal regarding this thing. After all, it’s just an animal, right?” Buddy replies feeling somewhat confident.

“Better listen to Tim, Buddy. Don’t get too cocky. That has been the downfall of many good officers. Never underestimate the enemy!” Alan Parker reinforces the warning.

“Yeah, yeah right—never underestimate a bear.” Buddy dismisses the words feeling that he has the situation well under control.

It’s near sundown as the men walk casually back to the Morgan’s Bluff Police Station. Almost immediately, Buddy is taking the lead position and Collins is bring up the rear. As they approach Smith’s Alley Collins begins to hesitate.

“What’s the matter with you Tim, you alright back there?” Buddy calls out as he notes that his friend is noticeably lagging behind.

You know, this is where I found Mrs. Carpenter and little Jessica. The image of those two are forever etched in my mind.” Tim responds, his voice a little shaky.

“C’mon Tim! You don’t think that ugly brute would come back here, do you?” Buddy mocks. “Returning to the scene of the crime.”

“Buddy, we are dealing with an animal. If it finds food once in a place, it will generally return to see if it happens again.” Alan clarifies.

“Alan’s right, Buddy. We are not up against a man.” Tim intensifies.

“The M.O. is the same—a ruthless, underhanded, cold-blooded killer that happens to have four legs instead of the usual two. He knows that we’ll be prepared for him next time.” Buddy boasts.

“You’re wrong, Buddy.” Tim declares as a gigantic shadow is cast over them, blocking the final rays of the sun setting in the west. Tim unhurriedly looks behind him and recognizes a sight that makes his body tremble. It’s The Ripper. Before he can draw is gun, the animal charges, knocking him over and pushing past Parker. The only one left standing is Buddy and he has his rifle pointed right at him. He slowly backs up to take aim.

A stray cat shrieks when it’s tail is trampled on by The Ripper. This startles Buddy, causing him to lose his balance and the gun goes off, nicking the animal in the shoulder. Startled by both the sound of the rifle and the sight of it’s on blood, it leaps over Buddy and makes its way toward the edge of town.

“Man, we were lucky!” Tim rises, dusting himself off.

“You got that right. What in hell were you doing, Buddy? You had a clear shot and you trip over your own darn feet? You get spooked by a cat? And now, the darn thing is wounded.” Alan rebukes.

“I know—I can’t explain what happened myself. At least that shot I got off frighten him away. Man, that rascal is huge! I don’t think it’s ever been hurt the way he howled when he saw that blood.” Buddy states, feeling somewhat justified.

“We are going to have to be even more careful now that The Ripper is wounded. I told you that he could appear anywhere.” Tim scolds.

“Don’t worry—all we’ll need to do is to follow these bloody tracks.” Buddy reminds them.

“It will be really dark in another hour which puts him at the advantage, not us. Chief McGuire isn’t going to like this.” Tim concludes as the three men make their way back to the station.

Once there, Officer Collins explains what happened in Smith’s Alley and just as he suspected, Chief McGuire is not a happy camper.

“Blast you, Houston! Because of your recklessness, we’ve blown our changes of settling this problem tonight.” Chief McGuire argues.

“But Chief, all we have to do is follow the bloody tracks.” Houston defends.

Loner no more ...

Loner no more ...

“In the dark—no thank you! What we are going to need is to setup a stakeout along the trail that leads to Smith’s Alley. He knows that food travels along that path and will no doubt be waiting for it.” The Chief expounds.

“By food you mean us, don’t you Chief.” Tim interjects.

“Yes.”

Then, I guess we are finished for tonight, huh?” Alan Parker inquires.

“It would seem so, but don’t let your guard down. You boys mosey on home. I’m going to hang around here for a while. Got me some thinking to do.” The Chief smiles as the three men prepare to go home.

Officers Collins and Parker don’t live far from each other. However, Officer Houston lives in the area not far from Ellen’s house.

“Hey Buddy, want one of us to walk you home? I don’t think that grizzly took kindly to you shooting him.” Alan jokes.

“Knock it off, Alan. I’m fine, just fine.” Buddy declares as the three of them walk out the door.

“Buddy, you know that The Ripper likes to hang around the same area that Ellen Corbet lives. He may be lonesome because she moved back with her folks.” Tim teases.

“Yeah Buddy, he might want to commence keeping company with you.” Alan chuckles.

“Will you two let up? See you tomorrow.” Buddy gruffly retorts as he goes toward home.

As Buddy treks on his way to the edge of town, he begins to feel very uneasy. He looks around nervously. When he hears a rustling sound in the bushes, he pulls out his revolver, then lets out a sigh of relief when he sees it’s only the neighbor’s dog, Loner.

“Boy, you almost bought yourself some lead. I need to calm down. I can’t let this get to me.” He chastises himself for being spooked.

Patting the dog on the head, he responds, “Go on about your business, Loner. It ain’t safe no more to be roaming the streets at night.”

At first the dog wags his tail in glee, then turns around and commences to growl.

“What’s the matter, boy? Do you see something?” The Doberman bolts away from Buddy and runs into the darkness. A few minutes later, Buddy hears a scream like an animal in severe pain—then silence.

“Poor old Loner.” Buddy laments as he quickens his steps to his home. Fumbling with the key, he shakily enters making sure that everything is secure. His wife Daphne has supper waiting for him on the table.

“Buddy, what was that terrible sound I heard before you came in.” Daphne asks.

“Just an old friend saying goodbye. Come on dear, let me tell you how Loner probably just saved my life by offering up his.” Buddy puts his arm affectionately around his wife’s waist and walks into the dining room.

To Be Continued ...

Terror From McKellar Forest 10

  • Terror From McKellar Forest 10
    Loner is dead. The Ripper has claimed yet another victim. While Fred mourns the lost of his dog, Buddy and his wife Daphne are in a life and death struggle of their own. With one mighty claw, The Ripper barrows down on the couple. Will they survive?

© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS

Comments

Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on March 27, 2020:

A dog is man's best friend ... so long Loner!