It was called the wolf moon, peeking through a narrow slit in dark brooding clouds overhead.  The three specialized hunters stood precariously at the edge of a dangerously steep drop off.  Only bright lamps perched on their helmets threw off direct light into the dark void at their feet.

“Hey boss, we should back away from this cliff and wait till it gets lighter,” whispered Nick Sholes, the most cautious member of their pursuit team.

“Why Nicky boy, you scared?” asked Carson Spence, his voice louder and deeper, echoing back at them.

Nick’s light slowly turned left as he stared angrily at his obnoxious buddy.

“Just being smart! Something you obviously know nothing about. I’m not a dumb jerk off like you are,” came the quick retort tinged with malice.

A long wailing howl then shattered the foreboding stillness causing each of their tense bodies to stiffen even more. The plaintiff wail came not from the darkness before them, but rather from behind. Three lamps turned in unison as their backs now pressed against the darkness to their rear.

Another lonely, but predatory howl sang out, joined two seconds later by a third one to Nick’s left. This was definitely not a good sign even though they were adept hunters and trackers.

“Cut the crap guys,” ordered Paul Peterson’s authoritative, raspy voice. “I know you’re both scared like little kids, but we don’t need any yellow snow right about now.”

“There’s more than one of them out there boss,” said Carson, no longer obnoxious, but wary. “I thought we were only searching for one of these creatures.”

The sharp sound of a branch breaking from ahead caused them to unsling their rifles, guns, and lamplight centered directly upon one spot.

Suddenly a small, brown, furry body crawled forward, standing up straight, hissing and growling, yellow eyes reflecting brightly through a black mask.

The loud report of Carson’s rifle exploded in their ears, the bullet striking a few inches beside the raccoon causing snow to blanket the escaping creature.

As the gun blast died away, Nick began to chuckle nervously.

“Hey Carsy, that vicious raccoon could’ve taken up prime real estate in your trophy room.”

“Buzz off back-up Nicky, at least I have a room full of trophies,” responded Spence angrily.

“Can it now, both of you,” Peterson ordered. “That little bandit didn’t create those howls. Stay alert.”

Just then a deep, menacing growl emerged from the darkness in front of Paul who quickly raised his rifle.

“Come on chief, it’s just probably that raccoon again. Don’t waste any more silver on that vicious little bugger like I just did,” Carson said in a lower, more frightened voice.

Even so, they each moved back a tentative step to now stand upon the edge of the cliff, pure darkness behind them.

As Paul opened his mouth to say something important he was struck violently by a massive hairy body, his rifle exploding and striking Nick in the right shoulder who yelled in pain.

Didn’t really matter though because Nick himself was then slammed into by a seven-foot monster, vicious claws sinking deep into his chest and neck. Both he and Paul disappeared into the black void behind them.

Spence’s light spun left, then straight ahead to illuminate the snarling, ghastly face of a third werewolf, horrid three-inch fangs dripping with hungry saliva.

A deep rumbling growl erupted into a ground-shaking roar as yellow snow began pooling at Carson’s feet. They disappeared into the darkness beyond the ominous edge of the cliff.

In a few minutes when the rifle fire and horrifying roars faded away the dark brown, furry body of the raccoon shuffled forward to where Paul once stood. Feeling it now safe from wolves he lowered his masked face and began to lap greedily at the yellow snow.

 

The End