A moody sun slung low in a hammock of clouds across the valleys and streams. The back drop was turning crimson over the heads of the coyotes and badgers wandering the prairie in search of a nightly meal. There was a definite flight of evil riding the breeze. It was a hungry coven in search of prey.
Tom lifted his nose and smelled the coming onslaught. The evil sweat of the burgeoning night dripped from the starless sky, sending more than shivers down Tom’s back. He looked over at Trish in her complete innocence.
He suddenly feared for her well-being. The flight of evil made a stealth approach to where she stood; behind her tripod taking pictures of what she told Tom was a wonderful moody sunset. He knew there was more to the sunset than the mood.
He attempted to get her to finish. She refused. Tom refused to leave her side. In desperation, he tried to pull toward their SUV. Trish shook off his grip and said, “It’s just now getting to be good for photography.”
It wasn’t but an hour before they were enveloped in the evil that beset the beginning of the night. The coyotes, badger and fox galloped on the heel of the prairie evil that trotted across that particular portion of South Dakota. Not too far on the other side of midnight, Duncan Scott was stopped by the howl of a coyote that stood in front of his approaching truck and in steadfastly stubborn resolve refused to move.
Duncan opened his door and hopped down from his truck while he left it running with the headlights on bright. With his flashlight in one hand and his droid in the other, he walked toward whatever the coyote was guarding. He approached with no fear and the cur galloped off into the nefarious night. Even as experienced as he was, Duncan was physically and emotionally disturbed by the amount of violence the victims in front of him suffered.
The closer Duncan got, the more detail revealed itself to him. He said to himself that the galloping coyotes and the badger he saw waddling off were not the culprits. The devastation was caused by the primary prairie hunter, man.
Duncan surveyed the area as he dialed his most familiar number on his droid. A soft voice answered, “Charlie, I’m going to be late. In fact, I need you to meet me on the lane in front of the old McGregor farm.”
“What’s going on, Duncan?”
“I’m standing in front of Tom and Trish’s SUV. It’s best if you get here. I can’t tell you this over the phone. Besides, I need to call Cliff.”
Just before he disconnected the call, he heard tears and the words, “Oh Shit!” He knew that she understood. Duncan didn’t regret calling her. He knew it was better she know up front; so the two of them could solve the mystery that lay at his feet on the far side of midnight on a remote country lane in Lincoln County, South Dakota.
As Duncan waited for Charlie and his best friend Cliff Anderson, the Sheriff of Lincoln County to show up, He took the time to look at the deep shadows and to scan the as nearly dark horizon. Every sense he had rose to the point of alarm. He was not one to panic; but this came as close to anything he experienced before. He listened to the deathly sounds of silence of the prairie. He smelled and tasted the evil that was on wing this night. All the while he saw subtle shifts in the dark horizon and even darker shadows. He felt his hairs dancing on parts where he forgot that he grew hair. He was on high alert and did not venture outside the rim of the lights where the darkness swallowed the weak edges of the beams.
There was a definite flight of evil riding the breeze.