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Glory, Caleb, Blackcrow and the boy had taken a seat on the front porch of the ranch. Blackcrow explained, “According to our legends the skinwalker is a sort of witch that can turn into animals. Because some of the cattle slaughtered was actually inside a closed off barn my father suspected something else than a normal animal killed them. Only a skinwalker would have the ability to open doors and viciously kill those inside the way the animals were killed.”

“Couldn’t it just be some kind of normal psychopath freak? That whole witchcraft mumbo-jumbo doesn’t fly with me,” Caleb said.

“My father has seen many slaughtered remains. He knows what it looks like when teeth an claws did the work instead of knives. He had no doubt they were killed by an animal.”

“Could it be a human being opened the door, getting the predator inside to kill? I mean, don’t know why he would do that. But it could be an explanation, right?” Glory suggested.

“My dad was also good at studying footprints. He was pretty sure those of a human changed in that of a wolf.”

“That’s an amazing story,” the boy said. “So you say your dad never caught the skinwalker?”

“He never did, indeed. It is thought the witch found some other hunting ground for a while, stopping the killings. But it seems he might be back now,” Blackcrow said.

“So? You are going to track it down?” Glory asked.

“That’s what I intend to, yeah. Track it down and put it down. Avenge my father’s death.”

“So where will you start?” Caleb asked.

“I’m quite a tracker myself. My dad taught me. After the skinwalker strikes again I will be sure to arrive at the crime scene as fast as possible, when the tracks are still fresh.”

“Strikes again?” the boy said.

“Yeah, afraid so. When the skinwalker starts killing he won’t stop until things get a little bit too dangerous for him,” Blackcrow said.

Glory shuddered. “I really don’t want to think about more killings.”

The boy put a hand on Glory’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’ll protect you. That skinwalker doesn’t scare me.”

“Fuck all that stupid talk!” Caleb said. “There’s no such thing no matter what that idiot says. It’s just some stupid asshole who needs therapy. Or a bullet from my shotgun. And if he shows up here again he’ll be sure to get it.”

“Be careful,” Blackcrow said. “You might not believe me, but that skinwalker is hard to kill. So be careful and call me right away when you see something suspicious?” He handed Glory a business card.

Glory tucked away the card in her jeans. “I will.”

“Good. Take care of yourselves,” Blackrow said and walked back to his car.

“Lunatic,” Caleb told Glory, twirling his finger near his temple.

“He seemed pretty sure of himself. And mentally stable,” Glory said.

“I’ve seen a few stranger things the last few months,” the boy said. “Things people would relegate to the realm of fiction as well. There’s some strange things out there.”

“Quit that nonsense!” Caleb said. “Get to work!” With those words he walked away.

Glory shrugged at the boy. He shrugged back as well. They both laughed.

“What was that all about? That story about the stranger things you saw?” Glory asked the boy. He was starting to become more and more peculiar.

“Never mind. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” the boy said.

“Well, these days more strange things seem to happen. You sounded pretty heroic there when you said you were going to protect me.”

“Not really. I read somewhere a hero is someone who conquers his fear. I have no fear to conquer.”

Glory just couldn’t believe the things that boy said. Still not over the fact she thought she saw him in her room she just had to ask, “Did you sleep okay?”

“Sleep okay? Yeah, sure. I was pretty tired from the trip over here. Why?”

“No reason. Just being polite,” Glory answered.

“All right. Thanks for asking. I’d better get to work,” the boy said.

“Yeah, sure. Let me help you out a bit,” Glory said. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to help the boy or keep an eye on him. Yeah, strange things…

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Jochem Vandersteen

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