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TWELVE

The hands of the skinwalker wrapped themselves around the boy’s throat. The strength in those hands was incredible. The boy tried to get some air in through his nose, hammering at the creature with the handle of the revolver. The skinwalker wasn’t deterred by this though. This might be the end. The boy felt sorry for that, he didn’t want to die without having ever known fear or with his virginity intact. He decided to keep hammering. One of the blows he dealt hit the creature in the ear, that seemed to hurt it somewhat, the grip on the boy weakening. Making use of this he hit the creature once again against the ear, then right in the eye. The skinwalker howled and let go of the boy, taking a step back.

“Kid, catch!” Blackscrow yelled and threw a small object at the boy.

The boy jumped, grabbing the object in the air, clutching it in his fist. When he opened it, he saw it was a bullet. Without thinking twice he put it in the revolver.

The skinwalker was on all fours, snarling at the boy. “I’m going to kill you.”

The boy aimed the gun at the creature. “Not if I kill you first, you monster.”

“By now you should know bullets won’t hurt me. I’m going to enjoy ripping your intestines out,” the skinwalker said. It leaped at the boy.

A loud bang heralded the bullet that caught the skinwalker right in the chest. With big eyes the creature registered a kind of pain he had not expected. It dropped on the floor. Blood kept coming from his chest. “No… No…”

Blackcrow had just managed to get back on his feet. “That’s for killing my father, evil demon! You just got shot by a bullet filled with white ash. I’ve been carrying it along ever since my dad died. He actually made it to kill you once he suspected your existence. He did his research, he knew that was the way to kill a skinwalker.”

“Damn you,” the skinwalker breathed and started to become more and more human. What was left was a Native American, old and thin man. He clenched a fist, then his body went slack.

The boy kneeled down next to the body. “Did we do it? Did we kill it?”

“Best to be careful, but yes, I think we did. I finally avenged my father’s death.”

“What about my dad? Where is he?” Glory wondered. She was still on the floor, rubbing a painful head.

The boy helped her on her feet. “I’m not sure, but I think it would be best to prepare for the worst.”

Glory ran out of the kitchen, through the house, followed by the boy. She walked into her dad’s bedroom. She found Caleb lying on the bed. His ribcage had been opened, his heart lying between his legs. She screamed as the boy held her as tight as he could. In a way, Glory’s nightmare had just started.

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Jochem Vandersteen

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