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...warranted a little investigation...(part 2/3)

Posted on Thu Aug 24th, 2017 @ 5:55am by Senior Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Lambeth

Mission: Creatures in the Corner
Location: dirtside
Timeline: current/somewhere in-between

The ride out to the farm wasn't too bad. " New shocks?" Ben asked.

"Yep." Kurt said." New engine too.

"Interior is pretty nice." Ben commented casually.

"Oh yeah. I like to fix up my old one. Less money.." Kurt said." Plus, I keep my business to myself. No one else needs to know if I'm profitable or not."

Ben gave a nod but didn't speak. He instead pulled out a couple of the meal bars and began to eat. Kurt glanced over." Damn, son. That's eight so far."

" I eat between 20 and 30 a day." Ben said." Depending on if I have regular meals or not. Thanks for keeping track." Ben was a bit stunned at himself but didn't react outwardly. Sarcasm? Interesting since he was not trying to work on socializing.

Kurt gave a chuckle." Well...your welcome then." Not much more was said for the rest of the hour long trip.

Ben was already surveying the land as the pulled up. His barn was in shambles, as were several out buildings. The flattened bodies of cattle and sheep could be seen about." Well.. this fits with what we were told."

Kurt gave a snort." Yeah... but not everyone is getting help."

" So I heard.." Ben said, getting out and looking around. Away from the farmer, he did a partial shift, changing his head. His eye sight was dead on and he was able to see the direction they came from." They didn't come from the mines."

" Nope.." Kurt said, unloading his truck." They come through every few days. I watched them a few times with my telescope." He gave a dry chuckle." The time they decided to come visit, all I could do was watch."

"Like a swarm, perhaps?" Ben said." Devour and move on?"

"Nah.." Kurt said." More like a pack."

Ben shifted back as he turned." So not just consumption, then. Killing to kill? "

Kurt nodded as he came back for the rest of his stuff." Like it was sport. At least for some of them. Only about half the kills got the nasty throat thing."

Ben nodded again." I see." He looked over." I'm going to take a look around. Feel free to take the pistol with you."

"I'm good with that!" Kurt said and he turned and headed in with the last of his load.

Ben waited for him to go inside before he wandered toward an out building. Once there, he removed his uniform and boot, stashing them to the side. In preparation for this, he had a skin-tight body glove on underneath. It sealed, helping to keep the scent of his body from going out. To assist, he found a mud hole, Covering his hands and head. Once ready, he waited for the wind to shift before heading the direction they had come from.

He shifted as he ran, gaining speed and more enhanced senses. He was sorting the different smells in his mind and was 99% sure he had the beasts' scent locked on. What he found odd was the differences. He was able to pick up on seven different scents, all tied to the main. He felt the wind shift again and he dropped to the ground, not making a sound.

It took several minutes but the wind once again changed. Ben hoped that his scent wasn't caught. That would make for a more difficult operation.

Ben started to pick up some of the scents turning off periodically, then rejoining the group. He analyzed the pattern and found that the second in line would circle back, cross the main path, and come back up the other side. The fall in at the end. That told him each took a turn checking their back trail except the 1st one. The leader. As the scents became stronger, Ben slowed and found a boulder to duck behind.

So far, the path seemed one way. However, the trail was multilayered, the group the same each time. He had a guess. Time to check if he was right. Silently, he moved on.

About a hour and a half later and multiple direction changes, Ben was peering over a rise, staring at a large cave. He was thankful he could turn the glow off on his eyes. It cut his vision a little but better than being spotted. He usually left them 'on' because deep down, he enjoyed the reactions he was given.

The cave was more or less, a hole going into the ground at an angle. The debris around the entrance looked settled, the hole being dug some time ago. The odor was strong now, coming more from the slime in the tunnel. So the main smell was their secretions, then their individual smells. He saw movement and froze.

Using techniques taught him during his mental training, he slowed his breath and heart rate, becoming a statue in the dark.
From inside the cave one of the beasts emerged. This one had to duck under the top to get out. It was huge. Ben continued to watch as the mammoth creature moved slowly around as it appeared to be sniffing.

What seemed like forever but was only a few moments went by and it gave a snort, slime falling off it's face and sizzling on the ground. It turned and ducked, going back inside. After it laid down just inside the opening, Ben slowly moved down behind the rise, finally letting his breathing return to normal, taking each breath slowly until he was balanced. He needed to get back to the farm. He crawled slowly until he was down wind for sure then stood, running as fast as he could back to Kurt's place.

He could smell the slime even before he could see the farm. He cursed himself, they must have come back after he left. He moved cautiously but his nose told him the creature was long gone. Also, that this scent belonged to one that he was not tracking earlier. When he made it to the house, things were worse than he expected.

The truck was trashed as was his bag. Deliberate destruction. With a sigh, he headed for the house. Time to find Kurt...

To Be Continued


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