A Hand With the Harvest
I quickly grabbed my rifle as I headed out the door. The screams of the captured thief were certainly music to these aging ears. It had been weeks of waiting to finally capture one of the Nardell brothers. For the past few years, the entire village grew tired of the Nardells and their thievery. We worked hard in our gardens to produce for our families, and the weasels came along weekly to dip their hands into what wasn't theirs, picking at the crops, too lazy to work themselves. Let the bear trap be an example of what will happen now when you mess with Old Fred's crops.
I left the lantern behind. On a night such as this, there would be no need for it. Void of clouds, the sky filled with the bright glow of a full moon providing adequate light. My legs moved slower than they once did, but I could hear one of them boys wailing something horrible. The screams grew louder as I made my way up the hill, until at last they just stopped. It wasn't until I got on top of the garden hill that I saw the Nardell boy. It was Joseph, writhing on the ground with his leg in the trap. I could tell by the white cap he always wore. As I grew closer, it looked like perhaps a couple of the brothers were there; one struggling to help the other, no doubt.
“How’d ya like that boys?” I yelled.
I anticipated a mouthful of curses but they were at a loss for words. I crept closer; gun aimed at them. The other brother looked as though he was wrestling frantically with the trap, and my old eyes told me he was even using his teeth to do it. I drew closer. He was using his teeth but not on the trap. He tore at something with a wild ferocity.
“Put down whatever crop you got there, boy!”
The eating stopped. It was no Nardell brother but some demonic creature. It turned its head and faced me. Its gray, balding head gleamed in the moon. I lost all motor skills and dropped my rifle as its pale, beady eyes penetrated my very soul. Other than the lapping of blood around its lipless mouth, it made no sound. I jumped backward as it snapped its teeth at me. Large, bat-like wings sprung from its back as it grabbed Joseph by the throat and ascended into the night.
I stood stunned, watching it as it darted like a bat. I lost sight of it until it abruptly landed in front of me. With one hand holding the Nardell boy by the neck, it laid the bear trap at my feet, looked me in the eyes, and ascended once more.
Somehow I knew exactly what it wanted; to be fed again. I would be more than happy to accommodate him. Perhaps our garden problems would soon be gone… for good.