This was not the way she wanted to spend her birthday. She thought about the familiar phrase, ‘life was cruel’. There wasn’t going to be a tomorrow to hope for. She would not make it past her 18th birthday, no last nightfall or starshine wishes. Her fate to become a victim to an unknown threat, much like her parents so many years ago.
The last round fired. The reassuring kick from the gun absent. Only the empty clicking brought a sinking feeling to her stomach. By the weight of her belt, the spare clips already used and gone. She quickly swept back her long coat, holstered the guns and watched the twisted forms of the coyotes lope and began moving in for the kill. Her knuckles cracked as she formed fists, the leather creaking in her gloves.
She felt something buzz along her leg, and risking a glance down, she saw the toy. She also saw the glinting light coming from it. Reality broke and feeling like she had lost her mind, she grabbed the toy raygun. The antique metal began to squirm in her hand. It shifted and slid like a playful puppy trying to escape her grasp. A vibration built up in the small metal and chrome toy, then jolted along her body.
Her head was clear. The remainder of her hangover instantly sweated off, the smell of sour whiskey and adrenaline filled the area. Her lungs opened up, and all her muscles felt renewed ready to take on the predators, even by fist alone.
The coyotes stopped at that moment as one unit. She studied them for a moment, and realized there was something horribly wrong with each of them. The patchy fur was not mange, it was rot. The frothing at their mouths was not rabies, the bubbles seemed to churn and pulse. Some were missing limbs hobbling along, walking on ruined stumps and protuding bone. That was not sweat on their hides. An inky liquid that writhedand pulsed hrough the coyotes skin. It made her a little dizzy from the opalescent swirling colors.
Setting aside her sanity, she took aim with the antique toy and pulled the trigger.
A massive bolt of white green energy erupted from the raygun cutting a swath into the approaching predators. The air filled with the smell of charred fur. The animals erupted in alien barking andWhile wearing a 12 pound wig, six inch stilletos, and be ready for a show in five minutes. chattering in one voice. The sounds made Jane dizzy and almost sick to her stomach.
The pack began backing away from her in unison. She took a step forward. They stopped. The entire range went silent for a moment, the wind died down. As if they were one animal, the coyotes took one slow step back then stopped. Waiting.
Jane Calhoun brought the chromed metal raygun up to her chapped lips. She quickly gave a silent thanks to her grandfather. A bead of sweat rolled down the side of her cheek, and in a very tired voice she whispered. “No, not today. This range is mine.”