Woke up out in the pasture by the tractor repair shop. I came to just standing by the rear wall where the fence meets the corner of the wall. One of our cows was standing nearby chewing its cud and staring at me with those stupid watery brown eyes. My hand was on the power switch for the electric fence we have put up around the pasture. This is not the standard electric fence farmers and ranchers use. This is prison grade. The goal is to fry any wraith that tries to get to the cows.
There was a wraith on the other side of the fence. It was just watching me. I stood there for what seemed like hours staring into those eyes. I felt sure that the sun would be coming up any moment and I would be seen here holding the switch about to let this abomination in. I could feel that something inside wanted me to, but my arm seemed locked into position. The ground was cold and wet on my bare feet, my sweat pants were soaked all the way up to my knees from walking in the sodden grass. I looked over at the cow again. It was showing no fear of the nearby wraith. My leg was feeling weak and stiff and I was afraid that at any moment I would pitch forward into the electric fence. My bad leg was hurting from my heel all the way to my scrotum which felt like it had the time I had been hit in the crotch by a baseball in high school.
There were several of those red and black bugs on the cow. Each one attached as that one had been on the deer. But the cow did not seem to notice, just as it did not seem to notice the wraith either.
I could feel my finger pushed on the switch. At any moment I knew that the spring inside the switch would reach that tipping over point and the toggle would pop down triggering the solenoid that would break the circuit. The wraith would be through the electric fence in an instant and I would quickly resemble an extra from a sci-fi horror flick.
Suddenly bright light blinded me and I thought merciful angels had swooped in and taken me to save me from the horror even then being done to my corporeal body. Then the lights turned away and a phosphorescent streak shot across parking lot and hit the wraith. In the sudden headlight glare I could see shadows of several more wraiths. the first one exploded in a shower of blood and gore that seems to be Billy's trademark method of dealing with the vile beasts. At this point my leg had the good sense to finally give up and I fell, thankfully backwards away from the high voltage electric fence. Several more missiles streaked across the parking lot, each one hitting a wraith.
A sharp pain stabbed into my low back. I reached back thinking that Billy had accidentally hit me too. My hand came away covered in blood and clutching a red and black bug. A long silvery proboscis tried to stab into my hand, but I crushed the bug in my fist before it could.
Beverly was already running across the field towards us as Billy helped me back towards the church.
Billy gathered up several of the bugs off the cow for Katherine to examine. She thinks there may be some indirect symbiotic relationship between the bugs and the wraiths, but admits that it could be years before she fully understands it.
In the meantime my leg still feels like there is a white hot steel rod piercing the entire length of it, terminating in my groin as a result of the bug's bite.
The scariest thing is that I was not in control there. I was fighting, sure, but I was losing that fight till Billy showed up.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride