Dealing with a creature, Sasquatch, Bigfoot, whatever you wanted to call it, that resembled a human being in its basic form (bipedal; two legs and two arms; a head), Saint felt pretty secure in assuming said creature’s physiology would correspond in most ways with that of a human. Take the femoral artery, for example. In humans, the femoral, the major artery running from the torso into the leg, is closest to the surface, and thus most vulnerable, near the groin. Sever the femoral in a man and blood loss is so rapid that loss of consciousness occurs within moments and death from exsanguination follows soon thereafter. Also, a groin wound hurts enough to be incapacitating. Knowing that, the femoral makes for a convenient target in a man.
Saint figured the same to prove true of a Sasquatch.
Saint had been tracking Maka’kahu for about an hour when the band of creatures had ambushed him. Saint blamed the others with him, Arly, Corelli and Roth, for masking the sound of the creatures’ approach and allowing them to sneak up on him. He hadn’t known that they were close until Arly had screamed.
He’d gotten off a shot and killed one of the beasts (there were five to begin with) before being clubbed to unconsciousness. The pounding in his head had awakened him sometime after (he estimated no more than five minutes) and he’d found himself disarmed, being dragged by the feet by one of the brutes while Arly, Corelli and Roth were being forced to march at spearpoint (each of the creatures carried spears, except for the one Saint had shot in the head, which had been carrying a bow and quiver of arrows) as prisoners.
“Ol’ possum, he know when da’ play dead,” Saint’s grandfather had taught him a long time ago. “Houn’ dogs got ‘im cornered, he know he can’t fight ‘is way out, so’s he play dead an’ wait, maybe he get de chance da’ get away, when dey not payin’ ‘im no mind.” A good lesson. Saint had made like the opossum, pretending to still be unconscious.
They’d arrived in a large clearing, in the midst of which lay a large log. Saint, holding his eyes almost closed, watching the creatures, surveying the site, had thought the log looked petrified. But there were numerous gashes and nicks in its surface, all the same.
As the creatures had been talking amongst themselves (There’d been no denying that they had a language and could communicate; all barks and snarls and whistles, but a language for certain.) a pair of others had arrived to join in the debate. One of the largest creatures held Saint’s rifle, and the .357 still in its holster, but they’d left him sprawled on the ground. Arly, Corelli and Roth were huddled together. Roth had dropped to his knees and started praying.
They’re tryin’ ta’ decide what ta’ do with us, Saint had figured, and he figured they were already leaning in a certain direction.
I’ve got ta’ get my hands on one a’ the guns, he’d said to himself, not moving. Arly had looked at him, looking to him. He hadn’t acknowledged her. *Wait for that openin, boy.*
One of the new arrivals had carried an axe. This had resembled an enormous Indian tomahawk, crude, but with the head fashioned of some rusty metal instead of stone. The creature had gestured at Pete Corelli with the weapon and a couple of the others had grabbed the man. Arly had cried out and clung to Corelli but he’d pushed her away as the brutes had dragged him toward the log.
*Call it what it is. That there’s an altar.*
The brute with the axe had stepped forward as they dropped Corelli facedown on the log. Saint had figured to wait, to watch Corelli get his head lopped off. He’d been rather enjoying the spectacle, in fact (as much as he could enjoy anything with his throbbing headache), before one of the creatures had decided Saint was next and shuffled over to where he lay to collect him.
“Pete!” Arly had shouted. Roth, still on his knees, had still been praying for deliverance. The snowfall had ceased. The Sasquatch—(Saint couldn’t have said how it was he knew it, but none of these creatures, he knew, was Maka’kahu.)—had bent over to grab him.
Earlier, while the creatures were ignoring him, Saint had slipped his hand down inside his boot. He always carried an extra knife hidden there, and he’d grinned to find it still in its sheath. Too bad for the beast it hadn’t searched him all that well. *Sasquatch is plenty dumb, I reckon.* It had failed to discover the knife and it paid for the oversight. Judging by the gush of hot blood over his hand when he struck, Saint knew he had found the creature’s femoral artery, in the same place as a human’s.
The beast doubled over when Saint stabbed it. He leapt to his feet and slashed its throat. He darted past it as it slumped to the ground and charged the one nearest him, the one, as luck would have it, which held his rifle and pistol. This creature hadn’t been watching him and it reacted too late to defend itself. Saint drove the knife blade up to the hilt in the brute’s throat and snatched the holster and pistol out of its massive hand. The creature swung at him with one arm even as it clutched at its throat with the other hand, but Saint dropped to the ground and it missed him. He jerked the pistol free of its holster, aimed up into the face of the next closest monster and shot it.
There were still four more. Two of them, with spears, next to Arly and Roth. Two at the petrified log, one holding on to Pete Corelli and one with the axe.
“Arly, get down!”
Saint shot the two closest to him, the ones with the spears. Both staggered. Neither fell. They charged him. One threw its spear. Saint rolled out of the way, scarce avoided being pinned to the ground, got to his feet. Three bullets left in the pistol. The second brute he’d stabbed had fallen on top of the rifle; Saint had no time to try to retrieve it. And the two beasts were almost on top of him now. The other two were coming up fast.
Four monsters. Three bullets. He emptied the revolver into the two closest behemoths. Only one of them went down.
Three charging monsters.
No more bullets.
He still had his knife.
“Come on, then!” he said. “Ain’t gon’ be no fun for you!”
All this time, Garrett Roth had been on his knees, praying.
It was the damndest thing, the way those prayers were answered.