They were monsters. No doubt of that. But their faces—their faces were those of human beings. They were the faces of men.
Each of the beasts stood at least eight feet tall or better, and they were covered in shaggy hair, everywhere except their faces. Cheeks, chins, upper lips and foreheads were all hairless, all human. And their eyes—no mistaking the humanity in their eyes. That human-ness made all of it the more horrible.
Men can be monsters, Arly knew. The worst kind of monsters.
The surge of hope that had welled up inside her—Saint had leapt into action (Thank God he’s okay!), not dead and no longer unconscious, and no longer looking so tiny and feeble in the midst of these giants. He’d gotten a knife from somewhere, and then his pistol back, and then he’d started shooting. A surge of hope and also a flush of pride (later she would recognize it as pride) as this man (her man?) had rallied and was going to save them all.—vanished with the realization that Saint was out of bullets.
“Beau, look out!” she cried.
An arrow struck the beast closest to Saint in the face. The brute went down with a shriek.
More arrows came through the air. These made slashing sounds as they flew, then dull thumps as they hit their targets, stabbing through the creatures’ shaggy pelts to reach flesh. The creatures turned away from Saint and charged into the brush, towards this new attack, but there were too many arrows and each of them found its mark. Two of the beasts slowed, toppled onto their faces. Saint, having gotten to his rifle, got it freed, raised it and shot the last of the monsters in the back.
Pete reached Arly and dropped down next to her, put his arms around her. Roth continued to pray for deliverance.
Saint aimed the rifle into the brush.
“Please, do hold your fire!” someone shouted.
Arly got to her feet, though Pete tried to pull her back down.
“Come on out where I can see you!” Saint shouted.
“Beau, they saved us!” Arly said. Or would have said, had she not gasped.
“Please refrain from shooting.” The creature, stepping out of the trees, a gigantic, hairy brute with a man’s face, held up its hands.
“We are friends,” the monster said.