The moorland house sits quietly in its place as the last streaks of red leave the darkening sky. Another day is ending. A day when the inhabitants of the moorland house harvested their crops, loaded their livestock and sent them off for slaughter. A day when the inhabitants of the moorland house laughed and cried and counted their blessings.
All is as it should be. The inhabitants of the moorland house can sleep in peace tonight.
But I do not sleep. For I sense something else. I sense evil brewing on the moor. There is something out there.
And the creature is stalking. Across the bleak black moonless moorland it comes. It moves stealthily, sometimes ducking behind bushes or wind-battered trees, sometimes hiding in hollows.
The creature does not want to be seen. It does not want to be heard.
But I sense the creature’s movements. Because I am attuned. I am in touch with my animal. And we are all of us animals. Like animals we live, we die, we procreate and we kill. But animals kill for food or to protect a family.
The creature is different: it is not hungry, It has no family to protect.
Yet it must kill.
In the moorland house a fire is burning in the grate. For warmth, for protection against wild animals who would fear the fire.
But the creature is not afraid.
And it is coming closer. I can smell it.
And the terror – that I alone understand – grips me by the throat. My heart bangs against my ribs; my breath comes in great wheezing gasps; my skin turns to goose flesh.
In the moorland house a light is shining. It is the only light to be seen on the moor in this, the darkest of all dark nights. The light is comforting to those inside.
But the light is a beacon leading the creature to its source.
Outside, on the moor, a rabbit, startled by the creature’s sudden appearance, sits paralyzed as if scorched by the headlights of an oncoming car. The creature dispatches the rabbit with a crunching of its jaws.
And now the creature has tasted blood.
It won’t be long now.
Inside the moorland house the fire in the hearth crackles and sparks fly upwards as outside the black night finally releases its demons. The creature is at the door.
I know it is coming. My heart beats like a hammer, my breathing turns to groaning, turns to howling.
The creature is at the door and its claws batter the fragile panels
Blood-stained claws rip and tear and the wood begins to splinter
The moorland house shudders under the attack and I find myself writhing on the ground, in a red mist, hearing nothing but the howling, smelling nothing but the terror feeling nothing but the splintered wood under my hands
I look at my hands. My hands are broken and blood stained
My hands are claws
I am the creature
Howling with fury, I rise up again and attack the door
The door opens
And in the doorway
A man with a gun.