| She was dead.
Good ol' Minnie, one of our most healthy horses, now lay on the ground, dead. Her white fur had been stained red by the blood that had flown from her neck. She lay there, with two deep punctures in her flesh, lifeless.
She wasn't the first one, either. Every morning, we had woken up to find one of our animals dead. And every morning it was the same thing that had caused it, two holes on their necks. It was like something out of a twisted vampire story.
When we talked to the sheriff about it, he made it clear he didn't take it seriously. In fact, he jokingly suggested that the culprit was none other than a chupacabra. You know what a chupacabra is right? That lizard they say lives in Mexico and eats all the goats. The legend didn't start in Mexico, though. They've been supposedly spotted all over Latin America. And now maybe they were migrating to Mississippi.
At dinner that night, we joked and laughed about the idea. Ma suggested that no goat was safe from the mighty lizard, and Pa laughed, "Chupa… CABRA! Kind of just rolls off the tongue doesn't it?"
We all had a fun time laughing about it. The idea of a lizard coming in at night and attacking our livestock was just to absurd to accept. No. There had to be something else, like a rattlesnake or something.
I was determined to find out what it was, so, when my parents were asleep, I crept into their room and quietly took Pa's revolver. With it in my hand, I put on a jacket, tip-toed down the stairs, and snuck out the door.
The sky was full of stars, bright lights shining down on me from above. I paused, gazing at the hundreds of glowing specks, shining through the dark. The moon glowed brightest of all, its pale light reaching down to the earth like a ghost extending its hand. You can't see the sky like this in the city, you can see it out here in the country.
I leaned against the barn door, gazing up at the sky, and I slowly slid down the ground, until I was sitting against the wood of the barn. The night air was chilly, and the cold bit into my flesh, chilling me to the bone. I huddled in my jacket, looking out over the fields, waiting for the color to show up.
I was just about to doze off when I heard a twig snap. Instantly, I looked in the direction of the noise, drawing the revolver and pointing it toward the rustling bush. I felt my heart beat pick up the pace as anxiousness swept over my body. Then, the animal leapt out of the bush.
I chuckled to myself as I watched the little squirrel scamper off. To think I had gotten so worked up over it! I relaxed and began to nod off again.
Something smooth and scaly brushed against my face. I was still half asleep, and I tried to wave whatever was there away with my hand. Then I felt hot breath against my face and smelled sulfur all around me.
I opened my eyes and sat there, paralyzed.
A large black lizard with human-like limbs was crouching right in front of me. Its arms were noticeably longer than its legs and each had a clawed hand at the end. The beast's red eyes glowed in the night and multicolored spines ran down its back, almost like a rainbow. The creature snorted, it's nostrils moving as it breathed out.
Stiffly, I raised the revolver and pulled the trigger. Warm blood splashed over my face as the monster jumped backward, snarling in shock and pain, clutching its wounded chest.
All logic ceased in my brain. I was instantly consumed by a single need: survival. Mindlessly, I jumped up and opened the barn door. The creature removed one its hands from its chest and looked at it, examining the blood. I ran just inside the barn and pulled the door shut, firing off three more rounds as I did.
Outside, I heard the beast howl with rage. I sat there, listening as the creature clawed at the wooden door of the barn, snarling angrily as it tried to get in. My heart hammered in chest and I lay down, numb with terror.
I don't know how long I was in that barn, or when I fell asleep, all I know is that when I woke up, I was on the couch in the living room. My parents were there. Ma asked me how I was, and I told her I was OK. Then I asked what happened. Pa explained it to me.
When I fired at the beast, the sound had woken my parents up, and Pa had coming running out with a shotgun. He saw the monster clawing at the barn and fired at it. The beast howled again and ran off, whimpering with pain. Pa had then gone into the barn and found there, asleep, with the revolver lying on the ground nearby. He carried me inside, and put on the couch.
I never did see the beast again, but its memory has continued to haunt me. Even to this day, I fear the creature is still watching me, silently biding its time, awaiting its moment of revenge. I fear that when I turn off the lights, I will see those two red eyes there, glowing in the dark, ready to strike.
You may laugh. You may not believe this story. But I know what happened on my farm, and although the name brings smirks to the faces of many people, I will never again laugh at it. The name of the beast that slaughtered the livestock back home. The name of the nocturnal predator who attacked me that one, terrible night.