The Mooshka’s head pounded and swam as he made his way through the strange, carved stones that peppered the area between the big stone building and the forest.

     His nose told him this was a place of death, but not the fresh, intoxicating death of a hunt. This was different. This death was dusty, old, and tainted with Hairless One stench… bitter and cloying. 

     Even the thick layers of soil did not hide the presence of it deep under his feet and through his haze of dizzying pain he recognised it to be a place where the Hairless Ones buried their dead. He and his brother had investigated such places before in their never-ending search for food.

     The memory of his brother’s recent howling roar of rage hardened his resolve and pushed aside the pain of his broken skull. Once he had fed and regained some strength he would go to his brother’s aide.

     And then the two of them would find the Sasquatch that had done this to him. Together they would feed on the heart of the Alpha that had struck him with the rock and caused the painful burns on his back, followed by its mate and son. The baby had been so sweet, its heart blood fresh and vibrant with youth.

     The memory of the small feast made his mouth water as he wound through the strange stones towards the lights of the Hairless town. He would find a cat or a dog to feast on, maybe some tasty treat in the bins he knew Hairless Ones kept around their dwellings… maybe even a Hairless One itself!

     A sharp cracking sound broke through the pain and froze his movements. An acrid scent hit his nose and even beneath the smell of his own burnt hair and skin he caught the distinct aroma of a Hairless One.

     He swung his throbbing head and saw it standing before the door to the old building. It was looking down at the ground where a shiny flask was spilling its contents across the stone. The Mooshka quickly dropped to his belly and slipped sideways just as the Hairless One looked back up directly at where he had just been. But it looked confused when it could not find him and shook its head as it looked back at the flask it had dropped.

     The Mooshka took the opportunity to slip behind another large stone and when the Hairless One looked back up again he was well clear of where he had been before. It shook its head, picked up the fallen flask and walked towards its vehicle. Like a ghost the Mooshka moved to a better pouncing position. Shoving one hand into a pocket the Hairless One drew out some small, shiny things and moved to insert one into the vehicle door, but it must have sensed his presence for it suddenly froze and swivelled its head right towards where he now crouched, ready to pounce. Its face went white and it fell back against the car, fumbling for the door. It had seen him!

     Deliberately, the Mooshka began to move closer.

     The Hairless One tried to insert one of its keys behind its back into the door but the whole bunch fell from its fingers to tinkle on the ground.

     Close enough now to prevent it from fleeing, the Mooshka stood up on its hind legs, which made the Hairless One whimper with fear and slide down the side of its vehicle to slump on the ground.  The acrid smell of urine struck his nostrils as it wet itself in terror. He should bite its head off and eat its heart but something about the way this Hairless  One smelled gave the Mooshka pause. He lowered his throbbing head to smell its sweating face, then lowered his muzzle further to sniff at where its heart should be.

     But instead of fresh, blood pumping muscle he smelled something alien and plastic. A tinge of bitter electric energy tainted his nose and he cringed. His aching head swirled in confusion… where was this creature’s heart? There was a tinkling noise and he pulled back to see the Hairless One had squeezed tight its eyes and was fumbling with the shiny things it had dropped. He bent to sniff at them just as the shrill bark of a small dog reached his ears.

     The Mooshka straightened to look towards the sound.

     A dog would have a heart to feed his hunger. 

     Without another thought for the Hairless One without a heart, he ghosted away into the night towards the sound of the barking dog. But as soon as he got near to it a door opened and the dog was called inside.

     Back behind him he heard a vehicle roar into life and drive off. The Hairless One with no heart had got away.

     Frustrated, he lifted his painfully throbbing head high towards the moon and howled.

This has been a sneak peak at Volume 2 of Sasquatch Sagas, 'A Burning World'.

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