Malingering in Moab Part II
May 25, 2010
We didn’t leave Moab.
At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever make it back to Colorado, let alone my old home in Idaho.
Before I could even finish telling Hannah what had just happened to me, Ethan was bursting into the restaurant. “I was just listening to some people that sound like they need our help.”
“Who doesn’t these days?” Hannah asked, while crossing her arms.
“Sheesh, that’s not what I expect to hear coming out of an Apollo follower. I thought you folks were all, ‘oh we have to save everyone’ and make sure they are tucked in safe at night and set up food lines and-”
“And about the last the last thing I expect to hear for one of you Loki lads is that we need to go help someone. What’s that matter, did a bus full of cheerleaders get stuck in the desert.”
His eyes grew big, “I wish. No, not that fun, but I figured this would be the type of thing you two would want to know about.”
Losing my patience, I said, “so when are we going to get to know about it?”
“Yeah sure. I was buying supplies when I overheard this ‘good ol boy,’ talking about how some of his cattle are being killed.”
“And why would this be a job for us?”
“Because I heard them mentioning shapeshifters and witches.”
“Why would some old cowboy be talking about that stuff?”
Hannah broke in. “I think I’ve heard something about this before. In Arizona and Southern Utah there is a type of creature known as a Skinwalker. They tend to strike at other Tribal Americans, but have been known to attack other people that infringe on what they consider their lands.”
Ethan began to snap his fingers. “Oooo ooo. This guy had said that he had just bought some new lands and had only just recently started grazing his cattle on them. Maybe they were some sacred lands or something.”
“I’d rather no mess with someone who is defending their sacred lands,” I mumbled.
“No, it isn’t that simple,” Hannah said. “From what I’ve heard, even the tribes around here hate these guys. They are evil witches that lay curses on people, steal children, and all sorts of nasty stuff.”
“They sound like they might be Selectors to me.”
“I think you are right,” Hannah said, nodding.
“Wow, you fought some of those. I hear they’re really tough.” Ethan said.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it. So where’s this guy?”
“I overheard where he lives.”
A few hours later and even more lies, we had convinced John W. Miller to allow us to investigate some of his slaughtered cattle. They weren’t a pretty sight.
The desert winds had blown a layer of vermilion dust over the bodies, but that did little of conceal the butchery. Intestines were tossed into the palo verdes like garland on a Christmas tree. Huge hunks of flesh were bitten out of random spots and in some chases their entire bodies had been torn in half.
“In the old days,” Miller said breaking the silence, “we would blame something like this on wolves, but there haven’t been any real predators in these parts, besides lions, for years.”
“Lions?” Ethan asked.
“It would take something a lot stronger than a cougar to be able to do all this,” I said.
Looking to the west, I saw dark clouds building behind the jagged orange cliffs. The desert was silent, like a thing waiting, holding its breath.
“Mr. Miller. Would it be okay for us to spend the night?”