Traffic backed up along the winding country highway for miles. Near a bridge, dozens of squad cars, ambulances and a handful of firetrucks sat silently with red, blue, and yellow lights flashing their warnings of danger ahead.
From the trees, a pair of binoculars surveilled the scene.
“Yeesh,” Hudson muttered to himself as he saw the remains of a semi-truck that caused the whole debacle. “That thing’s an accordion now.”
“What was that?” Joani asked over the two-way radio Hudson had forgotten to mute.
“Sorry, J,” Hudson replied, fumbling over the mic. “Truck is the source. It looks like a compacted slinky right now. Super crazy. Cops have the scene under control. Traffic is moving along a dirt road. The cows in the surrounding pastures look confused as f-”
“Any sign of the creature?” Joani asked.
“I was getting there,” Hudson mocked, “nothing. I don’t even see a footprint. With what this thing did to that truck, there would be a footprint. I’ll keep scouting the area and try to stay ahead of the local fuzz. You all keep working on how to find and stop this thing. Let me know what the research finds.”
Hudson turned off the radio.
As the group’s scout, Hudson’s job was to run toward the red, blue, and yellow danger signals and look at things. Joani was the one that ran in when the lights went away to punch monsters or move heavy objects out of danger. Joani was on the radio today because the others were the researchers. Riley read fast and stole things. While not a helpful skill in a library, she reminded her companions of the skill constantly. Mykaela used her medical background to decode the latin. Tyler knew the folklore and mythology mentioned in the prophecies the group worked to stop, control or assist as the need called. Together, they all worked to stay ahead of the prophecy. Sometimes it was tough work. Sometimes it was easy.
Sometimes is called for doughnuts.
Hudson walked away from the crash site and into the small town that was cut in two by the country highway. Brick buildings lined Main Street and Second Street. Four gas stations sat on the sides of the highway, billboards indicated a furniture store was somewhere in town, and to Hudson’s great delight there was a doughnut shop.
Staying ahead of the creature he was hunting was pretty tough on an empty stomach.
He walked into the shop; his entrance announced by an adorable little bell attached to the door. A counter displayed scores doughnuts in dozens of varieties; sprinkled, chocolate, glazed, heart-shaped, if a doughnut could exist, it existed here. Hudson was in heaven. He ordered half a dozen in rapid fashion and sat down at a corner booth. The window to his right looked out on a small river surrounded by tall trees. Cows walked around loudly mooing.
Hudson raised a raspberry jam-filled doughnut. He had never anticipated a doughnut bite before, but here he was. The doughnut drew closer to his mouth.
Then the mooing stopped.
Hudson sighed, set the doughnut down and turned on the radio.
“Joani, this thing by chance live next to rivers and likes beef?” Hudson asked.
A moment later Joani’s voice came over the radio. “Riley says maybe,” Joani replied.
‘Maybe’ was enough. Hudson huffed, shoved a few doughnuts into his pockets and went to the river. “Come on out here when you can. I’ll stay ahead of it,” Hudson told the others. “And bring cheese and crackers or something. My pockets are full of doughnut crumbs.”
“What does that mean, H?” Joani asked.
“It means I make bad decisions before running after river living cow eaters,” Hudson snapped back.
“Guys, Hudson is hangry. We have to move fast!” Joani joked.
Hudson said nothing. He knew she was right.
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