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Hairy Hands in the Dark panel 1

The Chronicles of the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee

Book 1:The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Chapter 4 Part 2: Hairy Hands in the Dark

On the other hand, Blood was happy Hiedi's mini shotgun had seen some use. That was a home brew piece based off of the Mossberg 500 their local gunsmiths had cooked up on request from Hiedi’s old man for her sixteenth birthday. That compact little beast would break most of the modern soyboys’ hands off if they tried to fire the shotty.

Being small in Harald’s family meant you were giant in normal society, and the gorgeous amazon concealed carried that badger under her dress on her right thigh. Was it a small pump action shotgun made even tinier by using a bullpup design and magazine? Yes, but the thing was still a solid fourteen inches long, and heavy for its size. Hiedi still whipped that monster out like it was pop gun. Bohdan found it particularly entertaining when she pulled the beast out at the range from her custom made leg holster. Every Fud in a ten mile radius about had a heart attack. The look on their faces never got old.

If Bohdan hadn’t inherited his father’s six foot four frame Hiedi Skinner would’ve towered over him when she wore heels. Needless to say the modern viking maiden was very pleased to be able to pull out even her highest stilettos out of the corner of her closet where they’d been languishing. Bohdan was still shorter than Godzilla himself. Harald had a good three inches on him, and an arms reach that would make a condor bulk. Sheriff Skinner’s brood were an intimidating entourage whenever they gathered for barbecues. Good thing the younger Blood wasn’t so easily intimidated.

Bohdan snuck in close and kissed Hiedi’s frazzled lips, and saw the flames in her eyes. No one touched her flock. No one. Especially freaks.

“I’m out of shells babe,” Hiedi whispered with a slight tremor in her voice as she stared daggers down the corridor on the left that had not too long ago been filled in with rubble. Strong clawed hands appeared to have moved a small boulder out from the pile allowing entry into their underground haven. This was a new development.

The hunk of rock had to weigh hundreds of pounds, and it looked like something had flicked the thing across the landing like it was made of paper. There the oversized stone sat split into four pieces against the south wall mere inches from hitting the railings leading up to the shaft itself. Bohdan hated to wonder what kind of super hobo could pull that off. Blood stopped when he saw the deep gashes of a six fingered hand edged into the side of the rock. That was more claws than the species of hobo he was used to.

This was what Bohdan was worried about. However, these marks were new to him. There shouldn’t be anything like that left alive for miles down here. His father’s punic missions underground into their hives had been very thorough, and nothing like the hideous cave crawlers had been seen near Bunker Boogaloo for at least five years.

“Hands grabbed Sally and Randall,” Hiedi put her hand on a strapping twelve year old boy who looked like he didn’t know whether to scream, cry, or run mad into the tunnels he was boring his blue eyes down. “After I filled its backside with buckshot the thing threw Randall over his shoulder to shield itself. He stabbed the freak’s ear with his pocket knife. Randall crawled away when it dropped him.”

Bohdan raised an eyebrow and gave the disheveled kid a second look. His left hand looked like he’d dunked it in molasses, and then rolled in flour. That wasn’t bad for a twelve year old. First blood was spilt. That was fortuitous during a hunt.

“The thing didn’t use Sally as a shield. It covered her so I blasted the demon till I ran out of shells, and couldn’t run no more,” Hiedi shivered and Bohdan took her in his arms and stroked her hair giving her a moment. People thought tough chicks were men. They weren't. They had a different kind of strength, and still wanted some feminine consideration.

“Though not too much,” Bohdan thought as he backed up when he felt Hiedi stop shivering. He could tell she wanted to cry tears of rage. Nothing touched the children when she was around. She didn’t let the dam burst so to say. Bohdan had learned that some women would always take the opportunity to use their tears to gain attention and male sympathy, but others were obsessed with proving they were not the type to take a soccer player’s fall for attention. Hiedi was the ladder to the extreme. The Skinners were a tough breed. Still, Blood figured his fiance was going to need some serious down time when all this nonsense blew over.

“What the hell was it Ma’am?” Asked a blurry bearded lumberjack turned underground sapper that Bohdan didn’t recognize.

“Got to be a crawler down here,” Mr. Duncan insisted while looking down the dank hole.

“Crawlers don’t have six fingers. Aint that right Blood Junior?” Handlebar mustache man, who’s name the President needed to learn already, said while running a hand over the mini boulder’s claw marks. The younger Blood wasn’t excited about being called junior anything, but he was happy to have picked out a man of experience.

Handlebar had probably been on the expeditions to clear the wrenches out when they first found their hives on the lower levels. At that point it had been us or them. No way Bohdan’s old man was going to let them lie, and pick off a kid or hobo or two every year. Needless to say the town was still around, and the crawlers weren’t.

Was it more likely that some crawlers might have survived the cleansing, and had found their way back to their old hunting ground? Always a possibility. They were wicked strong too. Bohdan had run into a few himself, but this seemed different.

Crawlers weren’t brutes. They didn’t pound through a door they couldn’t slither through instead. Plus six fingers was one too many. Though that could mean more than one clawed hand had got all jumbled on the rock, but that looked unlikely. Good thing they had witnesses.

“Did I say it was a crawler Mr. Halley?” Hiedi said now with full composure and full grizzly mamma mode flipped on,” This monster was harry from foot to toe, and masculine like Arnold stuffed full of steroids on a Conan set!” Bohdan had to hold back laughter at that one. He’d shown her the Conan movies a few weeks ago, and she still thought her brothers would make better Conans than a short Austrian reject country bumpkin. More ferocity, less mercy, and far less likely to get lost up some scantily clad tail. Also, thanks to the outburst Bohdan knew Handlebar Mustache Man was in fact Mr. Halley. Now they were cooking.

“What in the sweet Lord is a booger doing down here?” the Lumberjack asked with his voice cracking as far as his baritone notes would allow on his bellowing vocal cords.

“I didn’t say it was a sasquatch neither Mr. Jethro. This monster had the head of a hyena, and smiled at me like a demon spat right out of hell where I expect to see you boys send it none too soon,” Bohdan straightened at the statement.

Dogman, and not just any breed of dogman. One that started in a lab experiment for government “operations”. Aggressive, vicious, and intelligent they’d never had one in this neck of the woods. Rare as rare came, and twice as bloody.

“Witchcraft,” Bohdan thought to himself. He was almost positive. This thing was on a mission which was not food related. There was far easier prey on the surface. That spoke of something with a higher mind calling the shots.

These freaks as a rule were far smarter than you expected, but unless possessed and acting like a demon’s chauffeur they were still animalistic. A witch could change all that. The only thing that made Bohdan pause was what they wanted with little Sally Gramm.

Her family was a new addition, but there was nothing to suggest spiritual targeting on this level. Well, if he got ahold of the witch sicking her pets on his people then he could ask properly. Or let Hiedi ask if he was feeling cruel after spelunking in tight caves looking for a hairy monster science experiment running amok in his town.

This might be the underground, but it was all New Venice to him. Bohdan planned on keeping their homes safe enough to let their kids play near strange caves without having to worry about hairy hands snatching them from the shadows.

“Alright,”Bohdan clapped so loud the sound echoed off the low walls with enough force to shatter unexpecting eardrums,” Whatever this freak is, whether crawler or some other corruption of nature, the freak has taken one of our own. Its life is forfeit so we are going in there to kill the demon spawn. Since we are proper men of God, and citizens of New Venice.”

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

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Hairy Hands in the Dark panel 6
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
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