"Brutal and visceral, what was once the joke of the Cryptozoological world is now back where it belongs: at the top of the monster food-chain." - Scott A. Johnson, author of City of Demons and Deadlands
"Eric S. Brown breathes new life into the Bigfoot mythos. Grizzly, gritty . . . gripping, Brown pulls you in from page one and doesn't let go until the very end. Even then, he still haunts your nightmares. Bigfoot War is not to be missed!" - James Melzer author of Escape: A Zombie Chronicles Novel
"Find a big gun, and catch your breath when you can. The raging, relentless pace of this book will grip you until the last page. Mr. Brown has entered new territory and the residents are large, strong, intelligent, and very, very angry . . ." - Stephen A. North, author of Dead Tide
"Eric S. Brown transmutes myth into horrifying reality. Through key people of Babble Creek, Bigfoot War instantly pulls the reader into a small town facing obliteration. A powerful, unique voice shines here, leaving you white-knuckled until you finish, thirsty for more." - Ben Eads, dark fiction writer and host of The Dark Fiction Show
The stink was terrible.
Jeff stood behind his brother, Scott, as the younger boy knelt and poked with a stick at what looked to be a liver. Other bits and pieces of the cow lay scattered about the field around them.
Jeff struggled not to be sick. "Stop that."
Scott looked up at him. "Come on, bro. This is awesome!" He got to his feet. "This had to be aliens! Look at this. I doubt even a grizzly could have torn the thing apart like this."
Jeff grimaced. There was nothing cool or awesome about death. The poor cow had been ripped to shreds. He wondered if it had suffered or if whatever did this gave it a quick death before this pointless mutilation.
Scott noticed his reaction and punched his shoulder. "You nerd. Why do you always have to spoil everything by thinking about it too much? Don't be such a loser."
Jeff stared at the blood drying on the grass as Scott went back to his examination of the cow's remains. He wished he'd never followed Scott and his father out here. He didn't need this aggravation. There was a math test tomorrow and he should be in his room studying for it not babysitting Scott, but he knew his father needed him. Without him riding hard on his younger brother, Scott would be out there in the woods shadowing his father, in turn making it impossible for him to find the animal that did this and kill it before it could attack more of their livestock.
Another man might have called the sheriff after finding a mess like this in their pasture, but their father was a third-generation farmer and the gruff, hard-headed type of man who firmly believed you dealt with things yourself. Jeff wasn't worried about him. He remembered the time his dad hit the bottle too hard a few weeks after his mother died. It'd taken the sheriff and four deputies to take his dad down and restrain him. Even with that many of them, it was still a fight. Jeff also knew his dad was one of the best hunters in Macon County and that tonight the man was stone sober and on his game.
Scott's head snapped up. "Do you hear that?"
Before Jeff could respond, he heard it, too. It was the sound of something large tearing its way through the trees toward the field they were in. A gunshot rang out amid the noises of snapping tree branches and the rustling of the underbrush.
Their dad broke from the tree line and ran toward them. His face was pale and ashen, covered in sweat. "Run!" he yelled. "Jeff, get Scott in the house now!"
Jeff grabbed Scott by the arm, jerking him into a run. They headed for home, nearly dragging the younger boy thanks to pure adrenaline and force of will. He didn't look back as an animal-like roar shook the night. It was so loud it seemed to echo all across the valley. It sounded like a cross between a raging bear and an angry man screaming at the top of his lungs. The loud thunderous impacts of the thing's feet smashing into the ground at the end of each of its long strides shook the ground. Jeff's breath came in ragged gasps as he pushed himself on, dragging Scott with him.
The house was in sight now. The kitchen screen door swayed slightly from the evening's breeze as it hung partially open. The porch light still burned above it.
So close, he thought. Once they were inside, they could lock the door against the terrors of the night and everything would be fine. Jeff felt Scott fighting against his hold on him.
"No! Dad!" the younger boy wailed.
A second gunshot cracked in the darkness behind them followed by their father screaming obscenities, obviously frightened and desperate. This was followed by a wet, thumping noise that reminded Jeff of the noise made by a deer being hit by a speeding car.
It was the last he ever heard of his father that night.
He reached the door to the kitchen, crying and dragging Scott behind him. He steeled himself, refusing to turn and see what was chasing them or what had befallen his father as he flung Scott in front of him and sent his brother sprawling onto the kitchen tile. He stepped inside, jerking the door tight behind him. Only then did he allow himself to turn enough to lock the door and brace his shoulder against it. Instinct took over as the giant fist burst through the door's thick wood, splintering it, sending shards and dust flying. Jeff threw himself backwards, barely avoiding the huge, groping, hair-covered hand as it reached for him. His backside erupted with pain as he hit the floor. He heard Scott yelling, but his brother's voice sounded distant as if it came from another world. The hand withdrew itself, tearing the door from its hinges in the process. Jeff caught a glimpse of something enormous and covered in brown, blood-matted hair before he rolled onto the living room carpet.
Scrambling to his feet, he was on the run again, heading for the stairs that led up to the second floor. His dad's bedroom held an arsenal, but the thought of the weapons stored there brought him no comfort. Jeff's only thought was to hide. Hide and pray the monster went away. He hit the stairs, taking them two or three at a time with each fear-induced bound, half crawling and clawing his way to the top. The house was full of noise. Screams, breaking wood, creaking floors, then came the roar that shook the walls. Jeff whirled his head around, suddenly realizing Scott wasn't with him. His face and forehead smashed into the stairs' guardrail. Then there was only blackness.
When he awoke, the night was silent and still. His nose felt ... wrong. It hurt like the blazes. His trembling hand found the swollen lump on his forehead and withdrew itself as fresh waves of pain poured over him. The house's lights were out and the air smelled of blood, death, and wet animal. He lay there in the darkness, heart pounding in his chest, listening.
Questions that longed for answers ran through his mind. Where was his dad? Where was Scott? Was the monster gone or was it down there in the shadows somewhere waiting?
After what seemed like an eternity, Jeff hauled himself to his feet, using the railing to keep his balance. Not willing to risk venturing down the stairs, he made for his father's bedroom. He felt around in the pitch black of the night until his hands found one of his dad's shotguns. He checked the weapon, making sure it was loaded by pumping a fresh round into its chamber, then sat on the edge of his father's bed as a gentle rain began to fall outside the house.
Tears rolled down his cheeks as he prayed for help to come and the nightmare to end.