***Note: Click HERE for Part I
Here now is the second and final part of "A Circle of Wolves" from Bradley Nettermand.
I decided our only chance was for me to venture into the darkness to try and find a mule or one of our horses that had run off during the attack from the wolf-men. I had some luck since it was a full moon. That would enable me to have some light in my quest. I told Zeke to try and keep Billy awake. I put them back to back in case of another attack from the wolves. Having done all I could do for them, I set out to search for one of our wayward rides. As you can imagine, I was quite fearful. For all I knew, those wolves or wolf-men were looking right at me. I left the silver skillets with Billy. I doubt they would have done me much good. I didn't see anything as I set out. But, I had the damnedest sensation something was watching me. I looked as far as I could see in the moonlight. I could see nothing of our horses or mules. If the wolves wanted me, there would not be anything I could do to stop them. For all the good it could have done me, the Winchester was practically useless. I should have just left it at the camp. I had been searching for about half an hour when suddenly, I heard what sounded like something stomping on the ground. I got down behind a boulder to make myself as small as possible. It was coming from behind another giant boulder. I got the Winchester ready despite knowing it was useless. I was literally trembling with fear...waiting....waiting and there it was!!! Well, it wasn't the wolf-men. It was Star and Blackie, two of our horses. Blackie was Billy's horse, Star was mine. They had been grazing behind this huge boulder. They were both high-strung horses. I was thinking they were on their way back home by now. Thankfully, they hung around. But, there was no sight of the other horse that belonged to Zeke or the mules.
I grabbed the reins of both horses and slowly made my way back into camp. Zeke was pointing his rifle in my direction and quickly greeted me with a big smile. "They must not have run off far, Brad. Glad you made it back. Billy keeps falling in and out of himself. We need to get him back home right away!" said Zeke. Billy was in bad shape. He had lost a lot of blood. We wasted no time getting loaded up on the horses. Billy was well enough to ride with Zeke on one horse, I took what I could with me on my horse. I left most of our supplies there. We needed to travel light and get back home. I was thinking Billy wasn't going to make it back the ten miles back home. He was very pale and was quite listless. The tourniquet I made was holding. But, he needed medical help quickly. We secured Billy as best we could on Blackie with Zeke holding onto him from behind. It was going to be a long ride back in the darkness. I checked my railroad watch....it was now close to 4AM. We needed to get going now.
We took off as fast as the moonlight would allow us. I kept looking for any sign of the wolves. I was thinking maybe we had seen the last of them. I thought wrong. About 30 minutes after leaving camp, I saw the sets of red eyes trailing us about 100 yards or so to our left-rear. They were catching up with us. The horses got wind of them also. Star stopped and reared up on me, nearly knocking me off of her. Blackie was taking off and Zeke could not slow him down. It took me some time to get Star under control and heading off in the right direction again. The wolf-men had caught up with me. I took off as quick as Star could take me. One of the wolves took a swipe at Star's hoofs, nearly causing her to trip over and break a leg. That was the intent of this pack of wolves, wolf-men, whatever they were. I had lost sight of Zeke and Billy. They appeared long gone. I was left to fight off these creatures as best I could. Star was now beside herself with fear. She came to a dead stop and reared up again, causing me to drop my Winchester on the ground. I did the one thing that I knew would get Star to head home at top speed; let go of the reins!!! When I did that, Star took off like she was possessed. I held onto her mane with a double fistful in both hands. This seemed to egg her on even more. I looked back behind me. I saw the red eyes of the wolves. But, they could not keep up with us now. They finally disappeared completely as Star came into the homestretch of our ranch.
I'd like to tell you that everything turned out okay, that everyone got over this supernatural event. But, that would not be true. What did happen is that my dear friend Billy Waller died three days after this incident. Billy had just lost too much blood to survive that fateful night in July of 1954. Zeke Bateman and his family moved away about six months later. I never heard from Zeke again despite saying he would stay in touch. Of course, no one believed us when we told them the wolves, who could stand on their hind legs, attacked us. We were told we just were hallucinatory with the pack of wolves attacking us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before Billy died, he told his story to the Sheriff separately from both Zeke and I. Our stories matched perfectly. Of course, no one ever believed us. My dad told me there was no such thing as Werewolves and to stop repeating that nonsense before people thought I was ready for the asylum. Now, you may be thinking, did Billy or Zeke turn into Werewolves since they had been bitten? Billy died three days later, remember? Zeke's family moved abruptly which was puzzling to many. They had worked that land for generations, as far back as the 19th century in fact. So, why did they leave so suddenly? I'll leave that to the imagination of the reader.
I hope you enjoyed my story. I completely understand many, if not all of you, will not believe this story. I realize it was a helluva coincidence that Billy told that Werewolf story the same night we were attacked by what I still believe were Werewolves. I don't blame you for being skeptical. But, this incident happened 60 years ago this July. It happened. You can believe it or not. That is your prerogative. But, remember this....I have nothing to gain by telling this story. Nothing. Well, except more ridicule. But, after 60 years, ridicule no longer bothers me. I thank the proprietor of this blog for allowing me to tell my story.
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