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By Scott Rinehart All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Scifi

Chapter 1

In August of 1986, during the construction of a few new buildings at Ft. Irwin, just outside of Barstow, California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert, a strange discovery was made. The construction crew had to have a demolition crew remove some extra large rocks before they could continue. While clearing beneath a rock, a letter was found that halted everything. No one was certain if it had historical significance or not, and those that read it didn’t know what to make of it.

An expert from the Smithsonian was brought in to examine the letter, and make a determination as to its authenticity, historical value and pertinence, and whether the men could get back to work. As a member of the 4th Infantry Division that would report there from Ft. Carson, Colorado to train against the OpFor, I don’t recall this incident stopping even a little training. Enclosed is a copy of the letter that was found. The whereabouts of the original are unknown, at least to most of us. Perhaps it is in a warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant.

Dearest Ethelyn,

As you might remember I headed out here to California in 1851, and ain’t faired to well during the last two years. I know you done warned me that I was heading out here a bit late, but I had to try sweetheart. Man can’t give his love the world if he can’t afford it. But I tried everything from panning to blasting but that ain’t worked. I did take your advice and set to learning and as you can see my letters and penmanship have improved. But I weren’t finding any gold up north and had to always watch for claim jumpers all the time, so I come down here to the desert to dig in peace.

But since I done come here I feel like I’ve been watched and followed, but I circle around and don’t find no tracks. An old redskin named War Eagle warned me about a strange creature down these parts, but I ain’t falling for any of that harum scarum, hocus pocus stuff. It’s probably just the heat playing tricks on my mind. Going to get some sleep now and I’ll continue this letter come morning.

Now I’m spooked. There is something out there and I don’t know what it is. I’m going to keep writing this to you and hope to have a nice ending, but I’m truly scared and writing this by firelight to help me stay awake. Whatever is out there took down my horse just minutes ago and dragged off the body. If I die I hope someone finds this and can tell you that I love you and miss you.

I fell asleep again while I was thinking of what to say next, but I woke at dawn and saw the damned thing. Please forgive my French. The thing is the size of a sheep and yet was able to kill and drag my horse. It looks like a lizard but stands like a chicken, and wide spaced teeth. Ain’t no chicken I know of has teeth and three fingered hands with claws on its wings, its feet have four clawed toes but it only walks on three toes and has a long lizard tail. I shot it and it run off. Suns up now and I’d better get out of here.

I’m headed west toward the coast where I hope to find people before this thing catches me. I’ve seen it following me a few times and even flying short distances like a turkey. That explains why I missed its tracks before. It is hunting me and I’m scared. It got close once and I shot the damned thing some more with my pistol and then my rifle as it ran away. I know I got it because it bled, I hope it died since I’m out of bullets.

The sun is going down and I’ve seen the thing following behind me again. No bullets so I guess I’m swinging my rifle and using my knife when it comes for me. I’m holed up here by some rocks in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think I’ll live through the night so I’m stuffing the letter up under this rock. If I die just know I loved you. I hear the thing getting close now.

Nothing else followed in the letter. The Smithsonian expert saw no reason to discontinue the work any further and gave permission to continue. However after they blasted and began digging the ground in that location they stopped again and brought the expert out to see what else they had found at the site. They had discovered the bones of what they assumed was the unnamed man, knife in his hand and lodged into the skull of a creature that was positioned like it had been eating his abdomen apart. The expert was pretty sure but dismissed the workers and called in a paleontologist to confirm his thoughts. Apparently the unknown man and a velociraptor killed each other. A velociraptor living in what they can assume from the letter was 1853 was very unusual. Like most strange occurrences in this World, the general public is left out of the loop.

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