He'd told her not to go into the canyon by herself! But did she listen? No! The damn woman would be the death of him yet.
As he neared the edge of the ledge he heard sounds that he knew he'd still remember to his dying day. He slowly peered over the edge and found what he had hoped was legend instead of fact. The fact was like something out of nightmare.
Megan's back was pressed against the canyon wall while four ungodly creatures fanned out in a semicircle, cutting off any hope of escape. Ugly didn't even begin to describe what he saw. From this high up he could only hazard a guess as to size, but they couldn't be more than five feet tall to Megan's 5'6".
Under the moonlit sky, the coarse fur on their scrawny bow-backed bodies appeared to be a silvery black and their rough-skinned faces looked like a mutant abomination you'd see in a zoo of horrors. Nothing nastier than chupacabras.
What worried him the most was the razor-sharp claws they extended toward Megan. One swipe of those claws could split her open like a melon. He wouldn't be surprised if the spiky spines tracking down their backs were just as nasty.
It wasn't just the rotting meat smell that came off them that sent bile rolling up his throat. The idea of what they could do to her before he had time to intervene scared the spit out of him. He noted that Megan's face was contorted in a frozen mask of fear as she faced down the monsters.He had to give her credit for staying put and not trying to run for it. He sensed they were toying with her as a cat toyed with a mouse before pouncing. He didn't want to think what they'd do once they grew bored with their victim.
He knew he had to move and move fast. Moving backward quietly and making sure not to dislodge any pebbles, he made his way back to their back packs.
He rummaged through them and found what he was looking for then made his way back to the edge. He looked down and in a split second he saw Megan's face turn upward. Not by a flicker of an eyelash did she betray his presence. He shot her a quick reassuring grin.
"Rock and roll," he whispered, as he tossed the rope over the edge and rappelled down the canyon wall. The minute his boots hit the earthen floor, the creatures turned as one and hissed a strident warning at the unwelcome intruder before two of them advanced his way.
He grinned as his adrenaline hit a new high.
"Hey, guys, welcome to the barbecue," he shouted as he set off the four phosphorous flares and tossed one at each creature. The animals ignited in a blinding light. If the hissing was bad on the ears, their screams of agony were even worse.
Megan covered her nose as the smell of burning meat filled the air. "If this is your idea of a barbecue I am so glad I'm a vegetarian!" she shouted back at him as she ran around the burning animals and leaped into his arms.