Hi, my name is Jim Smalley, and I lived in North Georgia, up on Lookout Mountain when all of this started. I was a Senior in high school and planning on entering UGA (University of Georgia) next year. I am of average size and build, the kind of body that would be lost in a crowd, but with a face that just seemed to attract women. Well, make that high school girls.
By this time, I was driving to class every day in my own second-hand Ford crew-cab pickup that I had practically rebuilt myself. I make that point of the pickup’s age because I need to emphasize that it was one with a steel, not aluminum, body. It had a professional paint job in bright red that I had struggled to pay for, but it was my pride and joy.
At the moment, I did not have a steady girlfriend, but there were three girls who were actively chasing me. Man, let me tell you, that was fun! I knew that such a feast of femininity could not go on forever, but I was thoroughly enjoying it while it lasted. The funny thing was that all three girls remained the best of friends and even bragged to their peers of how they were sharing me among themselves.
That “sharing” was limited to making out, and not to direct sex, but I had hopes. So far, what it amounted to was steady dates with Mary on Tuesday, Martha on Thursday, and Jane on Saturday. The making out had extended to the point that all three girls shaved their pussies for me, and that was pleasing in itself.
A lot of my spare cash was made by hunting wild hogs. They had just made it to the section of Lookout Mountain where I lived, but they were already becoming a hazard worse than bears would have been. I had several butcher shops in the area that were my regular customers, and I was having trouble keeping them satisfied. Therefore, I carried two 12-gauge pump shotguns in my truck cab at all times. I had a locking rack for them, but I could put a gun into action in only seconds because of the rack that I had designed for myself.
As with the pickup, these two shotguns were second-hand, but that was deliberate. These were what were known as the slam-fire style of shotgun. That meant that I could just hold the trigger back, and the shotgun would fire automatically every time I pumped the slide. Normally, that was not important, but I had escaped prickly situations a couple of times because I could fire rapidly.
The Georgia legislature had recently passed a bill and it was signed by the governor with alacrity to allow the use of a special 8-shot tubular magazine, instead of the one that normally came from the factory. The catch was that a person had to be a licensed hunter of wild hogs to qualify for that special magazine. I was one of the first to have those special magazines applied to my shotguns, and they weren’t cheap!
Anyway, all of this is leading up to a certain Wednesday in late spring. Just after Lunch Period in the middle of 5th Period history, the sunlight suddenly changed. It had been an unusually warm morning and everybody was sweating, even though we were on top of the mountain. The bright standard sunlight changed to a kind of bilious green and we felt the temperature drop to what we felt on a winter day.
That lasted for approximately 12-15 minutes, and we were all shivering by the time the sunlight changed back to what it should be. Not long after the sunlight came back, the temperature warmed up. We had no idea what had happened, except for what we could see, so we were all puzzled by the occurrence.
A girl who was sitting beside an outside window looked out and screamed. You can bet that got our attention! We all jumped up, and that included the teacher, to see what had caused the scream. What we saw was a pack of large black dogs attacking a lone wild hog. At least, they looked more like dogs than anything else.
The fight was especially bloody. The hog was badly bitten in several places, and I doubted that it would survive the fight. On the other hand, the hog had managed to make some terrible gashes in the dogs, including one dog that was literally spilling its guts. Dammit, we could all see that the animal was badly injured, but then crazy things started to happen. The wounded dog was standing quietly while its guts were pulled back into its body and the gash healed while we watched. Moments later, the dog had resumed its attack on the hog.
Eventually, the hog was overcome, and the dogs ate everything from the hog that they could swallow. By the time they had finished, there was practically nothing of the hog left. This battle had taken place on the practice football field, and you can bet that the football coach was pissed off. The dogs showed no signs of moving away, so he sent an assistant coach out to chase the dogs away. That was when we discovered how much trouble we were in.
The dogs eyed the assistant coach as he walked toward them and acted completely unconcerned as he got close. By this time, the coach was swinging his arms and yelling at the dogs to go away. They didn’t. However, when he was about 15 yards away from the beasts, they all jumped up as if on cue and charged at the coach.
He was so surprised that he froze in position, and that just made it easy for the dogs to tear him to pieces. Once he was dead, the dogs began to eat what was left of the man.
Okay, that was too much for me and for most of the other kids in the classroom. However, we reacted completely differently. Most of the kids, especially the girls, started crying and blubbering for somebody to do something. The dogs were only about 20-25 yards from the school by then, and we were all feeling a great depression and a feeling of sadness. I thought that was from the death of the coach, but I didn’t even know the man other than his name, so I wondered why I was feeling so sad.
I usually am fast to react to a bad situation, but I was dragging my brain in low gear trying to figure out what to do. I knew that we could not all stay inside the school until the dogs ran away, but I could not seem to think what to do. I don’t know how many minutes it took for me to remember the guns I had in my truck and the fact that they were loaded with hogloads. A hit on one of those dogs by a hogload was sure to kill it, so I needed to fetch my shotguns and shoot the dogs.
I didn’t even to think to mention my idea to the teacher, but simply left the classroom and headed toward the parking lot. As I passed the shop classroom, I stuck my head in the door and saw everybody still looking out the window and crying. I’ll never know how I managed to do it, but I thought to call for Dan, my hunting partner on many occasions. He was at the window like everybody else, but he came with me when I went in and grabbed his arm to pull him away from the window. That kind of woke him up, and he came with me with little resistance.
By the time we got to my truck, the sadness had left us, and I had explained my plan to Dan. We climbed into my truck cab and I unlocked the shotgun rack. We each took out a shotgun and checked its load. There were eight shells in each magazine, so we chambered a shell, and added one to the magazine from the supply in the glove compartment. I drove and Dan sat in the seat beside me.
I was immune to the football craze that normally grabbed high schoolers in a near-death grip, so I had no compunction about driving on the holy grass used to cover the practice field. Dammit, as we got closer to the dogs, we began to feel sad and down. That was not enough to stop us, but we sure felt it.
The dogs looked at us about the same way that they had regarded the assistant coach as he had approached. I stopped about 30 yards from the nearest dog and turned off the motor. One of the modifications that I had made in the truck cab was to install a monster moon-roof. Dan and I opened it and stood on the seats with our bodies poking through the hole in the cabin roof. It was a little cramped, but we did have enough maneuvering room.
The dogs stood up when they saw us poking through the top of the truck, and they started walking slowly toward us as if they were not quite sure what we were up to and how they should react. As soon as we were ready, I said to Dan, “Okay, start shooting, and don’t be bashful about using ammunition. There’re three more boxes in the glove compartment.”
Dan didn’t say anything, but just started shooting, as did I. The dogs were so close that we did not miss, even though we were using the hogloads. A hogload is a shell that has its paper outer wrapper cut so that the shot stays together until the load hits the target. At that point, the paper breaks away and the shot burrows into the target like a massive shooting with many guns. If #00 buckshot is the shot, then a hit from a 12-gauge shell is like nine shots with .33 caliber pistols all fired at the same time. The shot enters all at the same time in a multitude of directions and does a fantastic amount of damage.
It did not take us long to wipe out the dogs, only three minutes at the most. We were about to step back into the truck when I yelled, “LOOK OUT, DAN, TO YOUR RIGHT! KILL IT NOW!” Dan fired and hit what ever it was flying at us.
Kind of breathlessly, Dan asked, “What the shit was that thing? It sure was not a regular bird.”
“You’re damned right about that. It looked like one of those harpies from that Odyssey comic we had back in junior high school.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Where did it come from? I didn’t think those things were real.”
“You’re right about them not being real, but there it was. You figure it out. I sure can’t!” We reloaded the shotgun magazines, and I drove back to the parking lot. I had hardly gotten back into the building when I was paged to come to the office.
When I showed up, the head football coach was there, and he was boiling mad. The principal was also there, and she was not in a much better mood. The first thing I heard was from the principal. “Jim Smalley, you are suspended from school indefinitely! You will be hearing from the sheriff this afternoon or tomorrow. You know the rule about discharging firearms on the high school campus.”
The football coach was just as unreasonable. “Smalley, don’t you ever bring your truck back to school or I will have it impounded. You know that driving on the football practice field is absolutely forbidden.”
I could tell that neither of those so-called adults were ready to listen to reason. I wondered if it was because of that much increased sense of sadness and depression that had enveloped the school. I said, “Okay, I’m leaving now. Let me know if that suspension is ever lifted.” With that, I turned around and left for home. It was obvious that there was no point in trying to argue my side of the current situation. Maybe they would see reason after they had a chance to calm down. Hopefully, Dad could reverse the ridiculous decisions.
When I got home, I found that everybody else was away from the house. Mom was probably window shopping and Dad was not home from work. He worked in Chattanooga, so it took him some time to commute to and from work. Every once in a while, Mom tried to get him to look for a job closer to home, but he was not interested in changing jobs. He had too much fun at what he did.
Sue and Jeff were still at school, and the bus would not be bringing them home for over an hour, so I had the place to myself. So what was I going to do? Well, I guessed that afternoon TV was a waste of time, and I was tired of the video games that I had on hand, so it seemed like the only viable alternative was to cruise the neighborhood in my truck. You know how it is, sometimes we teenagers have to make sacrifices.
As a manner of principle, I should go in to Jake’s sporting goods and pick up the shells to replace those used earlier today. At least, that was a good excuse for being in my truck this time of day. I really don’t know why, but I strapped on my S&W .40 caliber automatic. I carry it in a crossdraw holster at my waist so that it is convenient to get to in all circumstances. I had recently switched to hollowpoint bullets, and I felt like I could stop anything, including a charging wild hog with it if the situation came up.
I rolled into town and got a parking place right in front of Jake’s place. Maybe I was having a turn of luck! I bought the shells I needed from Jake himself. His clerk was still in school, and there was not much business this time of day, anyway. He asked, “How are those steel pellets working out for you, Jim. Do you notice any difference from the lead ones you used to use?”
“Naw, the weight of the shot doesn’t make that much difference in the hogloads at the range I usually shoot at. I would worry about barrel wear if it were not for the paper sabot that I get from the hogloads. As near as I can tell, the steel shot doesn’t hurt me the way I use it. One thing for sure, I don’t want to have to replace those shotguns. Prices are just too damned high compared to what I can get for the hog meat.
“Say, that reminds me, have there been any reports of strange dogs around here lately. Dan and I had to shoot 13 of them at the high school today. The dogs are coal black and are bigger than Great Danes. Oh, they have shaggy coats, too.”
“No, I haven’t heard anything about any such dogs. What went on at the high school?”
I told him my story and the fact that they threw me out of school because I was on school property when I shot the dogs. Also, the coach was mad at me because I had driven my pickup over his precious practice field. “Dammit, if Dad can’t fix it, I won’t graduate this year. I already know everything that they are going to teach, but I will miss too many days to qualify for graduation.”
I got all kinds of sympathy from Jake, and we went on the talk about other things. I had been in his shop for about 20 minutes when Sam Hudder came running in. “Jake, grab a loaded shotgun and come with me. There is a big ruckus two blocks away. A pack of dogs are about to attack Mrs. Caruthers.”
Sam was the town policeman, and Jake was the deputy. Jake kept a 12-gauge shotgun under the counter loaded and ready for just such circumstances. He had only had to fire it once in the seven years that he had been a deputy, but sometimes that shotgun was what kept problems down to a dull roar.
He ran out behind Sam, and I followed. I did stop off to pick up one of my shotguns from my truck. Both Sam and Jake are a little on the portly side, so I had no trouble catching up to them. I figured that if these dogs were like those we shot at the school, Jake’s double-barrel shotgun was going to need a little help.
By the time we got there, Mrs. Caruthers was backed into a corner by the monster dogs and they looked like they were about to charge. Sam pulled out his 9 mm and fired at the nearest dog. We could see where the bullet hit, and the dog never twitched. Sam said a few appropriate cuss words and emptied a clip into that same dog. Still nothing, not even blood! Sam said, “Jake, give it a try.”
Jake fired one shot and the dog went down immediately. Now that was more like it. He used his other barrel on another dog, and that one followed suit. Why were the buckshot working and the 9 mm not working? Sam had changed his clip and fired at another dog with the same results as before. His 9 mm was just not doing anything.
The dogs were now devoting all of their attention to Sam and Jake. It was time for me to put in my 2¢. I flipped off the safety and got ready to slam-fire. The dogs were too close for anything else. I started shooting as soon as the bystanders had moved out of the way, and I emptied the magazine into the pack of dogs. Jake had reloaded and took down one when I ran out of ammunition.
Oh, my God, what a feeling of sadness and despair was now hanging over us! Shit, where was that coming from? None of the people around the scene were the least bit sad to see the dogs eliminated. Were the dead dogs making us feel this way?
I had barely finished reloading when another monster showed up, and this one was nothing like anything that we could have seen before.