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. I remember my first Skinwalker encounter↵. About a month into my patrols, command sent our platoon to reinforce the Cheese Curtain . down near O’hare Intl. it was late, I hadn’t adjusted to the 3rd watch yet. It was calm, one of . those nights where you contemplate the bigger things. The airport shut down when the ash . clogged the skies. We were posted beneath a hull of a United Airlines triple 7. I’d love for a . good trash can fire, but command wants full light discipline. Riley stayed up with me, even . though he couldn’t talk back, that doggo sure knew how to listen. We weren’t a K-9 team by . any means, I’d trust him before one of those Badgers fresh out of the chute. Riley was really . good with people, if I had the time I do now, he’d be a therapy dog getting belly rubs from . children and geriatrics. But he’s my wing-man, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So here . we are sitting under this Triple 7, I’m scanning the field watching for movement. I saw Ri’s . ears perk up, and he was looking southeast into the dark. Then I saw it. From where I was the . white tail buck looked to be about 200 yards out, Ri let out a low whine, because he knew I . knew he wanted to run it down. Lord knows he wouldn’t catch it, and if by some act of god he . did he wouldn’t know what to do with it. I leveled my rifle to it, using my pack as a stabilizer I . readied the shot. Methinks “do I nudge the sleeping badger next to me and worry spooking the . deer? Or do I take the shot, and apologize later with gifts of venison steak?” the buck presented . me its flank, and I knew I couldn’t pass it up. “CRACK!” my rifle barked as it sank into my . shoulder. I saw the beast shudder and knew I done good. ↵. . . Then it screamed. Oh god the scream. It reminded me of the sounds iron made, twisting and bending and groaning . moments before collapse. It stood up on its hind legs and turned to me and the platoon, my . mind raced to find a word to describe the thing moving towards us. It settled on . “INCOMING!!” the platoon was jumping to its feet, scrambling to understand what the hell is . coming. My rifle barked again into It my team swiveled to and began lobbing volleys into this . thing. It staggered as it moved towards us, our fire effective in slowing it. I just kept firing as it . got closer. I could see the antlers, but it wasn’t a deer, fuck I don’t know what it was but like . hell if we’ll meet on his terms. As it reached the tarmac its gait had slowed again, it screamed . once more and reached for us as though it was a sprinter crossing the finish line. Then it fell. . We stood in silence watching it wiggle and twitch. None of us wanting to be the first to . approach. Riley actually moved first, and I wouldn’t let him go alone so we closed the distance . to the thing, the platoon followed suit. The smell oh god the smell, it makes decomposing flesh . palpable, fuck it smells bad. “Screw light discipline, what the hell was that” I thought. Its still . ll was that” I thought. Its still . hard to describe but there were antlers, but hands not hooves where’s its fur.

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