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SILVER SHELLS • by Michael D. Turner

I stumbled through the cabin door and shot the bolt behind me, for all the good it would do. A step-hop over to the lone cot and I was finally able to spare time to tend my leg. My trouser leg was a complete loss but the bite wasn’t near as bad as it felt.

They had my scent now, and they’d tasted blood. I didn’t think they’d leave off now that I was penned in, not even though they had to have caught the smell of silver as well. They could have seen it as well as smelled it, not just in the cartridges of my guns but in the slug I’d put in the tree when I’d missed my shot.

That would make them cautious, but more than ever, it would make them come for me. They couldn’t afford to leave a hunter, a real hunter who’d prepared for them, out in their territory with two moonrises to go. They’d come for me for sure.

I’d chosen my cabin well, and done plenty to prepare it for the worst in the three weeks since the last full moon. The windows, small as they’d been, were bisected now with thick logs pegged in place making them too small to come in through, though still just fine to shoot out of. The roof was covered with heavy turf and the one door; well, I’d brought most of that in with me. An inch or more of local hardwood, now steel-faced, with silver nails set all over it.

A werewolf was as likely to throw himself into that as a man was to set his shoulder to a bonfire.

I finished cleaning my leg, getting the bandages out of my pack, and the disinfectant. Then I dug out the ammunition and laid it out on the cot. The box of large, heavy rounds for my Winchester was nearly useless–the rifle could drop any monster with a single shot but it was fairly finicky about how it was loaded, and I’d be risking a jam if I tried to reload in the heat, as it were.

I carefully reloaded it, replacing the shell I’d used before, and then laid out the silver-shot rounds I’d brought for the shotgun. More effective up close than my pistol, it was quicker to reload as well. It would do for the biggest part of the fighting, leaving my pistol and my bowie-knife, its blade carefully etched and filled with silver-leaf, for my last defense.

The night was wearing on and my leg was throbbing. Where were they? Less than an hour to moonset, they should be here; I hadn’t thrown them off my scent, I hadn’t even tried. They should have come before now.

I hopped over to the window and looked out. The moon was below the ridgeline, the valley dark as ink. They should have hit me by now.

I eased my leg up on the woodpile to take off some of the pressure, and it hit me. I’d been bitten.

They weren’t coming. They didn’t have to.

I stared at the rifle in my hand, at the shells laid out on the bunk. All of them silver.

[01-Oct-2009]

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, read by Josh Pendlebury.

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Michael D. Turner‘s writings have graced the pages of Aberrant Dreams, Amazing Journeys, Alienskin, Between Kisses, Continuum SF, Every Day Fiction, Tales of the Talisman and a variety of anthologies. He is an associate editor of the new Flashing Swords e-zine.

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SILVER SHELLS • by Michael D. Turner, 3.9 out of 5 based on 27 ratings
Posted on February 5, 2008 in Horror, Stories
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  • Gerard Demayne

    Another great one!

  • Ellie Tupper

    Oh, veeery good, Mike! This one’s going to stick in my head for a while.

  • rumjhum

    Great Story! :-)

  • Stephen Book

    Fantastic ending to the story–just enough to let the reader fill in the rest. Thank you for sharing with us, and for allowing us to participate with you.

  • http://hannah-steenbock.de/html/index_english.htm Firlefanz

    Nice one, Mike!

    Although … duh. That guy realized his fate later than I did. Still, fun story and well told!

  • Michael D. Turner

    Firlefanz,
    Hopefully you had just enough time to laugh at him before he figured it out.
    M–

  • http://www.theperfectblogtitle.blogspot.com/ Rena Sherwood

    I was wondering when he’d figure it out. He’d probably prefer life as a werewolf :-)

  • Avis Hickman-Gibb

    A blinding moment of realisation. Good one!

  • Michael D. Turner

    I always thought that too little is made of the horror of being a werewolf. I wouldn’t want it, I couldn’t live with the idea someday I might eat a boy scout troop by accident or something.
    M–

  • http://canyonsofgray.blogspot.com DJ Barber

    Another great story at EDF. Loved it!!!

  • http://www.jordanlapp.com/ Jordan Lapp

    I’m with you there.

    Did you ever notice how in all the vampire movies these days, not one vampire actually drinks blood. Everyone’s enamored with the power and no one wants to pay the price, which, after all, is terrible.

  • mark dalligan

    Great story. Particularly liked the way the reader is immediately amongst the action. Skilful.

    Cheers

    Mark

  • http://www.hvond.wordpress.com Jason

    nicely done Mike – I loved hearing the double sound of two traps snapping shut.

  • http://germsama.livejournal.com Nathan Trader

    I really liked that you drop the reader right into the action. I normally think werewolves are cheesy, and I hate reading or seeing anything about them. You managed to hook me before I knew what was happening, and ultimately delivered the first werewolf story I’ve been able to read without rolling my eyes. Nice work.

  • http://www.jordanlapp.com/ Jordan Lapp

    No kidding.

    I actually went on a forum and said I thought werewolf stories were “done” and that I’d probably never publish one. Mike took that as a challenge and, obviously, made me eat my words.

  • Michael D. Turner

    Jordan,
    I didn’t remember you’d said that until I was about halfway through writing this story. It was the first of a string of stories I wrote one night, including “One Dark Night” which you took recently and another that (deservidly) didn’t make the grade. This was in response to a request on that same forum to “see more pulp” stories to break up all the “literary” fiction you’d recieved. I decided that, along with being action oriented, pulp was generally written fast. What I found was that I was better at the beginning of a blitz session than at the end, and the old pulp writers, even the so called “hacks” had to be very, very good writers.
    When I remembered your were wolf comments I didn’t dispair, because the worse you could do was say “no thanks”. I’m very glad you didn’t, as this is one of my best Flas pieces and I’m very happy to have it here.
    Mike

  • Tee

    What a wonderful story! At the end, he is contemplating suicide, yes?

  • http://www.abluestar.com/blog/ Steven Smethurst

    Very enjoyable,
    Thanks again !

  • Michael D. Turner

    Oh yes, but even more he’s contemplating the nature of his relationship with these supernatural beasts, he’s a werewolf hunter, and now he has to decide if that is what he really is more than anything else, if his hold on humanity is more important than his hold on living.

    Mike

  • Bruce Durham

    Excellent story, Mike. It so happens I watched Dog Soldiers the night before, so the tale had extra resonance. What a great ending.

  • Michael D. Turner

    I’ll have to see _Dog Soldiers_ then, I’ve never caught it. Thanks, glad you liked the story Bruce.

  • http://residentialaliens.blogspot.com Lyn

    I was wondering when it would hit him! I thought he might be contemplating a self-inflicted wound next. lol Nice bit of flash and a good ending. Congrats.

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