A fierce, unseen creature is attacking livestock and humans in the small town of Clarksville, Michigan. The creature is soon identified as the honey badger, or ratel, a relative of the badger and native to Africa and the Middle East. This animal, however, is about twice as large as a normal badger and is so ferocious as to be rabid. It soon starts ripping cars apart to get inside...even tearing down house doors! Will the citizens of the town be able to stop the beast before it destroys them all?
The First KillingEdit
Darkness had fallen several hours ago, and now the sun was completely down with only a small glow remaining in the western sky. The tops of the corn blew in the soft night breeze, accompanied by a rustling sound. Something was coming through the field. A large, four-foot long shadow stepped out from among the stalks and into the small yard. Saliva and blood dripped from its slobbering jaws as it approached the house, its gory fangs showing in a menacing display.
Rocky, the small Doberman pinscher, was startled by a noise at the far corner of the yard, opposite the road. He slowly roused himself from his sleep and peered into the darkness. His eye caught a sudden movement and he began barking loudly, in an attempt to scare the intruder away. However, the thing didn't leave or even show fear; rather, it approached him slowly and steadily, growling. Rocky's barking began to subside, replaced by a fearful whine.
Suddenly, a huge something leaped through the air and landed in the dog's kennel. Rocky yipped and threw himself toward the creature...he didn't know what happened, but suddenly he found himself on the ground, upside down beside the fence. A pair of powerful jaws grabbed him around the throat and began shaking him like a rag doll. Rocky could do nothing but flop around as blackness overtook him.
Ned Charleton, owner of the house, awoke to the sound of something smashing against the fence outside. He leaped up out of bed and looked out his window; all he could see was the lawn outside and the edge of the dog kennel. But wait...what was that on the grass inside the fence? It was wet, and it was red...blood? Charleton looked harder. Yes, it was blood! Rocky must've killed something, he thought. He opened the window and yelled out, "Good boy, Rocky!" He waited for a moment but didn't hear the dog's familiar barking. Instead, he heard a low, phlegmy growl from down below. What the devil? Ned thought. Then a horrible thought occured to him: something must've killed Rocky! "NO!" the burly car mechanic shouted as he grabbed his shotgun out of the closet and raced down the stairs.
He stopped halfway down and nearly slid to the bottom. Something was scratching, hissing right outside his door! Ned creeped quietly the rest of the way down, cocked his gun and then took a hold of the door handle. He twisted...and suddenly it burst open, knocking him to the ground. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed his gun and pointed it toward the doorway. A huge, menacing shape stood right outside; he couldn't make out what it was as the outdoor light was off. The thing moved in, growling and showing its fangs. "Back," Ned shouted. "Get back!" The creature paid no attention; it continued advancing toward him. Ned wrapped his finger around the trigger and prepared to pull it, when suddenly the thing roared and leaped into the air at him.
George Pamley, Ned Charleton's neighbor, awakened the next morning feeling very groggy. He hadn't gotten much sleep the night before; first he had had to stay up late correcting his students' algebra papers, and then he had been kept awake by noises from next door late into the night. "What the heck is goin' on over there?" he growled, shambling downstairs to make coffee. "Sounds like he had a couple lions in the house! Dang it, that Charleton doesn't know how to be quiet at night does he??"
As he started pouring the water into the coffee maker, he glanced casually out the window toward Ned's house. "That's weird," Pamley thought. "Why's his door open? It looks like..." He looked harder. Yes, the door was not only open but right off its hinges! It hung from the top remaining flange, very unsteadily. "That man's out of his mind," Pamley said, setting down the coffee pot and going out the front door. "He must've been drinkin' or something and..." He stopped when he saw the huge red spot in the kennel, and the fence half torn out of the ground. "Oh Lord, he killed his dog! He's gone crazy! NED!" The middle-aged teacher raced across Charleton's lawn and into the house, where he froze from shock.
Right in the middle of the doorway was another huge spot of fresh blood. Several dismembered body parts lay scattered around the living room, and giant bloody pawprints made their way out of the broken side window. Any other person would've likely vomited on the spot, but having been a medic in the army, Pamley had seen this kind of thing before. Instead, he calmly walked back outside and into his house to phone the police.
Officer Wedge, a rather short man with light brown hair and a moustache, stepped out of his corvette and into Ned Charleton's front yard. George Pamley was standing right by the driveway, and he extended his hand as the police officer began looking around. "Are you George Pamley?" Wedge asked. Pamley nodded. The officer walked up to the porch and looked in the doorway. "Good land, what happened in here?" He swore as he saw the gory sight in the living room. "I guess this rules out anything he did to himself," he concluded, examining a torn arm. "Or anyone else. This was a friggin' animal of some kind."