Night was on the Texas prairie. A gray Screech-Owl ruffled its feathers and trilled into the darkness. A large rust colored coyote heard the owl but paid it no attention. Now was the time to hunt and the coyote was hungry. It was an opportunist and would hunt or scavenge, eating any small animal it could capture. Maybe it would find a rabbit tonight but would be equally satisfied with a mouse, lizard or a dead carcass if it could find one. It resembled, at first glance a German shepherd, but was smaller and carried its bushy low tail almost dragging on the ground as it silently padded along in search of a meal. The canine was extremely wary and its keen sight, smell and hearing were finely tuned to locate prey and predator. There were no wolves in this area except for the prairie wolf, another name for coyote and cougars were few so the only real predator to be on the alert for was humans. Guns, poison, traps or vehicles were what killed most coyotes, but this was a remote area and the chance of meeting a human was slim. The yote could detect a human smell from several hundred yards away and would not hesitate for a second to flee to safety. It inventoried smells and distances to smells as it trotted along.
Downwind and invisible in the darkness, calculating red, eyes watched the coyote pass. The eyes belonged to a newcomer here, one the coyote had never encountered, one much more dangerous than a bear, cougar or even a human with a firearm. The stranger was hungry and it would not be satisfied with a rodent or carcass. What the drifter craved was the hot coppery taste of blood from a fresh kill and it would not be denied its meal. Rear haunches coiled and a split second later the beast launched itself from cover travelling at a remarkable speed for a creature the size of a black bear. Quietly and swiftly the distance between death and the canine was covered at a sprint. The coyote sensing movement from behind had time to utter half a frightened yelp as a three clawed foot daggered into the side of the coyote’s head and separated the cur’s brain from the spinal column. An unearthly shriek of triumph pierced the night, sucking sounds could be heard on the Texas grassland. The wolf of the prairie was no more.
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