To Catch a Creature: Epilogue
The trio dragged the unconscious creature from the wood while the mysterious man who helped followed, his eyes never leaving the beast. As they approached the entrance to the forest, Mike checked his phone for any sign of life. To his shock, there were a couple of bars of battery, as if the dead allowed him some juice to let the world know the menace was caught.
They dragged the body of the creature back toward the El Dorado. Reina complained that her arms were killing her and that they needed to invest in some sort of cart for transporting the monsters they captured. Mike laughed, glad to hear her complaining again. It told him she was feeling better and that maybe she’d forgive him soon. He glanced over to the stranger and noticed tears in his eyes.
“Are you okay?” Mike asked him. The man looked up at him, as if waking for the first time in years.
“Yes,” he whispered.
Mike paused and then asked slowly, “How long were you in there?”
The man shrugged, “Not sure. I only know it took her. My wife. And I hid like a coward as it dragged her away. I tried to take it on, for her, but I couldn’t do it alone. So I continued to hide. Thank you again.”
Mike nodded and returned to carrying the beast with his companions. As they approached the car, Mike noticed a throng of villagers crowding the road. He knew they’d want to know what happened to the team who vowed to catch the beast that haunted their woods, and Mike figured most assumed they’d be killed like the rest. But here they were. They captured it and once in the locals’ hands, it was up to them to decide what to do with it. Mike’s team wouldn’t kill it. It wasn’t their place.
The mayor of the village hugged all three of them, thanking them for risking their lives to capture the creature. Many villagers handed them gifts of baked goods, money, gold, and even pets. They refused the animals but took the rest for the journey home. Mike warned them the creature wouldn’t be asleep much longer, so they’d need to decide their next step. The mayor nodded and told him not to worry. He then turned to the stranger and asked his name.
“Henry,” the man said quietly. The mayor asked if he was part of Mike’s team since he didn’t remember him from earlier, to which Henry simply shook his head no. Before the mayor could speak again, Henry walked away from the crowd and up the road back toward the village. He didn’t say a word or look back.
The crowd patted Mike’s team on their backs and sang their praises as the group headed back to the El Dorado. Mike looked up at the overcast sky and swore he saw the sun trying to break through the gloom. He looked in the direction that Henry had started his walk.
He was gone.