"I can't believe you let him get out." Two people hiked through the underbrush. The woman led the way, grumbling angrily to herself as she stalked through shrubs and past snares that her companion stumbled over and swore at. "It's not my fault!" he insisted, hopping briefly on one foot as he sought to free the other from some trailing branch on the ground. "That horse is crazy, he charged at me!" "Which is why you're supposed to get out of the corral and shut the gate behind you, not take off like a cat with it's tail on fire!" Climbing up the hill with the roots of trees for footholds, she continued, "Do you realize... what kind of hell it's gonna be... to try and rope him and bring him back?!" "Well then why didn't we bring some of the other horses to catch 'im with?" the man whined; the woman only glared back at him venomously, not even dignifying that with a response. "If he's broken his leg on one of these tree roots, so help me Marcus..." As she reached the top of the hill, she came up short, oath left unfinished. "Trish? Hey, Trish!" Marcus finally stumbled to the top of the hill and came up next to her, bending over and resting with his hands on his knees, gasping for air. "C'mon Trish, let's go back," he pleaded. "He'll come on back on his own when he gets hungry and wants his bedding, and this place spooks me, you've seen the news-" "If you're spooked now," she interrupted, "Don't look up." Marcus turned to stare at her in confusion, then followed her gaze. The colour drained from his face. "Oh, God, I'm gonna be sick," he whimpered faintly. ------ The 1989 Jeep Cherokee looked like it belonged perfectly to the small town of Meadow Bridge. Just like many of the buildings around it, it was old, the paint was chipped, and in all probability about half it's functions were shot and it was in desperate need of being mercifully put-down. Yet unlike everything (and everyone) else in Meadow Bridge, it had actually just arrived, carrying with it the one cargo that probably every single person over the age of forty (in all probability about 80-90% of the town's population) would hate most: a pair of college students from one of the not-so-nearby cities. "...So you're positive we didn't get lost?" The girl said, peering out the permanently-stained and grimy windows at the surrounding structures. "Of course I'm positive! When have I ever led you astray?" her male companion asked delightedly as he pulled up to the only motel within several miles of the place. "Don't get me started, Ian," she said, jabbing a finger in his side as he laughed and parked the car and got out to unload it. "Sooooo..." he began once everything was inside, having set his laptop on the coffee table and waiting for it to finish powering up. "We've had about a dozen lost animals, and one dead sheriff. I'm thinking we'd want to head to the freshest kill site, right Yuu?" he asked, quickly pulling up the most recent news report he'd saved. "That would put us at... investigating one farmer Duchesne, who lost one of his cows three days ago and just discovered the remains some time yesterday. His place is located about a mile down the road, we can check it out after we unpack..." The distant wailing of a siren steadily becoming louder distracted them; moving to the window, Yuujirou opened the blinds in time to see a police car blaze past the motel at high speed. The two students looked at each other. "How often do they have robberies in towns like this?" Ian asked. "Probably not often," she replied. "Think it has anything to do with...?" "Only one way to find out, right?" he grinned back, before slamming his laptop shut again and racing out the door to the jeep, Yuujirou right behind him.