The Beast of the Hills: Teaser

On a foggy morning on a hillside scattered with rocks and bushes, threaded through with lanes worn into the earth by wild animals, whose destinations and desires are of no consequence to the civilized folk who inhabit the nearby town, a thick wet fog settled down, hiding the meanderings of an unusual creature.  A very unusual creature indeed.  It was my intention to discover this creature, learn its ways and, if possible, befriend it.
Few recorded sightings exist of this reclusive beast, its knowledge of the hills and the forest which lies behind it allowing it to evade capture or any form of study.  Rumors abound of its predatory and primal nature, but little evidence exists to support these theories.
From what little scientific study I have been able to perform in my short time tracking it I have learned little, but I have disproved many of the untruths banded about by the superstitious townsfolk.  For example, it does not bound about on all fours, but appears to walk on two legs, supported by feet much like our own.  Its footprints are to be found all across the hills as they seem to be a favored stomping ground for it.  It does not eat raw human flesh, as there is no evidence of humans going missing in the area, and also it is clear from its leavings that its diet is quiet fibrous and I believe that it may be a herbivore.
I was accompanied, as I so often am, by my traveling companion, one Master Eamonn Eammes, whom performed for me the task of documentation of my works and investigations, translator of the non-European languages, both written and spoken, the Slavic tongues, in which I am woefully under educated.  He is also me confidant, engineer and bodyguard.  In turn I supply him with education in all fields of the natural sciences, introduction to social themes of locals as he was raised a recluse and is not accustomed to civilized society, and I also permit him to be associated with the name of Lewis van Strooth, for which I am proud to say I have built into that of a well-known and respected scientist, philosopher and free-thinker.
Our first order of business for the day was to install a number of devices to attract our prey.  We had used a similar device on previous sojourns to trap animals of intrigue, but we had to make some alterations to the original design as we did not wish it to be used for capture on this occasion, merely to entice the animal so that we might induce into it a routine of traveling to each box.  Our idea was that when the animal felt secure in its daily visits to the various sites that we placed the traps, or lures as the revised devices should be truly known, that we would then be able to document with ease and also familiarize the best with our scents.  Not knowing the animals dietary needs we decided to place cooked and uncooked meats, cooked and uncooked vegetables, nuts, grains and a bowl of water.
We set up the first of our lures behind a bush which grew out of a rock protruding from the crest of the hill which was viewable from the town.  During this task Eammes expressed his dissatisfaction with the bait.
“The beast will not be attracted to these cooked meats and vegetables, Lewis.  I have observed this region, as you have for the last fortnight and neither of us have seen evidence of fire, be it in ashen leavings or in smoke on the skyline.” he said.
“Remember what I have thought you Eamonn, do not preclude experimentation with assumptions, and if indeed the animal may be curious and view these treats as delicacies.” I said.  It is my view that Eammes’ grumblings were caused by the early rise which I insisted upon this morning.
We continued to place several lures around throughout the hills, but we didn’t venture into the forest because it is inhabited by wolves and bears, and we were unarmed, as Eammes carried most of the traps and equipment and couldn’t carry his gun or sword.  I myself am a man of peace and would never harm a wild creature.  I leave such un-pleasantries to the my more practical associate.
We spent the next days attempting to track the beasts movements, but without much luck.  It would seem that our intrusion into its territory had not gone unnoticed and we would have to wait until the odour of our ramblings had settled down in the hills, and the familiarization process continued.
We were also familiarizing ourselves with the townsfolk, who at first had been warm and giving to us.  This hospitality was based on the assumption that we were there to destroy the beast which they concluded from sightings of Eammes’ pistols, scabbard and assorted blades.  Just as soon as we made it known that our interest was purely academic the food portions we received at the inn in which we resided returned to a more recognizable level, we had previously enjoyed hearty meals and the mead flowed less freely in the pub, there was fewer hands offering us a smoke.  It couldn’t truly be described as coldness, but in comparison with the warm reception, it was definitely a few centigrade chillier.
There was one individual whose attitude differed to that of the towns’.  The towns medicine woman, Miss Abigail Outhwaite, a chemist really, was an intelligent, well read and progressive lady.  Miss Outhwaite, admired our respect for knowledge and discovery and became a regular companion on our evenings in the tavern.


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