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Since I was six, I lived in this village. The farmhouse and the fields were inherited by my father. The house is big, and recent renovations added even more space to it. It is oddly built in the shape of a ring, with the part in the middle being a courtyard where the animals were kept, but with the renovations, a stable was built a few meters away from the house, on a field where corn was previously grown.
The house is just at the bottom of the village, with a road passing below it, to give access to the fields, where my farmer neighbors (mostly elderly people as the young ones have moved to the city), traverse at dawn to work until sunset on their plantations. It is a nice place to live. Far from the pollution and noise from the city. On the house, there is a balcony facing the inner courtyard, from where you can access a bathroom, the big living room, a recently built kitchen, and in the end of it, a small office/guest bedroom where I used to stay up late to study for college exams.
What I am about to tell you, started in one of those nights.
I was having a hard time studying. Mostly because I was tempted by that game ready to launch on my desktop, but I tried to focus. I tried to put on some music to help me concentrate, but suddenly, I heard something. Assuming it to be the dogs eager to scare our numerous cats, I dismissed it. When the next track on the music playlist was a bit more calm, I was able to hear the sound again, and I stopped the music. It seemed like a baby crying outside. I turned the balcony's lights on and proceeded to inspect the courtyard. The sound appeared to come on from the direction of the old kitchen, which was opposite from the small office. Having the idea of a baby having been abandoned at our doorstep made me worried. I went through the balcony, descended to the courtyard, only to climb again to the old kitchen. The old kitchen used to be our house's main entrance, but since I went to college, my parents and sister started having their meals in the new one, that was mostly used when we had family parties on Christmas, Easter, and other special occasions. I opened the door and saw the glowing red clock from the oven marking 12:00. It always marked that time whenever the power went out, and when it came back, no one remembered to set the right time. There is this "small fear" I have with glowing things in the dark. Maybe it is a product of the (few) horror movies I have seen, but my heart starts speeding up each time I see something like that in the middle of the dark. But that fear quickly went away when the lights turned on.
"That is a relief," I thought.
I crossed the kitchen heading into the door that led outside. I opened the door and looked up to the moon. It was partially covered by clouds. In the corner of my eye, something moved. I looked down, and one of my dogs approached me, like he was greeting me. I put my hand over his head.
"Do you know what made that noise, boy?" I asked him, not expecting any answer. The noise was heard again. This time, it was in the opposite direction, in the fields below the house.
"What the hell?"
I went back inside, and went to the new kitchen. I took a flashlight and opened a window that faced the fields. I turned on the flashlight and scanned what was within the range of the light. The noise sounded one more time, louder.
"It is not a baby. It seems to be the... hens!?"
I pointed the flashlight to the neighbor's poultry ahead of me and did not catch any movement. I looked to my left, in the direction of the new stables, and two glowing yellow dots could be seen on the ground. For a millisecond, I was scared, but it was just my dog. The flashlight made a reflection on his eyes, causing them to reflect the light. I closed the window and considered heading into the stables, but I was too afraid of going there alone with the darkness, even with my dog. I returned to the office and went back to studying, convincing myself that it was just the hens disputing a place to nest.
The following day, we had a breakfast together. My mother told me that our poultry had been breached by some animal, that took ten chickens, presumably killing them, as the only thing that was left of them were feathers and some blood. I immediately told her what happened the night before and we theorized that it was a fox that excavated a small tunnel, entered the poultry and served itself of our chickens like it was a buffet. I was relieved that a simple explanation was found. At least, until what happened in the second night.
There I was again, awake at late night. The whole village was asleep. I was particularly vigilant for any sounds that would confirm the fox's return. This time, I was not afraid. If I heard the noise again, I would not fear to investigate. And around 1:30, I heard something. I called my dog and grabbed a metal pipe to beat the living hell out of the fox and walked through the field in the direction of the stables. The sounds were different this time. I slowly looked at the place where the fox entered the day before and my dog started whining, refusing to follow me into the interior of the stables. I opened the door and looked at the indoors poultry that communicated to the outside part through a small door that the chickens (and eventually the fox) used to get inside/outside. The flashlight was my only source of light, thereby it was complete darkness.
"Why the hell didn't I wake up dad so he could come with me here?" I thought.
I was so excited in catching the fox, that I forgot about my fears, and now, the excitement was starting to fade away. The horse started making noises like it was scared. I went down the corridor that was practical to use as you could easily feed the animals by going to the barn at the end of it and bringing the food to the animal's cells. I heard a bang that scared the hell out of me, coming from the sheep's cells. They had a door to the exterior that was opened from from time to time to clean the cells. I slowly walked in front of the sheep cell, and pointed the flashlight inside. The sheep were not there, but what made my face go completely pale, were the spatters of blood on the open door. I was so scared that I dropped my flashlight. I picked it up and I noticed movement outside.
"Please be the dog. Please be the dog," I said to myself, too afraid of calling it out.
I put myself against a corner and reached for my pockets. My cellphone was there.
"Thank God." I called home and after a while, my father answered.
"What is happening? Why are you calling to our phone?"
"Listen, please come to the stables," I whispered, "There is something out there. The sheep are dead."
"Hold on, I am coming."
After a minute, I heard footsteps.
"Hey, it's me. Open the door."
I opened, and my father entered, accompanied by the dog. He went to the sheep cell and looked shocked.
"What the hell happened here? This was no fox for sure. Come with me, we are going back home. We will be in better shape of knowing what happened tomorrow morning."
We went back through the field, with me scared of every suspicious noise, but nothing happened on the way back home.
The next day, my father called the police and they sent one policeman to investigate. Some curious neighbors took a look on what happened, even asking me some questions. But I had no answers to give them. I was so not in the mood for studying after what happened, but with the exams the following week, I had no choice.
I decided to study in my room, sitting on the bed. I felt much safer there than in the small office, so it was worth it. I suddenly heard the horse making loud noises, followed by a dead silence. I could hear my father in the corridor, picking up the phone and dialing the police. In a few moments, the inspector was back there, and both he and my father went to the stables. After a while, they came back with a face of someone who has seen death.
"This time it left the body," said my father. "What the hell did that? We are out of livestock! Those animals were a good source of profit."
"I just don't have the slightest clue. I think that it may be those crazed satanic cult guys that sacrifice animals."
"Have you not seen the bruises? It was something strong."
"I am sorry, but all I can do now, is to call the forensics to analyse the scene. Goodnight."
The inspector left and my father said:
"We need to buy a gun. Whatever it is, I will pump some shells into it."
The next day, the forensic lab arrived and began to analyze the scene. I sneaked at the place and saw the body of the horse, tore apart and disemboweled. I wished I did not see that. But then, one of the forensic scientists noticed something. There was a strange animal footprints on the outside. In front of the poultry, the footprints were small, but they were bigger in front of the sheep's cell and even bigger in front of the horses' cell.
"Is it... growing?" I thought to myself.
As the livestock business was ruined, my father talked during lunch about how we were going to manage to earn back the money we had lost. I started seeking for a job to help getting money to buy new livestock, but we knew that until the killings stopped, there was no point in risking more animals.
I couldn't stand the ambiance in the house. I went into the city after dinner, saying that I got an opportunity to work as a barman in the city. I had a few drinks and sat in an alley. A bunch of nasty looking men went past me, but I left my fear at home. In the city, I felt fearless in the city, because I knew that only fear was left back at home. I eventually gained courage and drove back home. The sun started to rise. When I got there, I entered the house through the big gate that connected the outside to the inner courtyard. As I parked my bike, I noticed something that froze my blood. Big animal footprints were printed with dirt through the courtyard, up to the balcony, where the door to the big living room was opened. I grabbed my phone and called the police. They arrived in a matter of minutes while I just stood outside the house, looking at it, too afraid of going in, as the sirens got louder.