We ran like the devil was chasing us. Sheriff Braxton, Harper, Coyote, and me. Fleeing the god awful hellspawn that were close behind.
Braxton had dropped his empty and now useless shotgun and had his revolver in hand, sporadically firing off a shot whenever a set of eyes got too close. Harper had Cully's pistol and I was down to the last two magazines for mine. The bleeding on Coyote's foreleg had slowed down at least, but you could tell he was tired and weakening fast. My short legs weren't helping much with our group's average speed either and the pain of my broken wrist didn't improve my lot. The only one of us not wounded was Harper, and she kept up the rear guard as the other three of us stumbled forward away from the pursuit. Occasionally Harper checked her phone for a signal, but the interference was still blocking us in.
When I had proposed to the Sheriff that we could use Coyote as a search dog, it seemed a no-brainer at the time. A lobox, Coyote in fact, had tracked me across a large swath of Kansas while I was mounted on an fleeing elephant, and he had only had his nose primed by my jacket at that point in time. Coyote knew and trusted Guillaume as a pack leader, and knew his scent as well as he knew his own, so tracking him should be a snap.
I had brought up the idea to the Braxton after he started walking towards me as Coyote and I exited the trailer. Harper looked up and saw the lobox and gave a happy smile, "Robby, how are the puppies doing?"
"They're fine, just hungry and want to play."
"Dear God Frederickson, what the hell is that?"
"Hmmm?" I replied as innocently as possible, but understood completely the Sheriff's reaction. Coyote stood about the size of a very large Great Dane, being about 38" at his shoulders and weighed around 250 pounds, with a very large ribcage and the long spindly legs balanced on massive paws of a wolf. His coat was a reddish tan color with black stripes running down his back and an enormous lion like ruff around his neck. He had a English Mastiff-like squarish face with a huge skull, a large muzzle with two saber-tooth like incisors pointing down, and two very keen with intelligence, yellow eyes tucked under his brow ridge. At the moment though he wasn't trying to look threatening. He had seen his friend and pack-mate Harper, and wanted to play. He began to move towards my wife, and as he outweighed me at almost three to one, I began to move too albeit unwillingly. "Coyote, sit!"
The lobox promptly squatted and Harper walked over to scratch his ruff, "Who's a good killing machine?" she whispered into his erect and always swiveling ears.
"This is Wile E. Coyote Sheriff. He's a very rare breed of ancient wild dog called a lobox."
"Oh yeah, the 'Lost Wonder of the Natural World'. I saw it on the poster."
"That's him, his girl Mitzi is still in the trailer. Loboxes are incredible trackers and he already considers Guillaume, his handler, to be one of the his pack. If he thinks he's in trouble, he'll sniff him out faster than any bloodhound team. What I propose we do some short sweeps before daylight to see if we can pick up a bearing of travel, and then when the sun comes up, I can let him loose and we can follow him by helicopter?" My voice trailed off in a questioning tone.
Braxton scratched his chin and thought for a bit, "A'right, let me call in and reserve a State Police bird for daybreak. We can't do much more around here without getting in the forensic boys' way. Cully! Get over here," the Sheriff and the Deputy walked over to his car. After a few minutes the pair walked back, "You might want to put on some more appropriate clothes. Those woods can get pretty bad in slippery leather shoes or high heels. Harper and I nodded in agreement and, leading Coyote, who immediately jumped onto the rental's hood, took turns changing in the back seat.
Harper immediately noticed my shoulder holster before got my windbreaker on and gave me a disapproving stare. My innocent look didn't cut me any slack so I spoke up, breaking the silence, "Hey! It's only for just in case."
She hrummphed, in her 'I'm annoyed, but not pissed' tone. Which told me she understood my reasoning, but didn't like it, and I internally breathed a sigh of relief. When we were changed we walked back over to the Sheriff who had fetched his shotgun out of his car, and the five of us, including Coyote moved into the tree line.