fantasy, fiction

Weird and Wonderful


So my friend John Bouler is to blame for this bit of flash fiction. He commented about a vet who specialized in large animals, and cryptids. This thing sprang into my head and demanded to be written. Since I am supposed to be cooking up a storm for Thanksgiving, I am leaving this here as a thank you for all my readers. I’m immensely grateful to all of you, those who comment and encourage me, those who buy my art and books, and those who have become friends in real life as well as this weird and wonderful cyber world we live in. 

Happy Thanksgiving! may you get where you are going today, unlike this poor guy… 

All Things Weird and Wonderful

“Do I look human?” 

From this range, the smell, and the growl, were enough to loosen my bowels and clench my stomach. I gritted my teeth and bared them at him in something that wasn’t even close to a smile. 

“No, you do not.” I couldn’t help it. I growled back at him. Bedside manner is not something my patients usually demand. Just move slow and easy, and be ready to jump if they get bitey. 

“Then sew.” He pulled the blood-soaked and filthy towel away from his arm and shoved the whole furry mess at me. 

“Dammit, Jim, I’m a vet, not a doctor.” I reached for the kit, anyway. You don’t argue with an angry Bigfoot. I don’t know what would happen, precisely, but I wasn’t in any hurry to find out. “You’re going to get infected.” I grumbled as I pulled the clippers out first. “And then what? I don’t even know which antibiotics you can tolerate. My clientele are mostly hooved, not…” I stopped talking because he was eyeing the clippers with deep suspicion. “I have to cut some of the, ah, hair away from the wound path, or I can’t stitch it.” 

He curled his massive lips away from his teeth, revealing gleaming yellow fangs and a heavy overbite. “How much?”

“I’m not going to shave you bald.” I snapped at him, starting the clippers. Thank goodness Molly had given me the battery-powered ones for Christmas. “Just enough for a clean closure.” 

He looked away, and might have closed his eyes. I didn’t see, I was bending my head to pay attention to what I was doing. The wound was suspiciously clean and straight, cutting into, but not through, the brachioradialis. “You have some damage to your flexor. You need to not use this hand for a while, until it heals. You tear that, you’ll lose the use of a finger or two.” 

“How long?” He grunted softly as I started to stitch, having cleaned the mess as best I could. 

“Damned if I know?” I pulled the wound edges together. I’d sprinkled in quickclot with antibiotic, but still… “Depends if this gets infected. Maybe a week, maybe two.” 

“Not possible.” He growled softly, but I wasn’t sure if that was frustration or pain. 

“Make it possible unless you want this to cripple you.” I snapped. “How… No. I don’t want to know.” 

He turned his head for the first time since I started working on his arm and looked at me, his deepset eyes glinting in the dome light. “You don’t want to know.” 

Molly was going to kill me when I got home, I thought gloomily. I was already incredibly late, the truck was trashed with hair, blood, and shreds of something that might have been a towel. She was never going to believe I’d been carjacked by Bigfoot and forced to sew up what looked like a knife… no. Given his scale? A sword cut. I was a dead man walking. I pulled the last knot tight and snipped the filament. 

“This is self-dissolving.” I told him. “You don’t need to see me to have them removed.” 

“Uh.” He looked at his arm. “Do you have a sling in there?” 

“I’m not a doctor! I treat things with four legs, no arms!” I shouted at him. “What the hell do you expect!” 

He looked at me, his face showing no emotion under the heavy coat of hair. His lip curled a little after a moment. 

I let out a long breath, slowly, tamping the anger and fear back down. “I have something behind the seat. I’m going to get out now, ok?” 

“Ok.” He got out at the same time I did, and came around to where I was rummaging behind the seat for my survival kit. I pulled out the little box with the mil-surp sling bandage and looked up at him dubiously. 

“This is not going to fit…” I pulled out a roll of bandages and with some fast knots, had something that would work. For a while. “Have you got… No. I don’t want to know.” 

He stopped so I could put the sling over his good shoulder. I felt the chuckle, as much as heard it. I was getting used to the smell, and the heat of his body so close to mine didn’t surprise me. Animals tend to run warmer than humans. “I have someone to look after me, yes.” He stood back up to his full height and regarded me, silently, for a long moment. 

I looked up at him, dimly lit in the light from the truck’s cab. “Don’t lick the wound.” I told him. I’d always wanted to say that to one of my patients. 

He turned and walked away into the woods, moving fast and quiet. I watched until I could no longer see any motion, then turned and got into the truck. I looked at the blood and groaned out loud. My wife was going to have my hide when she saw that. 


7 thoughts on “Weird and Wonderful

  1. And everyone in range will wonder why next time I stitch up some critter, I’m laughing manically….

    “…cooking up a storm…”
    Oh, so this weather is YOUR fault!


    Unrelated: saw your LTUE foraging talk…. I have ‘surprise lilies’ here in Montana, admittedly in a banana belt where it bottoms out at a balmy -26F. The bulb I accidentally dug up was baseball-sized, so they’ve been there a while. Must be a bunch of ’em down there, given the 15 or 20 flower stalks it makes every August. Aren’t some lily bulbs edible?

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