Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
The Swamp Elephant
Kontra's Menagerie: Book Thirty-Four
On the Road: A young Cajun who’s never learned to stand up to his brother gets support and an extra push from the most unexpected of places.
Horace Broussard knows he needs to learn how to say no to his brother, Herbert. His older, larger brother always seems to drag him into trouble. Except, the two times he’d gathered the courage, Herbert had explained why it was a bad idea…with his fists and feet. The first time had left him pissing blood for days. The second time had culminated in a broken wrist. Horace doesn’t say no to his brother anymore, which is how he ends up poaching gators in the swamp…again.
When they spot a small pack of wolves running through the cypress trees, Herbert orders that they go after them, claiming a wolf pelt on his floor would be cool.
Just like many of Herbert’s bad ideas, Horace ends up in hot water. They’re caught by the owners of the wolves—a fierce biker gang. Except, then something crazy happens. A huge African elephant grabs Horace in its trunk and carries him into the swamp. When other animals arrive and turn into men, he wonders if he’s hit his head and is hallucinating. Can the paranormal be real, and if so, how can he keep this revelation from his dominating brother?
Reader Advisory: The first chapter of this tale overlaps with the last chapter in Pursuit by Camelback.
Excerpt - The Swamp Elephant
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Nearly three hours later, Horace helped Herbert wrangle their third gator to the side of the boat. He turned his attention to the right as he watched his brother prepare to shoot the gator in the head. At least that would be a kill shot, and the beast wouldn’t suffer.
“Holy shit,” Horace whispered, blinking in shock. “No freakin’ way.”
Surely he wasn’t seeing what he thought he was seeing. His focus slipped as he took in the animals loping on the bank, and his grip on the rope holding the gator loosened.
“What?” Herbert grunted. “Keep the damn line taut.”
“There are wolves in the bayou,” Horace whispered, struggling to yank his attention away from the three beasts jumping agilely from dirt to cypress roots and back to dirt again.
“There are what?” Herbert straightened and focused on where Horace was looking. “Well, fuck.” The man’s mean chuckle filled the air. “One of those heads would look great on my wall and the skin on my floor.” Herbert shifted in his seat, waving a hand and adding, “Let the line go. We’ll come back for it.”
Herbert leveled his revolver at the trio of wolves.
“Wait!” Horace cried, realizing he should have kept his mouth shut. God, when will I learn? “What are you doing?”
“Hunting wolves,” Herbert stated with a clear duh in his voice. “Stop moving!”
Horace hadn’t even realized he’d been shifting on his seat toward Herbert. What he planned to do, he had no idea. He just really didn’t want to see his brother kill a wolf. Although, why they would be in the swamp, he had no idea.
Upon hearing Herbert’s snarled order, Horace instinctively froze. A second later, he heard his brother take the shot. His ears began to ring even as he jerked his focus back to the wolves.
The trio had frozen—two black wolves and one gray one—and were staring in their direction. As Herbert took another shot, they spun in uniform and disappeared between the trees. Horace let out a silent sigh of relief.
It seems my brother missed.
Horace couldn’t say he was surprised, considering Herbert didn’t practice much. Normally, he was shooting a gator at point-blank range. That meant he wasn’t much at aiming.
“Damn it,” Herbert growled, shoving his revolver into the holster at his hip. “Hang on.”
Then Herbert fired up their boat’s engine and gunned it.
Horace grabbed wildly for the side of the boat, nearly being flung over the side as Herbert spun them around. Then he went tearing up the bayou. Planting his feet on the other side, Horace clung tightly as his brother zig-zagged through the swamp, barely missing cypress roots, branches, and other debris in his pursuit of the wolves.
Horace could see them ahead, but they were gaining.
Herbert leaned forward, pulled out his gun, and aimed again.
The bang of the firearm was making his ears ring, and Horace desperately wanted to rub his ears but refused to let go for fear of falling overboard.
“Watch out!” Horace cried, spotting the partially submerged wood up ahead.
Herbert wrenched the throttle stick, turning them sharply. The boat lurched and rocked, bouncing awkwardly off the side of the stump. Careening to the left, the boat’s bow slammed into the muddy bank, driving them halfway up it.
“Damn it,” Herbert snarled. Leaning forward, he smacked Horace upside the back of his head. “You fucker. You distracted me.”
Horace hunched his shoulders, leaning away from Herbert’s next hit. He knew it wouldn’t do any good to point out that he’d saved them from a head-on collision. His damn brother had been too busy trying to poach wolves.
“Put the gun down, asshole,” a deep voice ordered.