Genre: Man from UNCLE - Gen
Shoot me, I was bored... My thanks to sparky955 for her beta
With a final and stomach-wrenching groan, the car rolled to a stop. With a moan worthy of the Canterbury Ghost himself, Illya slammed his hand on the seat and pounded the steering wheel with the other.
Napoleon watched him from a safe distance. It didn’t pay to get between Illya and a temper tantrum. The moon chose that moment to hide behind a cloud as if equally afraid of Illya’s ire.
He wasn’t quite sure of the translations of all the words spilling from his partner’s lips, but caught enough to know the air would be turning blue any minute.
“Those fools! They told me they fixed it. I should have done it myself.” It wasn’t often Illya let his temper fly, but he’d just about had it up to here with incompetence.
Napoleon pulled out his communicator. “Open Channel D, please.”
“Channel D is open. Napoleon, is that you?”
“Michelle, your voice is music to my ears.” He closed his eyes and imagined the woman, leaning forward, her auburn hair a mass of waves and perfume.
“You always say that.”
“Yes, well, tonight it is especially sweet. Our car has given up the ghost, which is rather apropos, considering how close to Halloween we are. Would you be able to send someone out from BARC to pick us up?”
"BARC, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. We were supposed to be meeting up with two scientists there to discuss the creation of that new bacteria-resistant wheat.” Napoleon watched Illya climb from the car and lift up the hood. At least the rain had stopped for the moment.
“Napoleon, this is really important. Are you anywhere near Fletchertown Road?”
“How did you know that?”
“Listen, Napoleon, I’m serious. Stay in the car and lock the doors.”
“Michelle, what are you talking about?”
“I don’t... there’s a legend in that area that there’s an axe-wielding creature that roams those woods. It’s half man and half goat.”
Napoleon smiled at the instrument. “Michelle, it’s okay. I’m here with Illya, all Russian and mad enough to take on the Notre Dame football team and win. Anything else is overmatched”
“I’m serious, Napoleon. For me? I’ll make the call right now.”
“All right, Michelle. Channel D out.”
Illya climbed back into the car, wiping grease from his hands with his handkerchief. “It’s no use, the fan belt is shredded.” He shut the door and cracked open the window.
"Michelle is making a call for us. It shouldn’t be long.” He debated with himself for a moment, then started to chuckle.
“What’s so funny?”
“She was absolutely terrified for us.”
“She does know who she’s talking to, doesn’t she?”
“One would expect so. When she found out where we were, she started on about a creature that terrorizes people.”
Napoleon gave him a disgusted look. “Is there anything you don’t know?”
“You flatter me and, yes, there is quite a lot actually. When I was talking with Dr. Imes, he mentioned the legend in passing and I did a little research. There are quite a few tales about him.”
“Who is, was, he? In a manner of speaking?
"One story is that the scientists at BARC were experimenting with goats and something went wrong. One of the scientists mutated, becoming half goat, half man.”
“You mean, it went baaahhhddd?” Napoleon grinned.
“Very funny, Napoleon. Needless to say, he was not amused.”
“I wouldn’t be either.”
“Another version is that a man by the name of Stephen Fletcher was doing some early experiments with DNA splicing. Then there are the others, many
involving pacts with the devil.”
“Don’t they always?”
“Apparently he entertains himself by attacking cars with an axe and terrorizing teenage couples who come out here for a bit of privacy.” Illya let his head fall to the back of the seat and closed his eyes. Napoleon knew he had just moments before his partner drifted off.
“Handy way of keeping kids out of trouble.” Napoleon looked at his watch and then out at the night. It felt as if the woods were drawing in on them, dark and looming. “I wonder how long they will be.”
“Shouldn’t be too long. We are just on this side of Beltsville.”
“That’s good because any delay would be…”
Illya raised his head and scowled. “It wasn’t funny the first time, Napoleon.”
“I didn’t do it that time, Illya.” Napoleon quickly lifted his hand and locked both his door and the passenger door behind him. Illya watched him, smiling. “Just do it, Illya.”
“All right.” Illya mirrored Napoleon’s action, then he closed his window. “You do remember we have guns.”
“Bbbaaahhh.” The sound was in front of them. “Bbbaaahhh.” Then behind.
“Fast little thing,” Illya was sitting up now, his eyes studying the dark, his weapon drawn. “All I need is one clear shot.”
The sound was all around them and Napoleon shifted his attention this way and that, trying to locate a source. Suddenly, lights blinded him and he threw his hands in front of his eyes to shield them.
A car stopped beside them and a window rolled down. “You the two guys from the UNCLE?”
“We are,” Illya said with no little relief. “Illya Kuryakin and my partner, Napoleon Solo.”
“We got a call that you’d broken down. Why don’t you hop in and we’ll head back to town. Are your suitcases in the trunk?”
“They are.” Illya pulled the key from the ignition. “What about the car?”
“It’s far enough off the road to not be a danger. We’ll get it in the morning.”
It was probably just Napoleon’s imagination, but the men in the car seemed nervous. Then again, so was he. He wasn’t sure what he’d heard, but he didn’t like feeling threatened.
The next morning dawned sunny and promised great things. Immediately after breakfast, Illya went in search of a fan belt and tools.
“And you are sure this is all it needs?” They drove back along the road in a borrowed BARC car, the forest now a cheerful and welcoming place.
“I might be wrong, but that was all I saw last night. If worse comes to worse, we can go back to town and get a tow truck. “What the hell?” He rolled to a stop beside their car, now a mess of dented metal and broken windows. He parked the car and climbed out, walking around the car, shaking his head. “But we were off the road. Who could have hit us?”
Napoleon was slower to leave the car. He looked at the metal, split in spots. “I don’t think we were hit, Illya. Look at the ground.”
The rain had never returned and the mud was started to dry, but it was still easy to make out tracks. Illya could see their footprints, but there was something else, that of a cloven hoof.
“Illya, what do you think…?”
“Napoleon…” Illya looked ready to chastise him, then a tuft of hair caught his eye. “What is this?" He held it up for his partner to examine it.
“Um, it looks like goat hair.”
Illya tried to drum up a smile and waved a hand. “What do you think? A lost cause?”
“You ready to leave?”
“Yeah, me, too.”
Just as he climbed into the car, Napoleon swore he could see something watching him from the shadows, but surely it was just a myth…
For more on The Goatman Legend, check out: http://www.science-rumors.com/10-goatman-stories-to-know-the-legend-of-this-monster/