The wind whistled among the pine trees and an odd noise in the night woke Bruce. His research group was staying at the White Buffalo Trading Post and in the morning he would present the history of the Red Mountain Devil, a Hualapai tribal legend of a creature that inhabited the Grand Canyon area in Northern Arizona.
Creeping from his bed to the window, Bruce saw there was a moon illuminating the still landscape and he heard again the clinking sound. Catching his breath, Bruce saw something lope from the inn’s propane tanks and vanish among the rocks on the other side of the road. A bobcat?
Donning a heavy sweat shirt and jeans, Bruce hurried outside to the parking lot with a flashlight. Everything was still as he crept to the road, scanning the light among the brush. Suddenly his beam caught a figure crouched in the juniper, red eyes blazing in the dark. The shape rose and vanished along a trail into the pines. Bruce crossed the road, calling out. And then the White Buffalo exploded.
Later, sitting on the ground with a blanket around his shoulders Bruce stared at the fire-scarred ruins of the trading post. His team was dead and only he and the owners who lived in front had survived the explosion. After paramedics treated him, the Sheriff asked questions, curious why he had come outside and escaped the fire. Bruce told the Sheriff he had awakened to a noise and gone to the window, seeing something run from the shadows of the inn and cross the road. The Sheriff asked Bruce what he had seen.
“Please don’t tell us it was the Red Mountain Devil.” A deputy scoffed sarcastically.
Bruce took a breath and paused.
“Probably a bobcat.” He answered.