Kenneth was alone. His wife left him a widower, having died of cholera after a trip into the nearest town. Some would say it was a mercy from God, as Kenneth was abusive. Since her passing, Kenneth began feeling the eyes of something on him. It did not ease his mind that the animalistic sounds which echoed in the desert each night seemed to be emanating closer and closer to his ranch.
Every day since he was a young man, when the sun would set, Kenneth would sit down with a bottle of whiskey; a routine he inherited from his father, and his father before him and so on. The bottle would soothe his mind for a short time, before he'd have to open another. Intoxicated or not, Kenneth was sure that he could hear violent howls and that there was something out there waiting to get him. This led to more whiskey and an inebriated Kenneth peeking out every window with his rifle at the ready.
In the local area, Kenneth was known as "that drunk old bastard at the Kelly Ranch". His alcoholism caused him to become irritable and at times, utterly hostile. He would yell at passerby's to get off his land and in some instances, even shoot at the ground near the horses they rode on. In his mind, he was saving them from whatever lurked in the night by getting them as far away from there as possible. Kenneth lived about ten miles from any other ranch, and thirty miles from the nearest town. He was almost in complete isolation except for the neighboring ranch that would send some hands over to check on Kenneth every few weeks or so. Kenneth tried his hardest to act cold towards the ranch hands, but he appreciated the company and let it show sometimes by offering food and drink. Not once however did he let it slip about the sound sin the night. To him, it was a personal matter that he needed to deal with.
One night however, Kenneth felt a strong unease wash over him regardless of how much whiskey he consumed. He tried harder and harder to numb the feeling, but ended up passing out. When he came to, he heard the rhythmic thuds of his barn door swinging against the barn. He equipped himself with the first lantern he could find and his rifle. Slowly, he crept outside and sneaked his way to the barn. He took cover by the door and peered inside, his nose devastated by a pungent smell. The barn was seemingly empty, so he continued on inside, wary of what the source of the smell could be. In checking the stalls, he was met with the abhorrent sight of each and every one of his cows mutilated, seemingly feasted upon by something. Kenneth turned and ran out of the barn, seeking refuge in his house. As he ran, he saw something in his peripheral vision gaining on him. Terrified, he lunged into the house and slammed the door shut and locked it in one swift motion. Something crashed into the door and the wooden seal cracked. Chips of wood flew at Kenneth, who now sat up on the floor. Silence.
A few minutes had passed before Kenneth could hear vicious snarling from the other side of the door, before it traveled to his window. He could see the source of all his torment. Whatever it was, was canine, but much larger than any dog he's ever seen. Frothy saliva seeped between its jagged fangs and down its snout. Its fur was blacker than the night sky and its golden eyes shone under the moonlight. The horror reared back and broke through the glass panes of the window. Gradually, it crept towards Kenneth who lifted his rifle and aimed at the creature's head. In an instant, the trigger was pulled and a bullet ripped through the creature's skull before it went limp and collapsed to the floor. Kenneth stood and grabbed his bottle of whiskey that rested on the table. He took a hardy sip before going to sit in his chair. Kenneth sat and sighed. Familiar howls resonated through the air as he put his head back and took another sip of whiskey.