About the time the much maligned Crystal Skull came out, I started on an Indiana Jones vs. werewolves novel (as one does). Unfortunately, circumstances precluded spending so much time on a fannish work that long, so it was soon forgotten. However, I'd begun a mini-adventure to come before the main story, as is always seen in the Indiana Jones movies, and it kept growing and growing until it was no longer a mini-adventure but a novelette in itself. That I did finish, and I believe I'll post it here:

YOUNG INDIANA JONES AND

THE CURSE OF THE NIGHT WALKER

Michael D. Winkle

ONE

Utah, October 1912

"The hunters drew closer to the fire," said Scoutmaster Havelock. "'We thought you were dead,' said Dr. Cathcart. 'Running out into the wilderness without your coat or rifle, this time of year.'

"'I made do,' replied Defago with a grunt.

"Even in the firelight the hunters realized there was something wrong with the French Canadian. His face seemed more animal than human, the features drawn out into wrong proportions, the skin loose and hanging, as though he had been subjected to extraordinary pressures and tensions. But Dr. Cathcart shook off his feelings of unease and spoke in a tone of authority.

"'Defago, tell us what happened out there.'

"Then Defago smiled, a white appalling smile that made his companions shrink into themselves.

"'I seen that great Wendigo thing,' he said. 'I been with it, too--'

"He did not finish; the guide Hank pointed accusingly and shouted: 'His feet! Oh Gawd, his feet!'

"And Defago jumped up--"

Scoutmaster Havelock jumped up as well, to punctuate the climax.

And as if to punctuate the punctuation, a huge shaggy form sprang over the campfire, eyes burning and teeth gleaming in the light. The boys of Troop Ten screamed, some falling backwards, some rolling, one or two performing somersaults that deserved merit badges.

The fat scout Herman Mueller squealed like a pig in Indiana Jones' ear. An instant later a solid canine form knocked Jones flat.

Herman scooted back into the orange firelight, gasping for breath.

"Oh . . . It's just Indy, Indy," said Herman.

"I noticed," Indy muttered as if to the moonlit sky.

The wolf-Malamute's grinning face eclipsed the washed-out stars. His shaving strop of a tongue slurped over Indiana's cheek.

"Okay, Indy--Off! Hey-gah!"

The charcoal gray beast drew back and sat up stiffly, his wagging tail belying his serious pose.

Mueller gave Jones a hand up. Mr. Havelock stood on the other side of the fire, arms crossed, the patchwork of flickering shadows giving his face the appearance of a skull. An angry one.

"Master Jones," he began. "I thought you agreed to pen that animal up when joining a troop excursion."

The bronze-haired youth flashed a disarming smile--the sort of smile worn by a Barnum or a snake-oil salesman.

"We do pen him up, Mr. Havelock," said the college professor's son as he stroked the panting beast. "We collar and chain him, too, but--well, Indiana has his own ideas."

The wolf-dog perked his tipi ears at the sound of his name. He glanced at Havelock as if guessing he was the subject under discussion. He was a magnificent animal and tolerant of the boys, who rallied now around Jones and his pet.

Havelock rolled his eyes to the blue-black Utah sky.

"Well, there's nothing that can be done tonight. But keep that dog close, Jones. I don't want him spooking the horses--or the valiant lads of Troop Ten."

A few scouts looked up abashedly from the canine Indy. The human Indy grinned in relief.

"He won't cause any trouble, Mr. Havelock. Trust me."

#

Herman snored. He also took up a considerable portion of the small tent. Indiana Jones wriggled deeper into his blankets, scowling up at the fabric ceiling.

"Cripes, Dad, I asked you to do one simple thing . . ."

Crickets chirruped in the distance. Somewhere an owl gave its hoary cry. Empty as the expanses of northeastern Utah seemed in the day, at night there was life, there was activity, there was noise.

The Boy Scout sighed, rubbing dust out of the corner of his eye. The nocturnal calls seemed to metamorphose into this morning's conversation with his father, a tinny repetition like the sounds from an Edisonian wax cylinder.

Indiana had heard Dr. Henry Jones, Sr., talking to himself in his study even before he opened the door.

"'Thus Joseph of Arimathea, by his godly life and good behaviour, having obtained the good-will of one Ethelbertus, a king then reigning in the western parts of England, and many other nobles, whom he converted to the Christian faith, founded a most famous abbey at Glastonbury.'"

Indy gave a cursory tap before entering; his father didn't seem to hear. The senior Jones, widely read yet worldly, the very image of the Renaissance Man and the Muscular Christian, now holed up like a gopher and poured over every blackletter, carving and illuminated manuscript concerning the cup from the Last Supper. He had thrown himself into the Sangraal, so to speak, with an intensity far exceeding his love of archaeology, great as that was. The man hardly left the house save to pick up some new package from Marshall College.

"'In the ancient town of Glastenbury the holy Joseph of Arimathea continued till the day of his death, being forty-two years, so that he was eighty-six at his death; and so venerable was his person then held, that six kings of those parts honoured his corpse by carrying him on royal shoulders to the grave; which was made in the chancel of Glastonbury-abbey.'"

Indy cleared his throat. Dr. Jones merely tapped the English Gothic lettering of The History of that Holy Disciple Joseph of Arimathea with a pencil.

"Yes, Joseph," he said. "And afterward the Cup passed beyond the knowledge of men. But it returned in the time of Arthur. It was seen at Cardiganshire during the 1904 revival. And now rumors from Llantrisant in Cornwall. But where does it rest in the times between?"

"Dad . . ."

Henry Jones, Sr., did not so much as glance back.

"Son, can't you see I'm busy?"

Indy bit his tongue. He refused to blurt out something so trite as "You're always busy," true though that was.

"Dad, I'm going out for a couple of days with Troop Ten. I'd like you to keep an eye on Indiana. Mr. Havelok hates it when he follows us on a hike."

"The Boy Scouts again?" Dr. Jones half-turned, his frown buried well in his bristly black beard. "You're out every other night with this Troop Ten. It's affecting your studies."

"My studies?" Indy stepped over to a nearby oak table, where mundane white envelopes hid an ingrained Mercator map of the earth. He grabbed up a handful of letters.

"You haven't answered any notes from Dr. Brody or Professor Mueller for a month. Mueller had to ask Herman to ask me about you."

Dr. Jones turned back to his manuscripts.

"I thought they understood how important my work is. Unraveling the secrets of the Holy Grail will benefit all Mankind. It will bring on a Golden Age . . . If only I'd started sooner . . ."

Indy drew in his lip. Sooner? His father had always specialized in Grail studies.

The youth gathered the letters in neat piles. He found books beneath the correspondences, Mallory, Chetien de Troyes, Parzival, spread open to appropriate passages.

Indy drew up short. Incomprehensible scribblings filled the margins of the venerable tomes.

"Dad--you wrote in your old books? You never even let me touch them. 'Grime and dirt and body oils,' you said."

"They're annotations," said the older Jones. "They won't hurt anything. Besides--as I said--this is important."

Dr. Jones reached toward a corner of his desk, where a photograph of Anna Mary Jones stood in a gold and silver frame. Indy ran his eyes over several underscored lines from the medieval German romance, Parzival:

"Never is a man so ill but that, if he sees the Grail on any day, he is immune from death during the week that follows . . . Whether it be maid or man, even if he beholds the cup, two hundred years he keeps the appearance of his prime . . ."

Maid or man. The Boy Scout looked up again. Dr. Jones held his wife's portrait in one callused hand and seemed to be addressing it:

"Important. Perhaps the most important undertaking in human history."

"Oh, my God," said Indy. He tossed the letters back on the table. "Dad--Mom's gone. You always say to be accurate, detailed and factual. Well, we have to live with that fact. Mom's gone, and not even the Holy-flippin'-Grail is going to bring her back!"

Dr. Jones sat rock-still for a moment. He placed Anna's portrait carefully back on his desk top. Then he lowered his forehead to his hand.

"Son--just go. Go on your little campout and leave me to my work."

"Dad--I--"

"I'll watch the damned dog. Just . . . leave."

Indy left.

#

Indy found himself scowling at the tent roof again.

"On second thought, that could have gone better."

Herman gave an almighty "Hork!" and resettled himself. For a moment silence reigned, as if Nature herself had been stunned, then the crickets tentatively sang again.

"Well," whispered Indy. "I need to get some shut-eye."

Wide paws slapped the foot of his bedroll like boxing gloves. The huge wolf-dog, on his side, whined and chased dream-rabbits.

Indiana Jones groaned and cupped his hands behind his head.

#

A bark, as loud as a rifle's crack, woke him. The canine Indiana stood just outside the tent, his fur up like a wild boar's crest, his legs stiff, actually vibrating from the strain of muscle against muscle.

"Indy!" hissed Jones. "What is it?"

A thrashing and snorting indicated that Herman fought his way out of his roll.

"Indy! Better not let Mr. Havelock hear that."

The dog did not bark again, however. He growled, steady and business-like, watching the stunted forest at the base of the hill.

Jones slipped out of his bedroll and found his uniform trousers.

"Something's up," he said. "Maybe you'd better wake Mr. Havelock."

Herman scrunched back into his blankets like a half-cocooned caterpillar.

"It's probably just a ground squirrel, Indy," suggested the chubby scout.

"That's not his squirrel growl," muttered Jones, slipping on his beige shirt.

With a multiple scraping of claws on dry earth, the wolf-dog changed from statue to rocket, shooting down the slope to the tree line.

"Indiana!" yelled Jones. He yanked on one boot, then the other.

"Indy, let's get the others before we do anything rash," began Herman.

The college professor's son snatched up his belt, complete with Bowie knife in sheath.

"You do that," he called, ducking into the night.


TWO

Indiana Jones sprinted, hopped rocks and logs, and dodged the occasional fissure. At least the moon burned brilliantly tonight, and sharp shadows marked the slightest irregularity in the terrain.

Filled with activity as his life was, Indy's mind churned with observations all the time. For the moon to be so bright overhead, for instance, the sun had to hang over the very opposite side of the globe. He was as far from dawn as one could get at this time of year.

The forest he approached indicated a fairly rich aquifer; the creek they crossed earlier in the day bore that hypothesis out. Odd there weren't homesteaders in the area.

Jones slowed as he entered the trees, ducking branches of twisted oak and cottonwood. He picked his way among rocks and roots, blinking in an attempt to adjust to the darkness.

Another observation: If there were real danger, it would be more prudent to get help than to charge into the night after it.

In the distance Indiana barked as if to hold something at bay. Jones trotted off again, head low. He popped into the open so quickly he stumbled over his own feet. He flapped his arms and straightened.

The moonlight outlined several wooden buildings scattered around the clearing. A set of narrow-gauge rails and a toppled ore car marked the area as--

"A mining operation," mumbled Jones.

He crossed the hard earth quietly. "Indy!" He meant to yell, but somehow his voice came out a whisper. "Indiana!"

A series of barks drew his attention to a hillock on the opposite side of the mining camp. The sounds came from a shaft entrance framed by a wooden doorway, almost like the face of a barn built against the rocky slope.

"Indy!" hissed the youth.

A throaty growl echoed from the mine entrance. Jones marched up and peered in. The moonlight did not penetrate very far.

"Blast! Wish I'd brought a lantern!" said the Boy Scout.

He called the dog's name again, then he patted his pockets. From his hip pocket he pulled his waterproof strike-a-light vial. He opened it and touched the matches inside: maybe dozen left.

He scratched one on the rock wall of the tunnel. The small bright flame revealed steel rails, the wooden cross-beams of the roof, and the rock-strewn floor. The youth studied the last, head shaking slowly. He'd trip and maybe break his fool neck once the matches gave out.

He glanced over the walls. Perhaps the miners used the natural materials of the forest to augment their oil lamps. He spied pine-knot torches in crude sconces and grinned. He took one down--burnt to a nub. A second still felt sticky from old tar. He used a new match to light it.

All the while a soft steady growl filled the tunnel, like a distant aeroplane's drone. Jones crept carefully over rails and stones. The rocks had fallen from the ceiling, and the youth wondered if he just imagined the groans and creaks from the hill above. He shook his head again. Indiana was a smart and courageous dog, but sometimes he showed poor judgment.

"Indy!" he called.

He found the dog at the end of the passage. The torchlight barely cut the dark beast away from the surrounding blackness. The dog stared down a vertical shaft, fangs bared, fur bristling and shifting like the tendrils of sea anemones.

"Indy, boy, what is it?"

Jones knelt by his dog, touching the animal's back gently. The dog half-turned as if to snap; he'd been concentrating on the shaft so thoroughly he had apparently not noticed the youth's approach.

Indiana Jones studied the shaft, which was about ten feet square. Cables hung at its center, depending from an unseen point above. A lift presumably lay in the depths, unused for years. He held out the torch and peered into the void. The sides of the shaft receded to the vanishing point. He could not see the bottom, not with this flickering brand, which gave more smoke than light at this point.

Wait--was that a noise? A grunt, a movement?

"Bats," Indy told himself. "Or maybe a bobcat."

He set his arm across the dog's peaked shoulders. The animal's back might have been the casing over a humming dynamo.

"Come on, Indiana. I know there's something down there you don't like, but there's no need to stir up a hornet's nest."

He pulled as if at a stump. After much tugging and scolding, the boy shifted the wolf-dog a foot, then two feet. Eventually he guided the animal away from the shaft, and, when they were nearly to the mouth of the mine, Indiana followed willingly.

"Wild goose chase," said the Boy Scout. "Mr. Havelock will probably ban me for the next two months."

The dog glanced back every few steps and snorted as if in contempt. There had to be a catamount in the mine; nothing less would provoke this much reaction from him.

A door slammed in the camp ahead. Both human and canine Indy stopped, eyes on the dark buildings.

One building was not dark, not entirely. A lantern's glow, softened and dirtied by dusty windows, moved slowly through what must have been the camp's main office. Indiana checked his torch. The last fingers of flame shriveled out even as he watched. He lowered the brand and let it drop to the earth.

"That's no cougar," he remarked. "Let's have a look."

The Boy Scout edged over to the rear of the wooden office, which lay in shadow. As he drew near, he made out windows--shuttered--and a back door.

A thumb latch operated the latter. Indy pressed it. Rust fought him for a second, then the door opened a crack.

By the shifting cross-section of light, he decided the intruder had passed the back entrance and stood somewhere to the left. Jones touched a finger to his lips, a sign the dog knew well. He counted to three and shouldered the door open.

He braked himself in almost the same instant he charged. He crashed into the pudgy scout Herman anyway, pushing the heavier boy back against a clothes press.

The kerosene lamp in Herman's grip rattled on its wire handle. The boys' faces flashed in and out of the light.

"Indy! It's me!"

"I knew that," said Jones. "I was just trying to--stop you before you attracted attention."

Jones' dog entered and sat, tongue lolling, his warning stance forgotten.

"Attract whose attention?" asked Herman. Despite the cold night air, sweat glazed his forehead.

"Indy smelled a cougar or something," said Jones. He drew back, and the heavyset youth wiped his brow. "What are you doing here?"

"Mr. Havelock wouldn't rouse the camp. He said Indy probably just ran out after a jackrabbit. I had to come alone."

"Oh."

Jones felt an uncomfortable flash of gratitude. He had never treated Herman Mueller as a proper friend; he was rather like an annoying cousin you had to make nice with. Yet he struck out after Indy (boy and dog) while everyone else in camp rolled over and went back to sleep.

He felt he should say something, but now the fat--stout--youth turned slowly, letting his light play over the office.

"What is this place, Indy?"

Jones exhaled. He scanned the walls, noting survey maps and train timetables.

"Some sort of mining operation," he answered absently. "Wait--there're some candles."

He crossed the room and pulled out his match vial. He used another Lucifer to light a trio of wax tapers in pewter stands.

"Uh-oh. Three on a match," said Herman.

"Oh, spare me," said Jones.

He carried a candle to the front room of the office.

"I'm almost certain mining was already prohibited in this area when they built this place," he muttered. "It's part of the Uintah Reservation."

Herman ran into a cobweb that could have held a trout. He clawed it off, spitting strands out of his mouth.

"Indy, whoever was here is long gone."

Jones found an impressive mahogany desk. He opened one drawer, then another. He pulled out manifests and letters.

"Hmmm . . . So that's what they were after," he muttered.

Herman set his lamp on a dusty table. "What? Gold? Silver? Diamonds?"

A note of greed entered Mueller's voice. Indy eyed his fellow Scout coldly.

"Gilsonite."

Herman's excitement deflated. "What the heck's gibsonite?"

Jones pulled out a ledger and flipped through the large green pages.

"Gil-sonite. A mineral used in making paint and varnish. Does it matter? White men found something they wanted on Indian land, so they moved in."

"They moved, in, but then they moved out," commented Herman. "Look--they left their safe wide open . . . They left their coats and hats . . ."

Indy opened another drawer, scanning the office at the same time. His canine namesake clicked across the plank floor, sniffing in corners.

"That is odd," Jones admitted. He touched something bound in cracked leather. He pulled out a brown quarto.

"Say--this is some sort of journal," he remarked.

He opened the volume on the wide desk top. He slid his candle closer.

"August 10," Indy read aloud. "Another man left last night, forgetting his extra clothes. The others haven't even returned for their pay. This can't be just a case of lazy fellows deciding they don't like the work.

"August 12. Jackson said he heard noises in the lower level again. I told him to keep it to himself. Damnation if I didn't hear them too, though, this evening. Wonder if gilsonite is worth all this.

"August 15. That old Indian came back today. Greer was ready to knock him senseless, but I stopped him. The Indian acted grateful for that and for the flask of whiskey I give him in the office.

"He said he'd come again to warn us, but he assured me none of the Utes or Navajos are planning violence. Seems the danger lies elsewhere.

"The Utes and Paiutes were plentiful once in the country roundabouts, but not here in the hills where we're digging. When the Navajos came to make war, they, too, learned to leave the ridge country alone. Some sort of devil lives here.

"When I asked him what it was, the old man got cagy: Like a fierce animal, he said, but not an animal. Like a man, but not a man. A mystery to the Utes, but the Navajo called it Naagloshii, Walker in Other Skins.

"I told him none of us have seen any critters or folks different from the usual run of critters and folks. He shrugged (and drank) and said we would. The ridge land wasn't poison-quick to kill you. The Walker would awaken when we disturbed it.

"The Utes had disturbed it, he said, when the Ghost Dance swept across the West. The Utes took to the Ghost Dance with more fervor than most other tribes. They held dances nearly every week, to the exclusion of all else, even the sacred Bear Dance. They pounded land that would never have known men if the Whites had not pushed them there. The noise and activity were new to the ridge country. They awakened something the Creator, Senawahv, had buried in the land at the beginning of things. They awakened the Walker.

"The Walker killed men and horses when the moon shone bright, but when the old Indian's people stopped the dances, it left.

"But not for good. Unfortunately for us, it seems this here Walker gets disturbed by anything affecting the earth: 'quakes, gully-washers, fires, twisters, or mining. Especially mining."

Indiana Jones closed the book with a frown.

"Why'd you stop, Indy?" asked Herman. "Just as it was getting good."

"It's good, all right," said Jones. "That old Ute was just spinning a tale, trying to scare the miners."

The chubby scout scanned the office. "He must tell 'em better than Mr. Havelock, 'cause they sure up and left."

Jones wrinkled one eyebrow. "That doesn't make sense. Why would a camp full of greedy whites let themselves be run off by an old Indian's spook story?"

Outside, perhaps far away, perhaps not so far, something howled. At least, something made a drawn-out noise, as much like a drowning man's gurgle and an alligator's rumble as a howl.

Jones' wolf-dog jumped a yard in the air and landed in battle-stance, fangs bared and hair spiked like porcupine quills. Herman's winesap cheeks turned snowball white.

"Because it was true?" he squeaked.


THREE

"Herman--shut the back door before Indy gets out," ordered Jones.

The boy Indy jumped ahead of the dog. The animal shot forward single-mindedly, and Jones' weight barely brought him down. He growled and snapped but did not bite.

The chubby scout slammed the door and found a wooden crossbar, which he slid it into place. Indiana Jones hugged his dog close, a hand over his muzzle. The canine Indy whuffed, damp and hard, into his palm but did not break his hold. Jones nodded toward the front of the building.

"Check the entrance. Close the shutters if you can."

Mueller obeyed. He was quick when he had to be. The dog half rose with his master as another weird howl came.

"Easy, boy! Quiet!" He called toward the outer office: "Herman! Douse the candles. Put the lamp under the big desk and turn it down low."

Herman trotted back in after a few moments and blew out the wax tapers. He snatched up the Coleman and scooted under the desk.

"What's out there, Indy?" he hissed.

The wolf-dog shook in Jones' grip. He growled. Indy knew nothing could prevent that, but he hoped the animal would do it quietly.

"I don't know," said Jones at last, "but I don't think we want to advertise our presence."

They waited on the floor as Indy took inventory: His Bowie knife, his dog, and his--well--his friend. Picks, shovels and tack hammers hung on the walls like weapons displayed in a castle. The lantern--how much kerosene did it hold?

The howl came again, definitely near this time. He worried about even the lantern's bare flicker, but it probably didn't matter. Any wild animal could pick up their scents and the smell of the lamp's smoke. It also probably heard their earlier mucking about.

If it is a wild animal.

The howl came again, an almost instant echo indicating that it originated among the buildings.

Wood rattled. It sounded like one of the shutters. The dog Indy scraped his claws over the floorboards, but the boy Indy only held tighter. Jones sensed more than heard feet padding along the back wall. The door through which he himself had entered shook. Then came a bang, as of a heavy fist.

This was too much for the wolf-dog. Indiana barked explosively, and the thing outside bellowed even louder.

"Holy cow! Indy!" yelled Herman, tumbling out from under the desk.

"Be careful of the lamp!" yelled Jones.

Herman caught up the Coleman and swung it jerkily by its wire handle. The wolf-dog shook off his master and clawed at the back door. Jones ran to the wall and took down a rusty pick. He grabbed an ax handle from a corner.

"Herman!"

The chubby scout could barely tear his gaze from the rattling door. "Huh?"

"Get paper--maps--twine--rags. Make a torch out of this."

Indy held out the ax handle. For a long moment Herman just stared.

"Come on, man! You're a Boy Scout! Be resourceful!"

The howling thing banged the door again. That made Herman jump into action.

The wolf-dog dropped to all fours again. He growled quietly. Jones listened. Grunts, scratches, and whuffs marked its movements as it reached the corner and crept along the south side.

Indiana Jones held the pick easily in his right hand, hefting and catching the head in his left. He and his dog followed the creature's progress as if the walls were made of glass.

Glass. The shutter of a south window hung askew, revealing a triangular sliver of the black night. Jones froze as something passed over the sliver. Even his dog grew silent. The thing outside froze as well, and with the moonlight cut off Jones heard rather than saw a shaggy expanse brush the window: a soft, soft hiss.

Now an orange ember appeared at the sliver of glass. It vanished for a second--due to a blink. It was an eye, Indy realized, brighter in the darkness than a raccoon's or a cat's.

Something clattered on a table, then on the floor. Indy knew without looking that Herman had dropped the ax handle. The glowing-eyed thing stepped away.

"It's going," Herman said hopefully.

The glass panels and the wooden shutters burst apart, shattered by what looked more like a bird's talon than a hand. The gurgling howl filled the room, and the dog Indy bounced and barked Chihuahua-quick.

"Herman," Indy yelled, "how you doin' with the torch?"

Mueller knotted an old handkerchief around a mass of crumpled survey maps and ledger sheets. He blubbered like a kid half his age, but he called, "Matches?"

The howling thing raked chunks of glass and splinters of wood out of the window frame. It drew back as the wolf-dog snapped at its taloned hand. The moonlight revealed something hairy, with a head thicker in the muzzle than a wolf or coyote. The creature bellowed and smashed what remained of the shutters, then it slapped at the Malamute crossbreed like a cat after a mouse.

Jones set his pick aside and found his matches again. Herman bumped into him, holding the ax handle like a flag, and Jones dropped all but one. Indy swore but lit the match and touched it to the paper.

Jones ducked down to retrieve the Coleman lantern. He turned up the flame and held the lamp out. Maybe light would frighten the thing. It at least gave him a better view of it.

The broad head, raggedly round ears, and heavy jaws gave the beast a hyena-like cast, but its torso sported broad, manlike shoulders, and its forelimbs were definitely arms, and well-muscled arms at that. Its hand or paw ended, as he had already seen, in eagle-like talons. Its pelt looked red or orange in the lamp light.

The creature hooked an arm over the sash and thrust its head into the room.

"We don't need it getting in," yelled Indy. "Come on!"

He carried the lamp and pick forward. He thrust the Coleman at the beast, wary of its reach. The creature recoiled only a second, then it slashed at the kerosene lamp. A claw scratched audibly over the glass chimney.

"Herman!" The chubby scout just stared again, his makeshift torch lowered 'til its flaming tip touched the floor. "Herman, I need you to focus!"

The monster worked both arms through the window. Indy had to step near to swing the pick. The steel point hit the creature in the neck. It screeched deafeningly and clawed at the tool/weapon. Indy let go and jumped back, barely avoiding a sweeping paw.

To Jones' astonishment, Herman leapt forward with a screech of his own and stabbed with the torch as if with a bayonet. The flaming tip entered the monster's jaws and sank far down its throat. The beast scrabbled backwards and toppled out of the window. A bubbly growl from the southwest corner of the building marked its retreat.

For how long? wondered Jones.

A gray-black shadow flashed toward the window.

"Indiana!"

The wolf-Malamute gave not a sound. He sailed into the darkness and vanished. Jones followed and swung a leg over the casement. Herman grabbed him in a bear hug and hauled him back.

"Indy! No! We need weapons--fire--protection!"

Jones shrugged off his fellow scout but stood uncertain. Outside the dog barked near and far.

"He knows how to fight, Indy," continued Herman. "He knows not to get too close. And one of you has to show some sense!"

Jones nodded. "You're right, Herman. He'll keep out of its reach, but what is it? Not a bear, or a cougar, or a wolf."

The heavyset scout shrugged. "I guess it's a 'Walker', like the old Ute said."

The beast screeched somewhere in the darkness.

"We can argue about it later," said Herman.

"Right," agreed Jones. "While we have a breather, we've got to find some way to defend ourselves."

The Coleman lantern had somehow ended upright on the floor, its flame fierce and bright. Indy caught it up.

"If only the miners left a rifle . . . shells . . ."

"That's the first thing I'd take if I was cuttin' out," said Herman.

"Well, check the desks--cabinets--wardrobes. See what they left."

The two scouts scurried around the office. Jones re-lit the candles from the lamp-flame. Herman opened a small door.

"Just brooms and buckets in here," he announced.

"We can use the broomsticks as spears," said Indy. "The straw we can burn."

Jones opened a tall, narrow cabinet. A shelf held plumb bobs, cord, chalk--

"Aha!"

He pulled out a surveyor's tripod. Nail-like spikes tipped the telescoping legs, sharp to penetrate the hard ground of northern Utah.

Herman rattled over with the bucket and broom, and a mop as well.

"Here--on that table--"

The Scouts carried their finds to the largest table in the office. Indiana sorted through the surveying and janitorial equipment. He nodded toward a door in the west end of the office.

"See what's in there. I've got my knife, but if we could find a hatchet, we could make spears out of the mop handles."

Herman slipped away as Jones examined the plumb bobs. Could they be swung like a South American bolas? No, the cords would snap. The cord could tie a blade to a mop handle, though.

He checked his Bowie knife. He'd hate to lose that shiny steel baby, but, hell, they'd probably all lose their lives first.

He set the broom aside. Its straw would serve as a torch for a few minutes at least. The tripod looked quite formidable with its legs folded together and aimed in the same direction. He measured out a yard of yellow cord and burned it apart over a candle.

He was vaguely aware that Herman had re-entered the office, but he busied himself with tying the tripod's legs together.

"Indy!" said Herman.

"Did you find a hatchet? An ax?" asked Jones.

He grabbed the mop right behind its Gorgonish head of yarn. He snapped the handle over his knee.

"No," said the chubby scout, "but--"

"Then check the desks over there," Jones continued. "Damn! The handle cracked. Cheap pine dowels."

"But, Indy . . ."

Jones snapped the handle in two, giving him a pair of short sticks that ended in wicked splinters.

"You could stab him with these, but you'd have to get damn close."

"Indy! Will ya look?"

Herman swung up a small wooden crate and slammed it down on the table. Several rust-brown objects rattled around in it. They were long, lumpy tubes, resembling sausages held too long over a fire.

"Holy--" Jones jumped away. "Herman, that's dynamite!"

"Yeah!" exclaimed the chubby scout.

Indiana crept back. The explosive sticks were swollen and twisted unwholesomely, the outer paper layers torn and stained.

"Ancient, unstable, incredibly dangerous dynamite," he continued. "The slightest shock could set it off. It's amazing you didn't blow us to bits right then."

"Oh."

Mueller's shoulders slumped. Jones slid the burning candles carefully away from the crate.

"We'd better stick to spears and fire," said Indy. "Help me carry this stuff to the desk."

The scouts gathered the twine, mop handles, and candles. The Walker howled somewhere in the camp. With its cry came a yap and a wail of pain.

"Indiana!" yelled Jones.

The college professor's son dropped his load of materials and dashed for the shattered window.

"Indy! You can't go out there unarmed!" cried Herman.

The bronze-haired youth stopped, one hand on the sill.

"You're right," he said.

"We'll make spears and torches like you said," continued his fellow scout.

Herman spread wood, paper, and cord on the desk. He heard a rattle and looked back. He could only gape as Jones snatched a pair of dynamite sticks from the crate and clambered out the window.


FOUR

All right, Master Jones, how do we do this?

Indy's thoughts sounded a lot like Mr. Havelok.

"I'm workin' on it," the Boy Scout muttered aloud.

He studied the mining camp in the moonlight. Long, low barracks in the distance, rusty mine car on rusty tracks, dry-rotted wagons--

He heard a familiar yelp and a lion-loud bellow. He ran toward a rickety telegrapher's shack, careful of rocks and loose boards. Ahead the dark, low form of the wolf-dog hop-ran up to an abandoned hay wagon, favoring his right hind leg.

The Walker lurched into view as the Malamute crawled under the wagon. As much as its back hunched, and as far forward as its head hung, Jones kept expecting the monster to drop to all fours. It kept resolutely to its bipedal stance, however.

Even now Jones tried to make what he saw fit a known animal. The only possibility was a bear, but the creature's profile was not all that ursine. Besides, it possessed a long, bushy tail that it switched around in irritation.

The beast hunkered down by the wagon. The canine Indy barked fiercely but backed away between the spoked wheels. Jones stared at the dynamite sticks in his hands. A nice hard impact would probably set them off, but the Walker squatted too near his dog. Therefore it must be moved.

"Hey, Moron!" called Jones.

The Walker's fang-filled muzzle shifted toward him. Its coal-eyes blazed and its ragged ears perked.

"Glad you know your name!" finished the youth.

And Dad says I don't think things out.

The beast sprang high from its crouch and landed running. Jones checked his first stick of dynamite. It was so swollen, the nitroglycerin-soaked innards bunched out through cracks in the side. As he'd told Herman, the amazing thing was that it hadn't gone off already.

The hairy creature charged in a deceptively lazy lope--its every stride being easily twice a man's. The youth hurled the explosive at a jutting rock several feet in front of the beast. To Jones' astonishment the Walker skidded to a halt and snatched the dynamite out of the air. It turned the brown cylinder over in its handlike paws. It sniffed the stick, snorted, and tossed it over its shoulder.

The beast stretched out its Swiss Army arrays of claws and sprang at Indiana Jones. The stick hit the earth as the monster left it. Perhaps it didn't know its own strength, or perhaps the blast actually propelled the Walker forward, but it sailed completely over the Boy Scout.

Jones stumbled back himself. Instinct made him break his fall with his hands, but he remembered the second stick of dynamite and yanked it high.

"Oof!"

He lay still, grit and dust raining into his face, staring up at his left hand and the ten-inch length of death gripped in it.

Maybe Dad has a point.

The Walker growled, claws raking hard earth as it scrambled around. Jones rolled over, shaken and half-deaf. Slow.

The beast recovered quickly, rising before Jones could get to his knees. To use the dynamite now would be suicide, but to do nothing was--well, also suicide.

I'll take him with me, at least--

BLAM. The hunched beast jerked up straight as a dark gout of hair and meat geysered from its chest. A mist of blood joined the dust and grit on Indiana's face. The Walker had been shot, he realized, from behind.

Only now did he mark the solid staccato of hooves. Mr. Havelock galloped at them on his powerful brown Mustang, like the Seventh Cavalry in a dime novel. The Scoutmaster locked another round into his 30.06 Winchester and fired as the Walker turned toward him. The beast screeched again, and blood exploded from the side of its thick shaggy neck. The creature cupped a great paw over its throat and loped away. With a click-clack of lever action, the Scoutmaster fired again.

Indiana Jones pushed himself up on his knees and sank back onto his heels, mindful of the dynamite stick. Havelock's mount whinnied and danced in obvious terror. The mustached rifleman steadied the animal and looked down at Jones.

"Figgurs," was all he said.

"Indy! Help!" came a distant plea.

Jones staggered to his feet. "Sumbitch! Herman!"

He started off in a limping trot, his ankle throbbing if not actually sprained. Havelock and his stallion tornadoed by on his right, their wind alone almost knocking him down again.

The Walker--and Herman--screeched from the open area behind the main office. The Scoutmaster galloped behind the building, and in a few moments Indy reached the corner.

He paused there, taking in the scene. The beast dragged Herman by the collar. The portly scout waved his arms feebly, his uniform jacket and shirt so bunched up he could barely move. They were headed for the abandoned mine.

Mr. Havelock drew up on his Mustang and aimed his Winchester. The Walker spun, hauling Mueller effortlessly up to its furry chest. The Scoutmaster's horse drew up short and snorted, and the man himself hesitated. The monster squeezed Herman tight, like a little girl hugging a favorite doll. It kept its glowering eyes on Havelock, and it shifted with the horse, keeping Herman between them.

Jones muttered "Feces" in three different languages.

That thing's using him as a shield, he thought in amazement. Purposefully. It's sure as hell no dumb animal.

The beast backed toward the mine entrance, hefting the bug-eyed Herman a few inches higher every time Mr. Havelock tried to take a bead--all exactly like some desperado with a hostage. Jones left the corner of the office and trotted in a wide semi-circle toward the Walker. If he could draw its attention, Havelock could get in a shot.

Ten or twelve yards beyond the wolflike creature, a dark shape flowed through pools of moonlight and vanished behind a horse trough. Well, it did not so much flow as limp on three legs. Jones smiled.

"Hey, tall, dark and shaggy!" he called. "You and Herman have been hogging the ballroom. Mind if I cut in?"

The beast glanced at him, its chops rippling along its hyena muzzle, its eyes burning with a cold orange light. It kept Herman turned toward Havelock, but Jones was no longer trying to draw its attention from the Scoutmaster. He edged nearer, spreading his arms.

"You didn't like the white men invading your territory?" the youth asked. "I can appreciate that. Been the same gramophone disk playing since Plymouth Rock. But the Boy Scouts aren't like that."

The beast stepped awkwardly backwards. Havelock waited. Herman stared bug-eyed; he could scarcely do anything else.

As the Walker neared the mine, it neared the water trough as well.

"The Scouts take their inspiration from the native peoples of this land," continued Indy. "Like Ernest Thompson Seton says, the white men who hate Indians don't know what an Indian is. Our creeds are based on their ancient ways. Our troops are based on their tribal councils, our leaders are based on Chiefs and Medicine Men. We believe in truth, and courage, and the simple life. We believe in reverence and self-control."

The Walker bunched up one doormat of an eyebrow in apparent confusion. Indy gave one last glance toward the horse trough.

"And most of all, we believe in helping our fellow scouts. Indy!"

A canine silhouette popped out from behind the trough. Lame or not, the wolf-dog sprang high and sank his fangs into the Walker's neck, tearing the bullet wound already there. The beast dropped Herman like the proverbial sack of potatoes, and like a sack Mueller lay.

Havelock fired (clack-click) fired again. The monster's hide and flesh and blood literally splashed out from both back and chest.

The Malamute hung limp, only his jaw muscles working, and those clamped steel-hard on the Walker's neck. The wolf-creature staggered in a drunken circle, clawing at his four-legged attacker. Havelock snapped another shell into his rifle.

"Wait! You'll hit Indy!" yelled Jones.

He ran at the wounded monster, gritting his teeth against the pain in his ankle. He had no idea what he could do to help his dog when a 30.06 wouldn't bring it down. For the love of Pete, the slugs had drilled holes all the way through the thing and it hardly noticed, holes so big you could stick a--stick a--

He glanced at the warped brown tube of dynamite in his hand.

"Indy! Show-shee!" cried the college professor's son.

"Jones! Get out of the way!" yelled the Scoutmaster.

The canine Indiana released his hold just as the shaggy Walker cuffed him away. Jones spotted a bullet hole in the rib cage beneath the great beast's arm: a fur and blood volcano that belched air as the creature exhaled. The youth gripped the explosive stick like a dagger and plunged it in. With a disgusting slurp, the dynamite vanished to the tip.

The Walker slapped Jones now, a blow to his shoulder like a sledgehammer--with claws. The boy rolled with the punch, giving a moan of acknowledgment.

Indiana Jones focused on a horizontal cross-section of the desert world perhaps a foot off the ground. He, his dog, and Herman lay flat. The Walker's wide hind paws pounded the earth as it sprinted for the mine entrance.

Jones pushed himself half up, but Havelock fired over his head and he dropped again. Another gout of flesh and fur splashed out of the monster's back.

The Scoutmaster paused for a long second. Indy imagined that Havelock understood his bullets weren't doing the job. He was waiting until . . .

The beast ducked into the black mouth of the gilsonite mine. Havelock's Winchester barked once more.

Fire, smoke, and thunder belched out of the rectangular entrance. The earth vibrated beneath Jones, then it shook, then it pitched him up trampoline-fashion. A jet of dust and rock spewed from the mine as the hill above settled like a leaky balloon.

The scouts held their breaths and scrambled away as rollers of dust washed over them. The wolf-dog limped after, sneezing once or twice.

#

Mr. Havelock patted the Mustang's shoulder. The horse had finally settled down after the disappearance of the Night Walker. Indiana Jones dabbed iodine from the Scoutmaster's first-aid kit onto his dog's torn thigh. The canine Indy did not flinch.

"Cougar," said the Scoutmaster.

Jones paused, purple-stained cotton in hand.

"A cougar? Mr. Havelock--you saw the thing. It wasn't any cougar, or bear, or wolf--"

The rangy Scoutmaster hooked the toe of his boot in a stirrup and swept up easily into the stallion's saddle.

"We don't need any strange rumors frightening the ranchers and townsfolk--not to mention Troop Ten," said Havelock. His mustache tilted up like a cannon flap as he spat into a clump of mesquite. "A cougar--now dead--is what I'll be sayin'. If you two have any sense, it'll be what you say."

With a cluck of the tongue and a tug of the reins, Havelock turned his horse. The Mustang clipped slowly back towards the Boy Scout campsite. Herman looked from Jones to Havelock and back.

"Indy? Maybe it would be better--as long as it's dead, and in there where we couldn't get to it anyway. Otherwise everyone'd call us crazy."

"Yeah. Crazy," muttered Jones. He closed the First Aid kit and rose.

"Can you make it, boy?" he asked of his namesake.

The wolf-dog barked once and stood. He walked tenderly but determinedly.

The two scouts and the dog started across the mining camp. The canine Indy sniffed at something and bristled. The human Indy stooped and caught it up.

He held in his palm a chunk of skin perhaps two inches square, still damp with blood, a comet of orange-red hair growing from one side.

Indiana Jones closed his fingers over the grisly relic and peered into the darkness.

"Someday, you shaggy sumbitch, I'm going to find out what you were."


Indiana Jones and related characters are the creations of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and are copyright © by Walt Disney Productions and Paramount Studios. "Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Night Walker" is a fannish work presented for entertainment purposes only.


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