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El Demon Del Durango

by Jason Ray Morton 2 months ago in Horror

A Reenvisioning

El Demon Del Durango
Photo by Jared Schwitzke on Unsplash

It was 1954 when Paulo first went to work for the DD Ranch and Dale Delaughter treated the immigrant like a son the whole time he was there. Paulo was a whisperer, one of those people that was good with animals, especially the livestock. Paulo loved the work, loved the people, but most of all he loved the animals. His life was spent outdoors for the majority of the day, sometimes fifteen or more hours a day, working with the horses, herding the cattle, checking the property, making sure the animals were all healthy.

By 1955 Paulo Sandoval was officially running the ranch and overseeing all of its operations. He earned enough to bring his family to the United States to be together and live out the American dream. Paulo even built a house, with the consent of Mr. Delaughter. He built the house on the DD Ranchlands, a third of the spread away from the main house. In his heart of hearts, with his family there, Paulo had everything he could ever want, especially with his daughter Esmerelda and his wife Isabella joining him there.

In September of 1955, Mr. Delaughter bought a prize bull at auction. Paulo was there with him when they spotted Durango. Durango was already 1500 pounds when they got him and was only two years old. He was a spirited, black, beast of a bull, with an oddly colored iris that looked red in the right lighting. On the market, he was referred to as the Durango el Diablo, or Durango the Devil.

"She's a beauty," Paulo told his boss as they got Durango home and finally calmed enough to let out with the heard.

"Yes, my friend, yes she is," Mr. Delaughter told his right-hand man.

Paulo and the ranchhands worked with Durango for months, getting the massive beast to acclimate to its' new surroundings and making sure that it was compatible with the herd. Durango, like his nickname, was temperamental and hard to control. Just three months into Durango being at his new home he bored a cow on the north side of the ranch, leaving a bloody carcass in the massive beasts wake. Paulo and the ranchhands had never seen anything like it and were afraid the bull had something wrong with it they couldn't see.

"Goddammit," yelled Mr. Delaughter. "That's the third dammed cow this month."

"Yes sir," Paulo said, keeping his opinion to himself.

"I want you to get Durango and segregate that dammed monster. I'll get one of the vets to come out and check him over."

The guys had a task and a half to perform when they went after Durango. Cowboys, one and all, were afraid of the massive beast and knew that he was getting stronger. He still had another year at least before he would be fully grown. Getting him penned in was a good start, but Paulo thought that the beast should be kept out of the herd permanently. It was the look in Durango's eyes every time the monster looked at him. That glint in his eyes, the way they turned almost red in the light, sent a chill down Paulo's spine.

The DD ranchers gathered together and headed out to hunt down Durango, finding him near the south fence line. It took seven of them in total to surround Durango and bring the beast under control. Even then, the beast nicknamed El Diablo fought being controlled with every ounce of power in his 1500 plus pound body. He jerked Michael and his horse to the ground and bucked sideways, lunging in their direction. Stuck beneath his horse, Michael felt the boring of Diablo's mighty horn as it tore through his torso, ripping out his stomach before almost mercifully crushing his skull.

Paulo wanted to run to Michael. Michael was a good cowboy. He loved riding horses and herding the animals. He worked on tractors and helped maintain the 4 vehicle fleet at the ranch. Paulo had played with Michaels' three-year-old son, Jacob. Now the boy would grow up without a father.

Dale DeLaughter watched in horror as two of the men dragged Michael's body away from the center of the pen. He walked back to the ranch, shaking his head, his hands trembling. One of his men was dead and the rest were fighting something he had never seen before. 

James rode into the pen, attempting to lasso Durango and bring him down. The rest followed, Paulo leading them into battle as they swore to take down the beast. One by one, the lasso's jerked their horses down, and Durango, the devil, ran across their bodies collecting their souls to take them to hell. The beast had a thirst for blood. He was a stone-cold killing machine that ran out of control.

Paulo, barely alive, told them to get back, to flee, as the last of his men were slaughtered by the massive bull, its' horns covered in bloody death. Paulo struggled to get out of the pen, seeing Durango stare at him, seizing his next and final target. He snorted, kicking his hooves on the dirt-covered ground, as he reared back and began to charge. Paulo thought of his daughter, Esmerelda, and his wife, Isabella. He could feel that he was never going to see either of them again. Then, shots rang out from the distance.

BANG! BANG! BANG!...BANG! BANG! BANG!

Mr. Delaughter hid in the treeline and locked his scope onto his prized bull, firing three shots, and then three more before the massive beast fell to the ground. Durango landed in the dirt, right where he stood as he prepared to bore Paulo. The bull lay there, his eyes fluttering and his breath fading. Paulo looked on, holding his hand against his insides as the feeling of warm, viscous, fluid rushed out and over his hand.

The ranch owner rushed to the pen, his rifle still trained on Durango, prepared to fire again. He reached down and offered a hand to Paulo.

"Take my hand!" he yelled.

Paulo reached up, too weak to get to his feet. The ranch owner pulled him through the gate and out of the pen. Swinging Paulo aside, Mr. Delaughter closed and locked the pen. The sounds of sirens blared in the distance, growing closer by the minute. The gentle "whup, whup, whup," of a medical chopper echoed in between blasts of the sirens.

"Hold on Paulo, just hold on buddy. Help is almost here," insisted the ranch owner.

After the helicopter took off with Paulo on board and the police and ambulance finished with the scene the few men he had were charged with carting the bodies of his dead ranchhands away. Dale DeLaughter walked back into his ranch and to his office. He sat at his desk, pouring a glass of scotch, and slamming the first drink before pouring a second. He opened up his computer and typed up a letter.

"To whom it may concern,

The events on my ranch are completely my fault. I wish for one million dollars to go to the families of each one of my men that perished on this date. I wish for the remaining portion of my estate to be the property of Paulo Sandoval, my ranch manager, and friend. Should he not survive his injuries, I wish for the remainder of my estate to be given to his wife, Isabella, and his daughter, Esmerelda."

Signed

Dale Delaughter-December 13th, 1955

Dale hit the send button on his screen, sending a copy to his lawyer. He printed a copy out and signed it, putting it on his desk for his staff to find. He downed one more glass of scotch and stood up, his rifle in hand. Walking back out to the pens, he stood next to the fence, looking side to side. Durango was gone. His body was gone. The devil was gone, and nowhere to be seen. Dale looked all around the area for a trail of blood or even fresh hoof prints.

As he stood there, confused and dismayed, he felt the hot, moist, breath of a bull behind him. At that moment, Dale silently prayed. He didn't know if there was anyone to pray to but he needed to in order to make himself feel better. It was ten years ago that all of this started, and he realized that his time was up. Deals, like anything, come with a price. Ten years ago, Dale Delaughter was little more than a vagrant, living in an efficiency apartment in Dallas, and begging for money to survive. Walking into the desolate environment of Texas in 130-degree weather, planning to die, a man approached him out of nowhere. He could have everything he dreamed of...for his soul.

Dale was no believer, no man of faith, and certainly no saint. He answered yes, the man kissed him on his forehead, and disappeared. It was the next day that his luck seemed to change. Three months later he was breaking ground on a new ranch on acreage he bought with lottery winnings. There was going to be a freshwater sanctuary for the animals to drink from, for the fish to thrive within. Now, looking across his paradise, out at the emptiness that once was something beautiful, he knew it was true.

A scream rang out, echoing across the ranch. Durango walked across the open field and disappeared into a mysterious mist rolling off the pond.

Horror

Jason Ray Morton

I have spent a life in uniform, adventuring through this muddled-up world as time passed. I've lived, loved, fallen on my face only to try again. Now, as I get older, my only regret was not writing it down. It's time to start.

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