Sera, Sam, and Asesino stood in front of and old red barn. This barn belonged to the equally aged Mr. John Wembley who had been more than happy to see them.
"That mangy ol' dog's out there every night all night howlin' an' scratchin'. Makin' all sorts a noise. I'd be glad to be rid of 'em." He had said.
He had lead them back to the barn, telling them that standing there was their best shot of seeing the hellhound.
They had been sitting behind some hay bales for the last ten minutes, remarkably silent, when there was movement in the corn.
Sera shifted, cocking her rifle. Sam hefted his halberd. Asesino lifted his hand and claws grew from his fingertips.
A black hound emerged from the stalks. It was massive; easily half the size of the barn and it's mouth was open, it's daggered maw dripping with drool. There were several spots where it's hair had fallen away which revealed the rotten green flesh underneath.
Asesino looked confused. "That doesn't look like a hellhound."
"That's because it isn't." Sam said. "What is that thing?"
"That looks like a barghest." Sera whispered, trying to avoid notice by the dog who was turning it's bat-like ears.
Sam interjected. "I thought barghests were goblins."
"They are. Barghests are shapeshifters who prefer the forms of goblins or large dogs. They're a death omen."
"So Wembley's going to die?"
"Not exactly Asesino. He hasn't seen it yet, remember? You only die if you can clearly see the barghest at you're door and he's only heard scratches!"
"Well then what's it doing here?"
"I'm not sure. Barghests are known to show up when prestigious people pass, but I haven't heard of anyone important dying recently. Have you?"
Both Sam and Asesino shook their heads.
Sam glared at the monstrous dog. "So, again, what's it doing here in the middle of nowhere!" His fist slammed against the ground.
Time slowed down. The barghest's ears swiveled violently. It's head snapped towards the hay. It growled, a low nasty growl, the kind of growl that makes you wish you hadn't woken up that morning.
"Shoot!" Asesino rolled out from behind the hay bales, claws set aflame as the hound lunged at the hay bales. He dug them deep into it's skin and it howled. Asesino dug them in deeper. The flesh bubbled and steamed. The hound sliced it's arm across it, scattering hay and just barely missing Asesino, who had ducked before pulling his hand out of the wound.
Sam stabbed upward. His halberd tore through the barghest's mouth. The dog shook it's fowl head, screeching as it stumbled. It swiped at Sam, claws clipping his shoulder.
He fell to the ground, clutching at his arm and twisting with pain. "Sera, you get that sick son of Annis!"
The bullet landed with a sickening thuack! Dark blood gushed out of the barghest, the bullet having pierced it's skull.
Sam scrambled out of the way as the barghest hit the ground. He looked up at the barn roof where Sera was kneeling with her rifle.
"I found a ladder around back. Now how am I going to get this back to the lab?"
Sam smiled and rolled into his back. Sera might be a researcher, but that didn't make her any less of a hunter.
"Help me up and I'll help you drag it back."
Asesino clapped Sam's shoulder as he stood up, gripping the muscle as the cuts fizzed beneath his hand.
Sam howled as his blood boiled. Sam slapped Asesino across the chest as he removed his hand.
"What was that for!"
Asesino scowled. "We didn't bring a sewing kit you rokurokubi!"
Sera stepped between them. "Let's just focus on getting this back. Sam's shoulder will heal with time and I'm sure it'll come with a cool new scar, but we really need to get this off of the farm. If you need any burn or scar cream I have some." She looked back at the dog. "I think the barghest was just here to make some trouble, they're generally calm if undesturbed, but this one looked like a goblin dog. It's not good to fuse forms. If you do it too often it'll turn you insane."
They brought the dog around the side of the house before they went to tell Mr. Wembley of their success. He paid them generously and they were each sent home with a bushel of corn. They loaded everything into the back of Sam's truck and drove, homebound.

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