It almost took my brother.

According to my brother I’m not the best at telling stories, so you’ll have to bare with me. I’m 21 years old, but I was 13 when this happened. I live on a ranch in Nevada with my parents and grandparents, and my brother of course.

He’s three years younger than me, and for privacy reasons I’ll name him Tim. We are Native American of the Shoshone tribe, and my family has owned this ranch for decades.

My parents and my brother and I are Christian, but my grandparents still hold to their older traditions. This shows the obvious counter information that I get from my parents vs. my grandparents about the world and such.

I remember this particular event all happened in the summer because it was so darn hot, and it was during monsoon season. My little brother and I love going on walks at night out in the desert. The stars are amazing.

If you ever get a chance to really get away from the city and all the light pollution, I highly recommend going out at night when there’s no overcast and just looking up. I promise you you’ll be transfixed to the sky. This particular night though, sadly, was cloudy. There was obviously a storm coming, but my little brother and I still wanted to go on a walk.

It could get a little boring in the house: This was before we had a TV and were hooked up to the rest of the world.

After some convincing my mother said it was fine to go out but we had to be back if it starts to rain. Of course mom, I’m not planning on getting soaked. As we were heading out my grandmother charmed in, “Make sure you don’t go too far, or else an evil spirit might take you!” Obviously trying to scare us, but she always had a hint of seriousness in her warnings.

To this my mother yelled back not to worry about it, saying something about how demons won’t bother you ’cause you have God on your side.

Encouraging for sure, but we were still kinda jumpy going out.

So off we went out into the night. For some background information, our ranch is about 4 acres of land. Our house, barn, the stable, and a silo and chicken coop are all on one side of a large fenced in field for our horses and our two milk cows to run around in, and on the other side of our house, the grass slowly dies down into sand and rocky outcrops.

My brother and I walked out to our favorite spot with out favorite rocks and favorite dead tree.

We must have been walking for a solid half an hour. To us at the time it felt like nothing, but doing the walk again today I wondered how at all we could have done it and not felt winded. It hadn’t started raining yet, but the air was heavy and moist.

You now how it feels before a big thunderstorm.

We sat down at our tree and were sitting for a few minutes before we heard a loud whooshing sound, like a big wind was blowing through in bursts. This didn’t concern us because we figured it was the storm, but we decided to head back.

It must have started to rain because we started to run home.

I don’t remember being scared just yet. A minute or so into running and my little brother trips on a rock and falls down. Of course he starts crying, so I turn around to go help him. As I do though I look up behind him, maybe to try and see lightning, but all I see is a massive black shape against the dark moonless sky. I was confused, that was a weird looking cloud.

But as I got closer to my brother, I saw that this shape was getting closer too, fast.

“Duck!” I yelled to my brother.

Through sobs and screams my brother decided to listen to me for once in his life and he did duck down. The massive shape shot down and flew overhead just a few feet from my brother. I ducked down too, and I could feel the wind off this thing as it zoomed past. I scrambled to my brother and tried to get him up, but he was crying that his ankle was broken and he couldn’t move.

There were a few large rocks near by, so I thought that whatever this thing was wouldn’t be able to reach between them, or at least I hoped. My brother and I crawled toward the rocks, but I could see the black mass turning around in the sky. “It’s coming back!” my brother yelled, and whatever it was in head seemed to just switch into fight/flight mode. I wasn’t a very strong kid when I was 13.

Sure I had the stamina to work for hours during the day, but that was with many breaks. Maybe it was the adrenaline or maybe I was stronger than I thought I was, but I lifted my brother off the ground and ran with him to those rocks. He was screaming, I was probably screaming, but we went silent when we heard another massive whoosh past the rocks. And then there was a deafening booming noise.

It sounded like thunder mixed with a screaming woman, or possibly a horse’s whinny.

We grabbed our ears, and my brother started crying and screaming again. I was looking around for any sign of people or something that could help, through the rain and the tears, and then I saw the light from the ranch. I didn’t realize how far we had actually ran. I was so relieved, but it wasn’t over yet.

I somehow convinced my brother that he had to run with me to the house. That we were so close and there was only a little more to go. He screamed and cried the whole way, but he agreed that we had to get home. We could get dad out with his shotgun. So we ran.

I tried to stay behind my brother so that he wouldn’t stray. Another screaming boom came from behind us and echoed all around us.

We were getting so close when I heard the whooshing right behind us.

I didn’t dare turn around, but my brother did and he screamed so loud that my grandmother heard it.

She open the door just as we both got to it and we burst inside. “What’s the matter with you too?” she asked, but she trailed off as she saw the black shape swoop close to the porch roof and over the house. She slammed the door and then turned to us. “What did I tell you about evil spirits?”

Our only response was more crying.

My mom and dad rush out of the kitchen yelling and wondering what all the crying was about and why we didn’t come home sooner and why did grandma slam the door. “I warned you didn’t I?” grandma said “Evil spirits are out there.” My brother and I tried to agree with her, but my parents brushed it off as us just being scared of the storm and thunder.

What they didn’t brush off though was my brothers ankle. It turns out he just sprained it, but they scolded me for not being more careful. Of course they blame me when they were the ones that let us out in the first place, but whatever. I’m just glad he wasn’t taken by that, thing.

As we are going to bed after getting cleaned up my grandmother came into our room.

With a little bit more scolding from her and a lot of kisses, she explained to us that what attacked us was a thunderbird. She said that they ride on storms and are big enough to carry a child away. She told us to never go out at night or during a storm again, like we needed to hear that.

No we were never planning on anything like that for a long time.

8 years later now and my brother and I still like to tell this story to our friends, though his version is much more thrilling. He’s just good at making things seem more adventurous than they are. But this event was more than enough adventure for me.

We’ve both gotten over our fear of storms, but I can still see him jump a little every time we hear the boom of thunder.

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