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Sixteen," the rancher reckoned beneath stale coffee breath.

"Is that possible?" the grizzled man queried himself, marveling at the lifeless bodies in the ravine below. From this lofty vantage point, the victims appeared childlike in stature. The glow emanating from the crashed spaceship provided an unnatural amount of light for this hour.

"Could some of 'em still be alive?" the cowhand wondered. The living piece of shoe leather squinted. Crow's feet the size of pterodactyl talons emerged. Dark silhouettes scurried across the corners of the man's vision. The opaque shadows clarified into the shapes of coyotes.

The old Paint beneath the rancher shifted uneasily.

"Damned predators," the man grumbled to himself. "Nobody alive, nor dead, deserves this fate." The cattle herder gingerly dug spur-less heels into his steed's sides. The horse sidled forward, cresting the precipice of an unstable cliff.

"What the hell're you doin'?" the man's mind raced. "You wrangle cattle, you old fool. Martians and flyin' saucers is government business--"

Before the thought completed its journey from synapse to synapse, the earth about the aged vaquero exploded. Night became day. Racing overhead, helicopters cleared the ridge behind the frightened cowpoke.

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