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Blood and Sand is a 2017 short story written by Mira Grant, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology Predator: If It Bleeds. It follows a young boy and his sister as they run into a lone Yautja that is hunting wildlife on the ranch where they live.

Plot

The year is 1933. Tommy Warrington and his twin sister Annie live with their aunt Mary and uncle Jack on their ranch in Montana, having been orphaned at a young age. Their adoptive parents are harsh and overbearing, especially towards Tommy, who is frequently the target of Mary's abuse and Jacks' beatings, and he worries for his sister, considering her the last good thing left in his life.

One evening, while Tommy is solemnly remembering his happier life before Montana, Mary calls to him and tells him that his uncle is an hour late returning from the far pasture where he has been working. Despite Tommy's fear of the desert and the dangerous animals that live in it, she orders him to fetch Jack, threatening to send Annie in his stead if he does not go. As he heads out into the approaching night, he is joined by Annie, who has snuck out of the house. Not sharing in her brother's dread of the desert, she ignores his pleas to return and insists going with him is better than being alone with their aunt. She also hopes to find the shooting star she saw fall from the sky two days previously. Tommy reluctantly agrees and the pair make for the pasture where their uncle has been working.

Not long after setting off, they discover the mutilated body of a cougar, disemboweled and decapitated, its head nowhere to be found. Tommy is horrified, but Annie is more upset by the fact someone would be cruel enough to do such a thing to a poor cat. As they press on, they also find several rattlesnakes that have been similarly cut open and beheaded. As if on cue, they hear a terrifying roar in the night, and, fearing it may be whatever is responsible for the slaughtered animals, rush to find their uncle, who they know carries a rifle whenever he is out in the pastures.

Reaching the boundary fence, Tommy and Annie discover their uncle has been subjected to a similar fate as the animals they came across. Fearing whatever was responsible and dreading what his aunt will do to him now that his uncle is dead, Tommy considers fleeing with his sister, but at that moment she sees her shooting star, a glowing object lying in the scrub nearby. Before he can stop her, she runs over to it. Tommy follows, and they are confronted by a huge, towering man with a hideous face of mandibles and the severed heads of Jack and the cougar clutched in its hand. The Devil himself.

As the Devil stares down at them, Tommy steps between it and his sister, hoping in vain to save her; when the monstrous figure does not attack, Tommy realizes it has no interest in killing them because — unlike the cougar, the snakes and the armed uncle Jack — they are not dangerous and pose no threat.

At that moment, Tommy tells his sister to run back to the house, before grabbing the mysterious glowing object on the ground and running after her. The Devil immediately sets off in pursuit. The two children manage to beat it back to the farm, Annie heading straight for the barn to hide. Tommy does not follow, but instead bursts into the house, startling his aunt. Ignoring her bellowed demands for an explanation, he hurls the strange device he carries at her, then dives beneath the table for shelter. Before Mary can reach him, the Devil enters the room. As Tommy hides, he hears Mary fire at it with the shotgun kept by the fireplace, then screaming, and finally silence.

When Tommy dares to look, his aunt is dead, and the Devil is standing over him. When he makes no attempt to move or attack the towering figure, it mutters to him in an alien tongue, then leaves. Some time later, Tommy is found by his sister. As they tearfully reunite, Tommy is inwardly relieved that they are now free of their abusive aunt and uncle, but acknowledges the fact that he is just as responsible for Mary's death as the creature that butchered her. He also realizes the Devil now knows he is a sinner, just like his aunt and uncle, and may well return for him one day.

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