Blow knew immediately the clap wasn't right. It didn't follow any lightning, at least none he saw, and all of the thunder he'd heard up to then had been the low rumbling kind. This was the sharp, bone-jarring crack that comes almost simultaneously with a strike so near it scares you out of your wits. Its distance precluded such a visceral effect, but made it the more unsettling.
“Shit,” muttered Rust, “shotgun.” He was staring inland where nothing could be seen beyond various intensities of black. Soon the howling started. It sounded at first like the baying of a wolf followed by a coyote's yips. The second time, as the wind paused for a gasp, the howl rose in volume and pitch until it had become a shriek, sustained maddeningly until the next wailing surge of wind shattered it into fragments. The men looked at each other.