tagNonHumanThe First Evil Ch. 04

The First Evil Ch. 04

byOximoron©

I was tumbling through a kaleidoscope of agony, horror and confusion, the last mostly because of the first two. The pain was abrupt and intense, before it I'd floated in an endless moment of absolute nothingness. Probably my minds attempt to protect me. I'd actually had time to wonder if I was dead and in limbo before the torture began.

And God did it. My empty stomach clenched at the wrenching, awful, breath stealing feeling of my arm being wrenched from the socket. I think a couple of my ribs may have at least gotten bruised but my shoulder muscles were currently hogging all the attention. I tried to gather my scattered wits to figure out what the hell had happened. Somehow my current theory about being rundown by a shag Land Rover didn't seem all that likely.

Even the dregs of my warped sense of humor got jarred loose when I finally slammed into the stinking garbage strew ground. One moment I was staring up at a fire escape that had probably been condemned a decade ago and the next I had flipped over my own head and was standing on my feet, instinct having taken over. Apparently twenty years of living the cushy pampered life of a successful artist hadn't completely worn away the tempered edges of me, forged on the dark side of survival.

The days of my being the damsel-in-distress were long gone, washed away in some pedophiles blood spraying the walls of an alley remarkably similar to this one. I thought of him briefly as I jammed my wounded shoulder against a brick wall to put my arm back in its socket. My ribs finally screamed loud enough to get all my attention as I felt the uncomfortable pressure against my lungs increase to almost suffocating levels. Maybe I over did the wall slam a bit but it's not the kind of thing you have time to calculate. Especially when whatever had collided with me in the first place is standing between me and the open end of the alley. Growling.

Growling?

That's probably not a good sign.

The grayness and spots were slowly receding from the edges of my vision. Yay for me not fainting in the middle of an as yet unknown dangerous situation. Except as I looked up, somehow I'm just not sure whether I should be thankful for my enhanced vision in this situation. Staring up at a giant mythological monster in twenty-first century Philadelphia, it occurred to me that some obscuring of the details might not have been unwelcome.

It, and it was certainly the only proper pronoun, appeared to be a huge two-headed wolf. Complete with all the tooth-and-clawiness you'd expect when those three words make up a real creature standing in front of you. Yeah, I know right, over-kill much. Like it really was going to be that hard to take me out, and to add insult to injury it was roughly the size of a small bus from the tips of its noses to the end of its tail.

Silver moonlight glinted sleekly off of fur every shade between black and white with hints of chestnut thrown in to make up what could loosely be defined as gray. Bright amber eyes seemed to glow softly in the darkness and I knew that I'd have been able to perfectly identify their color even without my new natural night vision. The hair across its hackles was fluffed up standing on end and its mouths were pulled up to reveal identical sets of razor sharp teeth.

I've seen enough nature shows to know that the show of aggression isn't great for me but so far all it seems to want to do is growl warningly at me. I edged experimentally closer toward them and not coincidentally also closer to the mouth of the alley. They moved half a step closer and the rumble somehow managed to become more menacing without actually increasing in volume.

Ok, message clear, no leaving. The ears on the head on the right twitched and I heard something that chilled me to my toes. Two sets of mismatched footsteps bringing the sound of my name being called closer. Closer to me but also closer to the danger that stood between us. One head turned fully toward the street and its paws rotated preparing to spring in that direction while the other kept its eyes trained on me.

Ok, this definitely isn't going down like this. I refuse to be the reason something happens to my friends when this thing is obviously here for me. I searched the alley for an escape route that would bring the monster with me and away from the only family I'd ever tried to keep. That'll show me. Nope, nothing but a couple of dumpsters beside me, the decrepit fire escape above me and an unbroken brick wall behind me.

Not that I have any idea how but I have to protect Rachel and Jukes from an angry two-headed wolf, standing at least three feet over my head, with my own unremarkable bare hands. I'm not much, but right now I'm all that might stop this thing from ripping my two friends apart like some morbid modern fairy tail. I'm not even wearing socks forget having that oh-so-convenient ax at my disposal.

You need to become the weapon.

The voice didn't make me feel like my brain was oozing out of my ears this time but it was still painful and unbearably distracting when I needed focus. I was trying to figure out a plan of attack when I realized that the words seem to have triggered a reaction in my body. As if they had been less helpful advice and more cheat code increasing my hit points.

It felt like switches were getting flipped inside me. All of my previously extraordinary senses became indescribable. My shoulder and ribs felt tingly and warm momentarily before even the lingering ache washed away in the rush of vitality throughout my entire body. I let a moment of gratitude float away from me and was rewarded with a comforting feeling of gracious acceptance before the presence receded again.

Rachel and Jules' scents were so close now I knew they'd be in sight any moment. I guess the wolf-thing felt the same way because I could see thick ropey muscle bunching under the admittedly soft looking fur as it prepared to pounce.

Maybe if I can get between the heads I can avoid some damage, I'll at least have control of the parts with teeth. Almost before I'd finished the thought, I was pressed against a densely furred chest with my arms wrapped tightly around two wildly thrashing necks. It reared up on its hind paws trying to slam me against the wall then the ground in its effort to remove me. The ribs felt better but I wasn't about to push my luck and having a giant wolf try to plant me in concrete is definitely that. Using my entire body as leverage I yanked down and used the creatures momentum against it to throw the thing behind me.

Astonishingly it actually sailed over my head to slam into a dumpster. I didn't have time to question how in the hell I had even moved the damned thing because both Rachel and Jules chose that moment to step into the alley with confusion, concern and annoyance fighting for dominance on both their faces.

"Rory, what the ... hell?"

"Run! Run now. Get to the nearest police station, get armed and get home in any order that you like, but go right now," I was pushing them away from the alley while four glowing golden eyes glowered at me from the deeper darkness at the back end of the alley, rising back over my head as it lumbered to its feet. Juliet and Rachel both opened their mouths to speak but the enraged howl from the back of the alley stopped any attempt at an explanation. Rachel just grabbed Jules, tossed her across her shoulders and began to book it top speed back down the street, never looking back. Completely ignoring Jules' struggling limbs and desperate cries to at least try and help me.

Warmth filled me at her ridiculous insistence though I'm not angry with Rachel for abandoning me. I can't fight if I'm worried about them. Not if I want to win, and that was the only way it looked like I'd walk out of this alley. Besides it's actually pretty impressive of her to be able to move a struggling adult person and not seem to be significantly slowed down. Made me think I'd been underestimating her strength all these years. Maybe I should call her back. At least then I won't have to hope so hard that two heads aren't better than one.

Well good thing refusing to dwell on impossible odds is a specialty of mine right there with over coming them. What did Alice say, "I believe seven impossible things every morning before breakfast,"? Yeah well maybe I could manage at least one. I briefly considered trying to book it now that I had an exit, but how did I know that it wouldn't just go after them instead of me. Nope, I get to stay and make sure that it's momentarily incapacitated before I can run for it. At least I know I'm giving them a pretty good head start. I turned fully facing the creature now stalking toward me. It sprang at me leading with its claws and not its teeth so maybe it wasn't trying to eat me, just maim me and keep me here. This means I might have some advantage. Sort of.

I grabbed the first paw to reach me with both hands and swung the thing into the wall. Trusting that the strength that had thrown it over fifteen feet and over my head in the first place hadn't left me yet. One side of the thing smashed into the bricks sending red dust and brick shards raining to the alley floor. That side seemed disoriented but the other snapped at me grazing my shoulder with teeth the size of kitchen knives. The overly sweet coppery smell of my blood floated around me and the other head seemed to revive, sniffing the air. I let go of the limb I was gripping tightly, reached down blindly and hit the jackpot, a jagged triangle of rusty metal.

I hefted it carefully because there didn't seem to be any one side of the jagged flaking metal that wasn't stitches and a tetanus shot waiting to happen. Any weapon is better than none, I guess. The size of the thing meant I had to use both hands to swing it and really I think I'd have preferred one of those free right now. Not that I'm exactly sure what to do with it. I missed the fighting two headed monsters day of self defense class.

The wolf lunged at me. I swung out somewhat wildly, using both hands to compensate for the imbalance of the heavy shape. The shiv caught the wolf across the chest filling the air with the sweet scent of its blood. The smell whispered sweet nothings to my new craving, trying to distract me but I fought to remain focused. The tip caught on a bone, halting my swing and causing the back end to slice open my palms as I tried to use force to continue my strike. An earsplitting screech echoed around me making both me and the monster wince. My now clawed fingers had scored the heavy metal creating that so-much-worse-than-nails-on-a-chalkboard sound. Neat, first fangs now claws.

What's next? I looked at the expanse of fur filling my vision and decided to save that particular question for another day.

I gritted my teeth against the pain in my hands and forced the blade forward. Hearing the thick snap of healthy bone just as two sets of teeth seemed to wrap around my entire torso and start to pull in opposite directions. Guess keep me alive time is over. Blood spurted, rushing over my hands, spilling down across my entire body, running over all my new cuts and scrapes and puncture wounds. Tingles started in my hands where my shredded palms were still pressed against the gushing wound on its chest, claws trying desperately to cling to the blood soaked fur and get some leverage against getting ripped apart. That being pretty high on my top ten list of ways not to die.

Power rushed at me from that point of convergence where our blood mixed together. It felt almost like an echo of what I'd felt earlier during that resurrecting kiss, only this isn't coming from outside of me it's coming from me. It set off a domino effect inside so that every drop of blood that touched skin the more power spiraled out of control inside me. More blood rained down on me and every centimeter of skin that got coated felt like it got touched with a blow torch. I was caught in an endless inferno of my own growing power with now idea how to make it stop.

It was too much. I couldn't contain the screaming agony blazing through every cell in my body. My mouth opened, probably to cry out for mercy but instead the warm spicy taste of their blood coated my tongue, filling my mouth, sliding down my throat. God was it good.

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