WIP updated 9th April.
An explosive sensation from my chest dragged me coughing and spluttering from the darkness.
As I coughed I felt a thick, abrasive cloud bursting into my mouth trying to enter my throat. I closed my mouth hard but my lungs continued to fight, air seeking whichever exit it could find, surging up the back of my nose... bile followed. Jaw relenting I powerfully wretched, sour, stinging liquid belched up my throat and out my mouth, meeting with twin streams that painfully spat from my nostrils. My stomach kicked like an enraged mule cramping seven or eight times, eventually releasing its grip on my aching abdomen once empty and satisfied. My eyes were drowned in thick, gelatinous tears that swam across my vision like jellyfish. I could feel them stinging as my eyelids tried to sweep them clear, grains of what felt like sand scratching across my pupils every time I tried to blink: it hurt so much they might as well have been rocks.
I tried to pull up my hand to wipe them but was unable to do so, only then realising that I was lying face down on the ground with my arms behind my back, head half-submerged in a viscous pool of my own vomit. I rolled onto my side, my limbs those of an abandoned marionette. Instructions clattered about my brain like clothes in a washing machine, becoming twisted and entangled. It took considerable concentration to engage my numb mind into wrenching my arms from behind my back. I propped myself up on one. It sent a tsunami of pins and needles up towards my shoulder reminding my brain that my extremities still existed. Emboldened, my left arm followed the right and I managed to pull myself onto my knees. In celebration my stomach once again retched and I heaved hard, the force almost threatening to snap my spine like a cheap, plastic ruler. Thankfully this time only a cloud of hot breath left my mouth, mixing with the steam rising from the puddle of puke between my hands.
I gently wiped at my aching eyes using my sleeve, pulling it away the material was covered in dark soil, my eyelids machine gunning in attempt to remove the remainder. Looking towards the ground I realised where it came from. I was outside. I could tell by the bitter cold of the night that was quickly pervading through my cloudy consciousness, the way a freezing shower wakes you in the morning. Though dark, the moon above threw spears of candescence through the trees above, impaling the ground around me. As my brains basic survival instinct abated I slowly become more aware and was fully able to take in my surroundings. I was in a forest... somewhere, and I had come to rest at the base of a large hill underneath an earthen overhang. There was no foliage on the ground and my vomit was fast being absorbed by the light crumbly dirt I must have breathed in when unconscious.
Unconscious!? Why the fuck was I unconscious in a forest!?
The mere thought caused my brain to spin like a weather vane in a storm, and a wave of nausea ushered the question to the back of my head. I wiggled my toes making sure my lower limbs were still attached, and attempted to pull one leg up from the ground. Leaning on my knee I eventually dragged my body up, resting against the inside of the overhang like a discarded mannequin, my pounding lungs pushing out the acidic stench of bile from the back of my nose. Control was eventually returning but along with it came the penetrating cold. Blooms of hot breath parachuted from my mouth into the air and my arms began to vibrate as the chill kneaded its way into my muscles. It was no wonder I was freezing, drawing my chin to my chest I could see I was only wearing a long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of dirty ripped jeans. A beard of dried, hard blood arrowed down the front of my chest and I could see that the rear of my jeans had ripped exposing my boxers, the buttocks hanging down the back of my legs like a lazy blue tongue.
With uncoordinated fervour my hands poured over my body looking for the cause. My fingers became more frantic the higher they climbed, a sharp nauseating pain bursting from my temple eventually answering their frenetic pleas. Although no longer bleeding the gash felt deep. The crusty, furled edges sent an explosion of agonising sparks across the back of my vision in reply to my clumsy fingers. I traced the dry crimson trail through my matted hair, down my face and under my chin to where it cemented the neck of my t-shirt to my skin. The blood chipped and flaked between my fingers like decades old paint. I felt relieved... better to wake up covered in your own blood than someone else's.
"Ok. You're alone in the woods, you're hurt but you can move. Think James... how did you get here?"
Although my voice was a hoarse caricature of the sound I expected, it helped settle my nerves somewhat. I couldn't find it minutes before but the cut on my head now sent attention seeking waves of pain across my scalp, it wouldn't let me forget about it again. Using my elbows I pushed off from the dirt wall and steadied myself, standing to my full height. Walking out from under the overhang onto forest floor I could feel the light rain begin to plant hundreds of butterfly kisses across my face. I angled my head back, my eyelids fluttering like beckoning hands in an attempt to rinse my burning eyes. A pleasant earthy scent climbed from the damp ground, I took in a deep breath chasing away the last of the acerbic taste in my throat. I started to feel a little more positive about my situation, whatever had happened, whatever had tried to kill me had failed. The rain pattered on the leaves like thousands of tiny hands clapping in applause. Now I just had to find a way home.
In an effort to gauge my geography I walked away the mound towering above me in an effort to survey its height. At around 10ft back I still couldn't see the crest; this meant it was more than likely one of the large three hills that shadowed our small town like sleeping colossi. Picturing myself standing in my parent's garden I imagined the thick wood that rolled form the back of one of the hills like a flowing, green wedding train. If I was right all I had to do was walk directly away from the base of the prominence and I should eventually meet the main road that braced the town against the forest.
"Come on. You can do this, get your arse in gear and you'll be home in no time."
I crouched and wrapped the torn leg of my jeans around my shin, then tucked the base of the ruined trousers into my socks. This part of the forest was furthest from the town and shaded by the steep hill above the foliage was thick. Every shade of green and brown tugged at my aching legs as I made my way through the dense umbrage. As I walked I kept myself busy by trying to piece together my shattered memories. The aching in my head acted as a blinding pendulum knocking apart any semblance of order as soon as it had formed. I leaned against a wide tree, my hands sinking into the thick moss painted across the trunk like a green lather. I tore some from the bark and squeezed the water into my hands drinking as much as I dared.
As if in acknowledgment of the hydration my headache abated for a moment and the memory of being sat at home with my parents galloped into my mind's eye.
"Ok, so I was home with Mum & Dad. Then what?"
In reply a twig snapped somewhere distance, the noise ping-ponging throughout the trees around me. It sounded exactly like the clich tropes that littered the vacuous horror films I would watch alone late at night. Being a pragmatist I quickly ignored it as some harmless animal. My pragmatism soon deserted me as a threatening crescendo of breaking branches and tearing leaves countered my bravery. Whatever was making the noise was large, although it didn't seem to be coming towards me. I was completely frozen, my fists pulled up towards my face like some terrified praying mantis. A hush of silence diffused through the rain once more. Barks of breath forced apart my lips as my heart screamed against the inside of my chest like some terrified metronome. My cold fingers chilled useless by the night air curled further into my palms hiding from the forest, for a moment I envied them. I stood bolt upright, unsure of what to do. Another loud crack gave me impetus and I whirled around the tree running blindly in the direction I prayed home would be.
The many wooden hands of the forest tugged and grabbed at my body, slowing me down, toying with me as I ran through the trees. I had no idea if I was being followed, the wood loudly complaining as I kicked and burst my way through the latticework of vegetation that crowded my feet. The torn leg of my jeans had come untied and flourished behind like a wind-sock as I ran. The undergrowth eased into a clearing, the noise underfoot softening for a moment. I knew then that I still wasn't alone. I could hear it, its massive form pounding through the trees to my left. The heavy thud of its feet meeting the ground belittled my panicked steps, the pause between the impacts indicating a long, powerful stride. Knowing this unseen beast could overrun me at any second, my legs started moving faster underneath me, my knees jarring against every stride. The edge of the clearing was rapidly approaching and I tried to spot a gap between the trees in an effort to keep up the pace, although the dwindling co-ordination in my movement and burning ache in my muscles told me I wouldn't last long.
I aimed for a thin gap between two tall pines and twisting my shoulders managed to ease between the tall organic buttresses. The trees once again towered over me, the canopy high above feeling more like a prison than a shielding presence. The aching in my legs had reached unbearable levels and the muscles nullified the pleading of my head slowly coming to a clumsy halt. I fell to my knees, stretched eyes darting between the trees looking for any sign that the creature that was stalking me. My lips had furled up into my gums and I whimpered into the night air through my gritted teeth. I tried in vain to keep quiet but my aching lungs loudly cried, their staccato like wheezing ignorant of my terror. I buried my face I my arm, eyes like taught cellophane swept between the trees, propelled by dread. There was nothing: no crashing, no heavy footsteps, just the rustle of wind and the gentle drumming of rain.
I stayed still on my knees for some time until the rain ceased and the full moon once again revealed itself between stygian clouds. It glazed the wood in a soft ethereal haze and a light fog rose from the dense scrub surrounding me. I could feel my knees slowly sinking into the ground, rainwater seeping into my jeans. My eyes had scoured trees for some time, searching the dark wood that loomed around as if peering through the pillars of some gigantic, threatening barcode. Still nothing moved or made any noise. It was doubtful I had managed to lose whatever had given chase. I hoped I had maybe scared it off with the commotion, or maybe it had gotten bored, or-a sadistic corner of my psyche interjected-it was still there... watching.
"Fuck." Although whispered the curse didn't lose any of its distress.
I couldn't stay here until morning; I knew I had to make a move. I looked toward the sky for the hill, but it was hidden by a combination of the tall trees and raven sky. This wasn't the Amazon however and I knew that I would eventually break cover, unless I was going round in circles. I blew a few hot breathes into my cupped, torpid hands then slowly pushed myself from the forest floor. My legs quivered as I stood threatening to collapse; steeling myself I locked them straight until the shaking subsided. Ahead I could see a thin animal trail that continued through the trees in the approximate direction I had been headed. This would be as good a route as any, the going would be a little easier and in my current state it was unlikely I would be hurdling any bushes.
As I took my first step an enormous growl detonated across my right shoulder, the force of the frightening roar pushing me forward. I could feel the heat of it blast against the back of my neck, the fingers of its fetid stench curling round my head, flecks of saliva landing on my skin echoing the earlier rain. My face distorted by fear screamed a barrage of vowels into the night air. The beast snorted in reply and I felt its breath on the back of my head. I began to cry loudly, pleading with it, too scared to turn around. Even though it was behind me I could feel its enormity, the sound of it breathing a deep, resonating rumble that caused my very soul to tremor with horror. I felt it sniff me, each snort louder than the bark of a dog. I closed my eyes tightly, tears of fear running down my face frozen as if in Rigor Mortis.
In that moment I imagined the nature documentaries on the African Plains I had seen. I remembered how, after a Cheetah had chase down an Impala and held it by its throat, the small deer seemed content with its fate and surrendered itself to the food chain without further struggle. I always thought it odd how any organism could just meekly accept death, and here I was, too petrified to even turn around.
The sentiment evaporated as another growl burst from behind me, this time over my left shoulder leaving my ear ringing like an alarm. I squeezed my eyes tighter, readying myself for my fate. I felt contact as it hit my back hard and I stumbled forwards landing once more on the forest floor, the vegetation cushioning my fall. I braced myself but an attack didn't come. I scrambled up onto my hands and knees one arm raised in an effort to placate the creature. I could feel it pacing behind, snorting into the cold air as if agitated. It roared at me once more, this time a shorter disciplined sound as if trying to order me to my feet. It roared again, now demanding... impatient. I clumsily pulled myself up, still holding a feeble arm out behind me, mind cartwheeling in confusion. The beast bumped me again, hard still but not enough to send me sprawling onto the ground.
"WHAT!? WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT FROM ME! KILL ME THEN! KILL ME FOR FUCKS SAKE!!!"
Emboldened by the creature's hesitation I tried to half turn towards it, in response it pushed me hard on my back with what felt like two strong arms. I realised then it wanted me to walk and was guiding me further into the wood, away from the direction I was originally heading. Mind still drowning in fear I hobbled on. The beast seemed content and followed a few feet behind, its menacing presence electrifying the air around me with a sense of dread. As we walked my mind rifled through a thousand possibilities. This was clearly some kind of beast, but not an animal. It couldn't be a bear as I sensed it had intelligence, but was too large to be a human. I tried to talk to it, reason to it as I walked, back turned as it deliberately followed in my wake like some murderous shadow. It stayed silent however only growling if I started veering of the path it had chosen.
As I walked the moon's ghostly light began to fade as it was crowded by heavy granite clouds. The forest once again erupted in an orchestra of rainfall as I walked ahead of my tormentor, as if being led to the gallows. As the rain grew in intensity it teased pinpricks of pain, moistening the many cuts that decorated my body. A disgustingly familiar scent pervaded my nostrils... wet dog? What the fuck was this thing?
"What the fuck are you!?"
The reply was a hard blow to my back and I felt my t-shirt tear as it was caught by inexorable claws I could sense, but not see. Exhausted I rested on a tree again pushing my arm out behind me in supplication, still not daring to look over my shoulder.
"I... I need to rest. P-Please I'm hurt."
The creature snorted and growled lightly but didn't approach closer. I took this as an acknowledgement and pushed my forehead against the bark sheltering my face from the heavy downpour. Through the hissing rain I heard a sound as a flock seagulls taking off, it took a second but I then realised that this thing was shaking itself like a wet dog. The familiar damp smell enveloped me again and I turned my head away from it.
About 10ft beyond me was a ridge; it must have been quite steep as I could see the canopies of the trees below propped up by slender trunks that disappeared far below. As I watched luminescent fingers slid up the neck of one of these trees, gaining in brightness as it caressed its way towards the crown of leaves at its top. It was joined by more facsimiles that climbed the surrounding trees bathing then in a brilliant artificial light, turning the forest into a white picket fence. In a split second it was gone returning the forest to its earthy hue.
Below the ridge must be a road. I couldn't hear through the sizzling percussion of the rain but I was sure of it. I didn't even know if the ridge led to a slope, or was a drop-off. But in that moment I knew I had only one choice. This thing was going to kill me, of that I was sure. I knew I didn't have much strength remaining; the adrenalin that had driven me through fear was wearing thin. The now familiar growl came again from behind me.
Without thinking I launched myself towards the hidden verge using the tree as leverage, half stumbling as its broken edge veered towards me like a crooked smile. The beast exploded through the bushes behind me as I landed hard against my knees on the ledge, my forward momentum sending me careering head first onto a greasy slope. Landing on my chest and sliding fast I twisted my body like a falling cat in an effort turn myself round. Muddy rainwater joined in my escape sloshing over me, lubricating the path ahead. Thickets and bushes moonlighted as lacerating speed-bumps, scoring my face and jealously clinging to my clothes as I cut a swathe down the hill like a human torpedo. A large tree loomed ahead, I tried rolling onto my side to avoid it but the torrent carrying me dragged my legs around threatening to send me into it horizontally. I tried pulling my legs up to my chest, the immovable trunk catching my ankle sending me into an awkward spin like a hockey puck. I came to a violent stop, plunging into a freezing cold stream that waited at the base of the hill. The tearing pain in my ankle used my bones as a conductor, travelling my body, agonisingly clawing at the roots of my teeth. Pulling myself from the water I tried putting weight on it, my leg collapsed submerging me once more. I crawled from the brook on my elbows like a mudskipper, scuttling up the embankment that lined the ditch. Pulling myself over its lip my hands met the rough, manufactured touch of tarmac.
I continued to drag myself, through the pools of surface water that lay across the bitumen, toward the white centre markings as if they were a finish line. Constantly I looked over my shoulder for the creature that had haunted me. It hadn't followed down the steep slope but if it found another way down there was nothing else I could do. Twin glowing eyes ahead shone at me from the distance. As they grew larger they were accompanied by the growing sound of a car engine, the man-made growl an exhilarating tonic to the one that had plagued me for so long. I pulled myself to my knees and held my arms high in the air, praying the driver would see me in time. The powerful beams cut through the rain in front of me, suspending the drops as if weightless diamonds. Mercifully the driver had his lights on full-beam and he spotted me early. The engine's baritone voice changed in scale as the driver and his Range Rover warily stopped directly ahead, full-beams spotlighting me as if on stage. He opened his door, a warning noise from inside the expensive cockpit echoed across the road pleading with him to get back in the vehicle.
"Boy, why the fuck are you in the middle of th... oh Jesus Christ! Are you OK son?" As he Approached his body cleaved apart the thick light sending it scattering into the night.
"I.. I can't get up. I think... uh, my ankle is broken. You have to help me, I... there's something hunting me. Please, you have to help me get away."
"My God boy, you look like shit. Have you been hit by a car?"
He put my arm over his shoulder and pulled me up onto my working leg with ease. He was fairly well built and smelled of Cigar smoke and expensive aftershave. I tried to reply but my exhausted brain would only give me the words I knew were important.
"We're in danger... something is... something is in the woods."
He took me round the open door, perching me on the driver's seat, my injured leg dangling meekly in the rain. He pulled a mobile phone out from inside the door compartment.
"I'm going to phone an ambulance boy... and the police. Don't worry, I'm sure they'll know what to do. Are you from round here? Are you from Wensley boy? What's your name now?" He spoke loudly, enunciating every syllable as if I was deaf.
"No... we need to go. Please." I started to cry.
"No boy, you've been attacked. There's a town 5 miles up the road, they'll be here in no time. You just close your eyes, you're safe now." Ignoring me he started dialling.
"Not safe... please."
"Hello, is this emergency services? Ah good now, listen I've come across an injured lad on Kingsbury road about two miles from Wensley. He's disorientated and he's pretty badly beaten. I think he has a broken ankle and he's covered in cuts and bruises. No I don't know who he...."
His sentence was cut short by an incredible howl that echoed across the road, completely enveloping us both, its keening a reflection of pure, animalistic fury. It ricocheted throughout the trees surrounding us like a laser in a hall of mirrors. The man just starred for a moment, the phone hovering far from his ear, mouth slack.
"Sir... Sir are you still there?" A disembodied voice drifted from the phoned that glowed softly in his hand.
"Yes, I am. Sorry - are you good to send someone quickly? Great I'll wait with the boy until the ambulance gets here." without looking he pushed a button on the top and silently put the device into his pocket.
"What was that noise boy?"
"I told you, there something in the trees. We need to go."
"Yeah? Well that sounded like a wolf, there's no wolves round these parts."
"Please... just go!"
"No son! I'm not going anywhere with you in that state. If it is a wolf it won't come anywhere near the road, and if it does... well." He moved passed me to the boot of the 4X4, opening it he pulled out a 12 gauge shotgun from underneath a pile of dead pheasants. "This will give it something to think about."
"It's not a wolf, it's something bigger... it's smart."
"Boy, there are not many animals on this great island of ours that I haven't kill-THWAAAAAAAAK!"
A flash of white exploded from the darkness hitting the driver against the 4X4 so hard I felt the vehicle lift up on two wheels. The crunch of crash and flexing of metal followed as it settled back on its suspension. Steadying myself against the rocking door-frame I looked to where the man was standing.
In his place was a gigantic, white wolf.
It was Humanoid in shape framed by gigantic shoulders, anchored by long, powerful arms that pinned the driver to the car by his shoulders. It was easily seven feet or so. Its huge head stooped, burying its face in the man's throat, biting and shaking the way a dog plays with a toy. The man looked straight at me, eyes pleading, his mouth locked in a silent scream, words unable to escape from the widening tear in his neck. A colossal handreached over his face, so large it covered his entire head like a hockey mask. It violently snapped his head to the side; a grinding, crunching noise followed releasing a thick spray of arterial blood over the cars pearlescent body work. His body was dragged down the side of the vehicle onto the road leaving a thick trail of steaming blood that shined in the cold air like lacquer. The beast settled on top of him, its triple-jointed legs forcing its powerful maw into its prey, ripping the man's torso to shreds in a brutal frenzy.
I hadn't moved an inch, knowing that any second the creature could turn around. I spotted the shotgun lying on the road half-hidden under the car. The creature writhed over the man, not feeding, but in an effort to completely destroy the body in a primeval fury. With its attention taken I slipped off the seat onto my good leg, and using the doorway for support slowly bent down picking up the heavy weapon. I had never fired a gun in my life, and if it wasn't loaded I wouldn't have a hope. I did at least know to cock it and pulled back the mechanism, the gun softly exposing my intentions with a metallic click, the noise sounding like a firework in my hand.
The creature immediately stopped its tearing, quickly swivelling on its powerful hind legs towards me. I was almost in awe of it. Its huge head was coated in thick, velveteen, alabaster fur that merged into a scarlet mask of blood painted around its enormous mouth. Behind its black-rimmed lips lay vicious, pink gums brandishing monstrous teeth, gleaming like ivory daggers-as white as the driver's exposed bone lying at its feet. It began to growl, its red-soaked snout wrinkled behind a wide, black nose sending twin jets of steam into the air as we locked eyes. Those huge, green eyes, almost human purveyed a frightening intelligence as they searched across my frozen face. It glanced at the gun in my hand, impotent against the might of the creature, and its growling intensified.
I tried to push myself back up onto the driver's seat, but I was too weak and the seat too high. The beast rounded on me, its huge hand grabbing the top of the driver's door, the window shattering in fright under the long claws. Its other hand rested against the car roof, it slowly bent on his haunches until its huge green eyes were level with mine. Waves of Its hot breath blasted against my face, carrying with it a foul rotten stench. I had no more adrenaline, no more fight. I began to cry... not wail, but softly sob. I cried in pity at my own confusion, cried for the torn man that now lay at my feet and I cried that I would never see my parents again. My mind was broken, the fear that every heavy breath the creature took would be a comma before my grisly end.
As I sobbed I felt the car slightly move on its suspension and realised the creature was no longer leaning over me, having moved back a foot or so. The growl had ceased and the eyes had softened, ears pinned back like a submissive dog.
This made no sense, why was it hesitating again?
I wiped the thick tears away from my face with the back of a trembling hand and looked at the beast. It softly held my gaze, the thick mask of blood the only remnants of the fury that had existed only moments ago. It slowly pushed out its arm, huge knots of muscle rippled under the light fur-covered skin. My terror-fatigued eyes followed the gilt-edged claws as they approached my face. The heel of the beast's hand rested under my eye smoothing across my skin, as if it was wiping away tears. Its other hand then came around my shoulders as it moved towards me. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth, expecting this sick game to end in agony as the creature regained its bloodlust. The hand on my cheek moved behind my head pushing my face into its chest, burying my face between the thick, damp smelling fur on its chest that prickled against my cheeks like wicker. As its arm rhythmically rubbed my back it dawned on me that this beast, this fucking thing was embracing me, consoling me.
My head rocked back and forward as its powerful chest rose and fell at each breath. I tried to regain my thoughts; think of a way to react, but shear confusion was clouding my mind in a thick fog. A rasping stinging sensation burst through my scalp, followed by another, then another. I quickly realised that this thing was licking the wound on my head, I tried to wriggle but it held me tight, still stroking my back with that huge hand. I tried to pull my arms free but my left was pinned against my torso by the beast, the fingers of my right hand lodged in the trigger guard of the gun.
I still had it in my right hand but it was across my lap the barrel impotently pointing away from us both. If I fired now I would probably just enrage the beast into ripping me into shreds instead of fucking me to death, or whatever else it had planned.
I pushed my face hard into its chest in a false show of reciprocating its embrace; simultaneously pushing my arse against the seat and pulling my right arm away, leveraging the gun out from the space between us. The creature was still lapping at my wound, but the licks were becoming and harder, rasping against the skin in an effort to widen gash. I could feel flesh blood begin to trickle down the side of my head. Its embrace became stronger, pushing the air out from my lungs, painfully folding my shoulder blades together. Licking at my head it began grunting and growling, the hand stroking my back had stopped and I could now feel the tips of long claws digging into my skin. Its other hand now held my hair in a clenched fist, pushing my head hard into its heaving chest as bloodlust once again began to take hold.
To the soundtrack of its quickening heart-rate I yanked my right arm away from my body using my hip as leverage, closed my eyes and pulled the trigger.
The force of the blast whipped my head back; it jammed against my shoulders like a garden gate slammed against its hinges by the wind. The beast fell away from me and I slid from the seat landing hard on the road, the gun bursting from my grip like a wriggling salmon. A high pitched wine screamed in both my ears and bounced throughout my mind, my reality vibrating from the force of the gunshot. The ringing abated as I tried to squeeze the haze from my eyes, through the blur I could see a white shape bucking and kicking against the tarmac, flashes of red bursting through the gloom.
As the image began to sharpen I could see the beast writhing on the ground, huge hands held to its side, a thick red bloom staining the creature's thick, white fur. It yelped and howled as it rolled through the rainwater soaked road. I painfully pulled myself up against the seat, the ringing in my ears fading into some far-off church bells. Dragging myself across the new smelling leather I could hear the beast convulsing in agony, its claws scraping against the tarmac like nails across a blackboard. I ignored it, using all my strength to drag myself onto the driver's seat. I propped myself up on the steering wheel, my ankle sending bolts of electricity deep into my knee. I fumbled for the keys, the jingling reply in my hands like a chorus of angels. I turned the key pushing whilst pushing the accelerator pedal down, the large vehicle coughed loudly but didn't respond.
I began to panic and looked to the road; the creature had begun to rise once more. It was doubled over still holding its midriff, dark, scarlet fingers oozed over its massive hands and poured down its thick legs like long tongues of flame. It was wheezing and breathing hard, struggling to keep its balance. It raised its huge head and caught site of me desperately trying to start the engine. Those thick black lips, like rivulets of tar twitched back over its nightmarish teeth, eyes blazing with pure fury. It began hobbling towards the open driver's side.
In vain I tried to reach the door, but the beast had bent the door against its hinges and I couldn't reach the handle from behind the wheel. Again I tried to key and accelerator but the 4x4 teased as if stirring in its sleep, but not waking. The creature was almost upon me, its huge hand reaching for my head, I pushed my damaged left ankle onto the clutch in frustration and turned the key. The pain that erupted from my throat in an agonized shout was immediately drowned out by engine of the Range Rover as it roared into life. I jammed my foot down once more pushing the vehicle into gear and stamped on the accelerator.
The car leapt backwards, both the engine and I screaming in defiance. The only sign I had inadvertently put the vehicle into reverse, was the massive thud as the driver's door hit the wolf as it lunged towards me. The engine squealed as I careered blindly in the wrong direction. The beast was now hanging from the inside of the door, its legs scraping along the ground as it tried to get purchase on the dark bitumen that scraped at its feet like sandpaper. Before I could react I felt the front of the car kick up in the air as the back end careered into the ditch lining the side of the road, a thick tree stopping the heavy 4x4 in its tracks. The collision jolted me forward, my forehead painfully bouncing off the thick steering wheel. I felt glass shatter across the back of my head as stars rained across my vision. Looking out the beast was still hanging on to the driver's door, although now it was slowly getting to its feet once more. Ignoring the pain I pushed my foot down on the clutch, and wrestling the car into first gear, stamped onto the accelerator hard.
The wheels slipped and whined as they struggled to find purchase on the wet embankment. I pulled myself across the driver's seat, the gear stick digging into my side as I tried to create distance between myself and the crazed beast, which had now managed to pull itself up onto its knees. It reached into the cockpit, its huge claws cutting inches short of my chest like a flock of sentient scythes. It buried its claws into the driver's seat, pulling itself up towards me