Perhaps it is Utterly Stupid
Things happened too quickly for my eyes.
How was that possible?
April opened the door and disappeared. Atticus was by my side in a flash, but instead of producing a key and uncuffing me, he held the bed post with one of his hands and yanked.
For one second, despite the obvious terror of this unknown threat, I laughed at his stupidity.
Any person would have to have inhuman strength to break that post - it was thick as well as dense - and he was using one arm.
And then my hand felt a slight jerk as the post split away from the frame at the bottom.
Had he j-just broken-
“Listen to me, Luna.” Atticus said quickly, but softly.
He m-managed to rip that-
“You go up and out the fire escape, they can’t reach there unless human, it’s narrow” He continued.
It was impossible! He couldn’t have snapped that! My eyes were obviously playing tricks-
“And then you run. Take this with you it’s a Locci" - he thrust a small pebble in my palm- “it will - Luna are you listening!?” Atticus shook me harshly and I rattled.
My frightened eyes met his focused, firm ones and he stopped instructing me for a second.
He stepped back as he removed the handcuff from the broken post, sliding it up along with my hand and I was free. He was mumbling something as he did.
“Flora, don’t get scared of me.” He said slowly. He didn’t make a single move closer to me, his hands were up, palms facing towards me.
From outside I could hear vicious growls and rips and whines, like an animal was wounded. It was unbearable to listen to, all I wanted to do was go and cocoon the injured creature, and nurse it back to health.
Atticus stepped a little closer and I immediately flinched away from him, still eyeing the spot where the wood was split.
I got up and ran towards the corner of the room, my eyes never leaving his form. Atticus didn’t move an inch, but his eyes were on me, a silent plea in them.
“Try to climb trees. Stay away from anybody who doesn’t smell right. Please for god’s sake listen to me. Go through narrow spaces. Use the handcuffs as defense. Flora please this is important.” He continued talking but my mind was blank.
“Go now Flora! Quick! Through the window!” He urged from beside the bed. The whining animal had been silenced. Someone was running up the stairs. Atticus threw me one last look before he moved to the door.
“You don’t want to see this! Run!” He said loudly, as he took an attacking stance.
The door was broken down.
A nude male form appeared in the doorway, blood dripping down the side of his mouth. He looked disgusting, worse than any state I’d ever seen a person in. He smelled, his hair was shaggy, he had cuts all over him and his nails were huge, dirty, and bloody.
But when he turned his head toward me I saw him smile - a smile full of hatred and loathing, a smile so evil it would have killed me in an instant if it could. He smiled at me like a man possessed, a psychopath, with his bloody teeth showing and then he let out a loud growl that made me want to crawl into a hole and never, ever come out.
Exit. The tiny, rational part of my brain urged.
I noticed that another door was right next to me, thankfully, and moved towards it. Behind me, I could hear clothes being ripped, but I did not turn. I heard painful cries and the unmistakable snapping of bones, but if I halted for even a second, I might as well sign my death certificate.
I was out the window when the snarling started, the emergency staircase was right there and without thinking I moved up, but just before the room was completely out of sight, I got one glance into it.
And what I saw were not two people, fighting like animals.
Instead I saw like two violent animals - gigantic wolves - going at each other’s throats like death was the only way out.
Then they were out of sight and my fight or flight senses kicked in. I could hear the fight all the way up and tried to tune it out.
What the fuck?! Where did Atticus go?! Maybe I should turn around and help him! Where the hell did those wolves come from?! What was going on!?
The emergency exit was lit dimly, but it was clear enough to see with some stumbling on my part. I think I climbed two flights of stairs before I was looking at the familiar entrance of the hotel. Around me, I saw dark shadows of several animals far away, but I did not stop to stare. I could hear a lot of howls and growls and for a wild second, I thought it was a hostile animal takeover. The minute my feet touched the ground, without hesitation I headed for the dark woods.
Stay away from people that don’t smell right.
Atticus’ words were coming back to me and I avoided or changed my direction every time I smelled that distinct smell I recognized from the man in the room.
The woods got more dense and the ground got more uneven, it was getting harder to run without stumbling.
My mind was racing as fast as my legs but I didn’t allow myself to stop.
Vaguely, it registered that there were other people in the building and I should probably go back and try to help. But the way that wildling was looking at me, it felt like he’d come specifically for me.
I was reaching my limit and soon I would have to stop. My heart was beating overtime and my legs could only push me so far, my lungs could only work so hard. Reece’s loose pants and long sleeves were not helping my speed, nor was the fact that I was barefoot.
Yes. That was right. Atticus said climb trees. I slowed down my pace and looked for an easy tree to climb, this was no time to attempt something out of my league. A nearby tree came into view, it seemed simple enough, small and I got to it without wasting another moment.
I approached the tree from an easier access point, trying to grip low lying branches without difficulty. I managed to raise myself up onto the tree. Then I took a deep breath, and pushed myself further up. My mind had only one focus.
Climbing it wasn’t as easy I had thought. I was exhausted, my legs wouldn’t do what I told them to, my chest was aching, and my vision was blurry from all the crying.
I managed to climb halfway through when the horrid smell hit me. My insides clenched as I resisted the urge to throw up. Whatever I had to avoid, it was close.
Reece knew what was happening! He knew what was happening and he tried to keep me safe. Is he safe?
Cutting through the trees came another human figure. It wasn’t nude, it had on a piece of torn clothing, as if someone had ripped the material apart. It was moving slowly, making weird noises below me as it spun around in an area, clearly demented. I held in the scream that was escaping me as I made little to no movement at all.
The person then got down on all fours and I almost let out a horrified cry.
His back had a huge gash, so deep that blood was still flowing out of it. Even in the dark I could see how horrible someone would have had to be to inflict such a cut - deep to the bone.
He remained on the ground, like an animal might stand for a moment before letting out a loud, animalistic screech that made every cell in me shiver.
But what happened next was so much more terrifying.
His body turned dark, and it began to grow. I heard the sickening snap of multiple bones and I flinched with each of them.
Was that fur?!
His nails transformed into these razor sharp claws right out of his hands and his head morphed into that of an animal.
All the while the...Creature was letting out painful howls - the phasing was killing it.
The huge gash on his back replicated perfectly, and more severely on the creature’s back.
I was frozen. My brain refused to function and I was pretty sure my heart had stopped beating as I realized the similarity.
That’s what I saw in the forest that day! In my dream! Holy shit.
It was sniffing now, and I realized that the earlier sounds it’s human form had made were the same - he had been sniffing.
And then it looked up at me, its bloodthirsty eyes looking straight into mine and I lost my shit.
My scream was so loud that perhaps I topped that rabid steroid infused wolf back at the villa.
The wolf below was unaffected though, and it continued to snarl at me, deciding how to go about making a meal out of me.
I thought I was safe. I could not have been more wrong. The deranged animal got up and bit into the tree trunk.
Should’ve picked a harder tree. I reprimanded myself.
Now is not the time!
I prayed that it was overconfident or utterly stupid but neither turned out to be true as I felt the tree sway slightly. My panic set in once more and I looked for another tree close by, but the problem with smaller trees was that they didn’t quite reach the others’ branches.
The monster continued to bite at the trunk, taking chunks of the bark with every bite.
It was a werewolf! OH MY GOD ITS A WEREWOLF!!
Realization struck me like burning coal and suddenly I was sobbing.
I want to live. I want to live. I want to live. Oh god why can’t I live?!
And then the tree began to sway dangerously before a final snap and I was falling.
Use the handcuffs
I crashed the ground with lesser impact than I thought, but at the slightest movement I knew that my ankle was toast.
My painful cry got stuck in my throat as another one resounded louder.
I managed to crouch into a sitting position and looked in the general direction of the sound.
Perhaps it is utterly stupid.
The werewolf had gotten itself pinned below the broken top of the tree and it was struggling furiously.
The weight of the dead wood wasn’t going to keep it down for long and I had to think quickly.
Running was useless. My ankle was a lost cause and I was more than exhausted.
The fall had snapped the handcuffs in two, one still around my hand and the other a few feet away from me. I moved to grab it, crawling my way towards it until my hand finally touched the cool metal.
The werewolf was almost free, it had crawled out from below the tree and now stood in front of me. I got up slowly, balancing on my good foot.
It swivelled slightly to the left and then to the right. The impact of the tree had severely affected the huge brown monster.
It’s crazed eyes were fixated on me and it snarled deeply, making me cringe in fear, and then it lunged forward with all its might. I didn’t even move.
Somehow, it missed slightly. But only slightly. One of its talons sliced the skin on my arm - the one with handcuffs still around it - and I let out a tortured scream. I felt the blood gushing out of my arm as I crumpled back to the forest ground.
The metal around my wrist was warm, there was a tuft of fur, singed, at my feet.
The werewolf collapsed on the ground next to me, and I knew I only had seconds before it gathered itself and swished it’s paw to slice me in half.
On instinct I tossed the broken metal handcuff at it, aiming for its face.
And time stood still as I waited.
And I missed it.
The shiny metal surpassed the hungry face by inches and landed instead on the square of its back.
All hope left me as I fell completely to the ground. I didn’t know what would have happened if it did hit its face but missing it was the ultimate low. My arm was throbbing, my lungs were on fire, and my ankle couldn’t take my weight anymore.
No sound left me as I accepted my death.
I wish I’d told Reece how I truly felt.
And then, refusing to see it coming, I shut my eyes.