Chapter 10: Let Fate Decide
It was almost like the roof was collapsing. Everybody was running for their lives, swarming the emergency exits until nobody could squeeze through. The screaming and shrieks that came along with the bedlam was just absolutely horrendous. Unfortunately, all I could do was add to it all. A creature from legend was pinning me to the platform on the stage. The crushing weight forbid me to move; therefore, I couldn't escape. By now, my legs were crumpled. I couldn't feel anything from the waist down.
The stage was completely bare of other people. They were all either with the audience, who were climbing over each other like a horde of hungry ants, to get out of the building, or they were already running through Jamanakai Village, shouting about what was happening and that the Serpentine have attacked their village yet again. I was left to fend for myself, nobody taking a risk to fight the giant snake off me. For all I knew, this was the end. There was nothing to save me now. My legacy would be the only trace of my life in the years to come. I just hoped my friends knew how much I valued them in my life and that I loved them all.
Jen desperately fought her way through the crowd, screaming every time she was touched or went through someone. Eventually, she found an invisible hiding place, one that would protect her from being touched and the panicking crowd. That was the last I even saw of her.
The music speakers that were chained all over the ceiling thundered as they fell to the floor. Splatters of blood gushed from the corner of my eye when an innocent person got chosen by pure chance to perish underneath the weight of a speaker. The sight flipped my stomach enough to make me start clawing the floor in a desperate attempt to save myself. There were many speakers dangling right above me. At any moment, they were going to come down on me like the other victims.
Freckled white lights suddenly gleamed over the room. I could feel the floor violently vibrate in random intervals. Screaming increased. Massive scaly bodies flew through the holes in the ceiling. They crashed on top of people, murdering them, and then went for more. Some blocked all the exits. Soon the people had no way to escape.
Blue Serpentine with legs herded the people together in the audience area. The murders stopped.
"You…" an unsettling animal-like voice rasped above me. The weight of the tail lifted from my back. Scaly hands grasps my sides, making me feel like a limp doll more than anything, and lifted me into the air. My legs dangled beneath me.
"Is it actually her?" a hushed voice asked.
"I don't know," another answered.
A serpentine with gray scales going down its arms guided two children – a boy and a girl – towards me. They both wore sweatshirts. The blonde-haired boy wore black and the brown-haired girl wore hot pink. Poorly painted skeletal ribs were on the front of them. I couldn't pick out any similarities between their faces. The boy had green eyes while the girl had brown. The boy's cheekbones supported his unusual menacing look and the girl's cheekbones flowed with her cheeks like the sides of an egg. The boy's nose still seemed young, as if it would become more predominant when he was older; the girl's nose was kind of wide at the bottom, but gradually sloped into a skinnier bridge. These two weren't siblings whatsoever.
The girl gasped when she was close enough to see more of my features. She reached a hand out towards me to get a touch of my soft skin. I swiped my hand away before she could do it, though. I didn't know what was going on, but I am now paralyzed from the waist down, and the snake holding me up was the cause of that. I didn't know what these two kids had anything to do with this.
"Isss thisss your target?" the snake with gray scales asked the girl.
"Yes, Skales…Good work," she replied, taking a step back from me.
"Who is she?" the boy asked.
"What are you talking about?" she retorted, turning to face him. "How can you not know who she is? This is Macca Soxx! I can't believe she's right here in front of me–"she approached me again, this time lightly stroking my arm "–and to think we'd actually capture her." A wicked grin covered her lips.
"But how can someone like this be the perfect alpha for the pack?" the snake holding me asked the girl, giving me a violent shake that made my legs limply swing. "Ssshe isss merely a moussse compared other ssstrong men in thisss room."
"Slithraa! Don't question my orders!" she commanded. "Just do it! Hypnotize her!"
"Asss you wisssh…"
I was turned around, facing the monstrosity of a serpentine. Its big red eyes bulged out and darted around, almost as if they couldn't focus properly. The long, white fangs hanging out of its mouth glared the reflecting light off of them. The shape of its head reminded me of a rattlesnake. Yellow and black scales decorated both sides of its head.
The word "hypnotize" rang in my mind. What was happening to me?
"No!" someone screamed.
My heart sank.
"Don't hurt her!"
A hiss echoed up to the stage. Trent was pinned to the ground as he tried to fight his way past Serpentine who were keeping the remaining people grouped together.
The snake holding me – Slithraa – didn't allow me to even look at Trent. Its darting eyes finally focused on me. No, they channeled me in to some kind of unnoticeable trace.
The whole room dissolved from around me. It was only the snake and me. It spoke words that I couldn't hear, but I could comprehend. My human instincts suddenly changed. I regained feeling in my legs as my blood flow quickened.
My entire existence was no longer human. My fingers and toes flexed. What I felt were furry paws. Claws dugs into its scales, trying to puncture them for blood to surface. My mouth was extended out into a muzzle and canine teeth hung from my lips. They were ready to tear into flesh and mutilate prey.
Slithraa dropped me as soon as I snarled. Naturally, I landed on all fours. My hind legs were now able to jump very powerfully. I whipped around, my vision crimson red, and faced the two children. The girl's grin widened. She looked at me with a look in her eyes. The only message I could get from it was that she was my leader, so I waited for my orders.
"NO! MACCA!" Trent screamed even louder.
"Hypnobrai! Finish the job! Create the pack!" the boy commanded the Serpentine.
And all at once, the Serpentine began putting the rest of the hostages into the mysterious trance. The people who were originally rebellious to save their own lives stopped fighting back. They all stood still, letting their human instincts escape their minds like I did. When the transformations were complete, everyone fell onto all their limbs, snarling like predators.
I leaped off the stage and into the newly formed pack. I landed gracefully with a distinct thud. Everyone in the pack looked at me with their crimson glares. Trent circled around me, investigating me to see if I was actually his friend. I growled at him to get back in the pack, because I was their alpha; I was their leader, while I took orders from the girl. I would do whatever she wanted.
Something hard landed on my shoulders and bit into my curly hair. I threw my head into the air and howled, shaking the member of the pack from me. She slid across the floor on her side, crashing into other members. I was ready to charge her as she returned to her paws.
"They can't fight each other!" the girl shouted at Slithraa. "They have to go attack the village!"
"Patienccce," the snake with gray scales on its arms reassured her. "Your chosssen alpha isss jussst being challenged in order to take the posssitttion. You want your plan to sssuccceed, do you?"
The girl looked at the boy for a second. He just shrugged at her. Finally, she slumped her shoulders.
"Fine," she grumbled.
I recognized my attacker to be Lily. A little bit of blood oozed from my scalp from the bitemark she left behind. This angered me greatly. How dare she attack her alpha?
She leaped through the air to attack again. Easily, I crouched to the floor, getting my hind legs into position, and pounced. I struck her directly in the chest and she landed on her back. My claws slashed across her face and pressed into her throat. Her feet dug into my belly and threw me off. Next thing I knew, she was on top of me and was trying to bite my face. I rolled us over and bit into her shoulder as hard as I could.
Her yowl of pain pierced my eardrum. I released her and threw her to the side. Andre found her as she pathetically whimpered. He sniffed her new bleeding wounds across her face and shoulder.
The rest of the members looked at me with admiration. Linus emerged from the group, his shirt torn, and found my side. Trent licked my cheek. Without making a sound, I turned away from the pack to look at the girl. She nodded at me and gestured towards one of the emergency exits. Two Serpentine opened the doors. I took it as a sign of being set free.
"Attack the village!" the boy commanded from beside her.
The pack howled all together in response. I took the first initiative and sprinted out of the building and into the freezing cold village on all four of my paws. The loud thumping behind me let me know the pack was closely behind me. Together, we traveled up wide stone stairs until we spotted movement. Any movement would be eliminated. I was ready to take down my prey, to rip it apart until it no longer twitched underneath my hot breath.
Screams began ringing from different directions. A window shut. A door slammed…A mother pulled her son into a house!
I ran past that house, but a few members rammed the door and scratched at it to get inside. The rest energetically followed me through an alleyway. It opened up into a larger area, one that had bright red awnings and wooden stands. Many screams sounded from this area. I found the motherlode.
People were trying to save their fresh produce from being destroyed. They were too late, though. Members of the pack pounced on them. I didn't waste my time. This was only the beginning of our attack.
I continued the journey through the swarming area. We went up into an even bigger area. It was vast and had a majestic fountain off to the side. More villagers were trying to get their belongings inside their homes. Panic rumbled through the courtyard at the sight of my pack. Our tongues licked our lips with the imaginary taste of blood filling our mouths.
I yowled for the pack to assail the premises. I didn't care how many people they killed or how much damage was done. All I wanted to see was mass destruction.
The pack swarmed the entire courtyard. I remained where I was to watch.
Men and women were taken down and slaughtered. Children cried and screeched. Front doors to houses were rammed down. Pack members flooded the homes to hunt down the hiding families. I sprinted over to a recognizable house and clawed into the front door deeply. Silence came from inside, so I wasn't sure if anyone was home or not.
After retreating to the center of the clearing, I realized I was being followed. I turned to find two complete strangers at both sides of my haunches. They were both female. I snarled at them, expecting another surprise attack, but they both lowered their heads and remained still. I backed off my defensiveness. They were being loyal, not aggressive.
I shrieked and howled in surprise when something massive landed on me. Traitors! They deceived me!
Their growls filled my ears. Whoever was on me kept a tight grip on my clothes to keep me still. I could feel him/her struggle. Then I saw the strangers trying to fight my attacker, not fight me. They were trying to protect me.
The person holding me fell over. The strangers pounced on him/her. At the same time, I writhed and squirmed to get away. My claws scraped the tile underneath me to find something to help me pull myself free.
I was pulled across the tile unexpectedly. My frantic breathing inhaled something misty and…sweet. My muscles relaxed. My brain went blank. My eyes drowsily shut, leaving me to go limp.
From my subconscious state, I knew I was leaning back against someone as he propped me up. His hand stroked my hair out of my face. The way he was holding me was somehow comforting…gentle. My head rested against his shoulder while his hand wrapped around my stomach. I felt as if I could stay here forever.
Colors blocked my view. They were odd colors to be seeing, too. Colors that weren't usually used in Jamanakai Village. Before I drifted away completely, I saw they were blue, black, and red…