The bellow of an anguished shifter echoed off into the dark woods, filling the silent evening with terror. Its roar shook the very foundation of the little cabin where Sinclair and Rebecca stayed. Even though it was coming from a distance, it still had a terrifying impact.
They exchanged glances, fear lingering in their eyes. A tingle ran the length of Rebecca’s spine after the roar died. She recognized it.
“Oh, God, it’s T-Rex.” her face paled. “He is here.”
Uttered a breathless gasp and whirled to face him with frightened eyes. “Phineus is still out there.”
She quickly handed the baby in her arm to her husband and reached for the door.
“No, Rebecca!” he yelled.
She tried to unlatch it, but he grabbed her arm and pulled her back.
“I have to save him!” she bawled, struggling to break free.
“No!” he bellowed. “If you go out there, you will die!”
She persisted, pushing his fingers off her wrist. “But Phineus… If I don’t go now, T-Rex will kill him!”
Putting the baby gently in his crib, he turned to face her, pressing both hands on her shoulder to steady her, and staring into her frightened eyes—as if trying to make her see reason.
“If you go out there,” he gestured towards the wooden brown door. “You will die.”
Drops of sweat formed on his forehead and rolled to the side. He clutched her arms in a death grip. Never wanted to let go. “We have to go now.” he begged, his voice sounding low.
Rebecca sobbed, her shoulder slumped and her cheek became wet with tears. She finally surrendered to his request.
Then a loud thud sounded after the door fell. A figure approached and stood at the entrance. The temperature in the room quickly dropped a chilling few degrees at the mere sighting of him. The haughty look on his white face sent a chill down Sinclair’s spine.
He held his arm out to push his wife behind. Rebecca’s eyes widened when she saw the bloodstain on his lip. The stain only reaffirmed that her son had already fallen prey to this ogre.
She tried to hold back the tears, but the name forced out of her mouth in a loud sob. “Phineus!” then she charged at him. “You killed him, you sick bastard!”
Sinclair held her back and got her under control. T-Rex pulled out his tongue to lick the blood off his lips. A childish cry whined in his ears. His eyes fell on the crib far across. A wicked grin crossed his lips.
“Quick, Rebecca! Take the boy and get the hell out of here!” Sinclair roared.
“No!” she argued, then broke into another sob. “He will kill you!”
“He’d kill us both if you don’t go now with the boy.”
T-Rex removed a small, shiny object from underneath his coat. A pocketknife with a jagged blade.
“Go now, dammit!” he barked on sighting the blade.
Without a word, Rebecca—acting on pure adrenaline, took the child from the crib and dashed through the door into the chilly waft of the night, making scared noises as she ran.
Looking over his shoulder, Sinclair saw that she was already out of the room. Then he turned to snarl at T-Rex. “Leave my family alone, this is just between us.”
Sauntering towards him, T-Rex shot him a venomous glance. “Oh, but we now involved them in this mess you’ve created.” His voice was gravelly and cold.
He rubbed the knife against his palm and said, “I’d make sure your wife watches as I disembowel you.”
Rebecca took the dark, lone-tar road that winds through a large hectare of dead, yet tall trees. There was not a single person in sight, only towering oaks dancing with the gust. Her hands were shaking terribly as she held the baby close to her bosom, chest heaving rapidly. The breeze hallowed in her ear at every pace.
Rebecca suddenly stopped in her tracks when Sinclair’s voice sounded off in a distance. It sounded like he was in great pains. She whimpered as she turned to look back at the house. The child in her arms started to cry, and she tried to comfort him.
Even though she was a few yards away from the house, she could still hear Sinclair’s painful screams. The sound intensified for several seconds, and then it just stopped. She moved her hand to cover her mouth, her legs trembling.
He killed him.
Her heart clenched painfully.
T-Rex killed him.
Rebecca whimpered with the child crying in her arms. She shook him gently to keep him quiet. And it worked. The child quieted down and soon drifted to sleep.
Her gaze returned back to the road. She’d lost the will to keep on running. Her legs were just too weak to carry her any further. She walked off the road, towards an oak at the side, and gently placed the child at the foot of the tree. Her legs buckled as she slid against the tree, then she sat on the ground to cry.
“I’m so sorry,” she whined, glancing down at her silent son, her voice filled with defeat.
She covered him with a blanket and gathered dead branches around to conceal him. Standing up to her feet, she wiped the tears off with her arm, then returned to the road and started running, not away from the house, but towards it. Her feet hurt badly from the rough asphalt.
“I swear, I won’t let him get you,” she muttered under her breath. “Not while I still breathe.”
Startled when she heard a twig snapped behind. She quickly turned and found a grey squirrel digging ferociously in the leaf-strewn ground. She immediately felt relieved, breathing out heavily.
She licked her dry lips, ignoring her thirst and the beginnings of a headache. The pains and sadness leaving her as she continued along the asphalt. Nothing else mattered to her at that moment, not even her life. She will die just so her son could live.
Returning to the cabin in vain hope of saving her husband could just be the most heroic deed she’d ever attempted—or maybe the worst decision she’d ever made.
Just a few meters away from the house, the sound of rustling branches echoed behind her. Turning to her right, she gasped when she saw Sinclair hanging from T-Rex’s hands. He was barely alive, having multiple bruises across his face. T-Rex had beaten him to an unrecognisable pulp.
“I couldn’t let him die just yet,” T-Rex mumbled coldly, eyes fixed on her. “… at least not without letting you watch.”
Sinclair was bleeding profusely on the head and on his mouth, nose broken. He hung from T-Rex’s hand, staring blankly at the floor. Breaths felt short. He found no strength to express his pains.
T-Rex forced his arm through the cavity in Sinclair’s chest. More blood spilled. He pulled Sinclair’s arteries out of his chest, a cocky smile on his lips. The grin on T-Rex’s face showed he enjoyed every bit of the torture.
Sinclair uttered a breathless gasp, his eyes wide and mouth hanging open. Rebecca whimpered as she moved her hand to cover her mouth, watching T-Rex pull his viscera. A thin line of tears flowed from her eyes at such revolting sight.
Sinclair watched in horror as his body was being torn apart while he was still alive. He shut his eyes to the sharp pains and made a face. Thick blood streamed from his chest, his shirt became matted with blood.
T-Rex pulled his heart through his chest, and Sinclair gasped sharply. He crushed the organ with his hands. Blood and water gushed. Sinclair’s head dropped instantly as life ebbed out of his body. Seeing that he was finally dead, T-Rex tossed the body aside.
Sinclair hit the floor with a thud, his lifeless eyes peeking out and fixed on Rebecca, filling her with great discomfort. His face froze in an open scream, expressing the anguishing pain he’d just suffered.
Gasping, Rebecca turned away in revulsion. She sobbed as she slowly turned to see what’s left of Sinclair’s body. His blood had pooled all around him. Her body quivered at such gruesome sight.
T-Rex turned to look at her, his posture straight and his face neutral. “Where is the boy?” he questioned calmly—voice sounding dangerously low.
“Go to hell!” she bawled, glaring at him with scorn.
T-Rex snorted at her rage. “Do you want to die like this?” he gestured towards Sinclair’s body, which lay a few inches from his feet. “In just a few minutes, your husband’s body would serve as food for the creatures that walk this woods. Do you want the same fate to befall you?”
Rebecca was crying, yet she felt furious. She snarled at him, her eyes bloodshot and filled with unrestrained rage. “You would have to kill me before I let you lay a hand on my son, you bastard!”
Rebecca couldn’t understand where the sudden courage to face T-Rex came from. She felt invincible, like she could do anything at that moment. She felt assured that she could take him on.
“Very well then…” his lips curled into a scornful smile. “We’ll have it your way.”
And just then, she understood where the courage came from. She drew strength from the desire to keep her son alive. Her hands folded into a tight fist and remained at her side. It scared her that she felt no fear facing him.
Before she could even stop to think, T-Rex was already onto her—his sharp claws opened to tear her—but she was quick to respond. She punched him hard in the gut, sending him crashing back into the tree behind.
T-Rex quickly got up, a grin settling on his lips. “Not bad at all.” he commended, sounding calm. “Not bad.”
She was breathing fast, chest heaving rapidly. In the next instance, T-Rex clutched her neck and slammed her back against a tree bark, pinning her down. Everything happened faster than her eyes could process.
Pressing her neck against the tree, he slowly lifted her off her feet. “Now, I’m going to ask again.” this time he sounded meaner—perhaps angrier even. “Where… is… the boy?”
Rebecca wiggled her feet in mid-air, struggling to escape his tight grip. She let out a choking sound. Blood dribbled out of her mouth. Then suddenly, she stopped fighting. Her arms dropped and her lips curved into a faint smile.
T-Rex, puzzled by her smile, narrowed his eyes at her. “What amuses you?”
“You really want to know what makes me happy?” she gurgled, and her smile got a bit more inscrutable. “I am going to die today knowing you’ll never lay a finger on my baby boy.”
Just then, a soft cry of an infant echoed. Her eyes widened in deep horror. T-Rex slowly turned to look in the direction where he heard the cry. His smile reappeared.
“What’s that you were saying again?” there was silent laughter in his voice.