Chapter 6 - To the rock
I rose, quivering again, and began to drag myself toward the dark mass of the rocks. My body keening in pain.
One dragging step furrowing the snow.
I could hear them now closer, even over my ragged breath.
I imagined that I could smell them. The dried blood of a rabbit still cooling on the muzzle of one. They were so confident, that they no longer bothered to stay downwind of me. They knew I was dead, it was a foregone conclusion. The rocks slowly crawling towards me with each step.
Only a few more steps when a howl sounded right in front of me. I looked up to see perched on my refuge the dark outline of my killer.
He would kill me standing on my safety, my haven. My body rebelled and my leg slipped. No longer sure of my forward momentum. I howled in frustration and halfway through it turned to anger. To be denied, while I was so close, it was wrong. It was unfair.
As my cry tortured my vocal cords, the outline of my reaper changed somehow. He was listening to something, something not me, something out in the woods. I couldn’t hear what, my breathing still too loud. I couldn’t smell either, the iron red tang of blood dripping from my nose. I must have broken it when I fell. It throbbed dully. I heard him sniff the air. Something else was on my tail. Shen no doubt come to rescue me from the sweet death of my choice, the teeth of a wolf.
He looked at me. His eyes flashed pale in the moonlight. Teeth bared in a grimace. And then he was leaping into the air. I closed my eyes for the impact knowing this was the end, I wouldn’t fight if he would kill me before Shen arrived. I heard his fur rustle in the wind, then the crunch of the snow to my left. I opened my eyes but he was gone. I heard a howl and then an answer on my right.
No matter, I may still make the rocks. But my leg refused to move. My shoulder throbbed, the blood dripped and then I moved. The cold ground seemed to pull at me. I was heavier than I remembered.
But I knew it was just trying to tell me to make it easy for him.
Fuck you asshole.
I’m gonna fight you to the end.
Just another step. And another.
The sound of branches breaking behind me, jarred me forward. I could hear their teeth clicking in anticipation of ripping my flesh. My fear. I could smell my own fear, I was sweating and I smelled terrible. An acrid stink that would stir the blood of a killer.
I could see my own neck bent in my minds eye with exhaustion like a beacon in the night.
But why toy with me?