The Mind of The Umbra, part 2

The Violent Kill

 

               John woke up in a shed. Not the best choice of lodging but I guess it can happen. He thought of a particularly successful way of exploring his nearest surrounding and staying alive. For all the confusion around it was clear that no person whom is not in danger would voluntarily sleep in a shed.

               It was getting darker by the minute and while he knew perfectly well that the darkness will somewhat limit his vision he was also aware of the fact that his enemies will be less likely to spot him. Later he often thought about this moment of great miscalculation and wondered why it was that such a thing could happen.

               The doors creaked as they opened which immediately froze John's movements and left him waiting in the dark. He stood there in the half opened door and listened. Certainly, nothing that could be heard. His injured leg made any fast movements nearly impossible but there was no choice. He took a deep breath and ventured forth to meet his unseen enemies.

               The second he left the safety of his shed a loud and very unpleasant, angry, barking of a dog emerged from the silence. Still, there was nothing to be seen as it was nearly completely dark. John tried to look around but failed to find anything of use. And while there were several bushes and some forestry there was no obvious sign of a building nearby, except, of course, the shed.

               Barking of the dog was close and getting closer. He tried to pick up speed, heading in direction that he judged to be the opposite of the dog's. Every once in a while a stumble on a branch or a root would remind him of his injured leg, but there was no time to think about something as small as that.

               He rushed forward until a river stopped his progress. It was a great thing to get rid of dogs, a river, but this one would not be tamed easily. It seemed more like an oversized mountain stream rather than a lowland calm body of water. There were rocks, whirlwinds, waterfalls, but there was also the dog. Time to go for it. John slowly descended into the water being fully aware that one slip of his leg could cost him more than he was willing to pay. Meanwhile his ears were giving him a very clear warning of the fact that the dog was getting uncomfortably close and what was worse, there were more than one. A pack then, a pack of wolves.  He tried to speed up his movements in the ice cold water but found himself rather slacking off as he slowly lost awareness of his fingers. He tried to swim, but the current was too strong. John's technique to cross this wild river was adjusted from swimming to semi-crawling.

               Above the water he tried to hold onto the rocks while slowly moving the lower half of his body underwater. It was not until his legs ceased to respond to any kind of a command that he somehow reached the opposite shore. And there they were, a wolf pack, staring at him with moonlight reflecting in their hungry eyes. John, still unable to stand, grabbed a tree and pushed himself up and forcing his body into a sitting position. He needed to stay calm which was, at that moment, a huge problem as the wolves did not give a sign of giving up. On the other hand, his legs were ready to give up at any moment. He thrashed his hands on his tights just to get the blood flowing and as he painfully regained his ability to walk the wolves with a very calm and calculating decision turned to the right and headed for a bridge. Fuck.

               A complication, in the darkness he did not notice the wooden bridge mainly formed by several trees laid across the river. It was some hundred meters up the stream and the moonlight was particularly cruel. Its reflection revealing the bridge's existence from this side of the river, but hiding it in the shadows from the other.

               The wolves were now surrounding him, a half standing injured man, an easy prey. The animals created a circle, there was some five or six of them, each one ready to kill at their bosses command. But one did not seem to be that patient. The smallest of the wolves jumped on John biting his arm but failing to rip it off. John shoved him off with one quick move of his arm.

               The stench of blood made the other wolves go into a craze. They rushed forward, leaping on him. But even though the youngest one was on the ground already, he could feel that something was still licking his newfound wound. He averted his eyes from the imminent danger of the jumping wolves just to see that a three-clawed pitch black creature was licking his wound with a very disgusting expression of self satisfaction. So now I'll die from both, the shadows and the wolves.

               Being at peace with the ultimate end of his life, John closed his eyes. Then he heard a blade, magnificently swinging through the air, ripping it apart.  The wolves, mid air, all fell to the ground cut in halves. All of them, split by a single cut of something extremely sharp, accurate and merciless. The blood was seeping into the dirt, some of the innards which were now lying around randomly were still refusing to give up on life. An animal's heart beating, alone on the ground, made John sick and the shadow creature disappeared as quickly and unexpectedly as it appeared, along with several pieces of the violent kill.