by Jeremy Mac
Ever since my twins were born it seems like I haven’t had any time for myself, with the constant feeding and nurturing and all, motherly things you know, and now that they were nestled down and fast asleep I wanted to enjoy some much needed me-time.
After a quick bite to eat, I treated myself to a nice, long, soul-soothing bath and then afterwards I went for a peaceful stroll in the front lawn. The day was sunny and warm with a light breeze slowly pushing a few clouds across a baby blue sky. A perfect spring day. Before giving birth to my little ones I often took advantage of days like this by going out and hanging with friends all day, doing whatever I pleased. I was quite the free spirit, and although I wouldn’t have considered myself a totally loose and unscrupulous individual, I admit that I did like to enjoy the casual partner every once in a while. Which I guess you could say that that kind of lifestyle is what got me pregnant to begin with. And then once that happened, oh my, how my life suddenly changed. No more ME ME ME. It quickly became all about my babies, and now they were my only true joy. How I loved them so.
Normally I am very alert and well aware of my surroundings, but for the past few moments my mind wandered off into such deep nostalgia that I didn’t realize something was stalking me from within the bushy shadows. I was walking in the tall grass at the perimeter of the yard when a searing pain shot through my back. It happened so fast that I didn’t have the time nor the breath to utter a sound. It was all I could do to turn my head to find myself staring into the beady yellow eyes of a ghastly creature colored in deep shades of grey. Its nose was a small, fleshy, black orb with two flared pits, and a multitude of wrinkles creased its face as the gnarly egress of its mouth drew back from pink gums to reveal a row of the most monstrous fangs I had ever seen. It was then that I remembered the stories. I had been warned but I’d never given them much thought. I always believed them to be exaggerations. But now I knew for a fact that they weren’t exaggerations at all, they were just as real as this green earth we all lived on.
It pounced onto me and sank its teeth into one of my legs; my flesh tore open and before the pain fully registered, I heard the sickening sound of my own bones splintering. The creature was not merciful, it played with me. It got up off of me and, crouching low, made a slow circle around me, staring me down with fierce intent as a sound came from it; a low rumble resounding through its neck and idling ominously just beneath its head. I could feel its vibration through the ground, it spoke volumes, as if to say: Go ahead. Try to flee. I dare you.
My leg was torn, bleeding and crooked at a horrific angle with bone poking out of the skin. The pain was so severe that I thought that I might pass out but I knew that I mustn’t let that happen. I had to fight. I had to fight for not only my life but, most importantly, for the sake of my babies’ lives. My other leg was unharmed, so I knew that my only hope was to brace my back firmly to the ground and, with all my might, kick this hellish creature in the face and hope beyond hope that it would be enough to at least stun it so that I might hobble away before it could counterattack.
But just as I was about to take position, as if it sensed what I was planning, it was on me. It swatted me with its razor sharp claw and then held me down onto the green grass now speckled red with my own blood. It held me there for several long seconds, those powerful pointed claws like red hot pins pulsing deep into me. I could see the creature from the corner of my eye, its large demonic head, looming over me, curiously observing me as if I were an oddity and my very existence was to bring it pleasure through my pain.
Finally, it ebbed off me, watching me with morbid indifference as I feverishly tried to get up, my limbs twitching all over, until it batted my vain attempts back down to the ground. As it swatted me from side to side all I could think about were my babies. What will happen to them? They’ll be so alone and vulnerable. Will they suffer the very same fate as myself? The devastating thought was my last as its long pointed fangs encircled my head and crushed into my skull, sending me into a deep void of darkness from which I will never leave.
* * * *
The creature was female, and like many as herself she took great pride in her hunting skills. She’d had many victims and hunted mainly for sport, and although her victims differed within a wide range of species, she adulated herself for the hunt-kill of this particular kind. With it clenched between her sharp teeth, she entered her domain. The others were sure to be inside and she loved to flaunt her kills.
As she entered the largest area of their living quarters the youngest of them emerged at the same moment through the halls vast entrance, opposite of her. When he saw her his pace slowed and his eyes narrowed as he considered what she had brought inside. Once he understood what it was, he sighed exasperatedly. With nothing more that could be done, he lifted his head and yelled, “Mom! The cat killed another bird!”
Jeremy Mac is a multi-genre fiction author with three novels, one novella, and several short stories and poems to his list of writing credits. His short stories and poems have been published in Horrified Press's X4 anthology, Devolution Z, Down in the Dirt, Conceit, Ascent Aspirations, The Ultimate Writer, Spontaneous Spirits, The Bracelet Charm, The Enchanted File Cabinet, Transcendent Visions, Struggle, and Dead Snakes. An avid lover of sand and sun, Mac has frolicked throughout the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, but he currently writes from Arkansas. To learn more about Jeremy Mac, visit his Facebook page @:facebook.com/jeremymac.author
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