There was a deathly silence in the midst; it seemed a little too odd for comfort, and he stood his ground, his face writ with tension. He switched off the torch, and sat on one knee, placing it besides him. He held his breath, the machete held tightly, waiting for something to happen. He remained in that posture for some time, ignoring the numbness which was slowly creeping up his legs.
He heard the sound, but was a fraction late. A huge creature burst out from the bushes behind him, sending him sprawling to his side to avoid being trampled. He barely had time to recover from his position and failed to get sight of the creature. But he didn’t have to worry about it, for another creature sprang out from the thicket, apparently in pursuit of the first one. However, the thing came to a grinding halt, as it detected his presence. It turned to him, and he saw a living nightmare.
It was nothing he had ever seen before. The thing stood about 5 feet high; on its legs it could easily reach 9 feet in height. It possessed the face of a hyena, including the gruesome jaws; but its body was akin to that of a wild cat’s – a combination of tough sinewy muscles and nimbleness to outrun and out-jump its prey. Whatever it was, one must make sure he/she didn’t have to face it.
The thing assessed him, taking a gigantic stride with each step towards him. He backed off, drawing on his martial arts skills and his toughness to try and get him out of this tight spot. The PG226 found itself in his left hand, as he waited for the thing to prepare its assault. The hyena-cat beast let out an ear-splitting snarl and leapt towards him, its powerful jaws waiting to taste human chow. He rolled to the left out of its path, but not before slashing the machete against the underside of its belly when the animal was still in motion. The momentum of its leap caused the sharp weapon to make a deep cut in the belly, and he felt the warm red liquid pouring down the machete onto his hand. The creature let out a hideous shriek, the blood pouring onto the ground from the open gash.
Things were not looking right for him, and the thing was going to finish him off in a frenzy of rage. He made a dash for the two giant trees a few meters ahead, and felt the ground shake as the creature dashed after him. He stopped, whipped around in an instant, and fired his pistol at the creature’s legs. The bullets hit the thing’s legs and chest, and halted its furious chase, but only for an instant. It struggled up on all fours, and its bloodshot eyes continued to fixate on him, slobbery saliva drooling from its agape mouth. It let out another roar, and ran at him again.
He was running out of options, and continued for the trees. However, a huge shadow blotted out the moonlight, and the beast appeared in front of him the next moment. Startled, he fell back on his behind. The creature took a great lunge at his legs with its jaw, but he did a somersault on the ground, lifting his legs over him and getting up on the surface in an instant. He thrust the machete at its face, and the steel met flesh, making a mark on the creature’s snout. The creature snapped at the machete, getting a firm grip on the weapon, and fiercely dragged it away from his hands. He held on to the weapon too tightly, and the momentum caused him to fly back a few feet towards the middle of the clearing, falling hard on his back.
Dazed, he sat up and cleared his head; the machete rested somewhere in the bushes; the gun was near the beast; he was defenseless now. The beast stared at him hungrily, a triumphant look on its eyes; he scrambled backwards on his legs, his hands searching for something to fight it off. He heard another roar, and at the same time his right palm felt something cold. The next instant, the creature was on him, its jaws ready to take off his head. But he was faster – he shoved the huge torch into its mouth, trapping its jaws wide open.
The creature left him alone for an instant, maddeningly trying all it could to wrench the torch embedded between its jaws. He didn’t hesitate for an instant, and ran to the spot where his pistol laid. He took aim and fired shots into the creature’s hind knees, causing it to collapse hard on the forest ground. He walked to where it laid, and aimed the gun at the spot between its eyes. “Eat this!” he murmured, as the gun shot echoed through the woods.
The ordeal over, he heaved a sigh of relief and inspected himself. He grimaced at the amount of blood on his hand, which thankfully wasn’t his. Opening up his backpack, he fished out a few things. He changed from his perspiration soaked and torn shirt into a clean crisp white one, and dressed up the bruises on his thighs and left elbow. He searched the area for his machete, found it nestled in a clump of thorny bushes, and cautiously extricated it from its place. When he was ready to carry on, he went to where the dead beast laid, and gave a curious glance at the strange specimen. He tried to take out the torch from the thing’s mouth, and was able to do so only after prying open the thing’s jawbones with a sickening crack. A glance at his watch told him it was 18 minutes to midnight. He had to find the place Henry was last found at, before dawn broke.