Lamppost. Steam and hissing. Ringing in my ears. One eye bathed in red, I lift my head. Nausea tumbles down from my brain, bouncing off the inside of my ear and stumbling drunkenly against the side of my throat until it falls ungraciously into my stomach like a loose rattle.
The world is rotating, pirouettes on broken heels.
The car door opens, groaning metal beneath my fuzzy hand. Legs don’t seem to work. Knee and asphalt. Not good.
I crawl a couple of metres. Gravel remnants stab my palms. I roll over, back to the tarmac. Hissing. Hissing. What’s hissing? The car.
Bent lamppost. Disorientation crackles through my head. I’m not totally sure what has happened. The tie around my neck feels too tight. Late for dinner again. A blur of fur and eyes. I can just remember a blur of fur and eyes.
Heavy head. The world is dizzy and I am too still. Attempts to get to my feet are useless. Shoes slip on mini rocks. The side of my face hurts, clagged in stickiness and iron taste.
The floor is warm and cold and slick and sweat. My cheek feels grazed compared to the silk smooth road. I listen to the ground, running beats and vibrations. Something shrill that hasn’t petered out yet. Maybe I burst my eardrum.
The car is at an odd angle. I don’t remember the swerve. I remember the wheel and the terror and the staring. A blur of fur.
There are so many blurs right now and so many lights. It’s bright and sharp and out of focus. I close my eyes, but the sensations simply continue. The fusty smell of wet hair and heavy heat of breath. I loll.
I am a child’s broken doll after the carnage of play time, cracked and leaking. Bristles tickle my chin but I do not open my eyes. Blood pounds my head, kneading reality in with vicious uncertainty.
Wetness and breath…
Something is licking my face, clearing the blood from my skin. I open a lid, weighted, drunk. Tongue. Fur. Teeth. Eyes. I close mine again. Grey fur and claws and… not humanness…
A low growl wakes me a little more.
I should be running. I should be scrabbling from this carnivorous beast, but I just lie, prone, too lethargic to even care about life. It licks away life force. It’s probably readying for the kill. Scavenging.
I black out.
When I come to she’s there, curled around my body in some animal fashion, like she’s trying to keep me warm with her heat. I don’t understand. My head is fuzzy and I blink as she nuzzles my neck. “I didn’t mean to run out.” The words bubble and cascade into my cavernous brain. “But there was a rabbit and… I couldn’t resist.”
Her eyes follow mine with luminous intensity. I realise she’s naked but I’m still not sure why. Naked in the road, side crushed into the asphalt beside mine.
“I guess you know now,” she murmurs but I’m not sure what it is I know except that I’m probably concussed…
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