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The Hours #14

Samantha and I made our way along the edge of the woods in a subtle panic. Throughout the day, we could hear the snapping of limbs as some creature made its way in parallel to our own. With every crack, I expected another demonic monstrosity to leap out of the forest. With every step, I did my best to keep myself between Samantha and our stalker.

Neither of us released the other’s hand for more than a moment.

“Stop,” she hissed.

I froze, my club lifted to the ready, and I held my breath. In a second, I could hear what the dear girl’s ears had picked up on. There was running water near by.

“It’s in the woods,” she said. “I don’t think it is very far, but we will have to go in.”

I shrugged. “We have to have water.”

At the same time, our unseen companions began making a great deal more noise. As the noise grew softer, I turned a questioning eye on the woman beside and she smiled. “I think our fellow travelers are hurrying after a drink as well.”

I smiled and relaxed. “Good,” I said. “Then maybe they will have cleaned out a path through the god forsaken trees for us.”

Within no more than a hundred paces, I was proven right. The thing on the ground was the size of a large bull, but it had green and gold feathers in place of fur. The cow-bird was pinned down, struggling under three hairless rats the size of large dogs that were tearing at its throat and belly. Samantha gasped when the poor things abdomen gave way, spilling its guts on the dirt where the creatures fell upon it in a snapping frenzy. We ducked behind a bush, shared a frightened look, and hurried away.

I could hear Samantha praying as we went.

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