Creature of Unknown Origin


Through the trees, I could just make out two figures, grappling, fighting for the upper hand.

The fact that she was still alive, and conscious, was a great sign by all means, but it was only a

matter of time. Ke lman wasn’t a patient person once he had his prey in sight.

I drew my pistol, coming to a stop several yards away before Kelman could notice me.

Given the fight the woman put up, he probably wouldn’t.

With one more roll, Kelman had her pinned, completely trapped beneath him. The woman

struggled, her attempts growing ever more futile. He’d probably drugged her. I let the breath I’d

been holding go.

All movement ceased with the whisper of the near- silent round. Kelman’s body lurched to

the side. The leaves crunched under the heavy thump of his body. The woman scrambled out from

under his cooling corpse and crawled away on shaking hands and knees.

With a quick check to make sure Kelman was actually dead, though the bullet that’d gone

through his head assured m e he was, I breathed a short sigh of relief. This was one man I didn’t

want on my tail. Now, I had to face the woman.

“Stay… away…” the woman slurred, the hint of a growl in her weak voice.

I tucked my pistol back in my holster, approaching her slowly. With my hands up, I tried

to sound reassuring and less like the killer she now knew me to be. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”

She tried to pick herself up but failed to stand. Forced to lean against the nearest tree, she

slunk down, falling forward on her hands and knees once again. I knelt by her side, draping my

jacket over her shoulders. “You’ve been drugged. I’m gonna get you to safety, okay?”

The woman swayed, her body shifting toward me. She looked up at me. Her gaze wavered

as she studied me with as much intensity as she could manage given her state. She swallowed hard,

the last of her strength clear as day in her voice. “How…?”

“I don’t know,” I said, also not knowing what she’d intended to ask . Gathering her up into

my arms, I stood. “You’re going to be okay; I promise.”

Maybe I should’ve viewed her fight against Kelman as a warning, an indicator as to what

she was capable of and what, or rather who , I was dealing with, but those worries could come later

and not while I was hiking back to the empty parking lot.

~ ~ ~

The grainy photographs glared up at me, the poor quality of the gray scale ink a stark

contrast to the printer paper. Despite the smudges, the crossed-out names, and the plain, scrawled

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