Creature of Unknown Origin


6. Mind Meld

I dragged in breath after breath to stop the burning in my chest. Rather than quell the flames

licking at my insides, each breath fanned the fire and brought it to new crescendos. My heart

pounded against my chest, inflamed and swelling with a surge of something I couldn ’t name. I

whacked branches out of my way until I couldn’t move any longer. It was like my body waged a

war against my mind, each vying for absolute control over an unwilling host, a host whose stomach

churned with fear that simmered into horror as the creature of my nightmares flashed before my

mind’s eye . Its jaw snapped. Pointed teeth glinted in my mind’s memory of the nightmare.

Pebbles and the fine dirt of the wooden path I trudged through bit into my knees as I crashed

down upon myself, doubled over on my hands and knees. My arms trembled with an earthquake I

couldn’t even begin to hope to survive. Coherent thought was a thing o f the past as sparks zapped

and crackled against my consciousness. The result was even more vague memories flashing like

lightning behind my closed eyes, leaving me with brief impressions of abstract paintings I couldn’t

make sense of. Every nerve ending cracked and severed, only to rejoin another and fuse themselves

back together in a different arrangement. Every instinct in my mind urged me back toward the

cabin, the feral plea of a survival instinct only half-formed as my body commanded me forward

again. My mind became a slave to the force which drove me onward.

Each breath heaved in my chest. The more my focus sharpened, and the panic faded, the

clearer my sharpened sight became as I all but soared through the forest in the direction my mind

vaguely knew would bring me to the cabin. A low growl rumbled low in the back of my throat;

my lips twisted into a snarl as the reverberating blast of gunfire echoed through the trees like

distant thunder. I followed it, my ears pointed with the precision of a warrior.

Without a second thought, I darted off the path I’d set in my mind and followed the trail of

sweat and anxiety and forced calm. Once I’d found the odor’s owner, I lunged at him. Terror

sparkled in his eyes for only a moment as the light soon fled from them, leaving only a glassy stare

as I trampled through the underbrush and zeroed in on my next target and then the next, the metallic

bite of copper on my tongue an old ally.

~ ~ ~

“We’re pinned!” Delia shouted over the tumult.

“Are we? I hadn’t noticed!” I snapped back. The rippled surface of the cement-filled cinder

blocks dug into my back. At least now no one could say building the wall was a symptom of my

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