William lit a Newport cigarette and inhaled deeply. It was his first cigarette in a week. He was trying to quit after Sarah had been begging him to do so for as long as she had known him. He figured one more wouldn’t hurt him but with all the stress he had been dealing with from work, he needed the nicotine. The construction contract William had been working although through the union was almost up and about six months earlier than scheduled. It was supposed to be this hefty contract with a large payload as well as a bonus at the end. Yet rumor had that it would be the company’s last. Their particular firm had been acquired by a larger construction business and from the looks of things, everyone around knew that they would be totally unemployed.
The new company was unwilling to pay union workers the same wages as they had been paying not to mention their benefit plans were in still wrapped up in some sort of diplomatic discussion. Nevertheless, William and the other workers knew it didn’t look good especially for those nearing retirement.
William didn’t have the heart to tell Sarah that he would be getting laid off. His plan was to go to his boss and ask for a recommendation to stay with the firm after the acquisition had taken place. However if that didn’t work, he would plead to his union rep to get him some sort of stable work. He didn’t know exactly what he would say to sell himself as a worthy employee but he knew that he had to if he was going to support both himself and Sarah.
A chill surfaced in the air and enveloped around William’s body as he felt a cold breeze blow. He took his black hood on his sweat jacket and placed it on his head trying to shake it off.
William took another drag but held it in as he heard a rattling noise in some nearby bushes. He turned around and saw nothing there. He tried to listen harder but heard nothing else. He began walking again, but it wasn’t before long when he heard a growling noise followed by that same rattling noise. He quickly blew the smoke out of his mouth and began walking faster. The growling grew louder and just before William could blink, he saw a large shadow in his peripheral view run past him into the nearby street. He hated walking near the park, which had so many trees and weeds from years of neglect. It was full of mosquitoes, deer, raccoons and other stray animals. It was also a common place for people to be robbed by drug addicts or any degenerate looking for a fix.
The growling kept on but William refused to stop and check to see what it was. Gradually, the growl turned into a loud howl and made a powerful echo throughout the night. William paused for a moment and turned once more taking notice to the shadow. It scared him so much that he dropped his cigarette to the ground. He eyed the park and nearby surroundings closely trying to see what was out there but knew well enough not to venture toward them. He saw nothing so he bent down to pick up his cigarette while it was still burning.
As William stood to his feet he saw a large beast directly in front of him. It resembled a bear and wolf all at the same time! He turned around as fast as he could and tried to run but felt a tight grip grab a hold of his neck and lift him off of his feet. Its claws deeply embedded in his skin. He screamed out but it was of no use. There was no other soul in sight. William still had the cigarette in his hand and just as the beast lifted his free arm in an attempt to maul him with its other huge claw, he took the cigarette and jabbed it directly into his left eye. The beast howled in pain and quickly dropped William to the ground. He stood to his feet as fast as he possibly could and ran. He had no clue where to go as fear clouded his sense of direction. William’s body began burning as he ran so he placed a free hand to his wounded neck to slow the blood from pouring from the gashes. As he scurried along, William still could hear the beast somewhere behind him. He saw a nearby Chinese take-out restaurant open. He then rushed towards its direction.
Out of nowhere, William felt a sharp pain run from his neck to his back. It was the beast clawing at him once more. However this time it did not stop William from running. He still kept on towards the light of Chinese restaurant. The beast then extended its arm out again towards William as it tailed him closely. It missed him by only inches but in another attempt, it finally grabbed a hold of his hood and pulled him down to the ground. William fell down onto his chest but tried to crawl away as the beast clawed at his back. It grabbed him by his ankle and dragged him backwards. William placed his arms up to its neck to keep him from biting him. But eventually it bit down into his shoulder. William shrieked in pain. He began searching and clawing for anything to use as a weapon.
After locating a used syringe on the ground, he stabbed it into its injured eye just as it attempted to bite into him again. Its blood poured onto one of William’s wounds and started to burn. William paid no attention as he contemplated getting up to flee. The beast howled in pain and fell down to the street. It rolled around in a panic trying to remove the needle. It shook its head in dizziness and continued to howl. William could barely stand on his own two feet but tried to move onward to safety. As he trampled along, the beast appeared directly in front of him yet again. He cried out again in fear knowing that there was no real way for him to defend himself. This time the beast knocked him to the ground. Its wound appeared didn’t seem to be preventing it from preying on William. But as he looked more closely, it almost seemed as if the spot where he burned and stabbed the monster was in fact healed! As William took notice to its build, he all too soon realized that this was another animal and not the one he first tried to fend off. William was ready to accept his fate as he closed his eyes tightly. He did not have the energy to fight this thing off of him too. It hovered over him and sniffed him out yet didn’t attack him.
Soon he heard a howling not too far away in the distance. But as he looked up, it was gone. William heard the howling once more but felt a slight satisfaction knowing that he was alone. He attempted to run towards the restaurant but fell in exhaustion to the ground. He was beginning to bleed out to death. He needed to get to a hospital before he would become a meal for whatever strange attacker that was should it come back. Suddenly he heard the beast howling in pain again. William knew right then and there that it was his demise but as soon as he thought of Sarah, he found the strength to walk again. He stumbled several times yet still managed to make it to the restaurant’s front door. He saw that his blood had made a trail to where he now stood from where he had just been laying on the ground.
“Help me! Somebody help me please!” He mumbled as blood seeped past his lips.
Shortly thereafter a Chinese woman ran to his aide as she uttered some indistinct words in Chinese. A Chinese man also came to his aide as well. The man then proceeded to call the police and ambulance. William felt a rush of relief overcome him as he smiled slightly. He hoped that he would never have to see such an atrocity again. He still had no clue as to what it was that attacked him or where they came from. He tried to breathe as the Chinese coupled covered his wounds with towels. He saw his own blood all over him and feared that he would never see his beloved Sarah ever again.
Shortly thereafter an ambulance vehicle came and placed him onto a stretcher. William after losing so much blood fainted. However he knew that he was still alive. It was a miracle to survive such an attack. Whatever those beasts were, he knew that if he ever walked the streets alone again he would have a gun to protect him in the future.
William felt a burning sensation overcome his entire body. He tried to wake up and lift himself up but found it impossible to do so. He saw lights through his blurred vision and heard indistinct echoes from all directions surrounding him. He could see white light and although it didn’t seem like it at all, he was beginning to wonder if he was headed to heaven. Was he dying or in fact dead? Despite the thoughts of death being his only deliverance from the throbbing his entire body felt, he refused to give up so easily and struggled to move once more.
Again he passed out.
Copyright ©️ 2012 R.S. Lewis