It had been months since Haifa had been in Jack’s head. Unlike any previous foray into his mind, this last time had been a Hoffmann sanctioned attempt to awaken any latent abilities in the chosen agent’s mind. In Jack’s case it had been a natural tactical and investigative insight. Haifa explained to him that it was likely why he was a good police officer. He could think like a suspect. It helped him dissect and deconstruct crime scenes With great effort and more concentration sometimes he could see things happening slow motion. ‘It will seem like the world has slowed down but you haven’t," she told him. Very few people, she explained, had these types of abilities. She had found them in him when she protected him from Agent Thorn’s attempts to control Jack through her. She had informed Hoffmann and they asked Jack to allow her to try. He had been very reluctant given the strange “residue” she left in his mind before. And she knew everything he knew. Everything. It was unsettling.
Since Haifa awakened this dormant part of Jack’s brain he had been having trouble. That’s not to say it wasn’t advantageous to have these abilities. In a sense they weren’t really new. They were just upgrades to what he considered natural aptitudes. But in many ways it was more than Jack could handle. The best analogy he had come up with to explain it to Anna was that it made his mind work too quickly. Like trying to push too much water through a smaller hose at a higher rate. He physically felt the strain in his head. Deep down he worried that his mind couldn’t take it. Worse yet, what happened when the hose failed.
But for the moment that was all set aside. As the abomination of a creature bolted toward Anna and him it suddenly slowed down. He heard his heart beating at normal speed but a much slower thumping lay underneath it. It was Anna’s heart. He could hear it. The wailing of the creature charging toward him slowed down like a record player running at too slow of a speed. But no heartbeat. It was dead. And that was bad.
Worse than bad.
Jack needed Anna to move and he hoped she knew it. She had to commit to an action so that he could position himself to keep her safest. He stepped forward to buy her a second but she was already moving. He saw the creature’s eyes flick briefly to her. “Don’t,” he thought. “Just don’t.” Then it’s eyes locked back on Jack, charging the entire time. A stream of thoughts ran through his head. Almost too fast for him to use. It was dead. You can’t hurt it. It won’t feel pain and it won’t get tired. You’re exhausted and your right hand is a mess. You should have had a gun. You’re stupid. So very stupid.
But it’s dumber than you. And that’s very good.Jack dropped his left shoulder just as it slammed into him catching it just below the sternum. If it had been able to breath it would have briefly lost that ability. Anna took the opening to head for the door. Jack quickly wrapped his arms around the attacker and briefly lifted it up off the floor. He needed to take away it’s leverage. Once that was handled he slammed it right back down onto the floor with all the strength he could muster. if it had been human that fight would have been over right there. The beasts head hit the ground right after it’s shoulders. It whiplashed so hard into the floor that the back of it’s skull flattened with a resounding “crack”. Pus and ooze splattered out around the wound.
“You killed me,” it wailed again.
Jack’s brain rattled on. “Significant head trauma. Overwhelming damage will be required. You can continue this strategy for approximately 2 more minutes. Then you will pass out from exhaustion. You will most likely die at that point as it will not…”
How do you make your brain shut up, he thought. Suddenly he felt searing pain in his back.
“Oh,” said his brain. “It has claws for hands. Most likely due to crawling out of the grave. And now that you’re bleeding…less than 2 minutes.”
Shutupshutupshutup. Jack thought. Quickly he levered himself up and pinned the creature beneath him. It clawed wildly at him but he was atop it now and it’s arms weren’t able to get around his back. The feeling in his right hand was back but now it burned with pain. Despite that he grabbed it by the throat and pinned it’s arms with his knees. With his left had he hit it in the head. Again. And again.
He had no idea how many times he had hit it or for how long. When he was finished he rolled off and lay next to it gasping for breath. Every part of him hurt. His back was on fire and something was very wrong in his right wrist. He probably had cuts all across his upper body and his left should hurt like hell. There might also be a tooth stuck in his left knuckles. But all of that would go away. He just needed air. His brain had slowed down and he was feeling dizzy, like someone had almost choked him out. If he concentrated he’d stay conscious. Or he could just relax, slide down into the pain and exhaustion and sleep. God, how he wanted to sleep.
The only sound in the room was Jack’s ragged breathing and the buzzing of the fluorescent lights.
And a strange popping and snapping sound.
“You kiwwed mwwe,” it said as it struggled to it’s knees.