Anna reversed her grip on the SIG and extended it Jack. He grabbed it as he ran by.
“Who is in the house?” he barked as he ran by grabbing the gun.
“Wade. He was sleeping upstairs.” As Jack flew toward the house she wanted to yell after him. “Be careful, Jack,” she said to herself. Who was she kidding. He was never careful.
She took off after him.
Jack breathed heavily as he ran toward the house. He was fast, even for a guy his size. But he felt like he was on a treadmill. The house didn’t seem to get much closer. Was he dreaming? No. His body hurt too much for him to be sleeping. He clumsily wiped blood from his left eye as he ran. His hand was still a mess and all he managed to do was smear it farther down his face. He checked the SIG to see if the safety was off and noticed two teeth stuck into the skin of his knuckles.
Gaining the stairs of the house he took them three at a time. Two more steps and he was through the old screen door and running upstairs. There was cursing and a crash coming from Wade’s room at the top of the stairs.
“I’ll kill you!”
He ran up the first flight of stairs.
“Like you killed me!”
He made the turn at the landing and sprinted to the top. He heard the screen door bang open and he knew Anna was running in behind him.
“You can keep saying that but I ain’t fixin’ to die!” Wade’s voice came from the room.
Jack go to the doorway and stopped to quickly take in the scene. Wade and the creature were locked Greco style in the middle of the room. The monster was similar to Jack’s in appearance with a few different details. A old, broken arrow shaft was sticking out of it’s back. It smelled strongly of swamp and sulfur. It had Wade’s large hunting knife plunged hilt deep into it’s collar bone. If it were alive that would have meant it had about thirty seconds left to live.
But it wasn’t alive.
Worse yet, it was bigger than Wade. And just like Jack’s attacker it was persistent with no regard for it’s own well being. As the two struggled Jack saw Wade’s left foot, the back one supporting his weight, slide a little on the wood floor and hit the edge of the area rug. The beast pushed on and Wade’s base gave out. The two toppled over with Wade on the bottom. As he fell back his left upper arm hit the edge of a low dresser. Four hundred pounds of weight was too much for a bone that size to take. It gave with a loud, wet snapping sound. Wade screamed in agony but held on with his good arm. The two fell the rest of the way to the floor, tipping over the dresser and knocking several items off of the shelf above it.
Jack raised the gun and fired once. The bullet struck the creature right behind it’s right ear. It passed clean through it’s head and into the opposite wall taking some of the skull’s contents with it. The beast let up on it’s grip on Wade and turned to face Jack, kneeling astride Wade’s chest.
Two more bullets slammed into it’s skull and it toppled off to Wade’s right and onto the floor.
Jack looked to Wade. As he lay on the floor it was obvious that his upper arm was horribly broken. It had a bend where it should be straight. Nothing sticking out of the skin, but definitely broken.
Anna burst in to the room. She knew when she heard gunshots that Jack would be fine. But she was now more worried that they had reached Wade in time. He had been sleeping off a night out with Mia and there was no telling if he had seen the creature coming.
She looked quickly to Jack. She’d never seen him so wrung out. He was pushed beyond his limits and his body would give out soon. He looked at her like she was wasn’t there and staggered back, slumping against the doorway.
Jack was ok. Check. She looked to Wade who was red faced and gritting his teeth. Jesus, his arm was badly broken. She rushed over to him to help him up.
Wade looked up at Anna, and smiled despite the pain. “I’m much obliged for the assistance. I reckon I need some medical attention. Grandad’s salve ain’t gonna fix this wound.”
Anna lifted the creature’s legs off of Wade. She helped him get to his feet as he stifled a scream. That had to hurt more than she could imagine but Wade wasn’t going to holler about it in front of a lady. As she got him upright six more shots rang out. They both jumped as Jack put the rounds into the body on the floor. It didn’t move.
“Jesus, Jack!” She said, annoyed. “What the hell?”
He looked at her, dropped the gun to the floor and walked out of the room.
She got Wade over to the bed and sat him down. Again, he grimaced but didn’t make a sound.
“Stay here. I’ll be right back,” and she bolted for the door. As she cleared the doorway she saw Jack standing at the top of the stairs. He was facing her and leaning heavily with his left hand on the top of the railing.
His eyes panned across the floor and up to her at the sound of her voice. He looked up at her. There were cuts on his face and upper body. The left side of his face was covered in blood and something black was matted in his hair. The lower half of his t shirt hung open and torn apart. There was blood dripping from somewhere behind him onto the floor between his feet. The look on his face made her wonder if he even knew who she was.
“What you said earlier,” his voice was barely above a whisper.
Her mind flew. What the hell was he talking about?
“We’re good,” he whispered. ‘Same page. We’re good."
“I gotta sit down,” he swayed and slowly sank down. She didn’t know if he meant to sit down on the steps or use an imaginary chair. But before she could get to him his hand slipped from the railing and he slumped back and slide headfirst down the stairs. He came to a stop at the landing on his back with his feet up, unconscious.
She ran down to him. Her mind went in a million different directions. Where was Mia? Is he dead? How badly was he hurt? Where the fuck was Mia?! Were the more of those things coming?
As she got to the land she checked Jack’s pulse at his neck. Strong and fast. Thank God. Then she looked him over for broken bones, not touching him in case he couldn’t be moved. Satisfied that he was not permanently injured she checked him for wounds. His right wrist was badly sprained or broken as it was already twice it’s normal size. He had slashes all over his body. Were those teeth wedged in his left knuckles? With great effort she rolled him slightly to his left and checked his back. Those wounds may need stitches. What struck her most was how peaceful his face looked. He was completely worn out. He wouldn’t be waking up anytime soon. She smiled even as she started to cry with relief. At least for a little bit he would get some sleep.
“That thing made a hell of a mess up here,” Wade said from the top of the steps.
Anna turned to look at Wade, annoyed at his weak attempt at humor.
He saw the look on her face and smiled. “Aw, don’t you go worryin’ on him too hard, Miss Anna. He’s one tough son of a bitch.”
She smiled weakly back at him. He was trying to reassure her and she appreciated it, even if the delivery was off.
“I reckon he’s gonna be there for a while though. I ain’t gonna be much help moving him.”
Anna laughed through her tears. “Let’s get you some help, Wade.” She stood and looked up at him. “That arm of yours is a mess.”
“Much obliged,” he said as he tipped an imaginary hat to her.