Sunday, 4 March 2012

Life or Death

            He’s fast. With a swipe of his hand my stake and mallet are gone, catapulted against the wall and smashed like matchsticks. Then his fist connects with my chest. The blow is like a cannonball. It knocks the wind out of me, catapulting me backwards through the air.
            I land with a crack. Then I’m tumbling. Over and over. I only come to a halt when I hit the back wall. Everything is going in slow motion. I’m stunned, senseless. My temples are throbbing and my eyes feel like they are bulging out of my head. There’s a salty taste on my lips too. Is it blood? I have no time to check. He’s already on me.
I look up at him, illuminating his white hellish face in my headlight. There is triumph in his eyes. He thinks he’s won.
            The creature rears up slightly. I’ve seen this many times. He’s coiling, like a snake about to strike. But I’m not done yet. Not by a long shot. I’m too prepared, and I’ve been through it too many times before. In the split second I have left before he pounces I reach into my leg pocket and pull out a water pistol. It’s a small, plastic yellow toy, something I got free with a magazine when I was 10. Harmless to humans. But when it’s filled with Holy Water it is anything but to these creatures. It’s a lethal weapon.
            He’s descending on me now. His sharp canine teeth are exposed. He’s reaching, his hands white and bony, his fingers, long, slender and claw-like. I have just enough time to angle the pistol at his face and pull the trigger.
            A streak of water jets out and hits him square in the face. He jerks back, throws his hands to his face, screams. It’s a shrill, piercing scream and I have to cover up my ears to protect my eardrums.
            He collapses on the ground, writhes in agony, kicking up the long-undisturbed dust. His face is sizzling. It’s giving off smoke. The holy water is like acid to them. And it’s the least they deserve. I have no sympathy.
            But there’s no time to waste spectating. I open my bag and pick out another stake. This one will have to be hammered in with a shoe if need be. I jump onto his chest, rip open his shirt. He’s in too much pain to resist. I grasp the stake in both hands and drive if into his chest. I’m surprised how easy it goes in. The shoe wasn’t even required.
            I can feel the stake pierce the creature’s heart. You can tell, it’s always softer than the rest of the flesh, and it gives easier. He roars and throws me off. I tumble against the back wall, cracking my head against stone. He struggles, his fingers clawing at the dirt. But the damage has been done. It’s already too late for him. By the time I get to my feet his face is dissolving, his body gurgling. Within the space of a minute all that will be left is a puddle of disgusting gunk, the nature of which I’ve never had the stomach to investigate. 
            And that’s it. I don’t give the creature another glance. I rub the bump on my head, wipe the blood off my lips. Then I leave, slamming the door behind me.