Genre: Science Fantasy
Talia hid her face in her hands and didn’t see the Draguman run towards her, but Landry did. He shoved her out of the way and met the mass of muscles and scales head on. Talia scrambled out of their way, watching helplessly as their hands locked around each other’s throat in a death grip.
It would only be a matter of time before one of them lost consciousness, and there was little hope Landry would come out on top. Talia searched the ground for something she could use as a weapon. All she found was Landry’s flashlight.
It felt heavy and solid in her hands as she tightened her grip and approached the Draguman from behind. She raised it high and brought it crashing down on the green head with all her strength. A satisfying crack, vibrated through up her arms, rattling her teeth, but her relief was short lived as the flashlight shattered in her hands. The Draguman let go of Landry and turned its attention to Talia.
The moons’ light flashed off its eyes, paralyzing Talia. It reached out with large hands, grasped her shoulders, and flung her against the cliff face.
The air rushed out of Talia’s lungs and her back shredded as she slid down the rock to rest on the ground. Her eyes watered and she panted for air. A sharp pain in her chest dulled the ache in her back. The tips of her fingers tingled and sparkles danced at the edge of her vision, but she could see the blurry form stalk toward her.
Talia willed her muscles to move as she struggled to suck in more air, but her body was spent and there were no reserves to pull from. She watched death approach and wondered that it was different than her dreams.
The Draguman reached down, wrapped its hand around Talia’s neck, and pulled her to her feet. Sharp talons pierced the sides of her neck. As her feet left the ground, Talia grabbed hold of the arm holding her, She tried to wiggle her fingers between the vice-like grip to get some air. Her heart raced and she found herself counting each beat.
How many do I have left? The roar of the waterfall faded to the background.
A great weight fell from above, knocking Talia to the ground once more. The Draguman was jerked away by Jewel. Talia watched the blurry form of Jewel pin the Draguman down with her strong back legs and then slice upward with her front talons. The Draguman’s scales sloughed off easily and when Jewel brought the clawed front leg to her mouth, something dangled from it. Long and white, the coiled intestines uncurled as she slurped them down. Jewel paused, part of the entrails caught in her teeth. She popped her head upward and the stringy material bounced, landing in her mouth. No one should die that way.
Talia’s stomach churned as the smell of warm blood washed over her. She tried to stand, but found it harder to breathe with each move she made. The darkness closed in and she no longer fought it back. Before losing consciousness, she felt Landry’s arms slip around her and the comforting presence of his mind.