Fear is an energy.
When you are truly terrified you feel it rush out of every pore, like electricity and it leaves you empty and trembling.
When the creature reared its black and deathly face from the shadows, I felt that cloud rush out of me. Norris whimpered as tears streamed effortlessly down his face. Mikey banged against the glass of his prison, but only once, terror seizing his muscles. The only one who remained unmoved was Laura, devoid of all emotion, she simply cocked her head sideways and stared deep into the eyeless visage of death.
“It feels nothing.” She said, her power reaching out into the creatures psyche. “There is just a dark and hungry void. It’s like… looking in the mirror.”
“If your mirror had teeth.” I wheezed, my mouth dry. “Lots and lots of teeth.”
Its skeletal arms stretched out onto the ground before it as it stalked into the light, hissing and dragging its claws across the distance between it and us. It looked like a cat; a panther designed by a deranged and mechanical mind. Its limbs bristled with power and strength and its husk glistened, black and bloodied from the wave of humanity it had ended to get there.
The breath burned in my lungs, unable to move as the monster stood and stretched itself out to its full length. Where had it come from, this monster; this skeletal apparition of death? Its kind had decimated a high security military installation within a matter of hours. Now it stood before me, and whatever power I might have possessed froze in my blood.
“Norris?!” Mikey shouted through the glass of his cell, “Norris, you have to burn it! Use your powers and burn it where it stands!”
But it had all been too much for poor Norris. He stood, rooted to the spot just behind me, whimpering and crying, mumbling non-sensical jabberings to himself.
Laura weaved on the other side of me, swaying back and forth, her mind seemingly lost to the void she had sensed within the monster, a coma like state of pure blackness which threatened to consume her.
“… I feel nothing…”
She panted, her eyes rolling back in her head, spit dribbling from the corners of her mouth. Faced with pure evil, we had come to pieces, my own contribution to proceedings being the quivering of my bottom lip and the stream of urine which ran down the inside of my right thigh. Time has allowed me to forgive myself.
“Kid? Kid, whatever your name is, you have to do something!” Couldn’t even remember my name. I had been in all the same therapy sessions as the others, but, of course, Mikey couldn’t remember my name. “You’ve got to get the others out of here! Run!”
“And what are you going to do, hero?” I shouted, my voice not breaking too much. “Fight him with your bare hands? Get a little bit more of that glory love?”
“What the hell are you talking about, kid?” He shouted, still stood back from the glass of his cage.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about! You and your kind know exactly what I mean! With your looks and your sly smiles and your hair and knowing glances and the air that you take up when you walk in a room! Don’t act like you don’t know!”
My ill advised tirade came at a moment when my energies would have been better used in keeping my attention on the seven foot entity before me, but lost in fear and rage, I vented in the only way my paralysed form would allow; embarrassing self righteousness.
“You think it’s easy being me? Kermit didn’t know shit when he said it ain’t easy being green! It ain’t easy being ME and then someone like you comes along and everyone is like, oooh look how even his skin is and look how evenly his hair falls and see how well adjusted he is and…”
I didn’t see it as much as feel it at first. It hit me like a brick wall coming down, the wind knocked from me, blood spilling from my mouth instantly. I landed hard on my back with the monster on top of me. Laura instantly began screaming, her hands to her temples as if something terrible had just been lodged there. Norris just threw his head back and cried for Al Jardine (whoever he is).
Myself, I felt the heat of death on my face as it opened its mouth and a clamp like set of teeth emerged from within.
“… it feels nothing…” Laura whispered.
And I felt something twist inside me.
* * *