In the Brush
by Noah Micah, 31st October 2022

A twig cracked in front of him, followed closely by garbled grunting, like a human trying to growl. It was closer than he wanted it to be possible. His lungs shriveled in his chest, struggling to fill themselves with air. He rushed to cover his mouth and nose as silently as possible. Every part of his body trembled as he stared at the thing emerging from the brush and into the moonlight.

 

It looked like it could have been a person before. Its emaciated torso is the most human thing about it, its arms and five-fingered hands too long to be considered normal. Its legs were bent backwards at the knee and tapered into long feet that split apart at the front, its toes forming a circle underneath it. They tamped against the hardened earth, sounding like a horse’s hooves.

 

He watched as it gnashed its teeth in its jaw, distended far from the rest of its face, hot breath steaming from its human nose just above its mouth. Its eyes glared from either side of its head, poking from the stringy black hair that fell around its head, restlessly moving around, hunting.

 

He knew in the sinking pit of his stomach that it would only be a matter of time until it found him. He forced every ounce of will into his right arm, slowly reaching behind him to drag his own trembling body away. He prayed it couldn’t hear the rustle of his mangled leg dragging through the earth. The creature continued to move around, eyes scanning frantically in the brush around him, grunts and groans of frustration leaving its deformed jaw.

 

A twig cracked underneath his hand. Bile rushed up his throat as it whipped its head around.  Its eyes glared down at him.

 

Its warbling roar stabbed the night air around him as it charged forward, wind brushing against his face moments before its deformed foot crashed into him.