Running with a screaming naked woman on your shoulder and trying to get to the door of her apartment before a creature from a horror comic rips you apart is not the easiest thing in the world. Cole learned this usually useless fact the hard way. Red was screaming and kicking with all of her might, but he knew if he put her down, if he lost just one step, they would never make it out of her apartment alive.
An unearthly noise, horribly between a scream and a roar, erupted from the bedroom. Cole stepped even faster. His leg buckled after Red made contact with his left temple. He hammered her behind with the clenched fist that wasn't keeping her on his shoulder. This only enraged her Irish blood, and she began swinging harder and cursing him with names that not even a seasoned dick knew.
“Shut up! I’m trying to save you!” he shouted.
“I don’t want to be saved, you mother fu…”
Her voice froze in mid slur and Cole’s spine could feel a warning from behind. The beast was coming.
Cole attempted to double his speed as whatever ripped through the apartment, as if it were papier-mâché, closed in on him. Stepping to the left, he dodged a little chair. Stepping to the right and jumping, he moved past a mound of her laundry. He tried to make another move, when a black shadow covered his peripheral vision, then his arm, then their bodies.
Red and Cole went flying across the room. Cole’s face smashed into the wall, his nose giving against the rest of his face on impact. Blood flooded from his nostrils and hit the ground before he did. Red landed on top of him and every ounce of air inside of her lungs burst from her jaws.
The room faded to pitch as the two desperate people, two bodies tangled in the face of oncoming death, struggled to separate. Cole looked around to see what was happening, but the sudden black was too much for his eyes to overcome. Then heat began to crawl over their bodies, painful, searing heat. A burst of breath Cole thought must have bubbled up from Hell itself engulfed his face and spittle dropped in his ear. The beast was on top of them.
Cole reached for Red and his hand filled with thick hair. “Don’t move,” he whispered.
Red replied only in screams as the beast bit down on her and lifted her away from his body. The louder she protested, the harder the beast bit. Then its head started to fling her body back and forth around the room, every passing second making her less human and more chew toy. Cole cringed as he heard her bones breaking with every pass. Then Red’s head hit the corner of her table. Her skull split open, almost in a straight slice like cut, Cole thought in the horror of the moment. Grey matter seemed to fill the room and then she was dead.
The beast dropped what was left of Red next to her favorite reading spot and began feasting on her flesh. As Cole watched the once living, beautiful body being torn to shreds, he rose and edged slowly to the door. He very nearly made it, until he felt the almost fiery gaze of the beast on his back, looking over what very well could be another cadaver to gnaw on in just seconds.
He stood stock still as the beast began to circle him. It lowered its body with every pass. In turn, he circled back and began to rise in an attempt to dominate the circle. He knew it was only a matter of time before the damned thing sprang, and his mind frantically focused on self preservation. Then the creature stopped and he with it. It took one step forward and cried out a loud thundering groan, its wail heavy on Cole's ears. Another step forward, its head lowered, hips centered, feet dug into the carpet. It was time.
And then Cole screamed back, the beast thought this odd and slowed just enough to open a window for our hero, and with all of his might he charged. The beast let out a grunting roar and half raised itself to meet Cole, and their bodies locked into one another. The monster's mouth swung open exposing razor sharp teeth dripping crimson as they sought out Cole’s neck. Countering, he dug deeper into its chest. The beastly head tore through the back of his jacket and burned a gash into his skin. In agony, he wheeled underneath it and then flung himself to the wall. And even though her back was exposed for a moment, it was wasted because Cole was not in a position to attack, only kneel and watch. It jerked around, crying out in anger and started for him.
He grabbed the back of a chair and flung it wildly, hoping it found its mark in the creature's face. Its arm fell on the chair, transforming it from furniture into kindling. Cole reached for the top of a bureau and hoisted himself up. The beast lunged against the bureau, long claws raking Cole’s leg, ripping his pants and pulling a shoe from his foot.
Cole climbed higher onto a shelf above the bureau before he looked down again. There below him whatever it was clawed in every direction, breaking all the surrounding furniture in a furious attempt to reach him, a cyclone of supernatural terror.
Blood dropped onto the beast’s body from one of Cole’s wounds, enraging it even more, its incessant clawing shaking the wall until Cole could barely hold on. Choking on his own blood, Cole pushed away from the wall. The beast’s head followed as Cole flew across the room. In mid air, Cole looked to the far wall and his path became clear—the window. It was going to be a nasty fall, but he was dead if he stayed inside, of that he was certain.
As he crossed the space that might save his life, Cole ducked, rolled, sprang to his feet, and ran with every ounce of what was left in him for the window. The black shadow began to encircle him again. Cole swung his arms and dove for salvation.
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"The Book of Green"
Written and Illustrated by Fuller Bumpers