The creature’s eyes dart back and forth between me and Ryker, as if taking its time, contemplating who to kill first. Ryker takes advantage of its hesitation, shoving me away. “Dani, go! Run!” The command is raw and guttural, impossible to ignore.
I take off, running as fast as I can toward the school. Adrenaline rushes through my bloodstream like a bomb went off inside me. There is no thinking. I have tunnel vision. All I see is the grass in front of my feet. The door that leads to sanctuary inside the school building. All I hear is blood pounding inside my skull and the rush of air as it bursts in and out of my lungs. It’s as if I’m breathing fire.
I’m halfway there. He said he’d be right behind me. I can’t hear him. Where is he?
I risk a glance back, over my shoulder. I expected him to follow. When I look behind me, I see he’s still staring the creature down. He has a dagger in one hand and he is slowly circling the monster, waiting for it to strike.
Shit. What is he thinking? Is he trying to buy me time? I don’t need more time. I’m almost there. Worse, that thing huge, easily the size of four large men. Maybe it is, because I count eight legs sticking out of the goo.
I slow to a jog, then stop, turning completely to watch him and the creature pace one another. As Ryker did with me, with each step he’s moving just enough not to incite an immediate attack, but positioning himself for a straight shot away, toward the school’s garden.
No. Oh, God. Shit.
I know how this ends. I just saw it. There are more of them, in the garden. Waiting. An ambush. They are here to kill him. Why? Why? Why?
I sprint toward him, away from the school. Away from safety. I can’t allow him to run for the garden. More of those things are waiting. They’ll gut him. Cut him open. He’ll bleed out, blood soaking the gravel path. Just like my vision. No. No. No.
“Ryker! Run! They’re in the garden! It’s a trap! It’s a trap!”
I scream at him, my legs pumping as fast as I can make them go, faster than any track meet or workout I’ve ever run. A terrified part of me knows it’s not fast enough.
I push my muscles to their limit, trying to reach him in time. I don’t know what I can possibly do to help him against that thing, but two is better than one. It has to be. We’ll run for the woods. Anywhere but that fucking garden. Literally anywhere.
“Dani, no! Get back!”
“The garden! It’s a trap!” I sprint, my gaze dropping to the abandoned high heels shoes on the grass. The four inch points aren’t exactly one of my grandad’s shotguns, but they’re better than nothing. That thing has eyes, doesn’t it?
I’m forty meters away when the creature lunges at Ryker. He is looking at me, yelling at me to run.
My heart stops dead in my chest. I yell out a warning, but it’s too late.