They moved deeper into the cluster of trees. The Blackmane crawled. Maribelle felt guilty for not trying to help him. She had been afraid to. The most dangerous animal is always a wounded animal, her father had told her on more than one occasion.
The creature sat down with his back against a tree. A couple of his wounds were bleeding again. The golden eyes closed. The massive chest rose and fell, rose and fell, settling into a regular rhythm as the creature slipped into unconsciousness.
The sound of the engine grew fainter. They were moving away.
Maribelle exhaled. “Shit!” she said. “What are we gonna do now?”
“I’m thinking,” Judith replied.
“Well think faster!”
“I’m afraid no solutions are presenting themselves to me at this point,” Judith said.
“Well, we can’t leave him, not like this,” Maribelle said. “And it’s only a matter of time before they find us if we stay here.”
“I know,” Judith said. “We appear to be out of options. If only his injuries weren’t so severe.”
“If only an elephant would trample Phil Hamm,” Maribelle said.
“Oh, Maribelle, you’re terrible.”
“I’m serious,” Maribelle said. “The planet might be better off without him. There’s something about that guy that gives me the heebie-jeebies.”
“Well, he’s not the type of man I would trust with the safekeeping of a living miracle like our friend here, that’s for certain.”
“So what do we do?”
Judith took a deep breath, a long breath, and held it. She let it out a little at a time. “I fear you may not like my solution,” she said. “For that matter, I don’t like it, either. But a poor option is better than no options at all.”