BLACKMANE Chapter 77

He moves. He runs.

He had intended to find Maribelle Tate and Judith Mocker after escaping from the lab. But he had not figured out how to do it. *I should have waited. I should not have escaped until I knew what I would do next.*

The other inside him bristles. It had been the other that would not wait. Would not let him wait. The other would not abide the cage one day longer.

He runs. He leaves the grass, crosses a narrow patch of dirt and gravel. There is a fence, made of old rusted metal (chain-link) topped with three strands of barbed wire. He climbs the fence. The barbs tear into his hands and his right thigh. The pain becomes another voice in his head, though it is faint. He ignores it. He climbs up a steep hill. The rain is falling hard. The grass on the hill is wet and it is hard to keep his footing. He goes over the hill and there is a highway. Cars and trucks shoot past him, coming from both directions. Their tires spray him with water.

He charges. Horns blare, like the bleating of a frightened herd. Cars and trucks and other vehicles that are neither and that he does not know the names for. He leaps onto the hood of a long gray car, then leaps again. The second leap takes him over the opposing lane of traffic and into the ditch on the far side. Behind him he hears the squeal of tires and the sound of a collision, the shattering of glass. He does not stop to look back.

Above him are electrical wires strung from tall poles, and dangling traffic lights that sway in the wind. The smiling faces of two giants, a male and a female, stare down at him from a billboard. He climbs another fence and crosses another ditch. Now he faces a row of houses. He runs between two of them. He is not far from his den. That is where he will go. He does not care if Moe throws things at him.

A fat woman stands in a doorway. Her skin is black, and she too reminds him of the Warumbi. She screams when she sees him, screams like Moe did. He does not slow down.

Another street, empty. The cars on this street are parked along the roadside. More houses. A dog barks from inside a fence in front of one of the houses. A face appears, distorted, in a window. The rain is hitting him hard in the face. The wind blows against him as if trying to slow him down. A street, more like a path. No asphalt, just mud. Trees. Garbage cans. Another fence, this one wooden. Cages and fences, his mind says. This is a world of cages and fences.

Beyond are more houses. But past these houses is the place where the dead people are buried (cemetery) and then the lot of tall weeds, then the playground with broken swings, then he will just follow the big drainage ditch back to his den.

A gunshot.

As he enters the cemetery, a man steps out from one of the houses. A man with black skin and white hair, a white shirt without sleeves, and a rifle. He raises the rifle to his shoulder. A second shot.

The lion-man runs. He leaps over one of the granite headstones. Another shot. Lightning flashes along the underbelly of the clouds. Thunder. A gunshot.

Something hits him. He falls on his face. The pain this time is a voice too loud to ignore. He presses a hand to his lower back, sees blood on his palm. Shot, his mind says. I have been shot.

He tries to get up. The voice of pain bellows in his head. He can scarce hear anything else. It is hard to run now. He cannot make his legs move as fast.

Another shot, another. He is in the weeds now. He is near the drainage ditch. Down in the ditch he will be safe from the bullets.

He cannot run now. He hobbles. He sees the tall slide on the playground. The pain makes it hard to think. Where is he going? The den. How far? Not too far. Just keep going. Keep going.

The ground drops out from beneath him. He falls.

By The Evil Cheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (,, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!

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