It hurt so bad, Chaney couldn’t even scream. It took so much effort just to breathe. Yet, somehow, she never lost consciousness. The Beast carried her as it ran, carried her in its jaws. Her head bounced along the ground, dragged over concrete and grass. When the Beast leapt through the air it bit down harder, increasing its hold on her hips, its fangs buried in Chaney’s thighs, her buttocks and lower back. Still, Chaney knew, despite the pain, those jaws were at any moment capable of biting her in half.
*It wants me alive.*
Her upper body collided with a pine, her shoulder taking the brunt of the impact. Her hair snagged on some brush, sweeping up twigs and dead leaves. The Beast jumped over some obstacle that Chaney couldn’t see. The impact when it landed made her vision go gray, her entire body suffused with agony.
*Saving me for later.*
Her sight cleared. She watched the world zipping past, upside down. Lights, then darkness, then more lights. Nothing in focus. The Beast moved too fast. But she could tell they had left the town behind.
Nobody screamed now. The sounds of police sirens were far away. Once a blinding light had spilled over her and she’d heard the blaring of a car horn, the screech of tires on asphalt. Other than that, she could hear nothing but the breathing of the monster that carried her, like one of those old steam engine trains you saw in the movies. She’d done a sex scene onboard one of those once.
The Beast stopped. Chaney couldn’t even lift her arms, much less try to free herself. Not that she could have done so if she’d had the strength of an Amazon. (She’d portrayed one of those, too, in another movie.) Chaney knew she was helpless.
The Beast sniffed the air.
*What’s it doing?*
Then she heard it, too. A sound. One long progression of many sounds. Screams again. But not the same, somehow. Screams intermittent with laughter. A rumbling sound, like a Weedeater revved up. No, a chainsaw. Screaming, laughing, a chainsaw’s growl.
The Beast began to move.
Of course. The maze. She went every year. She and Marley. Getting louder. Just ahead of them. The Beast heading right for it.
Trying to hold her thoughts together, Chaney prayed to herself. For herself. For everybody else. But she knew God wasn’t listening. Not tonight. God would not hear her supplications.
Tonight, God had fangs.
* * *