The Biggest Freak in Duskwood

On the night of her eighteenth birthday, Diana Velasquez falls victim to an attack that leaves her horribly scarred and an outcast. Worse still, nobody believes the truth about what happened.

The thing that destroyed her life was no ordinary animal.

During the next five months, the threat in the forest grows worse and worse. Diana has decided she’s had enough of being a victim- she’s going to use her twelve years of boxing training, and her family’s wealth of ornamental weapons, to show these creatures they messed with the wrong schoolgirl. She’s going to be a hero.

Then, she realises there’s far more to the monsters of Duskwood Forest than she thought. Their secret is both a strength and a weakness, but it can’t be beaten by brute strength alone. The more entangled in her tormentors’ lives she becomes, the more Diana starts to doubt she’s doing the right thing. She thought she’d do anything to keep her family safe, but how far is too far?

6Likes
9Comments
1670Views

Author's note

Yo! This is something I wrote under the proverbial radar. Please note it contains graphic bloody violence, as is to be expected of me. Happy reading!
AA

18. The Animals

GOD, I WISH that whole second-chance thing hadn’t been wishful thinking. That lot stood by as Gretchen was slaughtered; they all deserve to die like dogs. I wait for Salem to reach me, standing my ground with my feet planted apart, Louis clinging to my waist with his face pressed into my back. I swing my sword in a wide arc and cut his head clean off; there’s a black explosion and a scarlet plume and he hits the ground in two pieces. My chest tingles with cold electricity. That just happened. Harry stares down at Salem in horror, and I notice two things in a split-second: Firstly, neither Alfie nor William have run to fight me; they’ve run off to hide. I can see William behind a tree, in shadow, curled over on his side. Secondly, Harry’s stopped to pick up two of my combat knives from the ground. His first swipe takes a chunk out of my arm, and his second narrowly misses my throat as I duck and instead cuts a streak through my collarbone; I can’t pivot, because Louis is clinging to me like a baby, making me heavy. I swing my sword and cut a gash in Harry’s stomach, then hold onto Louis’ hands with one of my blood-soaked ones as I grunt and drive the blade all the way through his chest. Harry’s eyes are wide as he stares down, but by the time he looks up at me again, they’re blank and glassy. I force myself to plant a foot on his stomach and ease him off the blade. He’s dead long before he hits the ground. Louis is still crying hysterically into me, long after the clearing’s gone silent.

You just killed two people.

Good?

Good.

Then, I hear rustling behind us. I turn, and I see a small white shape running off before it’s swallowed up by shadows. “Alfie.” I say quietly. “That little shit. ALFIE!

“You won’t be able to stop him…” Louis says. “He- he’ll run till he’s lost us. There’s no use.”

“Oh, really?” I say.

“Di- Di- Diana,” Louis says into my shirt. “I- I- I’m so sorry-”

“It’s okay.”

“No- no, no, no. I- I’m-”

“Not now. Later.” I say, turning back to the tree at the edge of the clearing as I hear a low, pained moaning sound, along with the sound of twigs cracking.

“Come OUT, William!” I say. “Wanna die like the rest of these animals? Come OUT! You’ve FUCKING lost! Die like a man, or DIE LIKE AN ANIMAL!”

“It- it’s no use,” Louis whispers. “The full moon-”

“Shut up. I know,” I say. The noises coming from William have gone silent.

“He’s the one who ki- who hurt Dad,” I say. “Dad told me.”

Louis stays quiet for a long time, and as I listen for more noises, I prepare myself to kill my first werewolf. It’ll be easy- he’s tiny and scrawny, mangy like a sick puppy. I’ll spear him like a fish.

“Kill him,” Louis murmurs. I’m not sure I’ve heard him right. Then, as I’m halfway through saying “What?” I hear another noise. Not a human noise. A wet, gurgled howl. It sounds weak- good. He’ll be easier to kill if he’s weak, even if he was only a-

Suddenly, I yelp and Louis screams at the top of his lungs as the biggest beast I’ve ever seen lunges from behind the tree. Its fur’s golden and unblemished. Its eyes are silver.

I scream and somehow manage to deliver a solid blow to the beast’s shoulder; I move as best I can with Louis dragging me down. William’s not the creature who killed my Dad after all. He’s huge. It’s all happening so fast, and I don’t have time to think before he’s on top of me again. “Louis, let go of me!” I beg, and he does- I shove him as far back as I can manage and aim for William’s heart. I miss, and he snarls and snaps at me with his mouthful of needles. I push him off me and kick him hard, then bring my sword down with all my strength on his back. It barely scratches his hide. He’s slow-moving- still weak from the change, I guess. Good. I kick him again, stomp on his leg, manage to flip him onto his back. Louis screams as he swipes at my wrist and gives me a fresh triple set of scratches, but I barely flinch- I spit blood before driving my blade deep into his belly. My head feels heavy, and in the sudden rush of silence after I’ve yanked my sword out of the beast, I sway on my feet. Louis catches me. I hold him close.

“You alright?” He asks through tears. I nod, then curse as the wolf’s head rears up behind him. Louis turns and goes rigid; I grab him and try to fling him behind me, but it’s already knocked him down. He screams my name as he thrashes under its grip, taking a swipe to the chest, then another to the arm- No. No. It’s as simple as the word no.

Forcing my crushing headache to take a back seat, I struggle to my feet, heft my sword, and yell at Louis, “Duck!”

He stops screaming. “What?”

“Flat to the ground. NOW!”

He does as I say. I pray to God. And then I swing my sword and scream a curse as I take the beast’s head clean off. Blood goes everywhere- straight up and straight down, all over my face and my body and my sword and my clothes. Louis, who’s spared from the crimson fountain by the animal’s enormous body, yelps as the full weight of it comes crashing down on him. He lies there, shaking. I stand and pant for a second, completely coated from head to toe in blood, then get to my knees. I pull Louis free, hug him to my chest and rock him on the ground as he cries. We’re in an ocean of bodies. But we’re still afloat. We’re going to be okay.

“I- I- I…” Louis sobs.

“Ssh. It’s okay. It’s okay,” I say into his hair, close to tears myself. “It’s okay.”

And I’m not lying. I really don’t care… about what he did, about what he almost did. I don’t care.  Not right now. Later, I’ll cry. For Gretchen. For what we both did. Later, we’ll both cry, but now, all I can feel is relief.

Louis gasps on a high sob that hitches in his throat and I tighten my grip on him, staring up at the sky; there’s a dull pressure behind my eyes that only goes away when I look all the way up. I gasp, realising I’d stopped breathing. I’m covering Louis in blood, but he doesn’t mind, so I hold him tighter. God, it’s over… it’s over.

“Alfie…” Louis says.

“Ssh. Don’t worry about Alfie.”

“But he-”

“Everything’s going to be fine.” I say. “Ssh… ssh.”

I can’t believe I did it. I can’t believe I won- I can’t believe I beat them all. I can’t believe it’s all done with, nothing left to fear, no enemies left to fight, no more casualties. I stroke Louis’ hair and let him cover me with his tears as I cover him with blood.  Other people’s blood.

“Do you… want to go home?” I whisper to him after a few minutes.

Still silently hysterical, he nods into my chest.

“Alright. Alright.” I say. “Let’s go.”

I wonder what I’m planning on doing when I get home. Showering again? Yeah, probably. I don’t want Mum seeing the blood. What about all these bodies? Oh, God- maybe we should clear them up first. Do I have it in me to cover up five murders? I don’t know. Actually, screw that- my tiredness is crushing me with a headache, and I don’t know how much more of this my brother can take. I have to get him home. Gently, still clinging to him, I ease us both to our feet and then bend to ram my sword back through my pocket. Then, as my headache reaches a new, burning pitch, we wrap our arms around each other and turn away.

“Do you know the way?” I whisper. Of course he does. He’s been coming here for months and months.

Louis nods.

“Okay, uh- ah.” I hold a hand to my head as it gives a tight, precise pulse of pain that ripples through my body like electricity. “Let’s…”

My eyes roll out of focus and a wave of sick heat crashes over me, causing me to wobble on my feet. Louis lets go of me and looks up.

“Di? You okay?”

“I… I’m fine.” I clutch his shoulder, but that doesn’t help when the pain comes again- a razor-sharp explosion that cracks my skull in half and pushes me off-balance. Suddenly, the ground’s pressed up against the side of my body and Louis’s face is next to mine, the wrong way up. I open my mouth, but the pain comes again- this time, it twists my throat inside my neck and knits my guts into an impossible knot. I gasp, but no sound comes out. Louis’ mouth is moving, but his words aren’t breaking through the barrier of pain- it’s white-hot, filling my whole body, crackling like static, burning, wet, filthy. It’s wrapping around my bones and forcing them apart. It’s making the tiny scratch on my hand pulse and twist like something’s crawling out of it.

The scratch on my hand- where did that come from? So many injuries, so little time. I think it came from Harry.  From that night in the clearing, a month ago. Actually, I don’t think it’s a scratch. No. I got it when I punched Harry across the snout… not his claws… his… Teeth.

It’s a bite mark.

The hot pain vanishes, frozen solid by the gut-wrenching, stomach-wringing, heart-stopping fear that grips me by the waist and pushes me onto my back. It forces words out of my mouth- words I don’t know are reaching Louis, because I can’t feel anything besides the throb of my pulse and the sickeningly sloppy crack-crack-crack of my organs moving inside me. I’m hot. No- I’m cold. No- I’m numb. I’m floating, I’m sinking, I’m dying. No- the pain comes again, and this time, I scream- it’s excruciating, unbelievable, hellish, heavenly. I don’t throw up- I just scream. Louis’ eyes widen. 

“Get… away-” I choke, reaching forwards to grip his shirt and push him upwards. “From… me- please-“

I try to sit up, but I’m bolted to the ground- my bones have all bent in the wrong direction.

“I’m-” I say. “I’m-”

He doesn’t move; oh, Christ; he doesn’t fucking move. Maybe he can’t hear me. When I repeat my words, he hears them, even though they’re softer, flatter. I can hear again, but it just makes everything worse; one elbow cracks, and every nerve hears it and echoes it back and forth through my broken body. “I’m… I’m-”

A werewolf.

GET-” I say, shoving Louis to his feet. I grit my teeth so hard I think they’re breaking. Drool runs down my chin and tears run down my cheeks. Blood oozes from my nose, my eyes. My mouth. I can smell it. Suddenly, everything snaps back into focus and when I shout, my voice sounds gruffer and gurgled. My throat wrings itself out.

“GET AWAY FROM ME, LOUIS!” I scream. “HARRY, HE-” I grit my teeth and push out some sort of grated choked-up wheeze as my insides pulse and explode. When I speak again, every word’s a tight syllable between two sharp breaths. “He- BIT- me- last- last- month-”

Louis is crying again, clinging to my hand, refusing to let go no matter how hard I try to pull it out of his grip. Oh God- I’m going to black out. This pain’s blinding, deafening, choking. My body’s pulling itself apart. And when it does, Louis will die. NO! It’s as simple as the word NO!

“Louis…” I trail off; four of my fingers pop out of place and I scream. Then, the other four. Then, both my thumbs. My bones are stretching, my skin’s straining- there’s blood everywhere. “AH! Louis, Louis, Louis, LOUIS! LOUIS! LOUIS! LOUIS! RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE AND LOCK-“ I cut myself off and whine again, moan, groan, wheeze, choke, scream. “LOCK THE DOORS! LEAVE ME HERE! Wait one more second and you’ll- AH!”

He’s been dithering. Dithering again. This time, it won’t save his life or mine; it’ll kill him, and me along with him. He dithers, and dithers. And as he does, his shape turns from clear to blurry to red to black to fluorescent to rainbow to dark to light to nothing. I blink, and blink again; I roll onto my side, and as the world clears, I see Louis is gone. I go limp and crumple, rolling back onto my back. The stars look pretty this evening. They’re pink and green.

The world pulses, then rolls sickeningly sideways like a wave and tosses me overboard. I heave with the pain and throw up onto the ground, spitting out long strings of blood and bile. It’d’ve been more if I’d been eating properly. Suddenly, I’m an active volcano. My blood starts to bubble inside my veins, burning all my nerves; I’m blind, deaf, numb, mute. I can’t breathe. Then, my left hand starts to tingle and I watch it break and twist into the wrong shape- the bones are smashed inside my skin and I can feel every shard digging into me. My wrists both snap at once. So do my ankles. The pain grabs me and throws me up into the sky and spins me round and drops me; I hit the ground at a million miles an hour and lie there, every breath stabbing me in the neck, every pulse of my heart snapping off a rib and pushing it outwards. I’m a bag of broken glass.

I gasp, my mouth wide open- too wide open. My bottom jaw touches my chest. My top jaw pushes up into my brain. My mouth fills with blood. My gums are burning and my teeth are popping out, one by one by one. Spattering the soil like raindrops. I scream again, but this time, all that comes out is a chattered, gurgled, mashed-up howl. I can’t see- everything’s black- but I know my face isn’t the right shape anymore. The hinge of my jaw is screaming a hundred neon shades of bloody murder and my eye-sockets are dissolving. I can’t breathe through my nose. Then, suddenly, at the tip of my tailbone and the nape of my neck, my spine starts to tighten. No- it’s not tightening; it’s lengthening. I howl. My back arches, then crumples, then flips me sideways and smashes the ground into my face. I open my eyes, and suddenly, I see them. My eyes… reflected in the blade of my sword. They’re black- all black, bleeding black- and far too wide. One iris is the colour of autumn and the other’s the colour of watery sunlight. How pretty, I think, as my spine breaks into five hundred pieces and the tendons tauten like a whip. My spine snaps straight again, rolling me onto my back and forcing my whole body to arch. As it does, I see ribs sticking out of my stomach like chunks of shrapnel. I’m numb. I’m numb, as everything fades from neon to black. My fingertips still hurt- the pain’s electric and sharp and hot, like a paper cut. My skin’s starting to tear at my joints, like tissue paper, spilling the liquefied mess of what’s left of me onto the soil. And once it’s all gone, once there’s nothing left of Diana inside that twisted shell, her mind trickles out through her ears. Her last thought is of her little brother, running through the woods by himself as he’s stalked by a dark-haired monster with one gold eye and one yellow one. That thought doesn’t last long, because suddenly, my neck contorts and my head snaps sideways and the next thing I know I

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...