The tunnel of light is receding. Fade to black. Fade to shadows and low light. Ba…bum. Ba-bum. Ba-bum, ba-bum. My heart rate is picking up? My chest feels like a warm waterfall running towards my neck. My sticky clothes are drying. The neck, my throat; feels like someone ran a fan of razor blades across it, yet it feels better and better with each passing moment. My vision is clearing while every cell of my body is coursing with electricity. Fight? Take flight? I can do neither. I’m on my back. Not enough oxygen to feed my muscles.

Something draws a wide paw away from me at lightning speed and I fly off the ground to my feet. My heart jumps from my stomach back to my chest where it belongs and I’m not shaking as violently as I was just an instant ago. My legs are too weak; was I just thinking of running? I can’t outrun this creature. It’s a seven feet tall wolf. I can see its muscles rippling beneath the dried splotches of red matting its coat. It’s primed to do something terrible. And yet I’m alive. Should I be thankful? It seems like it wants to do something terrible to me, but it hasn’t. Instead it’s given me back my life.

“What are you?” I ask, barely able to string the words together without cracking. “Why did you save me?” I ask it down in these torch lit catacombs.

“Sssaave you? I didn’t sssave you,” its glossy tongue slithers. Saliva drips from the blackened lips below its razor sharp teeth. “I want you to know what’sss coming, day walker. I want you to know who the dark belongsss to.” It lifts a ragged, furry hand towards the watch on my wrist, its glass broken but still keeping time. But something is wrong. Pointing the tip of a jagged claw at the watch and imitating the timepiece’s second hand, the beast traces the tick-tocks backwards. The second hand moves ever slower as it winds counterclockwise. Slower, slower; just about to stop.

“I want you to know exactly what’sss about to happen,” the creature says. This yellow-eyed monstrosity of the canine world; the corners of its upper lip lift. Its teeth look like a bear trap. It’s a smile postmarked from Hell. “I have let you sssee the future. The anticipation will make your heart pump more blood to your musclesss and make you tassste more sssweet.” The serrated claws of its mitt draws back. I hear the second hand of the clock roll forward, clockwise.

“I’ve found that any uncertainty surrounding death makes the human body – sssour – to the palate,” I’m informed. Oh, god. No. No, no, no. It’s going to…

Ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum! I can feel my heartbeat in my head. Run? I can’t outrun a wolf. I can’t outrun a seven-foot tall fucking wolf! My legs weaken at the thought I can’t get away. I feel like the fear is going to shake me apart. My heart falls into my stomach. Its clawed fingers are a blur. I fly off the ground and the oxygen in my lungs leaves me like an express train as I slam against the ground.

I should run. Can’t run. I should fight. Can’t fight. Blood is coursing through me from the excitement but there’s no oxygen. My vision is blurring. Now I feel it, my shredded throat. It feels like someone poured hot coals down my throat. And my clothes, they feel sticky. It’s so warm; a sea of roses flows down my chest. My heart; my clock. It’s winding down, coming to a stop. Ba-bum, ba-bum. Ba-bum. Ba…bum. The low lights and shadows fade to black. Fade to black. A tunnel of light opens up before me.

 

All Rights Reserved © October 2016 John J Vinacci

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