By the Bite

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It’s happening again. The earth beneath me shudders with raw power.

All around me people pause in their every day moments. Some compulsively grab for a child’s hand, others for their belongings, or for a wall.

A cloth banner falls from the ceiling stating: WELCOME TO THE BERRY MUSEUM

Shrieks can be heard as the plaster walls around me crack. Taxidermied animals shiver in their displays, feeding upon my energy.

Squeezing my eyes shut I try to control my breath.

I must stop it, now before it’s too late. The floor begins to ripple, half dissolving into the air.

Greg! Greg where are you?” His is the only voice that can break through to me.

Sam’s my guardian, my guide through it all. The only friend of a monster.

“I can’t control it Sam, we need to run.” But I know it’s too late. All around me innocent voices screaming out in terror are met with a new sound: roars. I  open my eyes, seeing Sam’s face. He’s scared. I’m scared.

More fell voices fill the museum’s halls. Wolves howl, lions roar and all the while people are screaming.

A great lumbering form of a white polar bear passes close to us. It takes a sniff in our direction and turns tail when a pulse of energy crashes into it.

“Come on! Let’s go!” Sam yanks me away from the spot. I hear my feet sizzle as they leave the ground. Looking back I see a massive circular divot where I stood. All around white hot designs and patterns radiate outward.

Sign of the Tesseract. My mind reels. Only twice has it appeared to me. I try pulling Sam gently back, but he ignores me. His hand is white knuckled as it grips my forearm. He’s really scared.

“Sam wait! The Tesseract! It was here!” At that word he looks back at me. He knows, he already knows what I need to do.

But our progress is stopped. Between us and the nearest exit one alcove remains in our way. Their bodies trapped in a titanic struggle for life and death. A huge wildebeest lifts mournful eyes to the heavens while a savage lion tears into it’s flesh.

It would have been more stunning, if ceiling tiles hadn’t been raining down on it.  Under our feet the ground crackles. It morphs into geometric shapes, striking straight beneath the two beasts. The transformation had already started.

“Sam, we need to run, we need to go. This is the last of the Transformation and you know what that means!” I push his shoulder towards the exit. A few last people straggle out of what’s left of the building. One man fights off an arctic fox that’s attached itself to his shoulder.

“You don’t need to remind me!” Sam calls over his shoulder and dodges past a fallen pillar. I throw a glance over my shoulder. The wildebeest collapses under the lion, bellowing in pain and fear. With a roar the lion falls to the ground, but quickly rolls to his feet. Flames blossom from his main as his coat turns to a jet black.

An obsidian lion.

This is not good, this is not good. This is not good! Feeling it’s telepathy reaching out for me, I pelted for the broken doors. Sam had already made it out into the sunlight.

Good, he’s safe. Now I can do what I’ve needed to do all along.

MORTAL. Roars the Obsidian lion. MORTAL, STOP NOW AND MY MASTER WILL SPARE YOU.

His voice is the sound of  rocks rasping across one another. Embers burn bright as they scatter from molten cracks in his coat. He shifts his paws, and unfurls vast leathery wings.

IT IS TIME YOU VISIT THE UNDERWORLD, MORTAL, AND FEEL ITS RAW POWER.

I tighten my hands into fists, and lean forward. Energy pours into my body as I say the answer he’s hoping for.

“No.”

The fight begins.

 

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