STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
I’m staring into the eyes of a talking black lion, who is staring right back into mine. He is so close I can feel his breath against my face.
I open my mouth to speak but my words are trembling badly.
“I’ve heard of you… You are… You are…” I try to speak and fail horribly.
The massive lion leans slightly closer and reply boldly with these words…
“I am Mane. But who I am is not important, you must leave here now!” Mane says in an aggressive, straight to the point tone.
Now as I sit on the ground, completely awestruck beyond comprehension, I see the other creature starting to stand again from across the field.
“So, you’re the one they call Mane, aren’t you?”
The creature says to him.
Mane growls under his breath and turns around quickly to face the creature. I see the muscles in his back tightening. I observe the grotesque creature shaking the dizziness from its head to regain his balance.
"Hellhound, you have already lost this fight." Mane responds to him angrily.
“Really…?” Hellhound replies in a raspy tone.
“Let’s see if you’re right.”
Hellhound explodes into a charge. I gulp hard. My heart begins to pump faster as he draws near. The lion quickly faces me with urgency.
"Brace yourself!" Mane warns me.
He shifts forward and stands on his back paws.
The thunderous sound echoes into the air as Hellhound collides into Mane. Hellhound is very skinny but very strong. They soar over my body and land near my head. The vibration from them crash-landing travels through my bones.
They immediately begin to scuffle like two rabid pit bulls, yet they’re a hundred times more amplified. I quickly rotate on my back and attempt to crab crawl away from their fight. I watch as dirt and grass gets thrown into the air. But suddenly, as I try to scurry away backwards, Hellhound takes his attention off the fight and leaps towards me. He leaps up with his claw into the air, but before he's able to rip my body to shreds the lion swipes its hand away. I witness the creature’s long nails barely missing my leg and slamming into the soil.
Hellhound reaches up with his other claw. It darts down at a deadly force. Luckily, Mane comes to my aid and swipes the claw away once again. His long razor sharp nails smashes into the grass next to my hand. I swiftly curl into a tight ball and cover my face, screaming at the top of my lungs like a defenceless child.
All I hear is deep growling and constant pounding at my ear.
Boom…boom…boom…boom…boom. My body cringes with every thunderous boom. All I feel is wind from their swiping against my face. Then suddenly, everything settles, yet I’m still screaming like a maniac.
The only thing I hear now is heavy breathing above me. I finally stop screaming and slowly remove my hands from my face. I see the lion standing at my side. His chest is contracting and expanding rapidly.
His eyes are locked onto his opponent a few yards away.
Hellhound is flat on the ground with his limbs stretched out. I bolt upright and glance around myself, and discover I’m sitting on a perfect patch of grass that’s surrounded by claw marks. That’s beyond a close call. Hellhound starts to stand sluggishly on two wobbly legs. His body is covered in bloody slashes.
He touches his torso, observes the blood on his palm, and shifts his furious eyes towards us. Mane lowers to the ground, his muscles hardening like a rock, and gets ready for round two. Hellhound opens his mouth wide and sends over a loud yell. His yell is somewhat similar to a squealing pig. He then backs further away from us, does a complete 180, and take off into the woods. The lion then turns to me, this time with intense aggression.
"Go now!" He yells.
Without hesitation I leap to my feet and run back to school nonstop. I spot two police officers talking in the school lot near a patrol vehicle.
"Help me!” I yell at the top of my lungs, desperately trying to get their attention.
They swiftly glance over at me. Instantly, their posture switches to defensive mode. They jog to my aid and meet me halfway. At last I stop running and try to catch my breath.
"Are you okay?" One of the officers asks urgently.
I try to talk but my lungs refuse to let me.
One of the policemen escorts me into the main office and hands me a cup of water to drink. I sip on the cup of water as I struggle to explain what happened to me.
"You sure it was a lion and not a bear? We do have a lot of bears out here." The cop asks me.
"I saw what I saw." I say for the thousandth time.
This time my voice is a little louder and irritated than before.
"It was a lion and it was black.” I try to explain yet again. “Something else was there, something tall and skinny. And they were talking to…" I stop when I realize that bringing up the talking part may not be such a good idea.
“Who was talking?” The cop asks.
I exhale and reply…
Suddenly a shorter cop walks into the office.
"We checked the park." The short cop says as he walks in.
He then shakes his head and let out a whistle.
"Something let loose out there Rick, badly." The short officer says to the taller one.
"Did you see any animals?" The tall cop asks.
"Nope, we didn’t find anything but a mess."
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Thursday