STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
I can hear its teeth snapping at my ear and the warmth from its mouth against my neck, but oddly enough it’s not mauling on me. I open my eyes, watching the wolf’s fierce leer drifting backward. Then I see Mane behind it, pulling the wolf by the tail.
Mane whips his body right, lifting the wolf off the floor and flinging it against the wall. An indentation is the end result of the wolf hitting the wall. Sparks erupt from the smashed light switch, making the lights flicker on and off. The wolf stands on its feet, shaking badly like a cold wet dog. Mane prowls towards the wolf, but the wolf is steadily backing away.
Then the tiger comes prowling in, strolling towards the wolf also. The wolf leers at Mane then shifts at the tiger.
“You can’t take us both,” the tiger tells the wolf.
Then Mane snaps at the wolf but it swiftly turns, hurdling over several desks, and leaps through the window. Mane and the tiger lose their intensity. Then Mane shifts at me and starts to stroll my way.
“Stay back, don’t come any closer!” I shout to the lion, but it proceeds to walk towards me anyway.
“I said back!” I repeat myself.
Still he continues walking to me, slowly.
“If I wanted to kill you, you would be dead already,” Mane informs me.
Suddenly his black fur begins to fall onto the floor, revealing bare skin. Then I hear its bones cracking and shifting. It continues to walk as the bones in its legs extends. Now I’m looking at this misshapen creature. It rises off the floor and stands on two legs, only to stagger and fall sideways.
The creature catches its balance by using, what appears to be, a hand to lean its weight onto the teacher’s desk. The desk cracks down the middle by its tremendous weight. All of the papers and pens on the desk slide down and scatter onto the floor. This deformed thing begins to shrink in size and stand on two feet.
Now I see a badly hunchback figure limping like a cripple. Then its body begins to take the form of a muscular man. As it continues to approach me, the limping gradually ceases and its back straightens. This beast has just transitioned from a lion, to a grotesque hunchback creature, and finally to a man right before my very own eyes.
“I’m not the one you should afraid of,” a boy replies to me sternly.
I notice that stern face from anywhere. It’s Daniel from my English class. For the second time today, I’ve witness something so unbelievable that speaking has become impossible.
My body can’t move because my brain just went on standby. I take a moment to recharge my batteries before spilling out the first words that comes to mind.
“What the hell just happened?” I say in disbelief.
"Listen, there’s no time to explain." Daniel says to me sternly.
I feel like fainting but my body is too stubborn to pass out.
"We will protect you," he clarifies.
I glance over at the door and notice three other kids entering. It’s Eric, his twin sister Jessica, and the Goth girl, Maria. Daniel glances back at them as they enter.
“You three, take her,” he orders them.
He shifts at me again.
“Stay with us, you’ll live. If not, you die,” he tells me straightforwardly.
Suddenly he bites down on his teeth as if he’s in an extreme amount of pain. I watch the veins in his neck swell. Suddenly his broad shoulders expand wider and wider until I can hear his bones breaking. Then black fur grows all over his body rapidly. He yells in pain and then his yell coverts into a roar. He falls forward and lands onto all four paws, and just like that he’s Mane once again.
He takes a break to catch his breath as if the transformation drained his strength.
“I hope your decision is a wise one,” Mane says to me, but with Daniel’s sternness.
He then looks at the tiger, “Courage, come, we’ll track them down.”
Mane leaps through the window.
“Catch cha later.” Courage says to me in a smooth way before he runs and jumps out of the window.
The others approach me in a hurry. Maria assists me with a lending hand.
“Take my hand,” she says calmly.
I receive her hand and then she pulls me to my feet effortlessly.
“Are you feeling okay?” she asks.
I gulp and shake my head slowly, gesturing no.
“That’s fine. Let’s get you somewhere safe. Follow me.”
She pulls me out of the classroom. We pick up our speed and jog through the hallway. We start to turn a corner but stop when we hear commotion heading our way.
“I’m telling you I heard a lot of noise.” an old woman’s voice speak from around the corner.
“What now?’ Jessica whispers quietly to us.
I can hear their marching feet getting closer and closer by the second.
“Are you sure it was this way?” a man’s voice replies.
“Yes, I’m sure,” the old woman says.
Their voices sound really close now.
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Thursday