Triggerwarning: cruelty, injury, predatory behavior
Part 5 b
“He was searching for a human child. Your handiwork?” I growled at its gaping mouth and its pulsing tongues. Its tiny eyes fixed on the glowing markings on my flanks. If it had brows or a forehead, it would have looked suspiciously.
“Yes, intruder,” it sizzled with a hollow thrumming in its throat flaps.
“This is not your place.” I grew and towered over the sin-eater, but it didn’t show fear. Either it was confident to match me, or it never met someone like me. “You caused the trouble, took the young and they swarm my forest.” It wheezed, maybe laughed with the sound of rustling leaves.
“Why drag here? Eat there.” One limb pointed toward the memory of the Upper Liberty Trail.
The thing started to annoyed me, and I remembered how irritating my kind had been. I felt my markings brighten and heat rising up my flanks and neck. I let the shadow expand too, so much that the atmosphere around me crackled with frost. “None of your business.” My voice boomed and reverberated from the boulders around. The notion of tearing the entity before me to shreds was suddenly not a bad idea anymore. “Nobody dies here easily, not even them.” I pointed to Frank. “I can tear his limbs apart, I can listen to his death screams, drink his blood, sink my fangs into that beating heart over and over and over.” I growled. Its many tongues drooled and retracted slowly into its mouth. It smacked its lips and stretched an arm towards the tiny trickle of blood on the stone. I saw that its innumerable rows of needlelike teeth stretched far beyond its tongues. It wasn’t going to release what it once touched. I caught the twisted arm and broke it. The sound of snapping and grating bone shards against each other caught the sin-eater by surprise. It shrieked and fell back.
Ennola and Meme moved into the cave entrance, like an invisible wall of doom. The sin-eater screeched and wailed. The sound sent shivers of anticipation up my arms. “Why take a child? It’s innocent.” I barked at it.
It held out the now misshapen arm. “No,” it wiggled one twig finger in my direction. “This half the blood, double sin.” The darkness around me cooed to the darkness inside. I could still have it all… Extinguish the sin-eater in so many ways, and satisfy desire to taste human again. The thing had it coming anyway. I didn’t let it drag itself further away and grabbed one of its legs. It came as easy as breathing. I flung it into a boulder.
With a sickening whomp and crunch, it crash landed stump first on the edge of the rock. It flailed helplessly, but I was just getting started. Would it be enough to crush that venomous mouth? I flung it again, this time it the whomp was sonorous, as it met the ground. I could do this for a while. I aimed and threw the thing once again into the boulder with the edge. This time the jaw was done for. The sin-eater rolled from the boulder, broken, jaws loose, mouth hanging open, extending into its breast cavity.
This thing wasn’t tough, I told myself. A wired feeling made me chuckle. But, since nobody died here easily – something with its age couldn’t be killed. Probably. I had to be thorough. A good beat-up was a good way to start the testing. The leg I had in my fist gave way. I had crushed it without much force. Its bones were brittle, they turned to mush under my hands. The sin-eater moaned, gurgled and crumbled into a heap, leaking black goo.
I jumped to its side to pulverize what was left. Something big and hairy shoved me. Hard. I heard a whine and a tiny bark. That was -“Ennola?” She had pushed me back, just enough to not impale myself on the black spike that grew out of the mangled sin-eater. How did I not see that? Invisible as she was, she huffed into my face and liked my hand.
The sin-eater sat up and rustled a laugh. A series of contortions later, it stood again, bigger and stronger than before. That was not part of my plan.