The road back to the mansion wound up through the hills above the little town for a couple miles. Molly never liked sneaking out to see the Moira women. It always meant a long walk to town and back.
When she was almost back to the gate leading up to the mansion, she saw that there was a car parked at the side of the road. It wasn’t running, and its lights were off. She crossed to the opposite side of the road to pass it.
When she was alongside it, she realized that it was the Sheriff’s patrol car and the driver’s door was open. The Sheriff was nowhere to be seen. She hurried ahead to get away from the road and back to the mansion as fast as she could.
She saw something move slowly out from the trees ahead of her. She stood still in the middle of the road. The gate to the mansion’s driveway was still several hundred yards ahead, and the creature was between it and her. It was too far back to town. She didn’t know where to run.
It raised its head, and Molly realized it was just a deer. It looked towards Molly and froze. She let out a sigh of relief.
“It’s OK,” she said aloud, more to herself than to the deer. It started to lower its head again and then snapped back up as Molly began to take a step. It suddenly bounded up the road, and within seconds, it was past the gate and disappearing into the darkness.
“You don’t have to be afraid of me,” she called to it.
She had just taken another step when a low growl rumbled from the road behind her. She turned around, and took a sharp breath as she saw a massive mountain lion that stood just paces from her. The moonlight gleamed off its eyes making it appear even more hellish to her.
With terror welling up inside her, she turned and ran as fast as she could up the road toward the gate. She had just reached it when the creature slammed her against the metal bars with its powerful body. Pain shot through her head and chest, and she fell backward onto the ground. She tried to catch her breath. The force of the impact and the pain shooting through her chest every time she took a breath made it difficult.
The big cat circled around her. She knew that if she didn’t do something quick, she would die right there by the gate. Then, she saw that the impact had caused the gate to open a little. She only hoped it would be enough. She felt around in the gravel next to her until she found a good sized rock.
As the animal circled back around toward her head again, she flipped toward it and brought the rock down on its head as hard as she could. The creature was knocked to the ground, and in that moment, she pushed herself up and stumbled toward the gate, fighting the pain that wracked her body. She slipped through the opening and slammed it behind her. As she slid the bolt to latch it, the giant cat leapt at the gate. The gate held, but one of the cat’s claws caught her arm, ripping a long gash into it. She cried out in pain and stumbled back. She gripped her arm in agony.
The cat was now on the outside of the fence pacing and looking for a way past it. It tried to leap over. She was amazed and horrified at the height that the cat could jump. Fortunately, it only succeeded in injuring itself on the pointed posts that lined the top of the fence.
The cat stopped its pacing and jumping. It just stood there, growling and staring at Molly. It was then that she saw it. The cat’s left eye was almost totally white. Her mouth opened in horror. No sound came out. It couldn’t be, she thought.
She turned and ran up the road toward the mansion. She was feeling weak from the pain and loss of blood. She pushed herself as hard as she could.
She had only gotten a couple hundred yards up the driveway when she heard something running fast through the forest to her right. It passed her rapidly, and a few seconds later, the cat sprang out of the trees and landed on the pavement ahead of her. It stood and glared at her. She barely could bring herself to look at its colorless eye.
She plunged into the trees to her left and ran wildly through the underbrush. Twigs and branches caught at her, and she stumbled over dead branches on the ground. She pushed on. Now and then, she could hear the cat behind her, sometimes off to her left and sometimes off to her right. It seemed as if it were herding her through the forest. Then she heard the sound of the little stream ahead of her.
She remembered her brother’s cave. If she could get to it without the cat seeing her, she could hide there until it went away. She ignored the pain searing through her limbs and ran harder toward the sound of the water.
She came to the stream only a short distance from location of the cave. She ran along the stream until she was above it and then leapt down in front of the hole. She rolled backward into the cave and laid still. She tried to muffle her breathing by pulling her jacket over her mouth.
Quickly, she realized it wasn’t her jacket. It was a darker color, and she gagged at the terrible smell. She eased her key ring out from her pocket and shined her key light on the material. It was a rotten sleeve of a dirty blue jacket. Worst of all, there was a bony hand still in the sleeve.
She quickly sat up and shined the light on the place she had been lying. The body of a man was sprawled where she had come to rest. The head, which had been separated from the rest of his body, still wore a Twins baseball cap. Even in the dim light, she knew that it had been her brother. He had never left town.
A growl from the entrance brought her back from the horror of discovering her brother. The cat stood at the entrance.
“You wanted me to find him, didn’t you,” She yelled at the beast. “Didn’t you. You killed him.” She got on her knees and started throwing any rocks that she could find at the cat. It tried to avoid them, but after a couple of good hits, it screamed with anger. The small cave echoed with the terrible sound.
The cat leapt at the girl. The girl, her own anger masking the pain, pushed herself up. She met the creature’s body in mid-leap and knocked it aside against the wall of the cave. She then lunged for the cave opening.
She only got her upper body through the opening before another horrific pain shot through her as the animal bit into her left shin. She tried to kick, but the pain from her injuries was finally overwhelming her. The animal’s jaw locked onto her leg and pulled her back down into the cave.
The animal released her leg, and she rolled over to face the creature. It stood over her snarling, the one eye holding her attention and flooding her with terror. She tried to scoot backwards using her elbows. She missed the opening and ended up with her back to the cave wall. The creature stepped forward toward her.
“Please,” she pleaded. “Please don’t.”
The cat leapt at her again. She tried to roll to one side. She only ended up face down in the mud with her back to the beast. It scratched at her back tearing through her clothes and ripping at her skin.
The pain and the terror overwhelmed her as the beast’s powerful jaw clamped down on her neck from behind. The pain became the only thing that she was aware of.
It was also the last thing she was aware of as the creature crushed the bones and ripped through the arteries in her neck. She lost consciousness just after the beast began to feed.
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