Almost before I had time to think he pounced; his form was perfect in the air, and as I lunged to the side he landed behind me, on his feet… as cats do.
“Cheshire you know you don’t want to do this –” I called to him deperately but stopped short, gasping as he growled and leapt at me, again I narrowly avoided him – his claws nicked my arm but it healed quickly. I spun around ready for him this time, but he was gone. I didn’t dare to move, or breathe… it was then that I heard a soft purr.
My eyes flicked frantically around, searching in the dim light for some sign of him. The purring was getting louder but there was still nothing – I suddenly realised I might end up dead, for real this time.
Pat, pat, pat.
The purring stopped and the new, soft sound directed my attention to the floorboards. There, right in front of my left shoe, was collecting a tiny puddle of blood… I recognised the scent. It was my blood. Terrified I raised my face slowly to the ceiling.
I saw his demonic grin as he hung from the chandelier, his arm outstretched and his claws dangling inches from my face. The last drop of blood from where he had scratched my arm was growing fatter on the tip of his claw, until finally it gathered enough weight and plummeted through the air, landing with a splash just under my eye socket.
Then everything moved – he jumped on me from above, tearing the wire connecting the chandelier to the ceiling, and plunged us both into darkness. I felt his claws rake at my neck and I shouted in pain, throwing a punch into the blackness, meeting nothing. I fumbled around for the wall and then another blow came from behind – this time his sharp teeth bit into my back and he tore the skin straight down my spine. With all the strength I could muster I ignored the sting and flung myself backwards, slamming him into the wall.
I heard a groan and as he retracted his fangs I made a break for what I hoped was the end of the corridor. I rounded the corner into the dim lighting of the main hall and slammed into Aria.
“You will not believe what just happened – Sylvester!” Horror masked her pretty features. “You’re bleeding – oh lord, your neck!”
“No time to explain.” I snatched her hand and started to run with her to the front door when I felt a hand close around my ankle and I went flying, taking Aria down with me. I barely even noticed her loud scream as I kicked at Cheshire to free myself from his desperate grasp. “Aria – run!”
Cheshire jumped on top of me and reached for my throat. I saw Aria going for the staircase and tried to throw Cheshire off, but he was stronger than I thought. His grip was getting tighter and so I put all my efforts into gouging at his eyes, but it was no use – everything was growing blurry, white…
I brought my hand crashing down to the floor, carrying the Soulsphere with it. There was a thundering crash, and a blinding white light and then finally – silence as I smashed the Soulsphere to pieces.
I fumbled in my pocket for the Soulsphere, my only option… Holding it tightly in my hand I thought only of capturing the soul that was possessing Cheshire – take it Kyoshiro, take it… It didn’t even grow warm in my hand. I would have to fight for my life the old fashioned way: I threw my heavy arm, the Soulsphere in hand, crashing into the side of Cheshire’s head. I felt and heard his skull shatter, but for a moment he remained frozen in time. His grip around my neck loosened, and he collapsed onto my chest, his sneer still seared on his face.
Rolling him off, I staggered to my feet and made for the staircase. There was silence in the house. I don’t know how long it took me to get to her bedroom – I followed her scent. I banged on the walls and when I reached her room she shrieked, probably thinking Cheshire had come to her after finishing me off… my own blood spilled onto the floorboards, and seeped under her door. I collapsed.