Helena: 10 Minutes Before Impact


She raced through the woods like a ghost, moving almost too quickly to leave footprints in the fresh snow. Twigs and branches scratched her face and hands as she went but nothing would slow her. Close enough now that she could hear their brutal growls and excited barks, Helena slid into a small bush on a small hill and cautiously peered through the leaves to see the action below. The scene was hopeless to say the least. Four wolves, each the size of a large horse, circled a doll-like figure. Unconcerned with the figure, Helena focused on the wolves. This was clearly a suicide mission; she could never take on four wolves at once. The most she'd ever defeated at once was two and even then the scars from that incident would live forever. No, she could never kill four; it was an unrealistic number of enemies. The logical thing to do, the reasonable thing, would be to just walk away. Leave the fool to the mercy of the beasts and fate. What would did it benefit if both she and the figure died? The only thing to do in a situation like this was to save as many lives as possible and the only one she could save would be her own.

Helena rose out of her crouch, intent on leaving as quickly and silently as she had come but she spared the doll one last glance. And that was her undoing. 

She didn't know what, specifically, it was about him. Her logic told her that he was an unremarkable human, foolishly dressed for the weather and surrounded by beasts beyond his comprehension. But logic was not the only player in this game. Something else, and she wasn't sure what, made her enraged at his impossible situation and something even stronger than that made her want to save him. With the sudden clearness of an epiphany Helena realized that this was the real reason she was here. This was her purpose, to save this boy from certain death, even if it meant her own death.

Without farther thought, Helena leapt on the nearest wolf and plunged her silver knife deep into its side. With a strangled yelp it collapsed. She didn't wait to make sure it was dead; she ripped her knife out quickly and turned to face the next wolf, charging at her with sharp fangs glistening. Making a snap decision, Helena slid under the massive creature, halting its charge. It bit at her, narrowly missing her head as she shoved her other knife straight up into its chest. Swift as ever, Helena rolled out from under it before it could fall down on her and jumped lightly to her feet. The third wolf came at her from the side, pouncing on her and knocking her to the ground. Seeing its teeth, poised for striking, she raised her arm before the wolf could sink its fangs into her throat. It ripped and tore at her forearm, not noticing until too late that her other hand had plunged the knife into its fat neck. Helena quickly shoved the dying beast off of her, once again rolled to her feet, scanning the woods for her fourth and final enemy.

But instead of meeting the eyes of a massive wolf, Helena instead met the eyes of the boy. This wasn't the first time she'd saved humans from the hands of magical creatures and she knew what to expect: fear, disbelief and running/begging for their pathetic lives. But the boy did none of these things. He seemed calm, almost detached from the battle around him. He made no attempt to escape and save himself. Her stare seemed to make him recall himself and he opened his mouth, as if to frame a question but never got the chance.

The last wolf, taking advantage of her momentary distraction, had come up behind her. Conscious of it in the last second, Helena moved enough to avoid a killing blow but not enough to escape the fangs completely. Razor sharp teeth sunk into her shoulder, picked her up and shook her like a ragdoll. Mercilessly, it threw her into a nearby tree with enough force to make her see stars. Desperately she groped for the knife she'd dropped on impact, now lying only a few inches from her hand. But the wolf bounded up at full speed, one of its paws landing squarely on her leg and breaking it was a crack of finality. Although her eyes were still fixed on the knife, she knew it would lunge for her and instinctively put up her arm in defense. She grabbed the knife but as she did, the wolf grabbed hold of her elbow and ripped viciously back and forth. Blood splattered both their faces and in that instant, Helena knew she was going to die. She didn't have much time left to do what she came here to do.

Taking a firmer grip on her knife, Helena stabbed it in the only reachable place; the eye. The wolf yelped in pain but acted too slowly to prevent the death blow as Helena pushed the knife as deep as it would go. The animal let go of her and jumped back, the hilt of the blade sticking out of its left eye. It tossed its head and stumbled weakly for a moment and then, like its brothers before it, it collapsed into the snow and was gone. 

The End

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