15. Leap of Faith (part 1)

          A grisly roar and a terrorized scream later, Hataru found herself fleeing down the hall, trying to escape the beast that tromped behind her. Short, thick, silver fur covered every inch of its enlarged body and jut out of its maroon shirt and torn brown trousers like straw the of a scarecrow  ─  a scarecrow that was meant not only to frighten away pesky birds, but to hunt and devour every living thing that came in range of its highly developed sight, scent, and hearing. Razor-edged fangs protruded from its foul scented maw along with a rod-shaped, slime-covered tongue which lashed around with a mind of its own, pining for the taste of blood. Just past its short, snarling mouth, one golden, bloodshot eye shone in the moonlight as the beast chased the girl onto the top deck. Where the other eye should have been, was a bright red scar peeking out from under a weathered black eyepatch. Stubby, round ears that might have been cute on a much smaller and even-tempered animal were squashed flat against the creature's melon-sized head. Ka-thump! Clink! Ka-thump! Clink! The monster ran steadily on all fours; its single metal foot did not slow it down. In fact, the metallic paw was the same size and shape as the others, but stronger and more durable, ten times more capable of creating catastrophic mayhem than the other three together. Yes, this monster was once the honorable Captain Levi Spry. Images of the spiky hairs piercing through the greying skin on his face, neck, and hands, as his nose and jaw shifted outward to create a short, whiskered muzzle haunted Hataru's memory. She continued to vamoose and to shout for the help of any crewman that might have woken up by now.

          "Miss!" shouted a familiar voice. Hataru glanced to her right to see the stout, white-bearded Antenor sprinting along beside her. He motioned for her to follow, which she did gladly. Together they ran under the star filled sky, straight toward the wooden guardrail that bordered the ship. Beyond the railing, an eight-thousand foot drop waited for them.

          "Anten-ooooor!" she slurred the last syllable into a panicked moan when she saw their fate. The only thing that kept her from stopping in her tracks was the silver beast's roar from behind.  

          "Patience, my dear! You're just going to have to trust me!"  

The End

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