18. Falling Hard (part 2)

          The lampooning laughter grew louder in her ears as the Sands quelled their recession, slowing time to a near stand-still. Squeezing her eyes shut, the princess slowly began the trek toward the Kresreb's giant wet nose, her lips puckered. The seconds could not have passed more snaillike. Contact was a mere millimeter away, and the fidgety steed of her heart pounded on its stall door, raving to escape.

          Three seconds, two seconds, one... A sudden jerk and a sense of weightlessness stupefied the young woman beyond her limits. Icy claws clutched her waist, hard enough to elicit pain but not to sufficiently draw blood, as a horrified shriek, worthy of the gates of hell, erupted from her throat, burning like molten rock laden with pointed shards of tissue-tearing crystals. Her feet dangled in the air ─ like a mouse in the talons of an avian predator, soaring high above the quiet, peaceful meadow floor upon which the night bird desired to splatter its prey's entrails for a midnight snack ─ as the Kresreb escalated up the main mast of the ship. Its metal claw sliced through the wood like a knife through flesh, sometimes sliding cleanly in and out, sometimes catching hold of a tougher spot and leaving deep, cragged trails as a vestige of its existence. A flock of flying motor boats, similar to the rowboats used to travel up the mountain but bulkier with the weight of powerful engines, materialized out of the air and began circling the beast and its captive. Then came a hoard of bullets seeking to embed themselves in the muscles of the beast, but when a stray projectile seared across the girl's left upper arm, summoning a yelp from her lips, the firing ceased, immediately followed by an emphatic censure from Firious' gravely voice below. The beast roared in annoyance but continued to scramble up the thick mast with lustful eagerness, and the vegetable princess hung limply in its fleshy paw as it hauled her further and further above the deck.

          Finally, the beast reached the top, and the endorphins in its brain shot about crazily as the anticipation of its first kill swelled. By latching its metal claw into the wood and gripping the the pole with its hind feet, one beneath the other, the beast freed itself to dangle the young woman out away from its body, like an ape ready to release a useless, empty banana peel unto the forest floor. Her arms, legs, and hair flopped about lifelessly when the beast shook her, much to its dismay. What fun was killing something already dead? No, the monster would wake its prey from her oblivion, if only to hear her scream as she plummeted to her foredoomed extinction. Sucking in a cavernous breath and whipping her body before its massive maw, the Kresreb let rip a cloud-shaking bellow. Gobs of its sputum and mucus launched away from its jaws, splashing against the girl’s front-side and clinging to her hair. Her eyes shot open faster than a pyromaniac cracking into a box of explosives, her wake up call proving overly effective. The beast snarled with pleasure, a macabre grin.

The End

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