Wordsmith Scene 4
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Kate hesitated for a few moments, then decided that there was no guarantee that Obie would last out while she looked for help. She tried to recall what she knew about dog attacks and hoped that it would work. She called to him over the sound of bestial laughter:
“Obie, listen to me! Don’t panic. You’re stronger than it. Stop kicking and get your arms around it. Squeeze the life out of it!”
She wasn’t sure that he’d heard her at first, but then he circled his arms around the big hyena and began to squeeze. The animal immediately knew that something had changed; it let out a startled yelp and stopped biting at Obie as he began to apply pressure. The hyena tried to rake him with its claws but found itself increasingly unable to move.
Obie gave a strange cry of victory, his voice still somewhat muted.
“That’s it!” shouted Kate.
Then she saw that the other hyenas were trying to help the big one. Two began pulling at Obie’s ankles, in a worryingly organised fashion. Obie was forced to release the big male, which bolted away to the back of the pack. One of the smaller animals lunged for Obie’s face.
“Get your arm up!” shouted Kate. When the hyena sank its teeth into Obie’s forearm, she added: “Now, push its head back!”
Obie complied, squeezing the hyena with one arm and bending its head back with the one still in its jaws. He grunted against the pain, tolerating it well. The hyena bent backwards at an unnatural angle, but its neck did not break, perhaps because of its stocky shape. It did, however, release him with a yelp. Obie picked it up threw it away from himself as if it were as light as a pillow; it collided with the brick wall and Kate heard a rib snap.
The hyenas seemed to decide that this was not their fight and backed away. When a car horn sounded somewhere nearby, they bolted. Kate watched them go, especially the big one. She expected him to challenge them again, but he didn’t. Instead it was one of the smaller Hyenas that lingered, this one with paler fur and longer teeth, perhaps older than the others.
It looked directly at her for a moment, the streetlight reflecting in its eyes, creating pale yellow orbs like bad moons. A shiver ran through her and her throat went dry. There was something in that look that was simply not natural for an animal; malice.
Feeling suddenly ill, which she attributed to adrenaline and shock, she shakily climbed down from the wall. Obie helped her, though his bare chest and arms were covered in scratches and bites.
Kate gasped as she took a close look at his chest for the first time, under the streetlight.
Running from his collarbone down to somewhere under his jogging bottoms was a straight cut. It was hard to make out, a dark depression against his dark skin, sewed shut with dark thread. He looked like someone had performed an autopsy on him.
Obie looked at her with childlike sadness, gingerly touching his cuts, seeking her guidance. She took a step back, wondering exactly what she was dealing with. She couldn’t help but notice that his cuts weren’t bleeding as much as she would’ve expected. He should have been covered in it, but instead the dark liquid ran in thick, slow rivulets.
“Look, I don’t know what happened here, but I can’t help you,” said Kate. Now that the panic of the situation was ebbing away, she only felt uncomfortable and frightened.
Obie tried to answer her, but nothing came out; she began to suspect that he was physically unable to speak. He understood her language well enough. Pity and guilt rushed back into her heart and she sighed as the giant youth leant against the wall, miserable. She knew that if he hadn’t put her safety first, it would be her covered in cuts- and not taking it half as well.
“I’ll take you to a doctor,” she said. Obie shook his head. “Okay… well, is there somewhere you’d be safe?” she tried. Obie frowned, then nodded.
Kate held out her hand to him. She saw three choices:
- Make him go to a doctor (or leave him).
- Take him home (though he might be dangerous).
- Let him guide her to the place he feels safe (which might be a dark alley. Well, a darker one).