Chapter 5: Unprovoked Attack
The group sat staring in abject horror at the speed at which the winged creature flew out over their heads and dove towards Jim. It felt surreal to Deidra. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the hideous creature, taking in the massive wingspan of the veined dun colored leathery wings.
The woman on the bench beside her shrieked, momentarily drawing the creature’s attention. It looked down at them and Deidra’s flesh crawled. The sunken eyes in the drawn, desiccated face were human. There was a level of intelligence in them which was unexpected.
Jim dropped all pretense of courage, as the beast turned in midair and swooped down on him. He used his shovel like a club, swinging frantically, momentarily keeping it at bay. The flapping of those enormous wings kept it hovering just out of reach. To Deidra, they sounded like the sails of a ship whipped by a brisk breeze. It dove again. Jim ducked and the creature’s fangs snapped together within inches of his face.
Weak with hunger, Jim quickly grew visibly fatigued from repeated attacks. Sensing an advantage, it landed and stalked towards him. Deidra was struck by the marked difference in their sizes. The creature towered over its prey, moving in before he could swing the shovel. Jim held up the shovel, with a hand at each end to stave off the snapping fangs. The powerful jaws closed on the shovel’s wooden handle and snapped it in half.
With nothing but his bare hands as weapons, Jim fought a losing battle. A desperate shove forced his assailant away, but took most of Jim’s reserves of strength. He was still trying to catch his breath, when the creature suddenly charged at him. Jim reflexively backed away clumsily and lost his balance. In a flash, it lunged and they fell to the ground with the creature on top.
Deidra screamed and launched herself up from the stone bench, determined to help her friend. She was running down the aisle, when Heather halted her with a right hook to the face. Deidra fell backwards and struck her head on the steps. Her vision swam out of focus, as she lost consciousness with his tormented screams in her ears.