The woman wore a ragged yellow dress and had no shoes. She looked like a wrinkled human being, but despite her baggy skin, there was something that resembled youth within the way she ran.
Alastair could now see was was pursuing the woman. There were a good twenty or thirty animals the color of dried up strawberries. Alastair half expected flies to flit about the creatures from how sickly their pungent skin looked. Aside from this, the creatures were powerful. They propelled themselves forward with two overly sized fists. Their fists were so big and strong that Alastair guessed one hit from even one of their fingers would break open his skull. The creatures’ bodies were another story. Their abdomens were hideously small, and their legs looked as though they had shriveled up. Alastair thought of the bottles of pickled animal embryos his science teacher pointed out a year ago and shivered.
The Bull Fists, because these creatures were obviously Bull Fists, had jaws made completely from ivory bones and were so large that they had overbites. This exposed their tusk like teeth. They had slits for noses and tiny, spiraling horns pertruding from their wrinkled heads.
“Oh man, I don’t like the looks of those things,” Zane gasped.
The companions broke through to a clearing of trees. Tipper held onto Alastair with a death’s grip. Perhaps he could sense the boy’s need to help the poor woman. She, too, had made it to the clearing, but it was a certainty. She wasn’t going to make it. The Bull Fists howled, mere inches away from the woman now. Alastair couldn’t stand to watch, but he knew that he had to watch. This would be a reminder. A point where he had to grow.
The Bull Fists converged on the woman. They piled on top of her like a pack of dogs on a squirrel. The woman didn’t scream. Her voice just stopped.
“No,” Alastair moaned. He felt a tear whisper down his cheek. He closed his eyes, still seeing the image of the woman being bombarded by hungry beasts. A woman he could have saved.
And yet something was wrong.
He couldn’t hear the Bull Fists eat. The woman was quiet. Far too quiet to be eaten alive as his companions ran away. Alastair opened his eyes and his mouth fell open. The woman was alright! She was in the middle of recently churned earth. There were holes around her. Holes large enough to fit many, many Bull Fists. Alastair’s joy from witnessing the woman’s positive well being morphed into acidic fear.
“Tipper,” Alastair said. He hit the Kitsune on the back. “Tipper. They weren’t after us.”
“All the more reason to run,” Tipper grunted.
“No! That’s not it.” Alastair took a better look at the woman. She took completely still. The woman smiled from ear to ear, revealing needle sharp teeth. “They were herding us! We have to turn around!”
Tipper cursed, but Alastair had put the pieces together too late.
Bull Fists exploded from the ground right in front of them like churning ants from an ant hill.