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My new associate wasn’t any help. He was out of it. He looked like his head was in the clouds. Sadly though, it was on the ground, detached from the body. The same body it had been stuck to for many years. All the changes they went through together meant nothing now, the growth, the pain, and the familiarity gone in an instant. In a very violent manner.

“You wouldn’t happen to know where that thing is do you?” I asked the head, but only to hear my own voice. I’m not an animator. I’ll leave that job for the talented ladies.

I was ready to give up. I couldn’t search the valley forever. It would’ve been useless. But before I could throw in that proverbial towel, just like the head, the monster found me. What can I say, I’m a freak-occurrence magnet.

From below, black goo engulfed my feet. I couldn’t move my legs. They were trapped. I was trapped. The goo rose higher and higher, reaching the bottom of my pants and climbing steadily. My feet might have been stuck, but my mighty, Thor-like hammer of an arm was ready to pounce. I gathered my strength and cocked back my money-maker and sent it straight down to the beast below. Apparently this wasn’t a battle of strength. My hand sunk into the blackness and not a splash of tar escaped. I was in danger of my having my hand stuck as well. With every ounce of muscle I could muster, I pulled my hand free. Okay, time for a new plan.

It’s always been harder for me to draw upon elements other than fire. Fire is raw and powerful. It’s in my DNA. But water, a calm force, takes much more skill to master and for me way too much skill to master. I only dabbled in the water world. But from the ashes of desperation, men will rise.

As I calmed my breath the thick tar rose up my leg like the green ivy on the walls of my fortress. I steadied myself. I focused on the air around me. As dry as this place had become it still held H2O, and that was all I needed.

The moisture from the surrounding area came to me as I beckoned it to. As I had done before, I gathered my energy and waited for the right time to strike. With speed and force I struck again at the darkness that had ensnared me, but this time, as soon as I made contact with the beast I used the moisture and froze it. From my entry point through the whole of the being it became frozen, hardened by my magic and my basic understanding that when water gets to a certain temperature it freezes. I’m pretty smart.

It couldn’t struggle. It never had a chance. The deep freeze had spread, in moments I could’ve ice skated on the foul time capsule.  For good measure, I stomped the frozen tar until the pieces were small enough to float away in the breeze. I had only one problem left—what the hell was I going to do with the head?

 

 

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In the middle of a decayed field, dry and depressing, I tried to recover. My hands rested on my knees as quick breaths attempted to keep up with my hearts increased pace. I started as the chaser but now I’ve become the chase-ee.

It started back in town.

A form that was solid but squishy, oozed out the back of a building. Its skin, always moving, floated above whatever it had on the inside. It was like looking at water through an aquarium, dancing to the movement of the light and subtle vibrations. It was a large mass, tall and wide. We locked eyes, or I should say my eyes locked its horizontal slits of light. They looked way too bright, but maybe it only appeared that way in comparison to how dark this creature was. It felt like we both stood there for an hour, measuring each other, sizing one another for the assumable fight ahead. I wasn’t a hard one to spot to most supernatural beings of this world, and neither was it. In one way, maybe we both didn’t belong to this world, but then again, I wasn’t the one with someone’s head grasped in my creepy hand.

The head looked like a horror movie prop and I intended to keep telling myself that it was indeed merely a prop. Blood dripped from the neckline, or the spot where the neck used to meet the shoulders. I don’t know what to call it now.

The head didn’t appear to be cut off; the skin wasn’t neatly sliced. No, as the shredded flesh dangled, it appeared to have been torn off. The skin moved with the beast, swaying in the wind like a maple leaf.

A high-shriek escaped the creature’s mouth, although I couldn’t see the mouth but the sound came from it nonetheless. In an instant it took off, away from me, away from the city. The beast shifted, going from standing on two, leg-shaped masses, into four legs, like a big cat or wolf. The bloody head stuck to the back of its new form. It looked like it was riding it, up and down with each bounce.

As the blob fled, I followed. With my arm illuminated, I tried to keep up. There wasn’t a chance in hell of me staying within range of whatever this thing was. I only hoped of keeping it in sight and I was doing just that. So I had that going for me.

As it led me to the outskirts of town and as my side began to cramp, all I could think about was the wasted time doing nothing instead of keeping in shape. I thought I was going to black out or get killed by a huge black blob. Whatever way, it wouldn’t have been good. Furthermore, it was daytime, why was this thing out? I didn’t get scared too often but when something like this was out in the mediocre-lighted day like today, it makes me a little nervous. The saying, freaks come out at night, is mostly true, but the freaks that come out during the day are far more terrifying.

So instead of being the usual badass, I find myself in an unfamiliar role—the hunted.

I swept my eyes from left to right, scanning the flat land. I quickly turned around and did the same thing. Nothing. If that gelatinous thing could morph into a dog like creature, could it change shape into something smaller, like a snake? My eyes darted to my feet, but saw only the dry, cracked ground. As my eyes returned to the horizon, looking for any sign of whatever it was I was chasing, a blurred object came from nowhere and hit me square in the chest. Regardless of my magical protection, a blunt force is just that and it hurts like hell. I gathered myself and looked around, as I found what had been hurled at me I immediately felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut. Staring back at me, through haunted, vacant eyes, was the head with no body. Up close, I couldn’t pretend it was fake anymore. It was real. It was grotesque.

I’ve found the head (or it found me), but where’s the beast?

…to be continued…

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