Whew! I just played some basketball and I’m bushed. I think my cold may have played a part; but I’m not making excuses : ) But we press on, and that’s the point: though it be hard we press all the harder. Like writing. Working on Shadows today I found myself simply describing action, trying to get Jonathan from one point to the next and thus stringing together a series of rather convenient discoveries. That’s not a story. Though discoveries to the character, they were not discoveries to me, which is most important, I think. (Today’s topic is getting into a car that’s better sitting under an early spring sun. Thus there’s that delicious warm feeling inside.)
So, the word: instinctive.
Run to the car – open – close. A slam and it was against my window, its hot breath steaming on the glass. I jabbed with the keys, my eyes staring at its mangled fur and dripping mouth instead of the ignition. Finally the key slipped in and I twisted hard, just as with a mighty crash it threw its forearm against the pane and sent a sliver of a crack shivering through the window from top to bottom.
I screamed – the key snapped off in my hands. My breath came in short, quick gasps, grabbing air so fast my head began to swim. The car shook under its fury and I heard, through its roars and the pounding of blood in my ears, another splinter and smear as the two panes of glass slid hard against itself. Not long and the window would shatter in sharp rain upon me, and then an arm stronger than a thousand men would rip me from the seat and then there would be black, and the end.
What I did next was an instinctive move: when faced with the utter truth of death the only thing I could think to do, indeed what I did out of some deep, subconscious impulse, was to turn and face my doom.
Like a hammer its arm bore down on the window and like dew shaken from the web the window, in a dazzling shower, collapsed onto me. But I weathered it and sat stolid, keeping my eyes trained on the gray, matted fur of its chest.
There was silence. My ears rang. Then slow it lowered its head, and I looked into the face of that which was primal. Animalistic to its core, the furious blood of carnivorous urge coursing red hot through its veins, it looked at me. Its eyes bore down on me, but all hope had left me, and I endured. Sharp silver were its eyes, the pupils dilated and small, pin points in eyes of steel. They gazed at me with the cunning hunger of an animal that hunts, no matter the weather, of an animal that lies in wait for days so that it might eat the hot, steaming meat of its prey. I saw power, I saw anger – I saw my end.
Fur flashed left and it gazed into the distance behind me, sniffing the air. Then with speed like I had never seen it turned and fled into the woods, leaving only the bent and broken side of my car and a quiver in the brush as a testimony of its appearance.
I sucked in air and did not move until a hand shook me and a human face, soft and like water as compared to it, leaned into through the crumbs of the window and asked if I was okay. I blinked and looked up at the man. I slowly shook my head.
Men poured into the woods, armed to the teeth, but they would not find it. It was long gone, its trail lost in some stream as it bounded from river bed to branch to bank and into the distant fog. I blinked again, and saw its eyes, and felt its hot breath on my face, and thanked the Lord I had survived.
Huh. Strange. Not a very good ending. But I wrote, and that’s the point. Didn’t have much to do with a warm, inviting car interior, did it? But I guess that’s not the point. The point is to write, and write is what I did. So there. And we press on.