She's No Molly by stargatesg1971
Summary: Blair plus a broken down Volvo spells trouble. Written from Blair's perspective in POV style.
Authors Notes: Thanks to Lyn for the quick beta and PattRose for the cheers!
Tags: Horror, Angst
Archived on A03: HERE
Trees surround me, blowing backwards and forwards with the wind, throwing shadows on the ground. Suddenly, a high pitched squeal fills the air. I jump. I know I'm alone but I can't help but look frantically around just to be sure. I can't see anyone - anything - but it doesn't make me feel any easier. My stomach's in knots. I'm trapped, alone and vulnerable, stuck in the middle of nowhere, inside a car that died without warning and no matter how much I coax her...she won't start. Damn it Jim, where are you?
Out of the corner of my eye I see movement in the distance, a woman, a man, an animal? I don't know and my mind's working overtime with what ifs. I narrow my vision and lean forward. I hear it again, a loud screeching, like...screaming, high pitched, in the forest. It almost sounds like a cat being strangled but it can't be a cat. The same tone keeps repeating over and over again like a record stuck on repeat. "Ahhh...." "Ahhhh...." "Arhhh".
I feel like I'm stuck in a horror movie, the hapless victim waiting for the ghost - or ghouls - to get me. I chuckle at the absurdity of it even as my mind reminds me - after our recent encounter with Molly - that ghosts are real.
I see another flash of movement and automatically press my hands and face up against the driver’s side window. I lick my lips nervously and take short sharp breaths. The noise that seemed far away a moment ago suddenly sounds like it's right on top of me. I let out a girlish scream and jump back, pulling my arms up defensively in front of my face. Nothing happens but the squealing continues. I can't help myself and take a quick peek between my arms, dread filling me with what I might see, but there's nothing there. I rub my eyes and strain to see something, anything, as the shrieking increases in volume. All of a sudden it stops and I'm left with the normal sounds of nature. I let out a breath and warily lower my arms, instinctively looking around as my heart pounds violently in my chest. "There's nothing out there, man, it's just your imagination."
Taking a deep breath I slump back into the driver’s seat and close my eyes in a bid to help compose my frazzled nerves; when I open them, my heart leaps into my throat and my mouth opens to scream but nothing comes out, it dies on my lips.
A woman dressed in a beautiful white gown adorned with silver roses woven into a lace border is floating towards me, her skin is pale with a luminous glow, her hair, midnight black, flowing down past her shoulders. A mist surrounds and follows her yet she remains almost translucent. As she moves, her hair and dress billow around her, giving the impression that she's gliding weightlessly across the hood of the Volvo.
My mind screams at me to move, to get out and run but I can't, I'm transfixed by her presence. When our eyes meet, a chill runs down my spine as blank, deep eyes with depths like a soul trying to suck you in shimmer. This woman is not human.
The hair at the back of my neck stands on end but I remain motionless, unable to move even though I desperately want to. Suddenly, her face transforms into something demonic and she surges forward, passing straight through the windshield in an eerie flash of light.
I scream but no one can hear me.
She rushes towards me, arms out-stretched, her face twisted in anger. I push back into the seat instinctively before self preservation kicks in and I try to move, to get out of her way. I scramble for the door but panic and fear over-rides instinct and I fumble mindlessly to locate the door handle. I feel the temperature plummet as a mist encases the interior of the car. I know she's close, I can feel her, smell her, and I can't help but take a quick glance behind me.
Her hands move with lightening speed and she grips tight around my throat. White spots dance across my vision. I can't breathe, she's choking the life right out of me. I know it's useless but impulsively I try and break her hold on me. My hands go straight through her. I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm dead.
A wolf howls in the distance and I cringe as her head twists unnaturally to look out into the night. I vaguely register the sound of a vehicle approaching as I'm dropped like a hot potato and she disappears as quickly as she appeared.
I take large gulps of air to refill my lungs as thoughts of how close I came to death - again - flood my mind; memories of the fountain - still fresh - bombard me mercilessly. I can't breathe.
Fear slams through me when I hear the door of the Volvo being yanked open and I snap my head around instinctively. Jim stands in the doorway, looking annoyed, water dripping from the peak of his ball cap. "I thought I told you to get this piece of crap fixed."
I thank my lucky stars that he turned up when he did and smile tentatively in a bid to appease him. I reach towards him but my hands stop mid-air when the ghost morphs through him at lightning speed; her face distorted with anger, her eyes wild-looking and evil and her mouth wide open and ready to consume me. I gasp and rear back. It's a trick. He's not here. It's her, it's HER. "Get away, get away, GET AWAY!!!" I scream as panic floods through me and I kick out wildly. I know in the back of mind it's useless but I have to do something. I can't just sit here. Unexpectedly, my feet hit something solid, something hard, a leg?
"Damn it, Sandburg..." I hear Jim growl as he rears back and spins around, his arm automatically snaking behind his back to retrieve his weapon. I can only see him now but I'm not falling for it again. It's her, I know it is. "What the hell was that?" he yells shakily.
It sounds like Jim, looks like Jim, acts like Jim, but I'm not sure anymore, is it really him? "What the hell was that?" he hollers as he raises his gun and aims it towards the woodlands.
I scramble out of the car and rest my hand on the small of his back. The last thing we need is for him to zone when his senses are so focused, already fighting against the elements. "Can you see her?"
Jim looks at me incredulously and growls. "Sandburg,"
Typical! In denial as always. There's no way he never saw her. "Don't give me that! I know you saw her, man. She was you, you were her." I rant flailing my arms around wildly.
Frustrated - and scared - I clutch at his jacket as if my life depends on it - just like I did when I was running away from Wade Rooker - I shake the memory way, pushing it to the back of my mind as I concentrate on the here and now. "She, she... tried to kill me man. I thought, when I saw you, I thought, I thought I was safe but I wasn't safe, she, she...."
"Passed right through me."
"You DID see her!"
"I saw something," Jim replies, still sounding cynical but more accommodating now, his eyes still glued to the surrounding forest. "I felt something." he reluctantly admits.
"She was a ghost, like Molly." I tell him.
"Not like Molly, Chief." He pauses as a shudder runs through him. "When I got out of the truck I could tell something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on it, so I shrugged it off, but as I got closer to the Volvo, to you, I felt the temperature drop and almost choked on the stench in the air. I started to dial everything down so it wouldn't overpower me but I wasn't fast enough, I felt a shift in the atmosphere, as if something was behind me and...."
He stops mid-sentence and leans forward, narrowing his eyes. I strain to try and see what he can see but I can't, the rains coming down hard and I'm not a sentinel, I'm the guide, so I instinctively move closer. "It's okay, man, I've got you, block out your other senses and concentrate on sight."
I watch with bated breath as his gaze travels slowly across the horizon. He stops here and there for a closer look, and each time he does, my heart leaps into my throat and images of ghosts, ghouls and all things evil flash through my mind like a freight train. Unconsciously, I lean a little more forward and squint into the darkness. Out of the corner of my eye I see something move in the shadows and my head automatically snaps around, my heart pounding a mile a minute as I wipe the rain from my eyes and flick the excess water to the ground. I can't help but wonder if it's my mind playing tricks on me when I catch a glimpse of something moving through the trees, something dark and low to the ground; impulsively, I tighten my grip on Jim and pull him towards me.
Suddenly, a greyish blur explodes from the forest and I rear back, letting out a short - but loud - yelp in the process.
Jim reacts instantly, spinning us around so that we're facing the direction the sound came from, looking out over and across the hood of the truck as he pushes me protectively behind him. "Jesus, Sandburg!" he growls as his nostrils flare and his nose wrinkles. "What the hell...."
Fear, shock, and anger surge through me when he pauses mid-sentence and unexpectedly pushes me back. I move toward him but stop dead in my tracks when he scowls at me darkly and shakes his head. I want to ignore him, to stand by his side and be the guide I'm supposed to be but when he turns his attention back to the tree line, raises his weapon and takes a couple of small steps to the side, I decide to defer to his better judgement and stay behind him.
Poised and ready for action, he looks down the length of the truck’s body, his head tilted to one side in the familiar listening pose. All of sudden his head snaps to the rear left-hand side of the truck bed and I unwittingly let out a strangled cry; a crawling mist is charging towards us, and in what feels like seconds, half of Sweetheart is engulfed in its icy grip. Oh god, she's back!
Suddenly, a loud screeching sound, shrill and penetrating, shatters the night air and Jim drops to his knees, frantically clutching at his ears; seeing him in pain always cuts me like a knife, and for a split second I'm frozen in place, in fact, I'm so pre-occupied that I barely register the feel of something wrapping itself around my right ankle. It's only when white hot pain floods my mind that I look down and see razor tipped talons dig deep into my skin. I open my mouth to scream but I'm violently yanked backwards and it comes out as more of a yelp.
The minute my body hits the ground, I claw frantically at it but my fingers rake through the mud like butter, leaving a trail of deep, wavy streaks in front of me; panic sets in and I choke back a sob as I look up blindly and let out a strangled cry for help.
My heart drops like a stone when Jim doesn't react, so I yell again, louder this time, my voice cracking with desperation as my mind taunts me that's he's too focused on pain to hear me. "JIIIMMMMMM!!!"
I almost weep with relief when I see him starting to shake it off.
Suddenly, I'm pulled to the right, away from Jim and towards the nearby tree line. I roll with the movement and notice the stump of a tree just off to the right, I aim my body towards it hoping to be able to grab hold of it, but as I get nearer, I'm tossed around like a rag doll and end up bouncing off it instead. SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!
I finally manage to lock eyes with Jim and watch in horror as his eyes widen and his jaw drops. What the hell can he see?
Terror and dread race through me and my heart ratchets up a notch as a myriad of emotions flash across his face: horror, disbelief, fear, anger, rage...and then, the familiar - and somewhat comforting - Ellison mask; he raises his gun, takes aim and fires.
BANG. BANG. BANG.
Howls of anger fill the air as Jim's bullets hit home and slam into whatever has its hold on me; suddenly, I'm spinning around in a semi-circle and being dropped like a stone. I quickly turn over and prop myself upright then kick out at the ground as I scramble backwards, towards Jim. I stop dead in my tracks when I see my attacker, a werewolf.
I squash my taunting mind from comparing fiction to reality and cringe when it rears up higher on its hind legs, its back arched and its jet black fur standing on end, glistening in the moonlight; when the menacing furry head flits between me and Jim, sizing us up, its eyes wild and yellow, its dagger like teeth bared and dripping with saliva, I back away slowly and steal a quick glance at Jim. He points towards Sweetheart and I nod in agreement.
I turn my attention back to the beast and see him charging towards me - us - at what looks like full speed, its powerful legs - and nails - dig into the soft earth effortlessly and droplets of water - or blood - fall from its claws, and for a moment I can't move, I'm petrified, stuck in place with a scream caught in my throat; thankfully, Jim's voice breaks through my stupor and spurs me into action. "Sandburg!"
I'm on my feet in a flash, adrenaline pumping through me as I run towards the pick-up like a cat with its tail on fire. I'm half way there when I realize I don't have the keys. Did he leave them in the truck? I'm unsure so I glance towards him - and in what feels like slow motion - I watch him toss them towards me. My eyes follow their path easily in the moonlight and I catch them without difficulty.
I'm a hair's breadth away from the truck when I hear the ominous click, click, click of an empty gun. Oh god! I look over my shoulder and my stomach drops; the werewolf's charging at Jim at breakneck speed, gaining ground faster than he can reload.
I slide to a stop and spin around, yelling and screaming to try and grab its attention but it's useless, I might as well not be there, it's got its sights set on Jim, and Jim alone. I spot a cluster of rocks on the ground and reach down to grab some but when I hear - and see - Jim slam a new clip home, I change my mind and turn back to the truck.
The rat tat tat of Jim’s gun is a welcome relief but the angry snarls and growls of the beast along with the sound of pounding footsteps as they bounce and echo around me sends shivers down my spine. I bite down the urge to go and help him and run towards the pick-up instead, knowing that our best option is for me to get to the truck.
I slam into Sweetheart gracelessly and take a deep calming breath, and with trembling fingers, slide the key into the driver's side door and quickly unlock it. As soon as I feel the mechanism release, I yank the door open and jump in. I look up and terror rushes through me. The werewolf is only a few feet away from Jim. For a split second my mind registers the fact that the fog’s gone but I quickly push the thought aside, not giving myself the opportunity to ponder on it right now. Instead, I reach for the door handle, grab it, and with lightening speed, slam it shut; the sudden noise distracts the beast momentarily and Jim lets off a barrage of shots.
I fumble to find the ignition switch so I glance down to start her up. When I look back up I watch in horror as the wolf drops to a crouch, curls its lips and leaps forward, its massive arms outstretched with its claws primed and ready for attack. Jim flings himself to the side at the same time that I unconsciously lean forwards and flip on the light. The sight before me fills me with dread, Jim's mid-air with his eyes scrunched tight and his hands in front of his eyes protectively; guilt rushes through me at the realization that I've overloaded his senses.
He lands on the ground with a thud, the wolf misses him by inches.
Before Jim has the chance to recover, it pounces again and pins him down. Bile rushes to my throat when the creature rakes its claws down Jim’s body and he lets out a bone chilling scream. Sickened, I flip the wipers on and turn the lights to high beam as I punch the horn mercilessly in a bid to distract the beast. Thankfully, it works, and Jim manages to squeeze off a few more shots, twisting and turning his body to avoid any further damage as he kicks and punches at the snarling beast.
I yank the truck into gear and slam my foot on the accelerator. Sweetheart roars into action and rushes forward, bouncing over the rough terrain effortlessly. Jim manages to get some distance between them but the beast rushes forward, sweeps Jim’s feet from under him, stomps its foot down hard and traps his wrist to the ground; growling, it leans over and plucks the gun from his fingers.
Jim automatically rolls onto his back, aims his foot at the wolf’s mouth and kicks out with a vengeance. The force of his thrust knocks the monster off balance, causing it to stagger backward and drop the gun. In one quick motion Jim sweeps its legs right from under it and the beast crashes to the ground. With lightning speed he scrambles toward the werewolf, making sure he snags his gun in the process, and once next to the beast, he presses the barrel of the gun against its temple, looks away and pulls the trigger; blood splatters over the right hand side of his face.
I slam on the brakes, let go of the breath I didn't know I was holding and momentarily close my eyes in relief. When I open them, my heart plummets- the wolf’s fingers are twitching in the moonlight. Flashes of horror movies flit across my mind's eye and I take a large gulp of air as werewolf lore floods my mind. Jim's gun might slow it down but in the grand scheme of things, it holds very little power; decapitation and bullets - or weapons - forged out of silver are the most effective method of killing a werewolf, anything other than that will inflict minimal damage, their regenerative powers are amazing. I curse my taunting mind for reminding me that using a standard police issue weapon against such a monster was like using a bb gun against a bear, useless. SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!
I gulp as I see the wolf start to push itself upright, I thought a shot to the head would have kept it down longer, obviously not. Damn!
I push down on the accelerator and alter my course fractionally to aim the truck towards Jim, he's running towards me with one arm wrapped protectively around his body. Out of the corner of my eye I see a blur of movement so I take a quick glance in the direction it came from and see the werewolf chasing Jim, charging toward us at full pelt.
I flash the lights and beep the horn to warn Jim but I'm not quick enough, and as I honk, it slashes out at him, its long, dirty nails, drag themselves several inches down his back. I'm only a few feet away but it might as well be miles. Helpless to do anything but watch, I cringe when his steps falter and he arches his back. The werewolf doesn't miss a beat. He barrels towards Jim and bats him out of the way as if he's an annoying fly; my eyes automatically follow him and when Jim crashes to the ground and remains motionless, fear grips me. Son of a bitch! Angry, I turn my attention back to the werewolf.
Suddenly, the mist that encased the truck - and then seemed to disappear when the werewolf showed up - is back again, swarming across the floor of the forest like a snake seeking its prey, menacingly making its way towards me, and for a split second, I wonder if the fog is linked to the wolf, or if it means she's back and I've got two demons to deal with instead of one. Pushing that thought aside I run through multiple scenarios of how to defeat the beast in front of us, each one reviewed - and discarded - within a blink of an eye until I choose the one I think has the most favorable odds.
Spinning the truck around, I slam it into reverse and drive backwards at high speed, altering my course to the left slightly so that I can distance myself from Jim. I know it's not much but it's the only protection I can offer him. When I'm a reasonable distance away, I pull to a stop, a crazed smile on my face as I rev the engine manically; the 69' blue Ford bounces up and down in anticipation.
Lightning unexpectedly flits across the night sky and I get a really good look at the enemy; a frisson of fear rushes through me, but when I spot the blood dripping from its talons - Jim's blood - it’s replaced by anger. Reflexively, I tighten my grip on the steering wheel and slam my foot to the floor; mud flies in all directions as the tires struggle to grip the soft earth and then suddenly, they grip and Sweetheart surges forward. "Velocity plus speed equals maximum impact."
I've already planned my route so I know exactly where I'm going and at what point I'm going to make my move. I can't help but feel empowered, as if I'm in charge now because every move I make, it makes. It's like watching a mirror image of myself racing towards me at full pelt. I take another quick look around and my heart flutters with trepidation when I see the bare-leafed tree littered with branches over its right shoulder. One branch jumps out in particular, it's needle-like arm looks solid and strong and sticks out about a quarter of the way up the trunk, thankfully, it's far enough away from Jim to keep him safe but close enough to the point of impact to be useful, assuming I time it right. I grunt my approval, turn the wheel slightly and aim Sweetheart more in line with the tree, then take a quick peek at the speedometer, hoping beyond hope that the last minute adjustment didn't cost me too much. I deflate momentarily when I see that the speedometer only reads 45 mph. I hang on tight and wait for the collision, we're only a few moments away from impact.
Suddenly, the wolf jumps in the air and lunges towards me. I ease off the accelerator, slam Sweetheart into neutral and quickly yank the steering wheel to the right until it locks. A split second after it starts to turn, I yank the handbrake lever and lock the rear wheels completely. The truck starts to spin to the right and I scream involuntarily as the body of the truck slams into the werewolf, the sound of metal creaking and bones crunching combine messily with a dull sickening thud as the steering column judders from the impact. Gradually, I bring the steering wheel back to the center again and straighten out the front wheels so that I'm more or less facing the opposite direction, moving slowly backwards until I press the brake and come to a complete stop.
I watch with bated breath as the monster flies through the air, my fingers and toes crossed that it'll impale itself on the tree - branch - that I eyed up earlier. When it does, I feel a surge of joy rush through me. I sigh in relief, close my eyes temporarily and rest my head on the steering wheel. A few seconds later I open my eyes and look towards the tree as if to reassure myself that it's still there, the branch has bent a little under its weight but at the moment, it's still holding strong.
My ever helpful mind reminds me that a werewolf is a formidable enemy, that their regenerative powers are astounding and that time is of the essence so when I see it trying to break free of the branch sticking out of its stomach, I jump into action, knowing that, with its inhuman strength, it won't take long for it to succeed. Fear roils through me but I stomp it down, jump out of the truck and make my way towards Jim. He's still on the ground but at least he's moving - albeit a little slowly for my liking - and by the time I finally reach him, the mist that encased him - and the forest - moments earlier has dissipated into nothing. "Get her started." he shouts as he nods towards Sweetheart and makes shooing motions with his hands.
Reflexively I spin on my heel and head for the truck, but half way there the sound of creaking wood grabs my attention and my head snaps back around. I watch in horror as the werewolf attempts to drag itself across the bare limb. Jim grumbles about getting a move on but instead of running for the truck like he wants me to, I take a minute to take in the scene before me; the beast is impaled about 12ft off the ground and roughly 6 or 7 ft from the edge of the bough. Knowing that we don't have a lot of time, but satisfied that I have more of a clue now, I run back to the truck jump into the driver’s seat and reach over the seats to fling the passenger door open. Within the blink of an eye, Jim is climbing in beside me.
"You okay?" I ask pointlessly.
He grunts, slams the door shut and lets out a hiss of pain as he settles back. "Let's get out of here."
I hesitate for a fraction of a second as I take in his injuries and he growls. "Why aren't we moving? For god's sake, Sandburg!" He nods towards the werewolf and my heart nearly jumps out of my chest when I see the progress it's made since I last looked; it's only 2 or 3ft away from the end and the branch is hanging down precariously, "Jesus!"
I slam my foot to the floor and aim for the road, as soon as the tires hit asphalt, I gun the motor and we zoom towards Cascade. It's only a 20 minute drive but under these circumstances it feels a lot further away.
Suddenly, a loud screeching howl fills the air and a shiver runs down my spine. I instinctively glance in the rear view mirror, I can't see anything but that doesn't mean nothing’s out there and it doesn't stop the hair at the back of my neck standing on end. I take a quick peek at Jim. He's looking over his shoulder, out through the window at the back of the cab, his eyes narrowed and pinned on the darkness.
Certain that something untoward is going to happen, I divide my attention between the road, the rear-view mirror and Jim. I'm so focused on them - and not the road ahead - that when the ghost suddenly pops in front of me, I react instinctively and swerve to avoid her; the unexpected movement jars Jim and he grabs hold of the 'oh shit' handle - the one he put in for me - and snarls, "You have GOT to be kidding!"
I bite back my response and concentrate on the road ahead instead. Over the next 5 miles or so she flashes in and out of our visual spectrum, sometimes she stands at the side of the road, other times she stands in the middle, and each and every time I instinctively change direction to avoid her. When we approach a fork in the road, she flashes between the left and right lane. I aim for the left - to take us back to Cascade - and almost jump out of my skin when she suddenly hovers in the middle of the road and then charges towards me; her eyes bore into mine as her outstretched arms morph through the windshield. Electricity dances through me when she places her ghostly hands atop of mine and steers Sweetheart to the right. "Holy crap!" I try to get us back on course but a tremendous force fights against me so I can't. I know it's useless but I automatically look to Jim for help and feel a small sense of relief when I see him already lunging out of his seat to try and help me.
I slam on the brakes and we screech to a stop.
She smiles as his hands pass straight through her and her face takes on a somewhat smug look as he tries to pry my fingers loose, but when it's obvious that he's not going to give up easily, her face distorts and she lets out an ear piercing squeal of anger, twists her head unnaturally to the side and looks at Jim. He - we - jump when she morphs into me; me without an ear, with a deep ragged gash around my throat and one eyeball hanging out of its socket, in fact, I'm still trying to process what I'm seeing when Jim rears back and screams. "Christ!"
I turn towards him and am struck with a feeling of déjà vu when I see a myriad of emotion flash across his face. I quickly turn my attention back to the ghost and suddenly understand why, she's no longer me, she's him, and like me, he has body parts missing; his right arm's been severed from his body, there's a hole the size of a golf ball in his chest and his left temple and face has deep tissue bruising. I gasp, taken aback by the sight before me, and he, she, twists her head back towards me and smiles maniacally.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Jim's head snap around and tilt in the familiar listening pose. "It's following us." I don't need him to tell me who IT is. Crap!
I push down on the accelerator and try to ignore the ghost in front of me, concentrating instead on the road ahead; my heart plummets when I see a warning sign on the grass verge. "The barriers out for the next two miles!" Jim supplies helpfully.
I glare at him and tighten my grip on the steering wheel as I map the twists and turns of the road ahead in my minds eye. I'm a few feet away from the next bend when the ghost suddenly disappears and I find myself in complete control of the vehicle, for a split second Sweetheart zigzags across the road until I pull myself together and regain control.
When I turn into the bend, Jim leans forward, opens the glove compartment and starts rummaging around. "It's getting closer," he mumbles. "I can hear it, smell it."
"How long?" I ask as he pulls his back up weapon out of the glove compartment, twists in his seat and smashes the butt of his gun against the back window of the cab. "Not long enough." he informs me as he pushes the nozzle of the gun through the gap he's just made; the defeated tone in his voice is enough to make me look in the rear view mirror and when I do, my heart leaps to my throat. The werewolf is bounding towards us at lightning speed. "Shit!"
I push down on the accelerator and attempt to navigate the back road at high speed but when I round the next bend, I instinctively ease off. Jim glances back to see why and blanches, then takes a deep breath and turns his attention back to the rear of the truck. Knowing that the beast is only moments away, I make a quick decision and press harder on the accelerator. Out of the corner of my eye I see Jim's shoulder tense, hear him pull back on the trigger and fire.
Even though I know it's useless, I still look in the mirror, hoping and praying that the bullets slow it down. They don't, so I take a deep breath, tighten my grip on the wheel and slam my foot to the floor. Sweetheart roars into action, and with a squeal, we're off, racing at full speed towards the hairpin bend famously known as 'Devil's Corner'.
I ignore the ghost as she walks along the edge of the ravine, her chilling smile seems to illuminate her face as she flashes in and out of existence but I tune it out and concentrate on the here and now. If I don't get the timing right we'll end up another statistic of this death trap. A quick glance in the rear view mirror reveals that the beast is almost on top of us but I know it's too soon to make my move, so I wait a little longer. Five seconds feels like a lifetime when death's knocking on your door but I bide my time, I won't let fear beat me. Instead, I watch in horror as the werewolf leaps into the air.
As before I ease off the accelerator, slam Sweetheart into neutral and quickly yank the steering wheel to the left until it locks, a split second after it starts to turn, I yank the handbrake lever and lock the rear wheels completely. The truck starts to spin to the left and I watch with trepidation as the beast lands just shy of the back of the pick-up. It growls in frustration and pounces upwards, as if to get into the back of the truck, but our trajectory's changed so it lands away from us and to the right. Howling in anger it attempts to alter its course and attack again but it slips in the mud. Gradually, I bring the steering wheel back to center and straighten out the front wheels so that I'm more or less facing the opposite direction at a complete stop. I smile when I see the werewolf still trying to gain purchase and put the truck into forward gear, charging forwards, wary of the distance between us and the cliff edge.
We're moments away from impact when the beast finally finds its footing and pounces; Sweetheart ploughs into it mid leap and the creature bounces off the front grill of the truck, tumbles through the air - and the ghost walking along the barrier line - and plummets head first over the cliff edge into the ravine below; the sudden impact helps slow us down but I slam the brakes on none the less and we slide to a stop millimeters from the edge, the ghost and werewolf nowhere in sight.
I put the truck into reverse and ease her back. I'm tempted to get out to make sure it's dead but one look at Jim changes my mind so I turn the truck around and head back towards Cascade. "Do you think it's dead?" I ask uncertainly.
"It's a 2000ft drop, Chief."
"Yeah, but with its regenerative powers it might survive, right?"
"It's sunrise in two hours, I doubt it'd survived."
"It won't." booms a familiar voice behind us.
Startled, I slam the brakes on and twist in my seat, I notice Jim doing the same but when we look behind us, there's nothing there, she's not there. "You heard that, right?"
"So, ah, do you think she'll, you know, come back?"
"No. I think she got what she wanted."
"Yeah. Think about it. IF she wanted to kill us, she wouldn't have relinquished control of the truck. She'd have stayed with us and we'd have gone over the edge too."
"Soooo, when she was trying to scare me, us, away, she was really trying to protect us? But when she saw an opportunity to kill it by using us as bait, she took it?"
"I think so, Chief."
It made sense. "I hope she can rest in peace now."
"Me too, Chief. Me too."