"The Midnight Road"
by Jim Stitzel
Rain lashed, wipers slashed, Cort plowed through the pouring rain, the demons of his past - both real and imagined - pursued him close behind.
Wind whistled, debris whirled into the road ahead of him, utility poles fell behind him. That's how he knew they were still chasing him.
Stomach tied in knots, sweat pouring down his face.
A bump, thump, and the car died. The tension in Cort's body ratcheted up another few notches.
Gotta run, gotta get away.
Then, They're here!
He leaped from the car even before it could come to a complete stop. Left the road - that's where they were - and dashed into the open field beside it.
Gotta hide. Oh, god! Can't shake them. They'll find me, anyway, his fevered mind screamed.
Shadows whipped about him, flittered, fluttered. Low hisses of eagerness issued from the assailing darkness.
Skin prickled; invisible claw briefly caressed the back of his neck and was gone. He ran harder.
Out of breath, out of time, out of options.
He screamed in fear and pain. Red ribbons slashed into his back.
They were on him in an instant. Dozens of them. Tearing. Clawing. Ripping. He'd never had a chance to get away, even on the highway. Their claws had already been too deeply embedded.
Moonlight filtered through wind-driven clouds. And he was alone, then, as ever he had been.
But the damage was done, life leaking from his savaged body as it lay sprawled there in the moon-washed openness.
[Jim Stitzel writes a lot at Writer's Blog and also contributes to The Curveball Conspiracy.]