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Authors: Russ Cooper

Shark Beast (5 page)

BOOK: Shark Beast
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Uh oh.

She realized.

Now it was
who'd gone a little too far.

Oh well, too late to turn back now--

So Kirsten pile-drived her other boot right next to the first...

Eddie's rag-doll body tumbled clumsily to the left, against the car horn, blasting into the night--

"Why you--gasp!--stupid--choke--!--little--!"

Kirsten sat up, intending to --

The car door was locked.

She reached--

Eddie threw a wild punch--!

Oh, man, now I
you didn't do that, mister--!

A shock of light behind her eyes -- it was as if a fuse in her brain blew --

~ ~ ~

Her next semi-conscious thought was that she was running.

Pain seemed to be coming at her from every direction, making nothing but direct hits. Her hand was a crumpled mess; her back seemed to be harboring a living, growing burr, a sawblade of sparking, electric spasms ... her feet felt like rubber, thumping with fishy flatness against the uneven ground ... her eyes vibrated with fierce harshness....her throat tore, ripped with each roaring, hoary breath.....even her gums throbbed...

Well now, I just don't feel good at

The landscape waved, weaved and wobbled...she had no idea where she was, and less where she was going...

She was topless.

It took a moment--or several moments, who keeps track under such conditions?-- but --eventually-- she realized--

She was topless.

, she thought vaguely,
is probably not good.

But she had bigger problems than that right now. Noises from the night wind merged with the surprisingly diminished huffs and coughs coming from between her chapped, lipstick-smeared lips ...
I got drunk, he got me drunk
tomato, to-mah-to
somebody got somebody drunk
...airy sounds whirled in her skull, seeming to tickle the back of her eyes... suffocating... disoriented... and, yet, strangely focused as she plowed on through the pain, the night, the--

(no idea where she was going, no idea where she was going)

I'm topless.

That is probably not good.

The only fixed point on her careening, gyroscoping compass was:
behind you.
The Great Back There. Lover's Peak, Makeout Lane, Boner's Point, whatever that horrible nookie nook was called...
I suggested the beach, but noooo

Did you--really?

Did you have all your clothes on then?

(because you sure don't now--)

She hoped, she desperately wished beyond wishes ... was falling further and further behind...

(no idea)

She was afraid to look, afraid to see that makeout parking spot, the car, all was just a few feet behind her... and that instead of running she was just staggering around lamely, making no ground ...

(no idea at all)

That would probably not be good either, huh?

But what was worse, what was a hundred times scarier, was the idea that she would see, just inches behind her, Eddie, running with those demon-wild eyes, that Exorcist-face grimace, gripping his crotch with one hand, and waving who-knows-what in his other --


He looked totally like that! Except being a man! And drunk!

I hate that movie!

"No!" she gulped, in a spectacular burst of phlegm and spit, as she lowered her head, and kept barreling through the night.

Don't think about it,
Kirsten, she commanded herself, and narrowed her eyes to razor slits, looking everywhere but (behind, never behind), searching for escape, or a place to hide, so she could just grab a few moments to think, think, think --

You should have gone to that bookstore, the one with the turtle, or crab painted on it.

The guy there, the writer, he seemed nice, bet he doesn't drive a Camaro with hair-dice and an 8-track tape deck...

What was his name--

(Not Eddie)

No, probably not,
" she giggle-hissed, smiling crazily.

(probably not)

"Just keep going. You put the man in a vindictive frame of mind, is all." Her feet throbbing... thump-
-thump... gimpy shocks of electric, ravaging...


oooh, whatever.

(give up, what's the point, why-why-why bother, you know he's right behind you ... right BEHIND YOU --)

And in the night, in the breezy, gasping whirlwind ... a gimpy thump-

Her foot suddenly hit something, a rock probably, and her ankle twisted, she just knew, just knew she broke it...she was sure she heard toe-bones POP... her leg suddenly jerked...well, this is it, girl, you're done, you're gonna get it now, this is how it happens, yo momma was right, messing around with boy after boy after man after man was going to get you in the end, and this is where you're --

"Uhhhnnnn..." She grit her teeth and bit her lip, and somehow, impossibly, kept running. More pain, but at this point, really-- a teaspoon of water in an ocean of agony.

Oh, and by the way?

He's. Right. Behind. You.

That thought gleamed, bright and unbidden.

"Maybe so, maybe ... no," she managed, in an airy grunt. "But just keep going, girl. You got no chance, but if you stop, you got less than no..."

(Hey, I still got two feet, and I'm still in a high-kickin' mood--)


Kirsten felt a crimp in her wounded claw-of-a-hand... the one that broke his car window... oh boy, if he wasn't out of his mind angry before... then a burning sensation, that sparked wild, a flame-torch, from flesh down to the bone... her fingers were curling, gnarling, like a spider's corpse on a gridle...

She thought she heard him, thought ... no,
that Eddie was behind her, right behind her... no, he's not, he's back at the car, nursing his poor boot-heeled round ones...

You should have gone to that bookstore, the one with the turtle, or crab painted on it.

Kirsten tried to increase her speed, but it wasn't happening...

He seemed nice.

(pay attention now)

(here comes eddie)

He doesn't have to catch up with you, you know. All he has to do is get close ... wait for you to drop, to fall--

(Maybe so... but trust me -- this time, Mr. Edward, Mr. Slob Knob, I ain't going down easy--)

--wait for you to drop, to fall--



~ ~ ~

Eddie was mean.

But, man, he was a really mean drunk.

And now he was a mean drunk with a busted-out car window.

So, right about now, Eddie was officially: out of his freakin' mind.

~ ~ ~

Slowly, she turned. Even then, after what must have been a good half-hour of running and climbing and pushing through weeds and stickers and thorns--
I am
--steep hills and wadding through muddy pebble puddles, even then she expected nothing less than to turn around and see Eddie standing right there, all fists and alcohol-blistered vengeance, his tattooed arm up and high in wicked-bright pre-swing --

But no: nothing.

Nothing but horizon.


She laughed loosely.
I've gone delirious.
Well, she mused vaguely, if you have to go nuts,
this is the time to do it...

She couldn't even see the makeout hideout, or the road that had led to it -- or the twisted escape path that led away from it-- couldn't see
of it-- which for an instant set off a manic burst of static in her chest -- pure jolt of panic, with a hot anger chaser -- that she had lost track of her way, and perhaps was not as far away as she'd hoped --

Kirsten stood there, hanging by an invisible thread, bobbing and weaving from her hangover of bad choices and pure pain. Her skin was hot, and seemed to be peeling off in her mind. She wanted nothing more than to just ... let go, tumble to the ground and hope for a miracle. She just needed, above everything to rest ... to sleep this whole nightmare away--

--a pop-flash! strobe of pain!--

And a stumble, and she fell, and began to roll down a steep grassy hill, and then suddenly the grass disappeared, and then she was covered in--

Rolled to a stop.

"Uhhhhnnnnnnn... okay, 'kay... I give, I give...let's be friends, do-over, do-over..."

And she laughed.


Why not?

Go for it.

Drowsy realization, there, on her back, on the--



I ran all the way to the beach.


Sounds good to me.

"That's far, I think. That's pretty darn far." And then, with a sigh--she started to slip away, so exhausted, to fall asleep...

~ ~ ~


Kirsten settled back into the cool sand.

"Yessss," she said, hissing with incalculable, immeasurable relief. It felt so good, lying there... seemed to push the pain... out... somewhere. Reduced it to a low-vibrating numbness. "Oh yesss..."

Kirsten curled, slowly, to a fetal position. Somehow, being compacted with all her wounds and bruises, felt better for some reason. Like all things that feel temporarily good, she mused ruefully, she was probably doing herself more damage in the long run. But she didn't care. Later was later, but now, at least ...


~ ~ ~

(white noise)

Her eyes popped open, as if launched from their sockets. Her body, suddenly ravaged by shudders, clenched ...even as she tried to sit up...

Clenched, man.

Kirsten blinked through goopy tears, looking around in the darkness. Strange, jagged shadows...where? She moaned, trying to focus her eyes, her mind. A stab of panic, then...

Why do writer types have to be so... weird?

I wonder if I'd have my top on right now if I went out with that guy?

Wonder if he'd write about it?

Suddenly--a series of cruel shudders.

Still--he seemed--


Still--he seemed nice--




"--niiiiice!" she gasped, laughing and crying at the same time.

The shudders increased--then, just as suddenly, lessened, and she began gently calming herself down. She wiped away the sand from her face with her good hand, trying to clear her vision. Her eyes adjusted, a little, though for Kirsten it was like watching a 3-D movie without the glasses. Her good hand gripped her bad shoulder--she wanted to force herself awake, shove clarity into her skull, so she could figure out what, if anything, her next move might be...should be...

"Focus," she insisted, gritting her teeth. "C'mon, girl."


She felt so hot, so cold at the same time. Occasional quivers- instead- of- full- shudders. Thick blankets stacked high in her brain.

"Focus," she commanded, staring unblinkingly at a small, particular shadow somewhere on the horizon. "This is kinda, you know... serious. For what that's worth..."

It took a few moments, and more effort than she thought capable of, but her mind slowly began to clear... and she became less aware of her own being and personal pain... and more aware of the shadows around her... the sounds of the night, the sounds of... the sounds of...

"Well, well, well. What have we here?"

Kirsten froze -- her heart double-clutched. But she never lost her smile.

Ahh Mr. Edward! You're... here! So we meet again!

What a nice surprise.

How are your balls?

"Look at you, pathetic. Girl, I can't believe I bothered to get you drunk."

It was as if there was no other sound at all. No wind, no birds, no echo, no ambient sound of any kind. She let her eyes flutter open, and--

Eddie, with his wild, blazing demon face, those gotcha! eyes, laser-sharp with evil intent. Up at the top of the sandy dune. Limping. Scratched where she'd scratched him. Kicked where she'd kicked him. Wounded where she wounded him.

Carrying a rusty crowbar.

Ohhh, look, how sweet--he brought me a gift.

She thought about trying to crawl backwards, away. Trying to stand up, that was out of the question.

Ahhh, why bother.

Still topless, huh?

Well, at least I'll go out in style.

Eddie just laughed, a real condescending bark.

"You know what you look like to me," he growled, with a hateful lush's grin, slowly limping down the dune. "Nothing. A big piece of nothing. You're not even worth thinking about. You're just a waste. A waste of time, a waste of thought, a waste of life. And I'm going to do you a favor, you nothing..."

Now, this one, Big Ed here, he's not nice, nope, he's not nice at all...

She lay back in the sand-- could hear the edge of the water getting closer, could hear the lapping waves, feel the sting of salt on her bruises...

That writer, from the bookstore, he suggested we come out here in the first place; funny, it threw me, because--you'll never believe it--I thought it was a little forward.
Going to the beach, on the first date. Can you believe it?
Doesn't he know proper etiquette is to tear off a girl's top and threaten her with a crowbar?
I mean,
get it together, writer dude!

"...I'm going to do you--and the world--the biggest favor there is." He hefted the crowbar. "I'm going to turn you from a a burden. A cripple, some ugly twisted heap someone will have to take care of. Someone you can't tease. Someone you can't kick a cheap shot. And that'll be the only way you'll have some one care about you. And you'll finally have a purpose."

BOOK: Shark Beast
6.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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