I can hear the frogs. Above me, the moon is so fiercely white and full, it hurts my eyes. It's also jerking across the sky between the branches of the cypress like someone's hauling on the leash of a disobedient hound. I frown at it, and then realize it ain't the moon moving. It's me. Something's got a hold of my leg and is dragging me along.
Glancing down sets me yelling. A gator has my right ankle in its jaws as it pulls me down to the river. A small one as alligators go and probably why he hasn't dug himself a hole in the mud to hibernate. I guess he's planning to stick me under a log until I rot and tenderize a little more. But I ain't planning to end up in his stomach. Not when I might still be conscious all the way through digestion.
I twist and latch onto a nearby tree. I'm so slick with mud that sheer strength and bloody minded stubbornness are all that keep me clinging on.
My resistance earns me a growling from the gator, and he yanks all the harder on my foot until I can hear my joints popping as they threaten to snap. He shakes his head, hoping to break my hold, and my damn fingers slip. I feel things parting in my ankle. Shit, I can't afford to lose my foot. I let go of the tree but I kick him in the head with my free leg, hard enough that he lets go. Most gators wouldn't give up a meal so lightly, but I hit a damn site too forceful to be classed as easy. He growls and goes for another bite, but my next kick breaks his jaw. Bleeding, several teeth missing, he scuttles away into the river, more than his pride hurt. I sit and stare until the ripples he made smooth out into stillness. Then I check the damage.
His teeth have gone deep, leaving a pretty pattern and some of my flesh torn. I don't have nothing to patch it up, and I don't much care. I've lost Annabelle. I should have just let the gator take me.
|A YA Zombie Novella|
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