Darkness swirled behind Christopher. It twisted and pushed through the beams of the headlights and stopped in front of Mark. The darkness tightened and the shadow dog materialized.
It lunged straight for Mark, but a flash ignited in its’ face and it stumbled back. Liz stepped in front of Mark with her teeth bared and looked up with rage filled eyes. Her hands glowed like hot sparks. “This ends here.”
The dog snarled and stared Liz down. It crouched down low and swung out with its’ right arm. Its’ closed fist connected with Liz and she was lifted off of her feet. She landed flat on her back, well out of reach of Mark. Her muscles felt numb and wouldn’t respond when she tried to stand.
The dog stepped forward and grabbed at Mark. Its’ body deflated, swirled around him like a cocoon, and then disappeared inside of him. Mark blinked and his body sagged. Liz called out to him. He showed no signs of hearing her.
Christopher stepped forward. He tilted his head and looked Mark in his vacant eyes. A smile crept across Christopher’s face. He motioned from Sonja to Mark. “Give him your gun.”
Sonja looked to Christopher but quickly refocused on Mark. “What are you talking about?”
“Give him the gun. Call it… insurance. You can say he went for it and you had to shoot him.”
“You’re telling me he’s going to do it himself?”
Christopher smiled. “I’ve told you what I can do. Go on.”
Sonja hesitated. She bit at her top lip and glanced at Christopher one more time. She took a reluctant step forward, spun the gun in her hand, and presented the grip to Mark.
Mark looked up. It took him a moment to focus.
Liz propped herself up on her right arm. She flexed her left hand. Some small sensation returned. She struggled to stand. “Mark, no!”
Mark’s hand raised up and slowly reached for the gun.
Liz screamed out her concern and frustration. She flexed her hand again and the light returned. She pushed herself upright and charged toward Mark. At the last second, she leapt and wrapped her arms around his neck. She went through and past him, but came away with a contorting, dark cloud caught in her arms.
Mark stumbled and blinked. He looked down to the gun in his hand and his eyes widened.
Image by Kaleigh Kanary