Beryl awoke to realise she was lying face down on the ground, but her instincts told her not to move or open her eyes just yet. Her head was throbbing, her ribs ached, and her neck was stiff. The last thing she remembered was having a Tusk Cat leap at her and knock her to the ground. The musky smell of the beast still hung strongly in the air, and so she knew she wasn’t out of danger just yet.
She listened for a moment, hearing snuffles and low purring growls nearby, so very slowly, she cracked open one eye. Wherever she was, the light was brighter to the left of her than to the right. A cave, she guessed. Something white caught her eyes. As she tried to focus on it, she realised it was a bone. A very large bone.
Something roughly pawed at her thigh, and Beryl tried hard not to flinch or wince. She stilled her breathing, playing dead for the moment while she gathered her senses. A loud snuffling noise crept towards her head. She was being sniffed. The bone wasn’t too far away. If she was quick enough, she just might be able to grab it and whack the creature in a sensitive area, distracting it long enough for her to get away.
Another paw and a nudge, this time, seeming more urgent. A low growl began to rumble up from the Tusk Cat. It was now or never, Beryl thought.
She snatched the bone in her hand and struck out behind her, hoping to hit the sensitive nose or eyes of the beast that was obviously intent on having her for lunch. The creature roared in pain, and without a backwards glance, she scrambled to her feet and headed for the light of the entrance.
Something caught her foot, and she hit the ground, rolling like she had been trained to come to rest on her back.
The Tusk Cat’s claws were embedded in her left boot. The animal bared its teeth and let out a thundering roar that echoed off the cave walls. Aiming for its head, she kicked the animal as hard as she could. It yelped, releasing its grip long enough on her half shredded boot for her to pull her foot out of it.
She scrambled backwards, noticing that the Tusk Cat had younglings that were approaching her. "I’m a training tool?” she thought, as she managed to stand.
The angry mother Tusk Cat lunged at her again, this time sinking her claws into Beryl’s flight jacket. A quick and violent tussle ensued, but Beryl managed to slip out of the jacket, leaving the cat to chew on leather instead of her.
Then she ran. She could sense the cat hadn’t given up and was pursuing her, and she looked over her shoulder.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of a swoop bike and before she knew it, she felt something grasp her arm, followed by the intense pain of her shoulder popping out of its joint, and she was lifted from the ground, hurling though the air, leaving the roaring Tusk cat and its kittens behind her.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)