Characters: Alex, Fenrir Greyback
Word Count: 1000
Summary: "Alex arched his back and tried to buck off his attacker but it was hopeless. He was trapped and without even a blade to defend himself, he stood no chance."
Author's Notes: Written for the flash_rider community’s challenge prompt, "Full Moon".
Disclaimer: All Alex Rider characters herein are the property of Anthony Horowitz and the Penguin Group. No copyright infringement is intended.
It was utter lunacy, leaving the safety of the compound on such a night. But Alex Rider would never have been described as a paragon of sanity. He fancied himself a saviour of the people, and risk be damned, if a child was in danger then he would do his utmost to save it. The medical centre was only a mile away. Running, he could make it there and back in under twenty minutes, as long as the antibiotics were easy to find.
So they buzzed him through the airlock and let him step out into the eerily bright night. The silver dish of the moon cast long shadows from the trees and yet the undergrowth remained pitch black and impenetrable. Gripping his silver knife tightly, Alex started jogging. He could do this. He knew he could do this. He could save her.
He chose his path carefully, avoiding branches and bones, treading on grass where possible. He stayed focussed on his mission. It was too easy to let himself get paranoid. His eyes would trick him into seeing movement in his peripheral vision, his ears would fool him into mistaking the rustle of the wind through the bushes as something more sinister.
Just shadows, not shapes ... not ... Alex cried out as something struck him in the back, sending him sprawling forwards onto his hands and knees. The knife disappeared into tall grass with a dull thud. He twisted round to defend himself, but was alone.
Getting slowly to his feet, Alex remained alert to any change in his surroundings. There was no one, nothing, no ... thing. Abandoning his knife, he set off again, ignoring the spasm of pain running through his wrist where he'd broken his fall, ignoring the ache in his knees from its impact. He had to be over half way there; the medical centre would be in sight soon. He sped up, thinking of the little girl, crying with fever, to keep him going. She needed him, needed help, neede—
This time the blow came from the side.
All he saw was a moving black mass in the corner of his eye and then it had hit him, sent him crashing into the darkness of the bushes. A dead weight settled on his chest, crushing the air from his lungs, preventing him from moving. Alex arched his back and tried to buck off his attacker but it was hopeless. He was trapped and without even a blade to defend himself, he stood no chance. He stilled, conserving his energy for the worst, which he knew was yet to come. Sure enough, black forms were separating from the bushes, moving in on him – there might have been ten or twenty, he didn't know. All he knew was that he was hopelessly outnumbered.
The stench of blood and sweat and wet dog filled the air and when he turned his face to one side, it was met by a sniffling, wet nose.
"Let me go," he demanded, as confidently as he could, but the nose only came nearer, pressing into his neck, seeking out his pulse line. A hot touch there made him jump. A tongue, lapping up his fear like an elixir. Alex brought up his hands and pushed at matted fur that just would not be moved.
A gravelly chuckle behind him made him startle, a shiver of fear running down his spine. This was it. This was him.
The creature on his chest suddenly moved away, giving up its claim on his body, but Alex could only wheeze where he lay. The wet nose at his neck had also withdrawn. Only the deeply rumble of the growly laughter behind him remained. Greyback. The leader of this pack of lunatics.
"I like 'em young," the voice growled, nearer now, but standing high above Alex. "Get up, child."
Alex used the last of his strength of get to his feet. As soon as he was out of the shadows of the bushes, the world became clearer again, illuminated by the silvery glow of the full moon. Greyback stood before him on all fours, a huge lupine creature with great yellow fangs and claws as sharp as glass. Alex took an involuntary step back, though he knew his retreat was blocked by Greyback's pack. He would not die a coward, he decided, and clenched his fists, waiting for the killing blow.
Greyback padded closer. Red eyes raked up and down Alex's body while his big black nose seemed to conduct an olfactory exploration.
"Fresh meat," Greyback breathed, and Alex thought his heart might just rip out of his chest for it was beating so hard. He glanced up at the moon, knowing it would be the last thing he ever saw. A thing of mystical wonder, a ... and could it be?
Alex wet his lips with the tip of his tongue, hardly daring to believe. But then the pack had seen it too, a black crescent creeping across the silver dish in the sky. With a united screech, the creatures dived for cover. The smallest didn't make it. They fell, screaming and writhing on the ground as their bodies twisted and transmorphed, unable to cope with the deadly shadow of the planet stealing their life force. The older and stronger creatures were not as badly affected, but taking no chances, they disappeared into the darkening surroundings.
For a split second, Alex and Greyback were trapped in each other's gaze and Alex thought for one horrifying moment that the wolf would rip out his gullet here and now, but then, with a roar of anger, Greyback retreated. "Catch you later," he promised before he disappeared.
It took Alex a moment to catch his breath, to calm his thundering heart. And then he turned ... and he ran. He didn't know how long a total lunar eclipse would last, but he should at least be able to reach the medical centre and get those damn antibiotics. He'd deal with anything else on the way back...