July 30, 2012
Hank’s rifle barked out rounds as quickly as the rancher could pull the trigger. Plumbs of blood, dust, and hair rose from the beast, but it showed no signs of slowing. Already it was almost upon them.
Jack felt mildly ridiculous drawing the brace of throwing knives he kept in his jacket, so instead he left them there and got ready with his axe. They were on an incline and it slowed the Grizzly enough that Jack was able to stand before Hank once his bullets were spent.
“Jack! Get back that thing…” but then it was on the Stalwart.
Jack swung the axe and there was a meaty thunk before the beast crashed into him. The bear bowled him off his feet and Jack went sprawling into the snow. Before he could think about recovering, the grizzly loomed over him.
With a growl that could have made a child deaf, the bear started to rip into Jack with its terrible claws. Jack stayed defensive bringing his leather covered arms up to protect his face and neck. He was clawed so many times he couldn’t even be sure where he’d been hit.
Then he screamed.
The grizzly’s jaws had clamped down on his left forearm and it started to drag Jack through the deep snow. Jack fought against the pain as the snow flew everywhere half-blinding him. He yanked his war dagger, which always rode on his hip, free.
The beast growled in a fury when his blade bit home. Jack didn’t stop there. He stabbed into the thing again and again, working his right arm like a manic piston. He might have heard shots firing, but he didn’t have time to pay attention.
He cried out and poured this blessing from Yig into his arm for it felt like the bear was about to bite it off. Even with him burning through his Ki, like a fire in a dry hay field, he still screamed out when his left arm broke. Somehow, he heard the sound of the snap over the gunshots and the growling.
It took a massive effort to allow the bear to pull him up by his damaged arm. With a yell, Jack drove his war dagger deep into the thing’s eye. It thrashed and howled, but did release his arm.
Its body was now in danger of crushing Jack as it flailed over him. He struggled through the red waves of pain to clear himself from the dying beast, but it didn’t look like he would make it, until something grabbed him by the back of his jacket and pulled him free.
Jack looked up to see Hank hovered over him. “You going to be alright?”
“I’ve felt better.”
“How can you even be alive?”
“Practice.” As Jack struggled to a seated position, he clasped his wounded arm against his body. Before them, the grizzly slowed as death finally claimed it.
“I must have feed forty bullets into that thing.” Hank said. “I’ve never seen the…”
His voice trailed off as the man’s face twisted and distorted. Hank fell to his knees as a drawn out moan escaped from his lips. “Hank what’s happening?” The flesh on his face became flaccid, like all his thoughts and emotions had seeped away. He almost looked dead, but Jack could see the mist of Hank’s breathing still visible in the air.
“Worm of Yig,” a corrupted version of Hank’s voice echoed. “You killed a very strong body of mine, but no worry, there is always another.” Then with a jerking movement, the rifle raised up toward the center of Jack’s chest.