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I didn't notice the woman until I was right on top of her.
I bit back a startled yip. Stomach fluttering nervously, I let out a small chuckle. "Sorry about that."
The woman mumbled something but I didn't understand a damn word. All I could see was the wiry mass of silver curls atop her head. The sharp curve of her back forced her to stoop, making it hard to hear. Laying a steadying hand on her frail shoulder, I leaned over and listened.
A low growl sounded over her soft mutterings. I froze as my heart lurched into my throat.
No. Not here. Not now.
Straightening slowly, I peered over the woman's shoulder. And heard another growled warning. I recoiled as the creature stepped out of her shadow.
It glared at me through narrowed yellow eyes. I squeezed my eyes shut and counted to three. Swallowing the lump lodged in my windpipe, I opened them only to find the damn thing didn't disappear like a good little hallucination.
To say that it was hideous was like calling a light socket electric. Skin the same yellow as its snake eyes covered its misshapen form. Coarse dark hair sprouted from open blisters, crusting with flaky scabs and dried blood.
The nasty critter stilled, his reptilian gaze constricting. His long lizard-like snout twitched as it sniffed the air. A menacing snarl escaped his lips and he lurched forward.
I backpedaled but rather than attack me, it crowded the old woman, his sharp claws scraping the pavement as the thing hunched over her slight figure. Lips peeling back, it bared its teeth with a hiss.
An ice cold tingle ran up my spine and I knew I didn't have long.
The irony wasn't lost on me; didn't my neurologist just assure me I had a healthy, happy brain? If my gray matter was so damn happy why the hell am I seeing this shit?
And this wild thing was only one of many. They didn't all look like the walking phlegm here but they were all mighty ugly.
The sizzle turned to searing as pain shot up my spine in a frantic race to my brain. I doubled over, clutching my head and screamed as blinding heat exploded behind my eyes. I had a desperate urge to claw the offending balls out of my skull.
I could only squeeze them tighter as the pressure built.
Naturally, nausea wanted in on the fun. No party was complete without a good vomit. I stubbornly clamped my jaws shut, swallowing the bile that threatened to choke me, only to gag again.
My name is Joey Benton and I think I'm losing my mind. I'm for damn sure about to lose my breakfast.