The velvet orange grass grabbed at the children’s shoes as they ran, causing them to feel as if they were running through semi-solid quick sand. Ben spied a small cave in the distance and hoped that the opening would be too small for the creature to follow. His legs burned as he fought against the pull of the grass. Sarah was falling behind quickly and Veronica felt pulled along by her strong older brother.
The creature bellowed a high pitched screech that sounded like a cross between a lion’s roar and the wailing of a fire truck.
“Ben!” shrieked Sarah. Ben looked back to see her sprawled on the ground her face stricken with terror. He released Veronica’s hand and helped Sarah to her feet. “Just a little further” his voice shook slightly.
They had almost reached the entrance to the cave when they saw a dark form looming just inside. No matter, they had no choice but to face the unknown form. The flying creature was almost at their backs. Milo showed no courage as he raced ahead of the kids and disappeared into the shadows of the cave. The form scampered after Milo and let out a small stifled growl.
Veronica squeezed easily through the opening and Sarah followed her without much fuss. Ben was about twice the size of his sisters and he struggled to fit through. Once inside, the cave opened up to the size of a small car and continued out farther than could be seen by the daylight that spilled through the opening. The creature swooped down just as Ben pulled his left leg into the cave. It swiped its paw and tore at the soft rock of the cave’s mouth sending down a spray of rock and dust. The three kids pushed back further into their refuge and Veronica became pinned under the weight of her older siblings. She cried out in pain and Ben managed to push up and over her until he was wedged between her torso and the walls of the tunnel behind him. Sarah had scrambled under her sister and Ben’s legs still draped over her. The three lay in this jumbled way just out of reach of their pursuer’s claws.
Hissing now filled the air of the cave as the creature tried to shove her head through the opening. Her enormous fangs gleamed and her breath felt hot on their faces. Ben knew that if she tried to reach them with her long powerful paw she would be successful. He quickly pushed back over his sisters and positioned his back toward the opening of the cave.
“Get back!” He shouted the order with such authority that Veronica was off her sister and squirming backwards into the tunnel in an instant. Sarah followed blindly unable to see anything. Ben was just about to dive face first after them when he felt the sharp claws pushing into his back. Pain shot through him from the base of his spine to the top of his head. He scrambled forward and ended up in complete darkness. The creature lost her grip on his back but managed to grab his right foot. Ben felt the walls of the tunnel with his hands and could feel the bottom of one of Sarah’s feet.
“Move!” Ben was pushing Sarah forward with all his might. Sarah lurched suddenly and Ben fell flat on his stomach for a moment before pulling himself up on all fours and ripping his foot away from the giant claws. His shoe was torn away like wrapping paper and the creature hissed its disappointment wildly. The creature tried to reach in one more time but its claws met empty air. To the kids’ great relief, it then gave up; satisfied that she had saved her kitten from certain doom.