I slammed the trunk shut. Smoky had wobbled to his twelve feet and was snorting the air, apparently searching for the scent of something. His scaly skin steamed in the rain, smelled of hate and pain and rage.
I raised the shotgun to my shoulder, my heart pounding. His eyes looked most vulnerable. I hated everything about this situation.
"Smoky," I said, struggling to keep my voice and hands steady. "Smoky, look at me, boy."
Smoky ignored me and launched himself across the park toward the Statehouse. He moved like a giant centipede across the street and down the ramp to the Capitol Square's underground parking garage.
"Don't let him get away!" Pal exclaimed. "The farther he goes, the worse the damage might be!"
Cursing, I pelted after Smoky, even though I knew there was no way I could keep up with him. The rain was cold against my skin, and my hair and clothes were getting soaked. At least the downtown area was nearly deserted. Except on the evenings when there was a Blue Jackets hockey game at Nationwide Arena or a concert at the Ohio or Palace theaters, the city's downtown pretty much rolled up its sidewalks and shut down after 7 p.m. on Sunday nights.
My foot hit something soft and slippery, and I nearly twisted my ankle. I looked down, and realized I was standing in a pool of blood.
"Jesus! What the ...."
There were three corpses, best as I could tell. It looked like they'd been turned inside out, exploded. Bits of flesh and bone were everywhere. I saw shreds of gray maintenance uniforms amongst the gore. I felt intensely sick, and fought down the urge to vomit.
"God. Poor guys. How -- how could Smoky do this?" I asked the ferret. "We were barely thirty seconds behind, and these guys look like they swallowed dynamite sandwiches ... how did this happen?"
"I don't know," Pal replied, his sinuous body weaving to and fro as he sniffed the air.
>> Go on to Spellbent: Chapter One, Part 16