Some thick, viscous liquid dripped from its sagging maw, jagged teeth barely recognisable as such, and with every distorted exhalation, flecks of the liquid sprayed the ground in front of it, foaming oddly where they hit the metal and concrete.
Zarah very carefully and deliberately did absolutely nothing.
The beast’s gaze passed right over her as it turned its head back and forth, panting heavily and occasionally twitching.
“Zaaaaraaaaahhh,” Kihri whispered nervously, exaggeratedly slow. “Whyyyyy aren’t you runniiiiing?”
Zarah didn’t even dare to open her mouth to answer. It didn’t seem to have functioning eyesight – if she just stayed completely still, maybe it would just move away on its own. As long as she didn’t move, didn’t talk, didn’t breath-
She wasn’t breathing.
She wasn’t breathing.
A panicked, desperate inhalation ripped through the air as Zarah took a sudden, desperate gasp of air. She immediately froze again, realising her mistake, but it was too late; the chimera’s head swivelled towards the source of the sound.
“Well,” Kihri said fatalistically, “you tried.”
The chimera leapt towards Zarah with a distorted snarl, and she cursed as she stumbled backwards, one hand still inside her raincoat. Two twisted front limbs caught her in the chest as the beast drove her to the ground, trapping that arm up against her torso.
She landed half on top of the train tracks, the metal driving into her back in a way that felt like it would’ve been debilitating without blacklight to cushion the impact. It was heavy, too; she didn’t exactly have much experience in the matter, but the weight crushing her chest felt much heavier than she’d have expected based on its size.
Something in her chest felt like it was cracking, splintering into her organs. As the chimera’s head descended down towards her, more of its weight was put on those front limbs, and by extension her chest. That time, something definitely cracked, and a silent cry of pain slipped from her lips.
The gaping maw was just above her face now, strangely scentless as the jagged teeth gnashed together, spraying her face with that strange spittle. She felt it burn and sizzle against her skin where the droplets landed, and gritted her teeth to hold back the noise of pain that tried to escape her throat. Not that it would’ve been audible anyway, what with all the snapping and growling.
Zarah managed to get her free arm up, holding the chimera off of her with her forearm braced across its throat. It spat and snarled at her, scattering more of that acidic saliva over her face and neck, and tried to scratch at her face with one of its forelegs. The movement took some of the weight off her chest, though, and she was finally able to slip that hand free – and with it, a dull red shard of ghostlight.
Slightly shorter than her forearm, and only two inches across at its widest point, it was roughly the shape of an elongated, unbalanced diamond, with edges like the spiderweb fracturing of glass. Tape had been wrapped around the shorter end, to save her from cutting herself on the jagged edges that didn’t ever seem to go dull, turning it into a makeshift handle, with a helpfully placed ridge that stopped her hand from sliding down onto the blade.