The Growl -- A Vignette

The thick air of the night compelled me into a warm embrace. As my eyes traced to the sky, I saw an endless abyss of darkness, where the stars twinkled to share the embers of their light with the world beneath them. The dimness of the sky inevitably seeped onto the alleyway that laid ahead of me, blanketing any signs of motion. Despite the distant murmurs of street vendors sauntering in desperation to sell their daily quotas, and the soft noise of cars blatantly honking unintentional tunes, I became consumed in the rare silence of the evening. Amidst the silence, a faint growl behind me interrupted my thoughts. With each second, the amplitude of the growl grew louder and louder, like the rugged uproar of a car's engine revving to gain momentum. My eyes widened in terror and my heart skipped a beat. Within moments, the warmth of solace that once enveloped me had instantaneously disappeared into thin air, giving way for the icy shards of angst to be inflicted. The frigidity of the shards weighed my body down, pinning the soles of my feet to the ground. From my inner core to the very tips of my fingers, every limb, joint and muscle felt heavy and prickled with unease. Vainly fighting back the weight of apprehension, I took an abrupt pivot and turned my back to face the unknown, head-on. The abruptness of my movement made me queasy, and my vision became hazed. I squinted to adjust my eyes to the landscape ahead of me, like a camera focusing its lens to capture a new scene. All I could see beyond was a cloud of pitch darkness. Suddenly emerging from the dark, appeared a pair of eyes that gleamed with indulgence, reflecting the light of the stars. I shut my eyes in disbelief, convinced it was just a figment of my imagination. The growling grew louder. My eyelids shot open, and ahead of me emerged three silhouettes and followingly three pairs of eyes. The streetlights ahead of me dimly illuminated their faces, accentuating the furrows atop their temples that were creased in aggression. The tenacity in their eyes pierced through me, cutting open my vulnerabilities and consuming me with their gaze. My stomach began to churn and my mouth grew dry, giving birth to an unpleasant metallic taste that diffused across my taste buds. My eyes dilated as I watched saliva drip out of their mouths, collecting into a pool on the ground. I became paralyzed in fear. An ample lump formed in my throat, and I gulped rapidly to depress the mound of fear that increasingly choked me. The three figures continued to howl in harmony, as if chanting an acapella of doom. The blaring commotion ringed in my ear like a proliferating tinnitus, urging me to clench my jaw and fist to shield off the aversion that trickled into me. I watched as the three figures extended their hind legs, preparing to dive into the next delicacy of their night. At once, an immediate rush of adrenaline coursed through my body, fuelling a stream of light that radiated within my veins. The heat of the light melted the icy shards that had implanted my feet within the ground. I gained control over my body, turned around and ran. My heart pumped embers of fire into each limb that was once numbed. I could hear the demons behind my back rising in aggression, but I closed my eyes and ran straight ahead. Each step I took followed a soft mumbling of prayer to find comfort in providence. The layer of sweat that coated my face felt cool upon the soft winds that blew against my skin, calming the fire that raged within my body. Regardless, I kept running. I ran until the barking went faint, and slowly faded into the very breeze of the night.

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