The loud sound of running footsteps echoed through the corridor and into the open room.
Bursting through the doorway, a man frantically looked over his surroundings with a blood-tinged axe clutched tightly to his chest.
John, seeing no trace of the beast, was frozen in fear. His courage was waning fast. “It must be weak,” he reasoned. He was sure he had injured it with his last swing.
Closing the door behind him, he slowly stepped forward into the center of the room. It did not take long for him to spot a darkened figure at the very far end. He readied his weapon and carefully started towards it. Unmistakably, the large, hound-like creature from before lay in front of him, now collapsed and immobile. The large gash still fresh around its nape.
Greatly relieved, John loosened his grip slightly. But even in that moment’s peace he remained alert. He had decided to sever the hound’s head entirely – only then would he take his leave.
As if cutting firewood, he stood in front of the corpse with legs apart, lifted the axe high above his head and sliced downward with all his might. He knew what a clean split felt like. But the feeling was indeed all-to-familiar.
“Wood?”, John perplexed.
As he attempted to remove his axe, a sight left John baffled, then frightened.
The gash had started to bubble. Slowly it spread to the rest of the body, creating a pool of hot boiling liquid that rapidly disintegrated into the floor, disappearing in a brown haze. A deep split in the floorboards was left pinching the axe loosely.
John snatched the axe and backed away fast. He noticed that even the blood on the axe had boiled off, leaving a clean, yet dulled blade.
Turning towards the only exit – the door at the far end of the room – his heart sunk into his chest.
He was lured here.