I was flung in the air as I pushed his body away with my legs and freed my claws from his chest. His claws left holes on either sides of my neck and I could feel myself weak from the bleeding from different parts of my body. My final vision was of a figure vanishing into the darkness of the woods but it wasn’t him I was worried about; it was me. I had been badly injured and my body had been pushing it till that moment when my foe was out of my sight. My eyes couldn’t stay open any longer and my body exhaled a final breath as I descended from the height of that hill into the water below. As my body hit the surface of the water, my body came to an almost halt but the descent continued. As I entered the water, I started to feel my wounds getting more painful. The deeper I sunk, the more pressure was exerted on my wounds and the more painful it became. My whole body was covered with wounds and consumed by exhaustion. I soon lost consciousness, even before reaching the bottom and I knew this was going to be the end.
I don’t know after how long or why or even how, but I woke up, gasping for air, suffering from pain which was unbearable, even for the beast. It felt like the water was piercing through every single wound I had on my body. The pain was piercing through my will to live. I tried, but I could not move; my limbs wouldn’t support me; my heart wouldn’t give up. I gasped for air and tried to move my limbs again but failed; again and again and finally gave up. It was futile to try. So I just lay there, waiting, gasping uselessly for breath till I died, which seemed better than the pain that I had to bear, better than the helplessness I had to bear.
But it wasn’t my time I guess, or maybe the beast wouldn’t give up, I woke up again, gasping for breath and yet again failing to breathe. I was wrong; this was worse than the pain. It felt like I was being denied the satisfaction of dying, over and over again. The same thing, again and again. I don’t know how many times it happened, I lost count nor was I in a state where I could keep count. What I remember is that it was painful, very painful, every single time, being denied the most basic need of even a monster, air. I remember my body settling for water instead of air before drowning every time. The darkness surrounded me and all I could feel was pain and Death. The pain is unimaginable when you see no escape, no relief, no hope. The pain is unimaginable when death comes to you over and over again.
I must have died, because there is no other explanation for my body to have surfaced without being void of life. I woke up, again; this time, in my human form but I could recall the horror I had undergone. Even for a person as strong willed and with high tolerance as me, it was horrifying. I could swear I felt even the body of the beast shiver with pain. I felt it reaching me, the pain of the darkness and the death and the hopelessness and fear it caused the beast. It shivered before every death, fearing that it’ll wake up again and would have to undergo the same horror again. Chills ran through my spine as the visions came to me in flashes and I wrapped my arms around myself as I dragged myself towards home, thinking to myself that there was no way a man could’ve survived that. It was the beast who did that; coming back from the dead, fighting death and coming back to life, over and over again. But then again, a man only has to face death once, it was because of the cursed beast that I couldn’t even die in peace. It’s a curse after all.