THEN A PENGUIN WALKED IN #4

THE PENGUIN - PART FOUR
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There comes a point in every person’s life, when faced with danger, that they are forced to make a choice. Fight or flight. For some, the choice is made for them. For example, Dominick wanted to choose flight, but the creature held him fast. He could only fight if he wanted to survive, and survival was very high on his list of priorities for the moment.

So, screwing up his courage, Dominick made a fist and punched the lizard man square on the tip of its broad snout.

The lizard man hissed in pain and let go of Dominick’s arm.

Dominick ran for the door. He’d only made it a few steps before something hard struck him across the backs of his legs. He dropped to the concrete floor like a bag of hammers and slid into a stack of boxes. They fell atop him like an avalanche of cardboard. Dominick cried out in pain. Though the boxes, filled as they were with paper products, weren’t really all that heavy, the corners stabbed into him with no consideration to his all so tender skin. Skin which had been known to bruise from nothing more than a well-aimed stern look.

“There’s no point in running from me, ape,” the lizard man said. “I’ve spent far too long looking for you. A week in your world is like months in mine.”

That made about as much sense as a walking, talking lizard, so Dominick chose to ignore the lizard man’s statement as he dug himself out from under the mountain of boxes. Again, he didn’t make it far. The creature took hold of an ankle and pulled him free.

“Give over, ape. I’m not letting you go,” the thing said, looking down at Dominick and he lay sprawled on the floor.

“Why?’ Dominick said. “What did I do?”

The lizard man didn’t answer. Instead, moving faster than Dominick was prepared to deal with, it had him wrapped up in arms that felt like steel. It squeezed. Tighter and tighter.

Dominick couldn’t breathe. He kicked and struggled in the thing’s grasp, but the more he fought, the tighter he was held.

“Fighting is useless,” the lizard man said. “Soon you will be unconscious and then I will present you to my Lord. I may even put a bow on you.”

Dominick could do nothing but look over the thing’s shoulder at the doorway to the outside world. It was just a dozen steps away. Freedom, so close. He began to lose focus. Everything but the far rectangle of light grew hazy and dark. He watched enough television to know that his brain was being deprived of oxygen and that soon it would all be over.

But he didn’t want things to end. Not here. Not like this. Sure, his life wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but he did feel rather attached to it. He tried to imagine everything he’d yet to do. Like see the Grand Canyon, learn to play the piano, or find himself in a lifelong, committed relationship that was all about love and mutual respect.

But none of that was ever going to happen. Not anymore. His life was going to end here in this spider-infested basement. The thought, probably the last thought he would ever have, made him angry.

The anger sparked something deep within him and suddenly the fog lifted and everything became clear and vibrant like a rich man’s television. He’d always hoped to own a television like that one day, but the creature who held him wanted to put an end to all that.

So he reached deep within himself. Grasping in the dark for something, any spark left within him that would help him fight back. He dug deep. Deeper than he’d ever been. And there, hiding somewhere behind his liver, he found a light, something to grab onto. He took hold of it and shouted:

“NO!”

But that was it.

Nothing happened.

He’d had his moment and he’d done nothing more than scream out an monosyllabic cry of defiance which did no good whatsoever.

The lizard man did not let go. Instead, the creature laughed at Dominick’s pathetic attempt at resistance.

“You have spirit, ape,” the lizard man said. “Little good it will do to you.”

The lizard tightened its grip

Dominick’s vision blurred as he looked at the open door. He tried to focus on the sunshine. He yearned to be out there in the open. But he’d never see the sky again. The realization of that fact settled around him like an old comfortable blanket and Dominick gave in to it.

Then a penguin walked in.

Here ends Chapter One



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