The explosion still rang in my ears, and my vision wavered somewhere between double and infinite. I closed them, hoping the images would go away. It mostly worked. My vision wavered into double, but finally resolved into reality. A haze of dust and smoke hung in the air. The wall with the chalkboard held a hole the size of a truck. A . . . thing, stood silhouetted in the dust. Its proportions were all wrong for a regular human being. It was taller, and one arm was longer than the other. Not much, but enough. It hunched over and craned its head sniffing at the air.
A hand went over my mouth, and I tried to shout and pull it away in a panic. "Shhhh!" a voice insisted in my ear. The voice seemed perfectly reasoned and calmed, and did not try to restrain me at all. Curiosity chased the initial panic away as I moved eyes to look at the hand's owner. He had dark hair and brown eyes, but what stood out most is the grey fedora.
He withdrew his hand, put his finger to his lips, then pulled out a gun from his leather jacket with his right hand. My panic started to come back, but before I could pull in breath, he stood, and fired shots at the thing sniffing the air.
The pistol's loud rapport had nothing on the explosion earlier, but still assaulted my ears. Even from where I lay, I could see the thing convulse as each shot went into it. The man kept firing until the thing fell to the ground, then he went over to it to shoot it three more times in the head.
He came back to me, breathing hard. He exchanged the spent clip from the gun with a fresh one, then holstered the gun.
"Here's the skinny," he announced. "Name's Matt Allen. I'm a PI. That thing was after you, Martin Saunders. There are more coming. Let's go."
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