He darted past the monster, hopping through the brush with a seemingly practiced ease. Stilts and bears, if I recall... I paced myself accordingly, using the monster's method to silence my movement. I tried to get a better look at him as he bodily parted the woodland overgrowth, tearing through thorns and prickle bushes with complete disregard for safety. I noted the device haphazardly strapped to the side of his head. The noise drew me to it, I suppose. His jammer, I suspect... intended to keep the path ahead clear of loops and illusion. Perhaps it was working... or perhaps He That Is had simply chosen to utilize alternative means of capture. What need was there to confuse the mind of someone who was already determined to run directly to their own demise?
There was a clearing ahead... not quite clear... still trees... plenty of trees, but the brush had died out in the area. Perhaps trampled or devoured by local fauna. Or perhaps nature had simply failed to expand into the area. In any event, it was "more clear" than the areas previously traversed. It was here that he stopped, not out of need to catch his breath or to fish out some secret weapon, but simply because the monster had chosen that very spot to appear before him again. One second there had been nothing, the next, black leaves and a tall faceless businessman. He tried the extinguisher once more. His aim was true, but He That Is did not remain stationary long enough for the burst to meet its mark. It appeared again to one side and lashed out. The Gargoyle dodged, rolling across the ground and backing swiftly into a tree. Held his back to it as he scrawled something in marker across the side of the emergency instructions label, then cast the container aside.
He tries to make another break for it, darting to one side. In a blink, the monster adjusts. He skids to a halt and moves back in the other direction. The same result. He stops. I have enough of an angle of vision to see him grin. Confidence? Or delusion? Hard to say... though I lean towards the latter. He throws his arms to his sides, "This is what you want, right? So come on! Take it! I fucking DARE YOU!!"
I suspect the invitation was unnecessary, but He That Is obliged. In mere seconds the tendrils were upon him and he was yanked from his footing and into the air. I had seen it all before, many a time. He would be ripped apart in an instant. I expected the screaming to begin at any moment... instead, I heard something unusual... something unfamiliar to this scene...
I could see the black whips entangling his body, pulling in opposing directions... The Gargoyle's limbs were clearly under heavy tension, but what little I could see of his face did not seem to reflect the agony I imagine he was in. The sound of laughter grew louder. I watched him struggle to pull his left arm towards his chest, clutching at something there. "Do you understand yet? Have you figured it out?!" His voice was strained. Presumably from pain and exertion. "I already beat you. I won this fight a Loooong time ago! This soul isn't yours to take! This time you don't win! Do you hear me, you son of a bitch?!"
"YOU. DON'T. WIN."
He tore his hand away from his chest. I could tell he was holding something... In an instant it hit me. A heart monitor... all that duct tape was holding... Lying Son of a Bitch
I dove to the ground. I could have transported away, but there wasn't enough time to think about it. An explosion rocked the forest before I ever hit the ground. Wooden shrapnel and debris clattered down all around me. I scrambled back to my feet the moment I heard the scream... or perhaps rather "the noise." I could just make out the framework of He That Is thrashing about within the light plume of smoke left behind by The Gargoyle's grand exit. It wasn't damaged... no simple explosive device of that nature could have possibly harmed it... But It Was Angry
I chose not to stay long enough to see how the spectacle would end. The monster was tearing the surrounding woodland apart, as if searching for any remnant of the victim that had just been forcibly ripped away from him. Like a child throwing a tantrum... His game ruined in the final moments... before he could claim his prize...
Though I suspect that explanation is oversimplifying things within a human perspective... Unfortunately, I've no other means of adequately describing the scene I so swiftly left behind. I returned several hours later to inspect the site once more... Apart from the expansive collection of blood spanning the area, very little of what remained of The Gargoyle was left to be found. He was quite.... thorough... in his method of self-disposal.
Curiosity drew me to his discarded fire extinguisher, half buried beneath cleanly severed fallen trees... There were two notes of interest written upon it. Etched into one side of the canister, with what I assume to have been a knife, the words "Hope Rides Alone." And across the label, barely legible in black marker, the word "Plausible."
With nothing else to collect at the scene and having no desire to remain in such a recently haunted location, I returned to the bunker to remove his laptop and journal from the premises before they could be discovered by any clean-up squads that were surely on their way. The rest remains as he left it, to be discovered by whatever fools wish to seek the place out.
I've destroyed the two articles I recovered from the bunker as per The Gargoyle's request. The extinguisher shall remain with me as a reminder of my complete and utter failure... as a person... and as a friend...
This blog has reached its logical conclusion. There shall be no further correspondence to be found here. My obligations have been fulfilled. Expect nothing more from me.