"That is for you to discover yourself," said the girl. Takyle opened her mouth to respond but at that moment she saw one of the hyenas that was in Jaden's blindspot to his left begin to rush in.
"Oh! Turn around!" she gasped and to her amazement and relief, Jaden did just in time.
Jaden caught the hyena under the jaw with a hard upwards kick and heard the sickening crunch of bone.
"Him or me, him or me," he reminded himself as the animal gave a cry that sounded disconcertingly similar to a human scream and stumbled back looking dazed, its lower jaw hanging slack and crooked. Long strings of blood and saliva began running from its broken mouth as the hyena shook his head, as if trying to rid himself of the pain. In a vicious display of savagery, three more of the hyenas jumped forward, two of them falling on their wounded brother, mercilessly ripping huge chunks of flesh from its neck and shoulders, while the third went for Jaden. Jaden tried another kick, but the animal shied away just in time to be missed, ducking it's head and charging back in towards his weight bearing ankle.
Like an independent thought, Jaden felt a voice, an instinct telling him to chop straight down with his hatchet, toward his own leg. Mindlessly, in the heat of the moment, Jaden followed the direction, having fought too much to risk ignoring it. With a solid thunk, the think blade was buried in the hyena's neck, severing its spinal cord. Jaden jerked the blade out and a thick gout of blood spurted up as the hyena sank, twitching, to the ground, finally lying still with its bared teeth inches from Jaden's shoe.
*****Andrew stayed near the ground, hoping against hope that if he remained still enough the big cat would simply grow bored with him and leave. He could feel the ache of muscle exhaustion setting into his back and thighs, but he held. Just when he began to think that his nerves couldn't possibly take another moment of the tension, a sudden. violent gust of wind blew through the grass, startling up a bevy of birds. At the rush and whir of wings overhead, the leopard whipped its huge head around to watch, held by its predator instinct. Andrew grabbed the split second distraction and used it to put his knee under himself to take his weight. Before he could do anything else, the leopard's eyes were back on him, focused with all the intensity of before and then some. The birds had only inflamed its desire for the kill. ~