"George?" Lelena called again before coughing against the smoke and heat.
She was far enough away that she could barely make him out through the billowing smoke. With the flames extinguished, the clouds dominated the area, choking and blinding them both.
But George didn't notice. His attention was in front of him.
Sharp, sickle-like blades, tipping the edges of long, gangly limbs hooked themselves around the exterior door. They dug into the metal with ease. The beast pulled itself forward with a sticky, sliding sound and a soft, chittering hiss.
"There you are!" Lelena shouted, squinting through the smoke. "I've called the marshals and told them what happened. They're on their way here!"
George glanced at his wife for just the briefest of seconds and then back at the horror unfolding from the ship's entrance. He didn't dare tear his eyes away from the monstrosity for a moment more.
And Lelena noticed it.
"Honey?" she asked.
Aside from the scythe-like arms, it walked on four legs; giving George the impression of a twisted centaur. Powerful jaws opened and closed behind slime covered teeth that were hidden under deadly, fanged mandibles. A long, lashing tail smashed against the inside of the craft and further mutilated the soldiers' bodies inside.
And those eyes.
Deep and cavernous, like staring into pits. They glew softly in the black smoke, only drawing more attention to their soulless gaze. A foreign, terrible intelligence glinted at the edges of their ebony pools.
The creature seemed almost to laugh as it unfolded itself just outside of the craft's door. It was as tall as the ship, a good ten feet. George couldn't help but wonder how the beast had fit into the cramped space, much less with a half dozen armored soldiers.
The gunshot ricocheted off the thing's carpaced head and it let out a deafening screech. George jumped in surprise as the creature shook itself and clawed at its face where it had been hit. While there was no blood, there was a streak across its hard shell.
He glanced back to see Lelena, sidearm in hand, with a look of terror and determination on her face.
"RUN, STUPID!" she yelled.
And so George ran.
Lelena took two more shots before they both took off towards the fields. The shots were drastically less effective than before and it didn't even seem to notice the third bullet. They bounced off like the thing was made of solid plastisteel. It locked eyes on its attacker and pursued.
They were just climbing the wooden fence when it began to barrel after them.
The ground shook and shuddered with each step. It made George think of a runaway train and, not a moment later, it proved just how true that analogy was.
Lelena and George had just entered the endless rows of corn a mere seconds after passing the fence, when the beast caught up and went through the barrier. The ironwood splintered like it were made out of loosely-held together toothpicks and George felt more than a couple embed themselves in his neck, back, and arms as shrapnel was sent flying.
The beast barely slowed down.
It slammed by them, throwing them to either side. George hit the ground with a soft crack. He grimaced and yelped, wondering if had broken something, only to be buried a moment later by a rain of corn stalks as the creature's tail cut away entire swaths of crop.
He was about to push himself back up when he heard it slide to a stop. The loud crashing suggesting that it took half the field with it.
For a breath, all was silent. Then, slowly, it begin to tromp its way back in his direction.
George elected not to unbury himself.
There was, of course, the chance that the thing knew exactly where he was. Or Lelena. But, covered in corn and hidden under the hot, scratchy stalks, hiding seemed a better idea.
He could hear it moving around. It was so heavy, but moved with surprisingly grace. A constant, low hiss seemed to be interjected only by a trilling purr that punctuated a soft clawing at the felled corn.
It sounded like it was hunting for them. And if it was hunting, it didn't know where they were. At least to a degree.
As the thing moved closer, he thought about his wife; hidden somewhere unseen nearby, and muttered a silent prayer to no one in particular. He held his breath as the beast stepped directly over him.
That was when he heard the click of his wife's gun cock.
And so did the creature.