His chest burned like he was breathing in fire. He had been running so long he could no longer feel his feet and his shoes felt like a microwave. Turning around a corner he collapsed his back against the brick wall trying to mask his heavy panting while listening intently. The footsteps echoed loudly through the alley making it impossible to know which way they were coming from, but he knew they were looking for him.Michael Clark wasn't sure how he'd gotten himself into this but he was hell bent on finding a way out. His face, masked in the scars of fighting to survive was dripping with sweat his tawny colored hair matted to his forehead. The filthy white tank top consumed his skinny frame and gave off the impression that he was in need of a good meal.
He looked around searching for a weapon. The dilapidated buildings had plenty as beams and metal framing had been discarded about. It had been months if not years since someone had been there and a thick film of dust covered everything. Michael reached over to grab one of the beams and fell off balance; a stack of them came crashing down the pinging noise piercing through the air.
"Over there!" One of them shouted.
Michael turned and started running again at a frantic pace. A bullet whizzed by his ear exploding into the crate in front of him. He turned a corner and leapt over a tall black fence leading into a huge field of heavy wheat grass that swayed erratically in the breeze. Without thinking Michael dove into the grass that came up to his neck whipping him on the chin as he plowed through. Shortly behind him the men cleared the fence with their guns drawn and stopped short at the edge of the grass. They looked on in bewilderment as Michael headed deeper into the field. One of them put his gun back into his holster and let out a little laugh.
Michael moved quickly through the grass slicing his way like a meat cleaver. His arms which were covered in tattoos now bore scrapes and cuts and a small stream of blood ran down his hand. He could see the opening ahead and sped up grinning as he looked back.
Suddenly something hit him hard in the chest and he fell to the ground the wind knocked out of him. Before he could make out what had happened it had already begun feasting on his legs. Its long black mane ran down its neck coming to a point on its striped chest. Its paw, nearly the size of three mans hands was dug deeply into Michael's hip and he looked down on his partially devoured leg and let out an ear splitting squeal. He may as well have rung a dinner bell as his screams caught the ears of the other sentry cats. They descended on him, tearing off chunks of flesh and fighting against each other over the meatier pieces.
The sentry cats were twice the size of a normal lion and their asexual reproduction had outpaced any other species on Earth, making them the dominant predator. This was no longer a planet run by man and they had been reduced to living in small populations here and there taking refuge in government provided compounds.As Michael's screams died down the two men turned and started heading back. "Stupid convicts," one of them proclaimed placing a hand on the glaring Danger sign which depicted a large cat standing in grass.