PREDATOR PLATEAU

Hello again. Th’batmouse here again! And I’ve got the second story in the series! Okay so I’ve posted these already under the uncatagorized heading and I’m trying to place them under a new heading more in line with these stories as I’ve stories in other genres to post as well.

Enough with the talkin’, an’ let’s et on with the story!

Title: PLATEAU PREDATOR
Author: batmouse
Genre: post-slash?
Pairing: R/M (No, not her! Lord John Roxton/ Edward Malone! )
Rating: dunno.
Summary: After his encounter with an alien-creature, Malone, wandering around, found that he’s not alone. And, that whatever’s following him knows how he feels about a certain left behind British Lord.
Archive: Yeah, yeah, sure, g’head an’ list ’em! I puppy-dog dare ya! I’m not scared! List ‘em wherever it’s okay to archive, here, there, anywhere, somewhere. Just let me know, ‘k?
Email: batmoused1st@yahoocom
Series: Ned, the barbarian. Not a for really series.
Notes: did you see Marcia’s bruised nose? Pass this on. Don’t let the teacher see.
Web Page URL: Huh? Whazzat? The new way earl spell’s his name? Y’know, url?
Disclaimer: yeah right. Like I really own the rights to this great stuff!
Warnings: Look out! Duck! Run! Hide! Violence! Don’t like? Don’t look! Go away. See? Self-censorship works!

~~~oO0Oo~~~

PLATEAU PREDATOR
by batmouse

~~~oO0Oo~~~

From the watcher’s vantage point high in the trees, he kept and eye on the small creature with the tuft of straw hair colored crowning it’s head as it cautiously moved through the forest. The small biped moved stealthily, quietly and with purpose. But, it didn’t look or move like a hunter or a warrior. In fact it looked like it should be the hunted, the prey. Even then, it had the look of a quick kill. Hardly worth the hunt, but he’d seen the small biped in action. It was a survivor, that was for sure . . . yet, it . . . he (?) . . . seemed male. Oddly enough, it spoke to his prey (?) . . . his adversaries (?) . . . as if they could understand his primitive gruntings. Well, he was sure that it was speaking a language and not just the random growling and gruntings of a pre-civilized beast.

As for himself, he’d arrived on the plateau to hunt his own prey. He’d set the pod along what looked like a well used animal trail and concealed himself to wait for a local creature to happen by and become implanted. He needed only follow along until the embryo blossomed whole from the unfortunate creature, then the hunt could begin . . .

But, the beast that had been implanted had been one that had been previously wounded. The wound looked like it had been made by a hand made weapon. Something, or more accurately someone was already hunting the beast.

By all rights, the hunt was his . . . but according the code he and his kin lived by, he couldn’t interfere with another’s hunt. Just as none could interfere with one of his hunts. Then, he saw what was hunting the large beast. He figured that the small biped would quickly be slain after the prey blossomed and quickly grew to its full size, then he could take over the hunt as it should’ve been . . .

There was no way any could’ve anticipated the outcome of the battle between the small biped and the prey . . .

The pale biped wore the thinnest of materials that in no way could be thought of as armor. It looked woven, like some of the garments of a few of the more civilized races he’d encountered. And its weapon, though it had the look of having been made from some form of forged metal, but didn’t look like it could be much use in a battle. It looked like a club, but with these primitive cultures, it was hard to tell. The small biped appeared to be a planetary native, but one ill-suited for survival in such a hostile environment as that which it was wandering through. It quite possibly had come from another area of the planet.

And as he thought, it was ill-prepared for the prey’s blossoming, but with remarkable ingenuity, the biped not only survived the prey, but killed it as well!

Only to collapse in exhaustion on the cliff side, where it had tricked the prey into leaping to its death. Exhausted, the biped had slipped in unconsciousness and had obviously dreamt.

As with all dreamers, its heart’s desire was laid bare. And rare for dreamers, it spoke of something called a My-Lord-Roxton. Quite possibly a lover or mate. Then, of another entity it damned and named bitch-marguerite. This My-Lord-Roxton had to have held great honor and was in a high place in the small biped’s . . . esteem.

Curious about the small biped, instead of returning to the pick-up point, he simply reported in that the prey was dead and the hunt over, but he’d found something . . . interesting and would be along shortly.

He followed the small biped to a small pond, which had strange energy emanating from its waters, though the small biped ignored it. It removed the shreds of its . . . garments and swam naked in the waters, cleansing its wounds and self. Soon, it donned other garments from a hidden cache then moved on.

Obviously the energy pond was some sort of home-base for the biped.

As they traveled, together, but not, he heard the little biped’s other dreams. His translators had to work over time. He was learning why the small biped was alone. Why it rarely sought out members of its own species. He knew how he would feel if he were separated from his . . . the loneliness. The aloneness one felt at the loss of such a major part of one’s soul . . .

He also wondered if the natives of this planet had some sort of low-level natural sensory ability. Every now and then, the small biped would pause to look around as if it knew it was being watched. A couple times it looked right at him, but didn’t react. That told him that the native species here couldn’t see beyond a certain spectrum of light.

The little biped was on the move again.

He followed the biped to a village and watched the fearful reception it received. The villagers didn’t take kindly to arrival . . . or return. Through a series of limb gestures, the biped let the others know what he wanted. Still, the small biped merely gathered what possessions it had left in the village and departed, heading back to the pond, to continue alone.

The villagers had treated the biped fearfully, yet respectfully, as if he would change into a beast and slay them all. It . . . he didn’t seek out others after that. In fact, it avoided other bipeds. Hiding quietly if others wandered by and stayed hidden until they were gone.

And, the biped . . . he, for by now the watcher believed the small biped was male, would hunt alone . . . which led to its current predicament.

A pack of native carnivores were hunting him. A large pack of reptilian hunters.

With only his wits and the small weapon, he had slain three of the . . . raptors (was that what he’d called them? ), but there were still four others. And, these seemed to be more intelligent than the first three. These proved craftier, more devious. They’d quickly learned that his black stick cast high velocity pellets that could kill them. They avoided areas where he could get a good shot at them. Their attacks became ambushes. Quick strikes then flee.

They were gradually wearing down the small biped.

He knew that once the biped was sufficiently tired, the raptors would attack in force and kill him.

The biped ducked and dodged. He ran and hid. A quick turn here, another there and he escaped death. He killed one more raptor.

The watcher really didn’t want to see the small biped that called itself Neddy-boy (if his translators were working correctly and he was sure that they were) hurt or slain. Much less, become ripped part as these lower beings’ meal. But, these raptors were nearly ready for the kill. Unless he did something . . . but there was the code of honor to be thought of, surely, he couldn’t lightly put that aside. He’d lived by the code his whole life . . . but, then, the Neddy-boy-biped wasn’t one of his people was he?

He liked the Neddy-boy.

The Neddy-boy was small, but tricky. He knew how to survive. Small, nearly weaponless, alone, he did himself proud.

He paused in his admiration of the Neddy-boy, when he saw that two of the raptors had figured out how to box the biped in. But, where was the third? The Neddy-boy was about to be killed!

Not if he could help it!

Without thought, he swung out of the tree, landing before one of the raptors. He dropped his camouflage shield and his wrist claws sprang from their metallic sheathes as the raptor charged.

“HOLY . . . !” Malone stumbled and fell back when a huge savage hulk appeared out of nowhere to ward off one of the raptors.

As a raptor attacked, a massive arm moved and the raptor shrieked as the tri-pronged claws ripped it open. The force of the blow lifted the dinosaur up and sent the reptile flying as blood and guts splashed about.

It wasn’t attacking him! It was protecting him!

Be-ware . . . Neddy-boy . . . the o-ther . . . at-tacks !” The massively tall . . . being growled at him and pointed passed Malone.

Shocked out of his shock (The giant knows my name! And . . . and I’ll be damned, it sounded like him, too! ), Malone flipped over on his stomach, barely aimed and fired! The attacking raptor’s head snapped backward and erupted in a fine spray of red as it fell.

There was another horrible shriek and the giant’s cry of surprise as the third raptor sprang out of the undergrowth and landed on him.

Its teeth and claws tearing and biting as the pair went down.

Taken by surprise, the giant fought with equal savagery.

The giant rolled and landed on top of the raptor, but was flung back even as he struck.

The raptor’s foot-claws tearing him open even as his own wrist daggers savagely slashed the beast.

The giant hit the ground hard and skidded to a stop.

The raptor sluggishly rolled to its feet and with a cry of hate and rage, charged the wounded giant, intent on murdering the creature that had decimated her pack. Dazed and injured, the giant gamely tried to rise, but even Ned could see that it was doomed.

A report of a rifle and blood exploded out of the raptor’s head.

The raptor flipped as if it had been clothes-lined. It fell twitching to the ground.

He tried to sit up and look at the Neddy-boy biped. Everything was a bit blurry . . . The Neddy-boy said something, but he couldn’t understand the small biped’s words . . .

Blackness swallowed his vision . . .

~~~oO0Oo~~~

Malone sat across the fire from the big ugly giant. Its skin was . . . yellowish and spotted. It had taken off its gunmetal colored helmet, scaring Malone in the process. The giant was Uuuuuuggh-Lee ! Its eyes were yellow and it had a buggy-mouth. For hair, it had what looked like long rubber hoses with attachments holding the lengths together. Its wrist guards looked like some kind of devices and its big body was covered with a fishnet type of garment. It wore big boots and a loin cloth that looked raggedy. Its belt was also dark and massive. And it had claws of its own.

All-in-all, the giant looked very dangerous.

Still, Malone was sure that he was safe.

The giant called itself a hunter of sorts. And, apparently, Malone had killed what it had come to hunt.

Damn.

While he watched, the giant started blue flames in a strange little pot-like plate that was made of metal petals. The giant dropped some stuff, a powder of some kind, into the heat, where it melted. And as he watched, the giant smeared the steaming goo into the raptor wounds. Malone could tell that it really hurt, as the giant screamed in pain as the goo was applied. Making Malone wince. Once the hot goo was put into all of his wounds, the fire/heat died and the giant collapsed back against the tree. Exhausted.

Malone wanted to help the giant, but didn’t know how.

“Let me guess . . .” Malone spoke finally, his rifle lying across his thighs, “You’ve been following me around . . . since my run in with that bone- dinosaur?”

Yesss . . .”

“I knew it!” Malone clapped a hand on his thigh, “I was being followed!”

Nedddy-boy . . .” Its big weirdling voice answered.

“Don’t call me that.” Malone hung his head, pain evident in his voice.

Iss th-at . . . not . . . nay-mmm . . . ?” The weirdling voice again.

“No. I’m Ned . . .” Malone didn’t look up, “. . . that’s what he called me . . . before . . . before . . .”

“. . . My L . . . Ord . . . Rox . . . ton . . . ?”

“How’d you . . .” Malone’s head snapped up. Then said, “It . . . it’s just Roxton.”

Rox . . . ton . . .” Trying the single word out.

“Yes.” Malone nodded and then asked again, “How’d you know . . . ?”

You sp-eak . . . in sl-leep. .“ Did Malone read sorrow in the giant’s eyes? The giant patted his chest, just below where the heart should be, “Do you hu-rt . . . here . . . ?”

“. . . yes . . .”

I un-der sta-and the pain.” The giant nodded, “I too ha-ave mate-lov-ver. Un-der-sta-and sep-par-ray-shun pain.”

“I . . . thank you.” Malone said, not really knowing what else to say.

You do him p urr –roud.” The giant rumbled. Malone felt proud at what the giant said.

Dammit, why’d he have to . . . Malone’s senses went on alert again. He stood up, battle ready, even with out his rifle. Something was out there! Somehow, he knew that they weren’t alone, anymore. It felt like before, like he was being watched. He wondered what . . .

There was a snap of a twig and Malone looked up again . . .

“FUCK!” He nearly screamed as he fell backwards off the stone he was sitting on, when five more, larger giants materialized, walking out of the forest like massive green monstrous phantoms . . .

Dakt. ” The older looking giant spoke. The giant looked up at the lead giant, who held a savage looking spear.

Tatk. ” The giant sat up then slowly stood to his full height. He bowed his head only for a moment.

Cee-dagh, wh-ak.. ” The elder pointed at Malone.

G’Idaw. Kauh.” The giant spoke with a glance at Malone. He extended his hand to the small biped. With a little hesitance, Malone reached out and took the giant’s massive hand, noting how small his own was in comparison. He felt like a small child, the way he was easily lifted to his feet, “K’I Idaw Khhaw. ”

Eech-chaaw nh-ww. “ The elder merely grunted before he turned and left, leading the others away.

After a moment, the giant placed a hand on Malone’s cheek, gently holding him there, before his big paw slid away. He gave Malone a small quick nod as if to tell him that he’d done a good job, then the giant drew himself up to his full height with pride. He pulled a small dagger from his belt and gave it to Malone, who marveled at the workmanship and how big the blade was in his hand.

E’Gaw.” The giant turned and followed the others. Accepted the hand of an equally savage warrior and began walking off. At the end of the clearing, they paused to look back at Malone for moment, then the giant spat on the ground with unveiled hate. “Bi-tch maug-ga-reet !”

Malone smiled.

Okay. For an ugly giant, maybe he wasn’t so bad. Malone picked up his rifle, tucked the long dagger in his belt and walked away, wondering what the hell was that giant and where did it come from. Obviously, there was a whole tribe of them. And how’d they just vanish like that, into the surrounding . . .

Malone stopped, as if stunned by a sudden thought. That giant had taken the hand of another male-warrior-giant when they were leaving! It knew that Roxton was a man . . . another male . . . and that he and Roxton had been . . .

Malone smiled before turned and headed off.

Maybe those ugly giants weren’t so different after all!

At the edge of the clearing, Malone lifted his arm and sniffed.

“Ew!” he smelled himself, “I need a bath! I smell like some damn dirty ape!”

End . . . ?

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ALIEN PLATEAU

The beginnings of a series of tales based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World – The TV Series! Which was filmed in Australia. I always thought the pairings they had on the show weren’t the correct ones. Sooo . . . I decided to fix them. Thus my site came into being. Here’s the first tale, which takes place after the Brother-in-Arms episode in which Edward Malone left the treehouse to find himself. Which I always thought was silly. He could just look in the mirror and there he’d be! oh well! Read and learn about my thoughts on the subjuct.

Title: ALIEN PLATEAU
Author: batmouse
Genre: post-slash? Crossover
Pairing: R/M (No! not her ! I mean Roxton / Malone!)
Rating: Violence? Romantic longing?
Summary: Malone runs into something that’s best left not run into!
Archive: Whazzat? A hive for arch-bees? Just joking! Go ahead, I don’t mind! Just let me know if you use the story somewhere, ‘kay?
Email: batmouse@rocketmail.com
Series: No, well . . . kinda . . . maybe.
Notes: Notes for what? Passing in class?
Web Page URL: Still dunno what that is.
Disclaimer: Do you really believe I’d be able town somethin’ this cool? I don’t hink so! B’sides, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Coote/Hayes’d prolly come after me with a box’a rocks and jar’a p’nut b’tter three shoes laces an’a stick an’a spoon an’ I’d be in big trouble b’cause characters b’long t’them!
Warnings: After violence, emotional longing for one man by another man. Not disturbing to me, but there are some under developed brains out there that it really freaks out. If wanting love is too foreign a subject for you, go away.
Other Stuff: All the characters b’long t’other people and huge massive corporations that aren’t me.

~~~oO0Oo~~~
ALIEN PLATEAU
by batmouse
~~~oO0Oo~~~

He’d been following the Honker for several hours now and in spite of how fast he was traveling, seemed no closer to catching the wounded beast than when it was first wounded in the hunt. Which had been just after sunrise. He’d gone hunting with a few warriors of a friendly tribe to hunt something special for the celebration feast for the birth of a grandson to the tribal chief. The creature they were after was called a Honker, one of those strangely crested duck-billed dinosaurs that roamed about in herds, eating tons of moss and ferns.

Okay, Honker is what he called the dinosaur. The natives called it K’Bah or its English translation: ‘Caller.’

At any rate, the Honker had been wounded by an ill-thrown spear, after which it had run for its life, hollering and screaming like someone was trying to kill it. Even wounded, it was fast and had left the small hunting party far behind. Luckily, it had run off in a direction away from its herd, leaving a bright red trail of dino-blood behind it. As if its big splayed clubbed paw tracks were difficult to follow, the blood made the trail really stand out. Malone bet that even a blind man could’ve followed the trail the dino left. A survival instinct, rushing off like that was a trait that most of the plant-eating dinosaurs had developed. When one of the herd got taken down by a predator, the rest of the herd escaped while the wounded beast charged off into the wilderness, drawing the hunter(s) after it.

Still, with all the carnivores around, it wasn’t a sure thing that anyone would get to the beast before it died of its wound, or some other meat-eater would hear it, smell the blood and claim the duckbill for its own. And if not, it could be a long painful and grisly death.

That would be inhumane.

The group tracked it farther than they’d thought it could go, pausing only for a long heated discussion before following the dinosaur into the forbidden territory. At last, refusing to go any the frightened natives turned back, urging him to return to the village with them, but he’d refused.

Finally, they left him to push on alone.

They’d told him that the region he was going into was cursed. Weird-ling spirit-demons dwelt in that beautiful, but deadly land. Spirit-demons that chased you down, caught you, bound you and impregnated you with their evil kind or slaughtered you like so much meat to be wasted. They didn’t eat you; they just tore your body to shreds and left it to rot.

The unfortunates that the Spirit-demons slaughtered were said to be the lucky ones. Those that lived did so for only a short time, not knowing that they carried a demon-seed inside their bodies. The unsuspecting carrier thought themselves lucky to have escaped the Spirit-demons. At least, until the demon-seed awoke. The carrier soon felt wrongness, but couldn’t place it, then something would move inside them. At first, it was just an uncomfortable bloated feeling then came the pain. Inside their bodies, their chests, as the demon-seed fought its way free itself from the carrier’s body, tearing, clawing, bursting free, exploding its way out . . . escaping through the chest, splattering blood and bone as it sought toward freedom.

Nobody survived the demon-seed’s gory birth.

Still, he pushed on, alone, in spite of his better judgment. He was going to kill that big honking Honker, even if it was the last thing he did! Spirit-demons or no Spirit-demons.

He stopped . . .

Something wasn’t right . . .

Silence . . .

His heart nearly exploded out of his chest, when a terror-stricken cry blasted the afternoon air and the wounded Honker broke from a cluster of bushes and fled, honking with every thundering step.

Damn Honker. It scared the hell out of him! Well, since he’d sworn to get some of that delicious Honker meat, he took off after the dang-blasted dinosaur, passing by the bushes where the vegetarian-saurian had been hiding.

He smelled something.

He paused then crept closer.

“What in the name of . . . ?” He whispered to himself, when he looked into the bushes, “What the . . . ?”

Whatever it was, it looked like a mid-thigh tall fleshy egg. He would’ve thought cabbage, but the leaves looked thick . . . but, fleshy, like . . . like that of a T-Rex. It stood on its more rounded end; the ‘top’ part was opened like a blossomed flower, revealing smooth pinkish insides. He sniffed then wrinkled his nose, taking a step back. The flesh-egg smelled like old meat . . . left to rot in the sun.

Whatever it was, it had to be dead. It smelled like it.

He started to continue after the Honker, when his boot scuffed against something. He swore and leaped back. It looked like a . . . a giant pink spider! With a long bony tail! He recalled the tails of those dinosaurs he’d seen back in the London Museum . . . that’s what the bony tail reminded him of . . . except, this thing had tight pink flesh stretched and shrunk over it. The longer he looked at the strange thing’s sort-of body, the more he thought that it looked like a pair of hands, connected at the base to a spine that became a long boney tail.

There was no meat on the spider-hand creature.

Nor did it have a head.

It was dead, at any rate.

What the hell was it?

Nothing he’d ever seen before, that’s for sure. But, ugly as sin. He shuddered.

At last, he moved on, taking one last look at the thing and the giant flesh egg.

~~~o0O0o~~~

The Honker had run as if it hadn’t been wounded, but at last the adrenaline was wearing off and the dinosaur was tiring out. He knew he’d catch up to it soon enough. But, he’d have to be quick about it. Considering how far he’d traveled, he knew he wouldn’t be able to take very much meat back with him, if any at all. Besides, the smell of the fresh blood would attract all the carnivores that called the plateau home.

He paused.

Why aren’t there any meat-eaters around?

He glanced around.

Surely, the scent of fresh blood should’ve attracted them long ago.

He took a slow shaky step.

Where the hell were they?

Again, he paused.

And, all that frightened honking . . .

~~~o0O0o~~~

The Honker stumbled into the small clearing. Exhausted, it had run a long time in its terror. And . . . now, it knew that something was wrong.

It felt . . . heavy . . . inside . . .

Panic!

Something was going to happen!

It froze . . .

Something was moving . . .

Raptors . . . pack hunters, emerged from the forest. They had the Honker surrounded. Trapped.

The Honker was easy prey. It was wounded . . .

But . . . different.

Something was different about this one . . .

No matter, it would still be good eating.

About to attack, they paused.

The Honker started to shake. Convulsing.

The raptors backed up a bit. Confused.

The Honker coughed up a great gout of blood. It shook and shuddered violently. It rose up on its hind legs, balancing with its tail, like a tripod. A horrible choking screaming roar tore from its throat and its green eyes rolled wildly in their sockets. The cry startled the pack hunters, as the Honker dropped heavily to its knees . . . Its chest pulsing . . . heaving . . .

~~~o0O0o~~~

From the staggered uneven tracks, he knew he’d find the Honker soon. It would be exhausted or dead from its wound and blood loss. Up ahead, he could see what he was sure was a clearing . . .

Yup, it was, there was the Honker.

He broke through the last of the underbrush and stopped short, staring before him. There was the Honker, but what he could see of it something had already gotten to it. It was lying strangely splayed out . . . in a great splash of blood. It was . . . dead.

Around its corpse were the torn and dismembered body parts of other dinosa . . .

Wait. I recognize those chunks of meat . . .

There were at least four different raptors laying spread about . . . or parts of them. They weren’t cut, sliced or chopped up, but were torn to shreds, by something stronger and more savage than a pack of hunting raptors, the most fearsome predators on the plateau.

But . . . what could’ve done that to a healthy hunting pack? Could they have fought and killed each other over the Honker carcass? But, that didn’t make sense. Raptors had a pecking order. They were led by a big female . . .

Who . . . what had killed the raptors?

His senses went on alert.

Silence.

Frozen with fear . . .

The jungle felt still.

He glanced around then carefully began to back up, into the surrounding jungle. He needed to make it to cover, if he was going have a chance of escaping whatever had killed the . . .

He nearly leaped out of his skin, when a roar and a scream tore the air, a bloodied and injured raptor staggered into the clearing. It looked ready to drop. Its sides were clawed, bleeding from the neck . . . . and one of its forearms was just a bloody stump.

Exhausted, it looked like it had been trying to escape somethi . . . A shriek that called to mind the sound of tortured metal tearing broke the air . . . and something big and hideous sprang from the jungle. Its hide was shiny and black, like that of a beetle or a black widow and it looked like its body was made of bones. Its eyeless head was elongated. Smooth on top with rib-like ridges running along the back of its head’s underside and its mouth was filled with rows of sharp needle teeth. From its back were six long growths that looked like pipes. Three on each side as if they were stunted wing growths.

How could something so . . . so . . . boney live?

How did it see?

Could it see?

Apparent, even to him, it was quick and deadly. Whatever it was, it was a killing machine of the first order. He couldn’t see that . . . creature (?) . . . bone-dinosaur (?) knowing what mercy was.

With a leap as graceful as a gazelle, yet as deadly as a falling executioner’s axe, the bone-dinosaur was on the raptor’s back. The raptor shrieked in pain as a set of six digit claws raked it along its sides. Two more raptors sprang into the clearing, one catching the bone-dinosaur’s armored forearm in its powerful jaws as the creature prepared to strike the wounded female again. With a loud crunch and a twist, the raptor tore the limb from the monstrosity . . . and both screamed in pain!

The bone-dinosaur over the loss of a limb and the raptor as the creature’s greenish blood, like a powerful acid, began eating away its jaws and head. The raptor died a horrible death, while the bone-dinosaur turned back to the big female it had pinned.

It opened its mouth and seemed to hiss . . . then, another mouth (?) . . . set of teeth (?) dripping clear saliva like pouring water moved slowly out if its primary mouth. A sudden quick movement, like the striking of a cobra, the extra set of teeth struck, with bone crushing force, punching into the base of the raptor’s skull. Brain and blood spattered and the female died.

The last raptor, a slightly smaller female, spun and fled. The last of her pack, she had to survive and to do that, she had to escape.

The creature leapt from the shuddering corpse and vanished into the surrounding jungle after the last raptor. Intent on killing the last female.

~~~oO0Oo~~~

As if he were a puppet with its strings cut, he stumbled backwards and fell. He quickly scrambled to his feet and headed back the way he’d come in a flat out run for life.

Somewhere behind him he heard the raptor’s death cry. It sounded ugly . . . and as irrational as it seemed, something told him that the ugly eyeless bone-dinosaur was going to come after him next!

Plants, branches and twigs slapped at his face, tore at his flesh and clothing in his mad flight to get away. For a time all he could hear was the sound of his boots hitting the ground as he ran and the labored breathing as air flooded his lungs and escaped in harsh breaths was loud to his ears.

Then, he heard it. Running heavily through the jungle behind him, almost as if it didn’t care if its prey could hear it or not. Then it was to the right of him with its drumming tread. Then it was on the other side of him, keeping pace with him. Its clawed feet pounding the ground, sounding more like hooves as it chased him.

Its speed was incredible, but he was keeping ahead of it, almost . . . unless, there was more than one . . . could it be . . . ?

No! He refused to think that thought!

There was only one set of steps following him.

He skidded to a stop with fall, landing on his backside.

Somewhere ahead of him, came its nerve killing shriek.

No. it couldn’t be. Disbelief.

He scrambled to his feet and took off running in another direction.

He screamed . . . it was looming in his path!

It was huge . . . ugly!

He ran, tearing his clothes further on branches and bushes.

From out of nowhere, it slashed at him from the side.

His flesh stung from the claws.

What was left of his shirt, hung in tatters from his shoulders. A pants leg was missing and the other was torn open, revealing him, from thigh to the hip.

He leaped and rolled, coming to a stop in some bushes, breathing hard. He was safe for the moment. Hiding.

Where was it? He frantically looked around. It had killed those raptors quick and easy. Why hadn’t it done the same to me? Was it playing with me?

How did it . . . where did it come from? What was it?

Where was it . . . ?

What was that dripping sound . . . ?

Hsssssssssssss . . .

The dripping was slow . . . and each drop sizzled like water on a hot cooking pan after it struck whatever it was falling on . . .

Eyes wide, he turned his head slowly and looked over his shoulder . . . there it was, its black eyeless head slowly entering the bushes where he was hiding! He took off, most of his pants and what was left of his shirt dangled from the bone-dinosaur’s strangely elongated fore claws . . .

Did . . . did it have two sets of opposable thumbs? A long clawed thumb on each side of the same hand . . . ?

He ran hard and fast. His lungs burned, his legs and body felt like lead . . .

Woops! Almost went over that cliff!

The fall wouldn’t’ve hurt, but he’d scream all the way down until the sudden stop at the bottom ended his worries. With all those jagged rocks at the cliff base, he knew he wouldn’t feel the impact, let alone survive.

This way! He took off.

As he ran, he found that the creature wasn’t chasing him, but was just following along! It hissed or made noises or threatened him if he didn’t step lively enough.

A chill crept through him. He was being herded! Most likely into a trap. To his death. But, what scared him the most was thinking that the bone-dinosaur had a purpose for him, other than a quick death.

Could the bone-dinosaur be . . . intelligent? That thought alone chilled him . . . to the bone . . . That wasn’t funny.

He stopped.

In a small clearing was a collection of those . . . those giant meat eggs.

The creature behind him hissed as it slowed to a stop some where just out of sight . . .

He took a step.

The meat eggs smelled like . . .

One of them opened . . .

Blossomed . . .

He stopped.

The creature hissed . . .

He didn’t move . . .

The creature hissed again . . .

It was closer.

Pink boney fingers began to move inside one of the meat egg. Trying to climb out . . .

He still didn’t move . . .

Yet, he knew to stay where he was, was to die . . .

He was suddenly aware of something . . . but, he didn’t know what it was. Something was going on . . . something was happening . . . something was trying to tell him . . . something . . .

Suddenly, he knew!

He heard it.

His brain . . . his instincts were telling him to move and move now!

He ducked and ran through the clearing, not realizing that the slurping whooshing crack of the whip sound that had passed over his head had been one of those pink spider-things. It had flown over his head, only to end up wrapping its long boney tail around a tree, anchoring it there! Its long boney fingers (?) . . . spidery legs (?) had clutched the tree trunk in a death grip. He didn’t know it, but that spider-thing’s target had been him, he didn’t know that the tree could’ve been his head! Until he took a glance back and saw the spider-thing hugging the tree trunk making slurping sounds.

I hope neither . . . !

He took off again. He ran, bobbing and weaving his way through the egg forest to emerge on the other side. And with a weird-ling cry, the bone-dinosaur was on his trail. He could hear it catching up to him. He got a sudden flash of an idea. It was mad. Insane. Before he could think about what he was going to do, he spun and circled back around and headed for the meat-egg nesting area, the bone-dinosaur hissing and angry on his trail. He hoped that it didn’t have brain enough to figure out what he was doing!

He came to a skidding stop in the center of the cache of eggs and stood unmoving. A couple of eggs opened up and long spidery fingers began to move about inside the egg. He heard the bone-dinosaur behind him. Stalking him. Closing in for the kill. He felt his heart pounding loud and hard. Either the spider-things would get him or the bone-dinosaur would.

He took off, just as the spider-things leaped and the bone-dinosaur charged!

The spider-things had launched themselves into the air, missing their intended target, but clamped onto another unsuspecting victim . . . As one, they fought to reach the bone-dinosaur’s face and mouth, while the creature flipped and twisted about the clearing, slashing and grabbing, trying to escape the spider-things. All the while, destroying meat eggs in their battle for supremacy!

He could hear the ruckus that the bone-dinosaur was making as it battled the spider-things. Obviously it had some issues with the spider-things. But, at that point, he didn’t care, he only knew that the longer the battle went on, the more time it gave him to escape.

And, he was going to escape!

He was sure he made it! He was free! He’d escaped the bone-dinosaur!

He got awa . . .

Then, he heard it.

The heavy smooth sound of a running beast . . .

It was closing in on him!

He could hear it getting closer!

The heavy tread of its clawed feet . . .

Oh, shit! I’ve gone the wrong way!

The thunder of an enraged hiss . . .

It was behind him . . .

He’d forgotten about the . . .

It wasn’t close, but it was coming fast.

Dammit!

His hand hooked around a small tree to stop himself from going over the cliff!

Damn! Damn! Damn!

He was breathing hard.

He looked back at the forest.

He could hear it coming!

So, this was how I die!

It was getting closer!

I don’t wanna to die . . .

Here it comes!

Oh . . . shhhhhhiiit! ! ! ! !

Without a thought, he turned from the cliff and charged toward the sound of the bone-dinosaur’s approach.

He was really desperate.

He’d barely gotten two steps before it broke into the cliff side clearing.

If he was going to die . . .

He wasn’t going to be on his . . .

His foot slipped!

The creature leaped at him . . .

He fell backwards, his booted-feet arcing skyward . . .

He knew he was going to die . . .

The creature hissed triumphantly as it sailed toward its falling victim.

He knew he was going to die for real!

It emitted a startled grunt as its body met its prey’s booted feet.

The momentum of the creature’s leap and its weight sent a jarring jolt up his legs as his up raised boots met the hard surface of the creature’s boney chest.

The bone-dinosaur’s secondary mouth shot out of its primary mouth and snapped at him, trying to bite his face as it arced over him.

Foul saliva splashed onto him.

The speed of its leap, connecting with the smaller creature’s booted feet had deflected the bone-dinosaur’s flight.

Startled by the sudden blow to its chest and its quick change in direction, the creature let loose a cry of anger.

The human grunted from the impact and the force of the creature’s momentum flipped him over on his stomach. Startled, he turned to look . . . to see where the creature was . . .

Where’d it go?

Then came the sound of a boney-meaty something slamming into unforgiving rock. He scrambled to the cliff’s edge and peered over the edge . . . and began laughing in near hysterical relief, then . . .

Eeeugh!” He wrinkled his nose at the sight of the ruined body of the bone-dinosaur lying in the center of a great splash of putrid smoking bile. His stomach roiled as realization came. The greenish-blackness splashed from the bone-creature’s body was its blood and it was smoking! It smelled acidic . . .

He felt a new unexplainable fear crawl over his scalp and down his spine. It made his hair stand on end . . .

Was . . . was . . . the bone-dinosaur . . . . moving?

But . . . it was dead!

Its body smashed and shattered against the jagged rocks . . .

Wait . . . wait . . . it was moving!

Aw, come on! That’s not fair!

Oh, God! It was . . .

Huh?

It was sinking into the earth . . . almost like its blood were eating away the very ground it lay on! Almost like its blood was acid.

“Dear, God! What hell was that thing!?!” Suddenly not caring, he scrambled backwards, away from the cliff’s edge. All he wanted to do now was get away from . . . wherever he was . . . but he was so tired . . .

Suddenly feeling heavy, like his veins were filled with lead, he didn’t have the strength to get up. To get to his feet and get away . . .

His chest hurt . . . and burned . . . from all that running he’d done. His breath in hard heavy gusts of wind.

The bone-creature was dead. He was safe. He was alive. He was . . . so, so tired . . .

He collapsed face down, not ten feet way from the cliff’s edge.

Breathing hard and exhausted, he felt himself losing consciousness as his body started shutting down to heal itself . . . Everything was starting to darken around him as he . . .

~~~o0O0o~~~

As the world grayed around him, he was sure he heard the sound of boots on the hard soil . . . Oh, God . . . another one! But, Malone didn’t care anymore. He was just too tired and sore . . .

Let it take me . . . I just don’t care . . .

“Malone!?!” Roxton’s voice pulled him back to consciousness. The sound of booted feet stopped at his side. The sound of a rifle being lain down beside him . . . Then he felt Roxton’s strong hands lifting him. Turning him over. Embracing him. Holding the blonde man to his chest.

The smell of Roxton’s sweat. The scorch of heated flesh on his face. The feel of dry familiar lips kissing his cheek, his forehead. The rasp of an unshaven cheek on his . . .

Tears fell freely from Malone’s eyes, as Roxton held him. Comforted him. Whispered sweet nothings that meant the world to him. Oh Gods, how he missed their times together. The secret times, when they shared their needs, their wants, their feelings, the warmth and hardness of their bodies . . . The times that ended when Marguerite had threatened to expose the two men . . . if Malone didn’t break off the affair, as she called what the two men had.

He knew that she would carry out her threat . . . in the most painful way possible . . .

To save Roxton, Malone had ended it. He’d left behind a note, telling truths and needs, but not the real truths and the real needs . . .

But somehow, Roxton was here, holding him. Kissing him. Loving him. Telling him of how he’d gotten the truth out of Marguerite and had come looking for him . . .

Of how much he loved . . .

~~~o0O0o~~~

Malone moaned as reality came dragging back his loss and sorrow.

His hands clutching the grass under him, not bothering to look up.

To see if he were still lying face down beside the cliff . . .

He was getting so damned tired of that haunting heart-breaking dream . . .

Of Lord John Roxton abandoning all to come after him. To come after him and take him home and love him forever.

But, he knew that childish fantasy would never come true. Roxton would never come for him, leaving Marguerite behind to . . .

Even though the two men loved each other, they had society to face and society just didn’t give a damn about how much two men loved each other . . . unless they ignored their feelings and got married to women and raised a family and . . . dammit all!

Malone forced his tired body and spirit to get up and move on, wishing that the bone-dinosaur had gotten him. Ended his pain once and for all. But, he couldn’t give up. He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t die. Not yet. Something told him that he had something to do before his end came. Before he could rest from his sore and aching heart.

On his feet, carrying the weight of a world that didn’t exist, Malone moved off into the gathering evening.

He had to find his gun if he was to survive . . .

Not knowing he was being watched . . . by something not of the plateau . . .

end?

Welp. There you have it. The first in a series, which I hope to get toytally complete . . . Okay, okay, I’ve got it complete, but with life pulling me in every which way, it may take a while to get it totally stuck up on this site.

Hope t’see you around!