Pairing: R/M (No, not her! Lord John Roxton / Edward Malone!)
Summary: Malone gets into some hairy trouble . . . and makes friends while doing it. (No, not THAT, pervert!) Cross-over with Planet of the Apes, or at least, my version of it.
Archive: Yeah, sure. Why not? Somebody’s gotta.
Series: kinda sorta . . . Ned, the barbarian.
Notes: Who? Me? No, ma’am, I’m not passing notes! Honest!
Web Page URL: Not those initials again!
Disclaimer: Wish I was, but the only ‘claimer I got is the story an’ plot. An’ I don’t even got one on the characters t‘call my own!
Warnings: Attempted non-con. Attempted bestiality (?). Violence. Running, screaming and carrying on. Don’t like violence, go away!
KINGDOM OF THR APES
The water felt good as he swam through the pond’s shallow depths. He’d been stopping at the small body of water called Big Rock Pond off and on for a few weeks. He’d named it that because on one side of the pond was a great big rock; while on the opposite shore was another rock, though not as big. It was secluded and for some reason (he didn’t know or care to think about) the local prehistoric beasts, reptile and mammal avoided the fresh water pond. Nothing stopped there, except him. And that was the way he liked it.
After what happened with that old guy, that young guy and those mammoth-sized ugly underground worm-things they’d been hunting, he needed some quiet time. And those horned snake things that came out of their four pronged beaky mouths.
Ugh! Really ugly! And the skinny old guy . . . Goober (?) Gumper (?) Whatever . . . and that obsession he had with big and powerful guns! And that young guy and his obsession with going fast. They deserved each other and whatever weird future they came from . . . and those things they called Graboids . . . or maybe not.
But, at the moment, he really needed to wash off all that dirt he got himself covered in. He was getting tired of cave-ins. At least, the falling rocks killed that big eyeless worm!
Stupid dimensional portals.
The water was clear, crisp and felt good flowing along his naked body. He usually did a couple of laps, swimming from one end to the other. First, to the big rock then to the littler one and back again. Lately, he’d taken to swimming under water. And this day was like any other. Quiet and peaceful. He swam a couple laps then decided to do the same under water. It wasn’t really a challenge to do so, as the distance wasn’t that far, but it was something different to try. He neared the farther shore and re-surfaced with a toss of his head that sent a spray of water arcing through the air.
His blonde hair was water darkened and the cold water streamed down his body, glittering in the sunlight, making his skin shine. He stood in the waist deep water, raking his fingers through his hair to get keep his hair out of his eyes. God, it was a beautiful day! He was about to swim back toward the big rock, under water, and was taking a deep breath of air . . . when . . .
CHAOS! Snapping branches, running feet and fearful screams!
Ape-men, a whole tribe of them, were racing passed him! All about him! They all but ignored him in their mad rush passed him. They appeared to be mad with terror. Fleeing something. They swung overhead on vines, shrieking. Others were leaping from tree to tree, howling in terror! They were stampeding through and around the pond!
What was after them?!? A t-rex? A pack of raptors? Not wanting to get caught and eaten by whatever could send such a large tribe of ape-men into such a wild screaming mad flight, Malone was about to turn and stampede along with them, when there came a distinct echo of a rifle shot! Which was followed by the startled grunt of an ape-man getting hit.
He paused momentarily . . . and that was his undoing.
A lasso snaked out of the forest and looped around his neck. Before he could react, the rope suddenly tightened and jerked him off of his feet and he went under the water, the rope dragging him all the way. Back to the surface. Out of the water and up the muddy shore. Struggling and busy fighting to breathe, Malone had just loosened the noose enough to take a breath, when he looked up in time to see a blurry shape and the butt end of a rifle descending on him, then a painful all-consuming darkness . . .
Reality came back to him slowly . . . his head ached. Nor was the world too clear . . . in fact, it felt upside down. If only his head would stop pounding and swaying . . . everything was so . . . so . . . fuzzy. Blurry even . . .
A few moments later, he came to realize that he was dangling and that queasy rocking motion was because he was draped over a big broad shoulder. . . he was being carried . . . like a sack of potatoes. There was a rough hand at the small of his back, holding him in place . . . and . . . and another was on his naked backside! Caressing him . . . almost fondling his behind! Some big pervert was playing with his butt while he was unconscious!!
Doubling his fists, he slammed his molester’s lower back. With a grunt, his captor went to his knees. As his captor fell, Malone rolled to the side and came up running. He ran as fast as he could, intent on escape . . . But there was a sudden abrupt stop.
He hadn’t realized that the rope was still around his neck. The sudden snap of tautness, a quick sensation of choking and Malone fell right back into unconsciousness . . .
Malone stood on a mountaintop. Naked to the world. Any and all could see that he longed for and desired another man.
But, not just any man. Oh no, it had to be one man in particular. The handsome green-eyed British Lord, John Roxton, with his thick wavy black hair. His deep sun bronzed flesh. He remembered how John’s skin tasted after a day of working in the sun. The strength in his hands as they held him. Molded his own flesh to his will. The depth of his kisses and how he could get lost in those eyes that saw only him . . .
And there he stood, upon a distant hill. Wearing his magnificent skin. Glittering with a trace of sweat in the sun. His head tilted back, enjoying the sun’s rays.
At last, John Roxton opened his eyes to look at him. And, there was such warmth, love and tenderness there that Malone felt as if he would die from the need of the man . . .
Then, the look in his eyes changed. Engulfed by sadness and loss. Malone felt his heart die a little.
John extended a hand out to him. Reaching for him. Beckoning him to take his hand. Reaching for him. Wanting him . . .
Malone also extended his hand. The distance between them seemed to shrink and they drew nearer to one another . . .
Then, Roxton was jerked to a stop. Pulled away from Malone’s touch . . .
She was holding Roxton. Keeping him back.
The bitch had him in her arms!
She was kissing him!
Damn her! That look in her eye told him that she had Roxton where she wanted him.
He was just a toy to her. He meant nothing more to her than another bauble on a charm bracelet.
She wanted John Roxton just because someone else wanted and loved Roxton first.
Even as Roxton turned to accept a kiss from the raven haired woman, Malone could see the desire in the man’s eyes, and it wasn’t for the woman that held him.
Roxton wanted him.
But, he was nowhere around. It was no wonder Roxton turned to her. Malone wasn’t there to accept and give the love Roxton wanted and needed, so he was making do with whatever he could . . .
He awoke, huddled in a dimly lit place.
Where was . . . ?
Oh, God. I’m somebody’s prisoner.
I’m getting tired of this.
Why couldn’t it have been Roxton who was kidnapped, stripped naked and held prisoner?
Why was it always . . .
“. . . if they just kill the freak?” a deep gruff voice came through the fog.
“They might.” Another voice, this one with a strange accent. Almost a lisp. “But, we cannot let that happen.”
“And why not?” amused exasperation.
“Need I go into detail?” amused right back, “or, they might turn him over to Qaz.”
“Oh, Lawgiver, that old pervert?” the lisped-voice groaned, “That old sex-monger would sell the freak’s shiny butt to any and every ‘Rilla, O’Rang and Chimm that gets off breeding with the lower life forms! And that, after what we have learned?”
“That was a strange happenstance.” Pause, “Look, he awakens!”
There was a loud bang as footsteps entered.
“What is this I hear about a hairless half-ling?” an ancient sounding voice, full of authority, boomed.
“Lawgiver’s bread.” The gruff voice whispered.
“Aye, Lord Qaz,” the lispy voice spoke, “caught on the last hunt.”
“Well, let me have a look.” The old voice drew nearer, “I swear, though, if you are wasting my time with another shaved albino half-ling, I’ll . . . Lawgiver’s Loins!”
At that startled cry, Malone sat up and took a look at his captors, to see what kind of men . . .
They . . .
They . . . were . . . APES!
Walking, talking . . . APES!
And there were five of them!
A huge black haired giant that stood nearly six and a half feet tall. It looked like a gorilla. Beside him still a smaller one. White skinned, but with equally black hair. The rest were all red haired. Though not hair covered, like real apes, but they did have an over-abundance of body and facial hair. Just a bit more that a very hairy man would have.
But, their faces . . . they were the faces of apes! Gorilla, chimpanzee and orangutan.
Behind the lead orangutan, which had flaps of skin on his old and wrinkle-lined face and thick graying reddish hair, were two much younger orangutans. These too had face flaps, didn’t appear to be nowhere near as old as the lead orangutan that leaned on a thick wooden staff.
To Malone these orangutans looked bookish. If an ape could look bookish. The gorilla was a muscular warrior-type and the chimpanzee was somewhere between a warrior and a bookish-type. He could go either way.
To Malone’s surprise, the gorilla caught his attention and held a finger to his muzzle as if to signal him to keep quiet. Malone’s eyebrows rose when the gorilla winked.
Stunned beyond words, Malone’s mouth hung open in shock.
“Ugh! What an ugly, ugly creature!” The old monkey’s muzzle wrinkled more, in distaste, “What could have given birth to such a monstrosity!?”
“Yes, it is ugly . . .” The chimp sighed sadly, but smiled at Malone and winked at him, all without the orangutans seeing his actions, “We were planning on re-releasing it back into the wild. I think catching it was a mistake!”
“Perhaps that is for the best . . .” The orangutan paused as if in thought, “Wait. Let me check on something first . . . then, I will be back.”
With that the old ape led the others out, leaving Malone with the big gorilla and the chimp.
The chimp waited until they where alone, watching the orangutans leave, then turned and took a step closer to Malone.
“It is a good thing that you kept silent . . . whatever you are.” The chimp said softly, “If anyone finds out that you can talk, it would probably be the dissection table for you!”
“Di . . . ssec . . .” Malone swallowed and winced, his hand going to his throat, to find his neck was wrapped in bandages, which in turn were held in place by a wide leather collar attached to a chain.
“Sorry about that.” The big gorilla apologized, “You have a bad rope burn around your neck from when you were lassoed.”
“I put a salve on the burn to help the healing process along and the bandages to protect against rubbing from the collar.” The chimp added.
“Why am I . . . where am I?” Malone spoke, his voice a gravelly whisper, “And why are you surprised that I can talk?”
“Not only that,” the chimp added, “but that you are obviously intelligent!”
“Never mind him,” the ape graveled, “Tharrn thinks that only Chimm’s have brains.”
“We do, Hannu,” the chimp lisped with an air of superiority, “next to ‘Rillas like you!”
“Then, why are you with me?” The big gorilla smiled deviously.
“See?” The chimp turned to Malone gesturing to the gorilla as if he alone were evidence, “He does not even know that I am in love with the big lug! That is why I am with you, Hannu! And, do not forget it!”
The gorilla smiled at Malone, telling him that he was indulging the chimp.
“You were caught in a half-ling hunt.” The chimp, Tharrn, went back to Malone’s question, answering in a manner that Malone was supposed to completely understand, which he didn’t.
“ ‘Half . . . ling hunt’ ?” Malone asked, clearly not understanding and Thaarn rolled his eyes.
“Those are half-lings.” He turned and pointed at a group of ape-men sitting huddled in a nearby cage.
“Ape-men . . . ?”
“Ape . . . Men?”
“Yes,” Malone began, “back where I’m from, that’s what we call . . .” he pointed, “. . . those.”
“Why?” Thaarn was curious.
“Scientists say that men,” Malone explained, “(That’s what I am. A man.), evolved from apes. When we found those creatures on the plateau, we realized that they were ape-men. You know, almost man, but mostly ape.”
“You watch your sacrilegious mouth!” Hannu growled.
“Hannu! Be calm!” The chimp placed a hand on the gorilla’s wide chest, “He is not civilized! Or, at least, not as we know civilized.” Thaarn turned back to Malone in full professor-mode, “Let me explain. In our society, in our history, the sciences (in the before-days) had gone wild. Anything and everything in the pursuit of knowledge. Science was the god of that long ago age. As history states it, they cracked the genetic code . . . After that, the experimentation got out of hand. That was how the half-lings came into being . . .
“Outrage upon outrage came, until it led to a massive war . . . in which much of the world was destroyed. The Lawgiver arose in those troubled times and pulled society back together. Such genetic experiments were banned, but the damage had been done. The half-lings already existed. Half-lings were not terribly intelligent, though useful as slave labor. Some were smart enough to escape and have been a blight on the kingdom ever since . . .
“And certain flesh-peddlers, Qaz for one,” this was said with distaste, “use them in his perverted sex-palaces. He says that they are there just to serve, but all know that they serve sexually. Still I know not how he found out about you . . .” Thaarn paused to give the gorilla a look, “Perhaps, Traag. That coin-greedy Chimm would put his own mother on the sex-block if he thought that doing so would line his pockets with just one more coin!”
“We, Thaarn and I, do not really care for this job or the apes it puts us in contact with,” Hannu gestured at the chamber around them, “but it pays our bills and keeps us fed.”
“We thought you just another victim of Traag’s coin-scheming,” Thaarn explained, “at least, we did until we heard you speaking of your beloved while unconscious. Another male? No matter.” Thaarn shrugged, “Roxton sounds like a fine warrior’s name. And we Ennicts are best when we stick together, anyway!”
“Legends speak of a long ago warrior-king who near conquered the world,” Hannu spoke, “at the head of a great army. One made up of lovers that would die before dishonoring themselves before their beloved . . .”
“And we realized,” Thaarn took over, “that if you came from such a world. You might have a lover as devoted to you, who would rise an army against the kingdom . . . just to get you back . . . And war is one thing that the kingdom does not need.”
“Especially, if your Roxton brought an army of lovers.” Hannu added.
“By the way,” Thaarn tilted his head and asked, “How did you come to be captured in a half-ling hunt?”
“Well, I was swimming at a place that I call Big Rock Pond,” Malone explained, unsure of why he was, “I was swimming from one end to the other, under water, and when I re-surfaced, there was a herd ape-men . . .” he noticed how Hannu bristled, so he amended, “. . . half-lings were stampeding by and . . .”
“This big rock pond,” the chimp cut in, “does it have a large worn boulder . . . Um, twice my height and on the opposite shore another boulder the size of two huddled half-lings?”
“Well, yeah . . .”
“By the Broken Laws!” Both apes swore.
“We must get you back there!” Thaarn spoke urgently, “As soon as possible!”
“That would explain his appearance!” Hannu told Thaarn, excitedly, “It is just this side of the Forbidden Zone!”
“Here, let me get that chain off of you.” The chimp approached Malone, “It is held in place by a simple clasp.”
“Oh?” Malone reached back, there was a click and he held the chain out to the chimp.
“Those clasps can hold half-lings!” Thaarn was stunned by Malone’s dexterity, gently taking the chain.
“If you’ll notice,” Malone smiled, “I’m not a half-ling!”
“Come,” Hannu motioned for them to hurry, “we must get you out of here . . .”
“Wait . . .” Malone used his hands to cover himself, “I can’t go out there like this! I’m naked!”
“Believe me, youngling,” Hannu smiled at him, as if at a child, “you are noticeable enough for being hairless. If you wore clothing, everyone would really notice you then.”
“Damn, I hate this.” Malone muttered to himself, “Always knocked out and naked . . .”
“I have spoken to several of my clientele and . . .” Qaz re-entered the animal holding area, looking every bit an old pervert. He carried a worn leash and was followed by a chimp in soldier’s garb. He stopped short, “What . . . ? Where are you going with my property!?!”
“This . . . animal, is not your property, Lord Qaz.” Thaarn bristled. His sire had always told him that a good defense was a good offense, “No deal has been struck.”
“Of course we had a deal!” The O’Rang thundered, banging his staff on the stone floor, “I told you that I would be returning!”
“And you have.” Hannu stepped forward and glared threateningly down at the O’Rang, who took a cautious step back, “Deal struck. Deal done. Nothing further was dealt.”
“It was inferred . . .” the O’Rang shut his yap and stepped back, when the ‘Rilla took another more menacing step closer. He bumped into the tall soldier chimp behind him. He stammered, blinking cowardily, “. . . n – never mind . . .”
“Then, let us go, Thaarn.” Hannu didn’t take his eyes off of the O’Rang as Thaarn led Malone around the small group and out the chamber door into the street.
Out on the street, Thaarn and Malone were joined by Hannu, then the trio headed off, going in a different direction than the one they needed to go, In hopes that if they were to be headed off, their pursuers would be heading the wrong direction.
“Hold it!” Malone’s bicep was grabbed as he was brutally pulled from the chimp and gorilla, “That beast belongs to the Kingdom until it is paid for! It you have a claim to it, I want to see the sales receipt!”
“Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” Malone snarled, yanking his arm free from the big chimp‘s grip.
Shocked that the hairless beast could speak, let alone utter a coherent sentence, the soldier chimp wasn’t prepared, when Malone suddenly elbowed him in the muzzle. The chimp let out a small girl-y yelp before grabbing his face and staggering to the ground, moaning.
“By the Broken Laws, wha – ?” The old O’Rang didn’t see or feel the fist that punched him square in the face. All he knew was bright stars on black and incredible pain as he sank ground ward.
“Ow! Ow! OW! OW!” Malone ran, rubbing his elbow with his hurting fist, “I thought an ape-face was soft! That chimp’s face was like hitting a brick wall!”
A female Chimm screamed at the sight of violence. Her mate grabbed her and held her close, those actions were copied by all the other late night couples strolling along the streets, when they’d heard Malone’s savage shout.
“He can talk! He can talk! HE CAN TALK! HE CAN TALK!” The cry went up.
“The beast is fleeing!” an graying chimpanzee shouted.
“After the beast!” another, this one a female, called.
There was another shriek.
“Are you tree-slammed!?” Someone shouted back, “It just attacked a city-guard and that fat old fool! It might be rabid!”
“Don’t let it escape!”
“Rabid!?!” A cry of exclamation.
“I am not going after it!” said in a ‘what-are-you-crazy’ tone.
“It could be dangerous!” agreeing.
“It might bite somebody!” a warning.
“Two solid coppers to the one who catches the animal!” Old Qaz gathered his scrambled senses enough to hear the commotion and call out. That animal was valuable to him.
“CALL OUT THE GUARD!” Someone yelled.
“TWO COPPERS!?!” Another someone shouted.
“Call out the guard!” An indignant old male.
“Forbidden Zone take the guard!” a couple of male O’Rangs looked at each other, “Two solid coppers will buy a lot of drink!”
“A hairless half-ling!“ An appalled someone pointed out Malone as he ran passed.
“Ugh! It is UGLY!” Another someone.
“Out of the way, you uglier-than-thou-bitch!” Malone barreled through a group of shoppers.
“It went that way!” Urgently.
“Somebody shaved it!” Horrified.
“GET THE BEAST!” Angry.
“Cruelty to animals!” the cry of the young and rebellious.
“Out of the way, you fools!” Pursuers.
“Cruelty to animals!” shouts helping the poor beast’s escape.
A dirty dark alley way.
“Watch it!” a snarl at some cook who’d opened a back door and tossed out dirty dish water, splashing Malone. The surprised apron-ed chimp yelped and slammed the door, locking it from the inside.
Now he was wet and stank of washed dishes!
Shouts and yells could be heard.
Directions of where to look. Directions of where to go.
Riders on horse back. Hooves on the stone avenues.
Damn, they were really after him. Malone knew that the chimp, Thaarn had been telling the truth. If he was caught, he’d end up on the dissection table so the ape scientists could find out why he could talk. Something told him that they wouldn’t bother to ask him about it, either.
His feet hurt from running on the uneven pavement. He was cold and wet, smelling foul with used dish water. What else could go wrong?
Up ahead the light from an opened door spilled out into the alley and he could hear the sound of a female voice . . .
When am I gonna learn to keep my mouth shut!? To himself.
“Come back to bed, Cornelius. You do not have to leave so soon.”
“Zira, I have to go. You have patients in the morning and I have an expedition to plan.”
“Patients. They are just animals! And I am a veterinarian, not a real doctor! Besides, it is not like those artifacts will get tired of waiting and go someplace else!”
“Okay, Zira, I stand overwhelmed by your logic.”
The door closed and the alley was again in darkness.
Malone moved off, along a wall. He passed another recessed doorway and was suddenly pulled into the darkness!
“Gotcha!” a huge hand covered his mouth, while the other held him securely and he couldn’t escape. Then, he heard a familiar voice, “Quit your struggling, Mah-Lone, least the city-guard hears you and catches us both, then we will really be in it up to our muzzles!”
After proper introductions were made, Malone sat in the darkness of a small cave, before a tiny fire that did little more than cast a small yellowed light. He’d spent the afternoon telling the pair about his . . . life on the plateau, the tree house, his friends . . . But, most of all, his relationship with the British Lord, John Roxton. And how it ended . . . Sort of.
Across the fire from him sat Hannu and Thaarn. Both of whom had told him of their loving relationship. The difficulties they’d had to stay together. Though not because they were males who loved one another, but because they were not of the same species. Many didn’t like the fact that a Chimm could love a ‘Rilla or that a ‘Rilla could feel anything for a Chimm. ‘Rillas were warriors, Chimms were workers and O’Rangs were supposed to be scholars. At least, they said that no strange half blood children could be born of the two apes’ union, so what was the harm. Still, there was that bigotry.
And they talked about their escape from Ape City (as Malone called it). The trio had run hard and long to escape the city and the city-guards. Most of that time, Malone had clung to Hannu’s broad back. At least, it was less humiliating than how they started out. Hannu had carried him on his hip as if he’d been a child. But, escape they had.
Now, both apes were resting and shirtless, revealing well-muscled torsos. Each covered by a matt of thick hair. They still wore their pants and wide belts, but nothing else. They looked content, lounging there, almost wrapped in one another’s arms. Hannu was leaning against the far wall, with an arm carelessly thrown over Thaarn’s shoulders, who was contentedly snuggled against the big gorilla.
Malone though still naked, had Thaarn’s jacket thrown over his shoulders. Hannu’s had been far too big for the slender human, but at least it gave him some small sense of protection. He even felt that sense of protection with the two apes he was sharing the huge hollow tree cave with. They were fast becoming friends.
“. . . was sure you were just mimicking words,” Thaarn spoke, “but Hannu convinced me to listen closer. And fool that I am I did. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear you speaking clear words.”
“Proof, I said,” Hannu grinned (still a scary thing to see, thought Malone), “that you were intelligent.”
“And, I would be Law-Broken if Hannu wasn’t right!” Thaarn said.
“You are Law-Broken.” Hannu said with an amused whisper and a gentle squeeze of chimp.
“And it is your entire fault, you big lug.” With a tender smile, Thaarn playfully pushed the big gorilla’s side.
“I’m sorry.” Malone hung his head, “I think I’ve cost you your home and freedom.”
“Pah!” Hannu made an annoyed gesture, “What is freedom, but having nothing left to lose.”
“Home, for us,” Thaarn spoke, “is a two-flight climb up in an over-crowded slum-borough. We were only able to live together, because it was such an old place and the borough-owner is a coin-grubber who only cares about his coin.”
“And, he charges us extra.” Hannu spat, “Thankfully, he dares not get too greedy. I have a reputation of being a berserker.”
“Still,” Malone said softly, “it was a home.”
“True,” Hannu looked around the small cave, “but this place looks nicer. With a few touches, I think it would make a fine home.”
“And there’s running water right outside the door.” Thaarn smiled.
“See?” Hannu grinned, “You’ve cost us nothing! Because of you, we have found a better place to live!”
“And it will cost us nothing!“ Thaarn was pleased. Disbelieving, Malone smiled and shook his head.
“What really shocks me,” Malone said as the trio walked along at dusk, the following day. They were making a circular trek around the city, Thaarn in the led, then Malone and Hannu bringing up the rear. They were heading for what Malone had guessed was the way to big rock pond, “is that you guys are intelligent. I mean, how . . . ?”
“Well, it is sacrilege to speak of . . .” Hannu spoke, as if whispering, “but legends say that life here, began out there,” he pointed toward the first stars twinkling in the darkening heavens, “among the stars . . . That we descended from one of the twelve colonies . . .”
“Quit teasing, Hannu!” Thaarn tossed a leaf at the gorilla, “Do not believe him, Mah-lone! Hannu is a dreamer! He is always spinning tales to entertain! Though, I did enjoy the one about the youngling farmer/pilot and the freebooter and how with an alien primitive and a mouthy maiden, saved a vast star empire from an evil O’Rang name Paladine. And through it all the farmer and the freebooter finally found love with one another.”
“Thaarn’s sister, Leeyah, wished the freebooter had fallen for the mouthy maiden.” Hannu laughed, “She was not pleased to learn that the maiden got paired off with the primitive!”
“A storyteller, huh?” Malone smiled, “My father always said that story-telling was the oldest profession in the world. Be proud of that, Hannu. Maybe one day you’ll be famous for your stories!”
“Spoken as a teller of tales, yourself, Mah-Lone!” Thaarn laughed over his shoulder, teasingly.
“Sort of,” Malone confirmed, “Though I just report on what happens in the world.”
“Yeah . . .” Malone thought on how to explain about something that the ape-people obviously didn’t have, “. . . it’s like . . . going to a leader’s meeting. You sit and listen, write down what was said, done and agreed upon . . . or , if someone stole something valuable that didn’t belong to him . . . or if there was a fight, who fought , who won and why they fought.”
“Gossip, you mean.”
“Not really.” Malone thought some more, “But, it would be the truth about an event. And it wouldn’t have to be all about bad things. You could announce a birth, a death, someone getting recognized for doing something good or nice . . . You know the news.”
“News.” Hannu said thoughtfully. He was about to question Malone longer on the subject, but . . .
“HALT WHERE YOU ARE!” A shout broke the jungle air, startling the three companions. A shot broke the peace. Malone saw that a chimp had a flintlock rifle and was clumsily struggling to reload it.
“Run, Mah-Lone!” Thaarn grabbed Malone by the arm and propelled him in front and gave him a shove to get him going, “Run for the pond! Dive by the smaller stone and do not re-surface until you are by the larger! It is your only escape!”
“What about you and Hannu . . . ?”
“Just go, Mah-Lone!” Thaarn growled.
“Do not worry over us!” Hannu called, “Just do as you are told!”
And Malone ran. Behind him, he could hear the sounds of a battle beginning. Trees and branches breaking, terrible fighting, flesh hitting flesh, apes shouting and screaming battle cries, then . . . He skidded to a sudden stop and looked back the way he‘d come, when sound of a gunshot shattered the jungle harmony. It echoed through the jungle like a frightened animal. Then, came another shot and an echo, then again the silence.
Malone stopped short. His heart skipped a beat. His friends. He wanted to run back and help Thaarn and Hannu, but something told him that to do so would be futile and could quite possibly get himself killed . . . but, they were still his friends . . . God, he hated the world sometimes!
He hardened himself, turned and ran as fast as he could.
Heart pounding in his throat, he turned and ran some more. Whoever killed his friends was going to come after him now. He had to get back to the pond. His weapons were still there. He had a rifle. What had long ago been called a repeater-rifle (after their invention), not a flint lock like these apes used. He’d be able to take them down before they could reload.
Oh, how they would pay for killing his friends!
Behind him came the sound of rustling trees. Movement through them at high speed. Above and on the ground. He dived off the trail, into the undergrowth and lay still. He forced himself to be quiet, even though his lungs burned for air. He couldn’t be heard or seen or he’d be caught and taken back to the ape city for study and possible dissection.
The sounds grew closer and louder. His pursuers didn’t seem to care if their approach was heard. Then, they were all around and above him, moving fast. In an instant they were passed him, going into the distance.
He hung his head sadly. His pursuers had moved in a group. That meant that Thaarn and Hannu weren’t . . .
Malone lay there. Silent. He felt bad about their deaths, even though he’d just met them the day before. In spite of how they looked to him, there were good . . . People. Friends.
He silently mourned their deaths.
Rested, he got up and pushed on. He didn’t understand it, but he felt that he had to do as Thaarn had instructed him to do. Even though it seemed hopeless. Besides, his clothes and weapons were back at the pond. He wasn’t too worried about them being found. He learned the hard way, a trick that Roxton had played on him soon after the expedition had begun, so now, if there was no one to watch his back; he hid his weapons so he wouldn’t get shot in the back. And if his luck held out, none of the apes would find them either.
It took him longer than he liked, but he moved silently through the jungle. He didn’t want to be found out before he could get to his guns. But, he finally made it back to the pond . . . And he cursed silently.
The apes were there. Three O’Rangs and a bound Chimm captive . . . Thaarn! Who was naked and tied spread eagle to stakes and the damned O’Rangs were taking turns on their helpless victim!
Those damned perverted . . .
Hannu awoke, sore and angry. He’d been shot. And he’d been left there, bound and gagged. Fools that they were, his captors, that they’d only tied his upper hands! In moments he was free. He checked his wound. The bullet had gone clean through his arm, not hitting any bone, but only tearing the meat. He was wounded and it hurt like hell, but that was all . . .
Where was . . .
Hannu bellowed with rage!
Those damned and doomed . . .
The O’Rang was heavy and strong. Its grip was like iron. His feet-were on Malone’s calves, weighing him down and holding his legs splayed out. Another of the O’Rang’s hands held Malone’s wrists, pinned over his head, while the last hand was on Malone’s lower back, effectively stopping any struggles to get away.
“No.” Malone wished he could free himself somehow, but the rough hands and their elongated fingers held him tight.
“No.” The O’Rang laughed at his feeble struggles, enjoying the human’s helplessness.
“NO!” He felt a long fleshy appendage touching his buttocks. He clenched his eyes shut. The thing wasn’t trying to enter him, but was being rubbed across his skin . . . Oh, God, no. The fleshy length was stroking back and forth through his cleft. He tried to hold himself still. Wriggling seemed to make the ugly ape happier.
“NO!” That horrible something stopped and he could feel the tip of it beginning to press into his rectum! It was trying to enter him! No matter how trapped he was Malone started to struggle and the ape laughed . . .
“UGH!” The heavy weight, strength and touch of the pervert O’Rang vanished with that grunt and the sound of flesh hitting flesh and a break of bone. Then Malone heard the sound of a body hitting a tree. He looked up in time to see the O’Rang fall into a heap at the base of a tree and lay still.
Other sounds of violence turned him in time to see another O’Rang trying to sit up, dazed, while Thaarn was unmercifully beating yet another O’Rang senseless. Hannu held another by the hair of its head and was using his face for a punching bag. War-cries and screams of pain filled the air as violence shook the forest.
Where’d the two chimps and the other O’Rang come from?
“Broken Laws take you, Mah-Lone!” Hannu now had a chimp by the neck while punching the other, “Why did you not do as you were told!?!”
“They were raping Thaarn!” Malone picked up the wooden branch he’d used earlier and cracked the dazed O’Rang on the head with it, “I couldn’t leave him like that!”
“My thanks, Mah-Lone,” Thaarn let go of the O’Rang and leapt onto another.
“DO AS YOU WERE TOLD!” Hannu tossed aside the chimp like it was a spent toy, “Leave these fools to us!”
“GO, MAH-LONE!” Thaarn shouted, then was slugged by the O’Rang he had pinned. Thaarn looked insulted and a little bit peeved that his conversation was interrupted “Hit me will you!?!”
The O’Rang looked suddenly frightened and started screaming for mercy, as Thaarn began to punch the simian’s face.
Seeing that, Malone knew that he’d best do as he was told or the chimp would get pissed at him. He dropped the branch and ran for the pond and dived in. His body cleaved the water with the quick grace, beauty and drive of the desperate. This time the water was cold on his skin and he swam hard for the opposite shore, unsure why he was doing what his two ape friends had ordered him to do. He could feel every nerve on his body as if he’d been awakened with a rush of blood. He swam as swiftly and as urgently as he could.
His weapons were on the other shore. If he could reach them quick enough, he nor Thaarn and Hannu would have to worry about those other damned apes!
He re-surfaced with a gasp and turned to look back at the opposite shore before rushing off to get his . . .
What th . . . ?
There was nothing and no one on the other shore, except the peaceful clearing that had always been there!
No fighting. No violence. No sign of anyone having been there at all!
Surely, the fight couldn’t have ended so quickly, with the victors dragging off the losers to some . . .
What if it was Hannu and Thaarn who’d lost! He couldn’t just leave them to some grisly fate . . .
He clambered out of the pond and headed for his clothes and weapons. In less time than it takes to tell, he was dressed and armed.
Those apes had old-fashioned flintlock rifles and his weapons were more technologically advanced.
Prepared and rifle in hand, he started back for the ape city, as fast as he could go. Those ape-people moved faster than he did, so he had to hurry. He was going to save his friends, even if it meant taking on the whole damn simian nation!
Malone stood staring, an hour and a half later. He’d found the city, but it wasn’t the same as he remembered it. It was still majestic, but it was in ruins. Ancient ruins, over-grown with jungle. Most of the stonework was cracked and broken with creepers and vines growing through.
What the hell happened? He made his way through the streets and alleys he remembered, This place looks like it’s been through a war! And didn’t win!
He called out his friends’ names, knowing somehow that he wouldn’t be answered.
Silence reigned after the echoes died, save for the pause of animal life at his call. No one lived in the crumbling city for ages. The city had died long long before.
He moved on, searching for some small sign that . . .
“Oh, my God.” He whispered as he stopped short. He recognized where he was . . .
Malone couldn’t believe it. Ape City, the city ruled by apes . . . the Kingdom, as they’d called it . . . the ruins . . . had been the ancient city that Challenger had found! The one with the orb that had knocked him out and nearly killed him. He remembered that dream that Challenger later told them about . . . of him having absolute power . . . and after he’d awakened, Challenger had returned to the city and destroyed . . . Yup. There it was. A burnt out altar, though covered in new plant growth . . .
From where he stood, it wasn’t that far back to the tree house and . . .
With a grin of incredible joy on his face, Malone began running. He couldn’t wait until he got back to the tree house . . . to see Roxton again. To hold him. Be enveloped in his arms. To breathe in the man’s heady scent . . .
Of course, there was Veronica and Challenger to see as well . . . and . . . and . . . Marguerite . . .
Malone staggered to a stop. He stood there, his shoulders slumped in defeat.
Marguerite . . .
Damn her . . .
Damn her to hell . . .
And damn him for that . . . promise . . .
Wearily, he turned back the way he’d come . . .
. . . Wishing that he was still in Ape City. Not having escaped.
Or somewhere else . . .
Anywhere . . .
Maybe, even in some galaxy long ago and far away . . .
He looked up into the darkening skies and saw what could only be a falling star . . . with a strange long tail . . . and, it was . . . slowing down . . . and . . . arcing toward the plateau . . .
The end . . . ?
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
Pairing: R/M (No, not her! Lord John Roxton/ Edward Malone! )
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?
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!
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 . . .
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.
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-cha–aw 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 !”
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 . . . ?
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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!