09 May 2012

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Love Dinosaurs

Chuck Wendig, writer of such titles as MOCKINGBIRD, BLACKBIRDS, and CONFESSIONS OF A FREELANCE PENMONKEY (a personal favorite that you MUST read...read it!), posts a weekly Flash Fiction Challenge on his blog. This week, in celebration of the debut of his Kickstarter-backed book DINOCALYPSE NOW! Chuck's challenge involved Dinosaurs.

I LOVE Dinosaurs.

So here is my entrance into Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Love Dinosaurs, titled: THE HUNTED.



by Christopher Meyer

Turin slid through the thick undergrowth of the verdant forest without a sound. His feet passed plants and twigs in slow, steady arcs as he prowled forward. Around him the denizens of the forest called and roared.
There was a rush of leathery wings above as an avian creature shot by.
Turin remained calm and continued on, but his grip on the spear in his right hand tightened.
There was the slightest scrape of a plant behind him and Turin froze. Turin’s lean, muscular form didn’t move an inch as he waited and listened. It was a long few moments before he began to move again.
Turin had to be careful, lest he ceased to be the hunter and became the hunted.
From the position of the sun to his left Turin could tell he was making good time. It was still morning. There was plenty of daylight left to find his prey, kill it, and return to the village. A small smile crept across his tanned, scarred face.
Suddenly a plant behind Turin shivered and cracked.
Turin spun, keeping low, and jabbed his spear in front of him. His heart raced and sweat sprang from his brow. He had been so careful. How had they snuck up behind him?
There was a flurry movement, then two feathered reptiles leapt into the air, pecking at one another before flying off.
False alarm.
Turin waited a moment as his heart slowed and the adrenaline drained from his veins. His whipchord muscles, coiled and ready for a fight, relaxed. Turin waited another moment in case the commotion had covered the noise of someone – or something – else.
When Turin did finally move it was slow. Each individual body part moved while the rest of his body remained. First his leg swung around in a ponderous arc, followed by the lower part of his torso. As the rest of his body turned his head scanned the area around him and his eyes scrutinized every detail. The spear clasped firmly in his hands followed his turn.
When Turin was absolutely sure that nothing was following him he moved forward once more.
After what seemed like an eternity of cautious movement Turin came upon a downed tree. The massive trunk blocked his direct path, and going around would take longer. He looked up to see the sun through the dense canopy. The giant yellow orb was almost directly overhead.
Turin couldn’t be delayed.
Turin hoisted himself up on the fallen tee, ensuring to keep his body close to the trunk so as to not expose himself as much. He led with his right side, his spear forward in case there was danger on the other side. Little by little Turin worked his way over the tree.
Turin was almost to the other side when his foot made contact with something soft and wet. A moment later his foot slipped, and Turin toppled to the ground on the far side of the downed tree. He landed with a loud thump, his spear thrown from his hand.
He cursed himself as he jumped to retrieve his weapon and backed against the tree trunk in a defensive posture. He should have been more careful, Turin told himself. He had made a child’s mistake in his rush to reach his bounty. As he scanned the area he looked up to the tree to see what had fowled his footing. A disturbed patch of moss met his gaze.
Stupid, he told himself.
Another few tense moments and Turin set off again. He moved slightly faster now, wary of the sun creeping across the sky above him. It seemed that every moment the shadows become a little longer. Sweat began to pour down Turin’s face. He tried to keep focused as perspiration stung his eyes.
Several times Turin stopped to listen when he thought he heard movement.
Each time Turin had a growing feeling of being watched, but each time there was nothing but the forest.
Turin came to the edge of a small clearing and stopped. Finally he was there. Before him sat three small craters, each piled up with soil and dead vegetation. Within these depressions were eggs the size of Turin’s fist. Returning with just one would solidify his place within village elite. Two would propel him to greater heights.
Turin’s goal sat atop the eggs.
The female Velociraptor was hunkered down over the nest nearest where Turin crouched. Her long head twitched back and forth, scanning the area around her for scavengers or larger predators. Every once in a while the female raptor would tilt her head to the side and listen.
Killing her would make him a king amongst his people.
The trick was pulling it off and returning to the village – alive.
Turin crouched lower, building energy in his powerful legs in preparation to spring forward and spear his prize. Every muscle in his body coiled in anticipation of the attack.
Turin was focused.
His spear was ready.
Everything was silent.
Suddenly the forest around Turin came alive.
Turin jumped in surprise and turned to see what was happening.
Five lean forms materialized from the dense vegetation. Rows of razor sharp teeth glared at Turin as the pack hunters closed in.
Turin’s heart sank. He had been the prey all along. When the raptors had picked up his trail, Turin didn’t know. His whole endeavor had been pointless.
Turin swore he would die honorably as the raptors pounced.
He didn’t get the chance to raise his spear. Turin didn’t even have time to scream.
One of the raptors, a young male, lifted its head from its prey and sounded a victory roar.
Then the forest was silence once again...

No comments:

Post a Comment