Friday, 29 July 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #9

The orange sunset gave way to a black sky thick with stars. Rose curled up next to me, trying to get warm, while I tried to think. 
"You're thinking that's another crop circle? Except under the water right?"
She was right, "Yep, I am just not sure how we get at it, with those guys down there in the water." 
As if in response to my comment one of the raptors let out a startling cry. I crawled forward and peered over the ledge. In the pale star light I could make out their heads bobbing above the surface, treading water. How long could they honestly keep that up? More importantly, how long would the new 'water' circle last out there. It was the closest thing we had to a way home.
"We need to get out there some how!" I reiterated to myself more then Rose.
"The raptors seem to be able to swim a lot faster then we can Matt. We are just going to have to wait the out."
"I don't know that we can afford to do that. We have no idea how long those circles last or when or if a new one would form."
I glance up at the sky, hoping the clear night would some how clear my foggy and tired mind. Rose stood next to me looking up.
"You know Matty boy, I might just have an idea." She was looking up at the cliff.
"There is no way I would make it up there Rose."
"No, YOU wouldn't, I on the other hand..." 
"What and just leave me here?"
"Shut your mouth for a moment Brains and give me a leg up. Don't argue."

I interlaced my figures and Rose used them to lunge upwards, at first I thought she had slipped and would fall backwards down into the waiting raptors. But she clung tightly to some unseen hand hold above the over hang of our ledge. There she remained for a moment, just dangling. Then with a grunt she heaved herself up and caught herself another hold with her left hand. Fairly quickly, she made her way upwards and then abruptly disappeared. 
"Yeah, I'm okay, do me a favor and get back against the wall!"
I had barely obeyed her request when I heard a loud grinding noise followed by a sharp crack.
"GET BACK!" Was all I heard as a landslide of huge rocks came tumbling down the cliff, not a meter from where I stood. I heard the rocks hit the water with an almighty crash that sent a few of the dactyls above screeching out into the night. Then just as quickly as the rocks had come, silence settled over the lake.
"Did I get the bastards?" Came Roses voice from above my head.
I peered over the edge and was immediately impressed with Roses stroke of genius. Bellow floating on the surface of the water, were five very dead looking raptors. I stared in wonder a moment to long.
"... Yeah, you got 'em! Remind me not to piss you off any more."
"There dead then? all of them?"
"I am surprised there's anything left of them."
"Great! Heads up!" And with that I looked up to see Roses silhouetted form leap out from the cliff. She plunged into the water a good five meters out from the bass of the rock wall.
"Coming?" She asked.
I stepped back from the ledge then rushed forward, diving out. I may have been showing off a little but, I mean the girl had just killed five dinos to my one. I entered the cool waters of the lake cleanly and come up right next to her.
"Shall we?" She smiled and we began swimming in the direction of the water circle.
I was not nearly as far as I had first thought, after about ten minutes we noticed we were getting close, even if we could not see the thing. It was also about then that I came to notice a major flaw in our simple plan. We knew we were drawing near because we had become aware of a current in the water which began to sweep us around in a wide arc.
"Balls! I this was not thought through so well."
Rose looked at me as if to ask why, then it sunk in, "Shit!"
The current was becoming faster with each passing second. Each passing second... Funny now I think back on that! As the speed increase the size of circles we were being swept around in shrunk. Rose started trying desperately to brake free of the currents hold but it was futile. We were going in. 
"Come here!" I grabbed Rose and held on for dear life.
Our speed kept on increasing and our circles became sloped as we entered the while pool. As we spun down wards towards the bottom of the lake at a sickening rate of knots I could make out something familiar racing up to meet us. Below a bright blue dome of light could be seen, growing in intensity as we fell. The water seemed to be rushing around the dome, the dome responsible for the plug hole effect. It was nice to at least be proven right before you died.
We hit the blue light of the dome and with out warning the spinning stopped. We didn't die. Instead we were left laying inside a ring of dry lake bed. I stood up as energy crackled across my wet skin. Next to me Rose only managed to make it to her knees before she threw up. The light grew brighter. We might be going home.
However something was different this time. As the light reached a blinding intensity it began to flicker. At first it was like being inside a room as some one flicked the lights on and off. The flickering came faster and faster now and I began to be able to make out details around the dome. It appeared as if what ever wanted the lights off was starting to win out and as it did more details became clearer.
Suddenly the light show was over and I felt myself fall several feet to land on a hard surface that felt nothing like the bottom of the lake. Rose landed beside me in a heap and moaned quietly. It was difficult to see now the lights were completely out but slowly my eyes adapted and I could see our new surroundings.
We now stood, as best as I could make out, inside a large sphere roughly the diameter of the energy dome. The walls were very strange indeed and seemed to be made out of some variety of matted grass. The grass itself glowed a faint blue green, giving the room it's only light. At random intervals around the sphere odd branches, like that of a very old tree, reached out from the walls towards the center of room. 
It was at the center of the sphere that my eyes stopped dead. There seemed to be some sort of chair knitted together out of the ends of the branches. It was from within this dark space, that surrounded the chair, that a pair of eyes peered out at me and kept me frozen where I stood.

To be CONCLUDED...  

Sunday, 24 July 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #8

We swam to the left of the spit of rock, trying to move silently through the chilly water. At first we would take deep breaths and glide underneath the surface of the lake, in hopes of not attracting to much attention from watching eyes. However the temperature of the water made this tricky and we eventually gave it up. 
We had swam nearly eight hundred meters, making for the area where the valleys encircling cliff came to meet the water and run around the lakes shore. As we reached the rock wall we became aware just how high the cliff was. We had no hope of climbing all the way up it. However, not twelve feet up the side of the cliff, there appeared to be a little shelved recess set back into the rock. Further more, it seemed that the only way to reach this recess would be by climbing up from the water, providing some safety. 
"We need to get out of this water and rest. I think that shelf is about the safest place we are gonna find around here."
"As long as the raptors can't get us, I don't mind a bit of climbing." With that Rose swam over to the wall and started pulling herself up the rocks.
It was difficult going, the rocks were wet and covered with a slimy yellow, green moss that broke away from the wall when you thought you had a hold. Above me I saw Rose go over the lip of the recess and then reach down to me. I took her hand and she helped me the last of the way. 
We both collapsed on to our backs and lay there for the longest time not making a sound. The rock was delightfully warm from the midday sun and helped to dry us out in little time at all. Eventually Rose rolled over on to her stomach and peered off to the left, her gaze running back along the cliff towards the valley. 
"They're still there." She said softly. 
I crawled over and lay next to her and followed her line of sight. Sure enough the five remaining raptors were all standing at the point where the shore met the cliff, jumping up and down excitedly. 
"Matt, do you think they will leave? Lose interest?"
"I wouldn't count on it. They seem pretty determined." I didn't think it was worth mentioning that I thought they may very well know how to swim.
"Well, what do we do?"
I reached into my back pocket, happy to still find my compass there, I took it out and we studied the needle. The little metal hand pointed with surety out over the water.
"What? Are we going to have to walk around the lake?"
"Mmm maybe." I was not so sure about that, "I think we should sleep on it."
"I'm getting pretty thirsty." Rose said.
"You what? Thirsty? We were almost drowned an hour ago, you can't be serious. Why didn't you drink on the swim over here."
"Get the hell out Matt! I had a few other things on my mind. Dinosaur slaying maybe all fun and games for you buddy but I am most likely going to be in therapy for the rest of my days. If we ever get out of here that is."
"You're right, I'm sorry. Well I will just climb down and..."
"I don't think that's going to be such a good idea." Rose was looking back along the line of the cliff where the raptors were slowly wading out into the water. 
"Balls! I thought so." I said.
"You thought what?"
"I thought they might be able to do that."
"What? swim? Jesus."
"Yeah, well I doubt very much they will be able to climb up here from the water. So maybe if I am quick I can go down..."
"The hell you will, that's a retarded idea." I had to agree, I was not the best climber.
"Well you're not going down there either so don't even let that enter your head love." Rose smiled at me when I said this and I was not so sure why back then. 
"Okay I have an idea. Take off your belt." She just stared at me and raised an eyebrow.
"I still think this is only classed as our first date buddy."
"Look, maybe later," I smiled, "But for now would you just give me your belt?"
"Maybe later? You're lucky you killed a dinosaur for me Matty boy." She said half under her breath as she removed her belt.
"Oh and your shoe laces." I added as I removed my laces and belt.
Once I had them all in front of me I began to tie them all together. The resulting length still was not long enough to reach the surface of the water. So I tore one of the sleeves off of my long sleeved t-shirt and began to tear it into ribbons. After I had knotted these on to our make shift rope its length made it to the water with a foot to spare.
"This is great and very clever but we don't have a bucket." Rose said.
"I know how this will sound but... can you take off your shirt?"
"You are kidding right?"
"look, trust me would ya? You don't want to drink out of mine do you? The thing is soaked in blood" I had checked and the bleeding had stopped once we were out of the water but the t-shirt was still covered in the stuff. I hadn't looked at the cuts yet however.
"You're smooth Matt."
"Hardly. Are you thirsty or not?"
"Fine." With that Rose pulled off her t-shirt and handed it to me.
"Mind on the task?" She said and i realised I was staring, hey I was fifteen.
"Ah yeah, sorry."
I took the t-shirt, bunched it up and then tied it to the end of the rope. The Raptors were now half way from the shore to our shelf, still plenty of time. I lowered the shirt down and let it sit on top of the water. Slowly it sunk beneath the surface and I felt the weight increase slightly on the line. After a few moments I quickly pulled the shirt back up.
"Head back." I said and Rose tilted her head back.
Taking the shirt I wrung it out over Rose's mouth and she managed to get a decent drink.
"Not bad Matty." She said smiling. 
We repeated the process a few more times and we both eventually drank our fill, the water tasting ever so slightly like Rose's perfume. 
Afterwards we lay her shirt out on the rocks so that it could dry before the sun went down. A cool breeze had started blowing in from across the lake and we retreated to the corner of our shelter. We put our backs against the, still warm, shelf wall and I pulled Rose close. He bare skin feeling much to cold. 
As the sun finally set the sky turned a brilliant orange, some where across the water a pillar of smoke was rising into the twilight sky, smog black against the many shades of orange. 
"Look!" Rose whispered pointing into the fading light.
Above us, gliding on the last warm air currents of the day, where three pterosaurs. Each with huge wingspans. They circled nearby a few times then settled on to the cliffs some where over our heads.
"I don't think they will bother us tonight." I tried to reassure Rose. 
But she wasn't listening, just staring fixedly out at the water. The last rays of sun had hit the water making it look like one big orange sheet of reflective tinfoil, dazzlingly bright. Except in one spot about two hundred meters out from the cliff.
Here there seemed to be a hole in the surface of the lake around which the water swirled down like water running out of a plug hole. I pulled out the compass again. The needle pointed directly at the strange anomaly. Just as I had thought, it didn't look like we were going to need to walk around the lake after all.
Bellow our ledge, our old friends had arrived. We could hear the raptors splashing and chirping at the base of the cliff as the last light faded.

To be continued...

Friday, 22 July 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #7

The raptors did nothing for a long time, they just kept circling us, staring. They seemed a little surprised to see us. Of course it was safe to assume that they had never seen any thing on the lunch menu quite like us before. Rose reached out and grabbed my hand, our new friends didn't like this tiny movement and a round of angry chirping issued forth.
"We're in deep shit aren't we?" Rose said under her breath.
"Oh, you better believe it."
In fact I was doubtful we would get to see the end of the minute. Yet still the cold eyes only watched. The one directly in front of me had bright red feathers down its arms and seemed, some how, to be leading the groups movements. Any second now their curiosity would give way to their hunger. I suddenly realised, our window was closing.
"NOW!" I screamed.
I yanked Rose forward and lowered my shoulder running straight at the red feathered leader. The raptor seemed shocked by my sudden movement straight towards it, I gathered this didn't happen to often for the carnivore. My shoulder connected with the side of Red's head and it was knocked off balance. We didn't stop to see how quickly it would recover, for now the group seemed to be caught up in a moment of chaos.
I crashed through the undergrowth dragging a bewildered Rose behind me. Though the trees ahead I could see the glisten of water shinning more brightly now. Behind us however, I could hear several angry raptors cutting through the forest. I was sure they would close in before we could make our way to the lake beyond the trees but we ran on.
With mental images of jaws snapping at our heals we burst out of the dense jungle and into the blinding sunlight. Ahead, only a hundred meters now, was a huge lake. Directly before us, a long spit of rock ran out into the dark blue water. I steered Rose towards it, as we ran I saw her turn her head to look behind and briefly saw all the colour drain from her face.
"Shit, shit, shit!"
We were half way along the spit, I heard a snap of teeth and felt the expelled air from the action against my back and some thing pulling on my t-shirt. The bastard had me. We were there at the end of the rocky out crop. I spun to my left turning on the run, with my right hand still holding Rose's I flung her off the rocks out into the water. Carrying my momentum around I turned, grabbing the raptor, still clutching my shirt in its teeth. It's head now against my side I put my left arm around its neck and shoved off backwards into the icy cold water taking it with me.
My body cried out as the cold of the ancient waters closed around me. The combined weight of myself and the small dinosaur drove us down, deeper then I had expected. Then the water around me became frenzied as the animal was thrown into panic mode. Our tiny section of the lake was roiling as the dinosaur fought desperately to find the surface. Should it make its destination I knew my momentary advantage would quickly be lost.
I clung tight and tick downwards, propelling us deeper into the darkness below. The raptor fought harder still, churning the water with its powerful legs. Twice I felt a searing pain, once in my leg and the second time down my side. The little light that made its way down to these depths began to shine red in the water.
As my lungs starting screaming for air, my enemies struggling slowed and eventually stopped. The raptors panic response to the cold water had caused it to burn up its air much to quickly. I held on for as long as I could, wanting to make sure it was dead, then kick hard for the surface. I broke back into the daylight and let out a cry louder then any noise I have ever made as air once again filled my lungs. For a moment I lay there on my back, just floating, the blood pounding in my ears.
As the pounding inside my head died down I heard crying and a soft splashing. I lifted my head to see Rose paddling towards me tears in her eyes.
"You ass hole!" It was not the kind of response one hopes for when he has just saved the life of the girl he fancies.
"I thought you were dead, I though they'd takin' you. I didn't see you make it into the water. Not the time for hiding under the god damn water trying to scare me!"
"Sorry, I was a little busy killing a velociratpor? But next time I will check in with you first before hand." Knowing what I now know about women this was maybe not the best thing to say.
"Don't give me that shit buddy! Look at those things. We are screwed, you think you can kill one of those things?"
Thankfully I didn't have to answer because at that moment my recently drowned friend broke the surface right between us, unmoving. Rose simply stared at it. After a few moments of staring at it, she stared at me, her mouth slightly open.
"Well, yeah, that's what I said isn't it?"
"You, killed it? A dinosaur?"
"... It needed doing." I said smiling like a bastard and I thought she was going to get angry at me again but instead she just started laughing.
"You saved my life? by killing a dinosaur? Oh man, you do know how to impress a girl don't you?"
"I try."
Behind us I saw the raptors still standing on the spit, looking at us, unsure on what they should do now. I thought I remembered reading that dinosaurs could swim and was not to keen to sick around and find out. As impressive as I was I did not think I could drown another five raptors. Rose beat me to the saying so however.
"As good as you are, I think we better find some other place to get out, don't you?" I did agree. Although I didn't really fancy the idea of staying in the water all that much longer. Some how we had been thrown back in time, It sounded moronic saying it. We had already seen what was walking around on land trying to kill us. The idea that I was bleeding fairly solidly and chumming the waters, so to speak, was not comforting. If there was any hungry thing living in the lake, it was a sure bet it would be on its way toward us.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #6

Eventually the eyes, and the foot that accompanied it moved away and we fell into a restless sleep, a sleep that kept being broken by sounds that ripped through the night and chilled the blood in our veins. When my eyes would snap open at one of these nightly noises I could not help but feel as though we were being watched, more then that, being hunted. However every time I peered down into the gloom I could make out nothing at all to support my fears. 

The next morning I awoke to find Rose asleep on my chest. The sun had only just risen it seemed and it's dappled rays only just managed to break though the canopy above. Looking up into that green foliage I realized why we had survived our fall. The leaves were so thick and tightly packed that I was surprised we hadn't been tangled in them and caught further up. 
I let Rose sleep a while longer and reached into my pocket, pulling out the little compass I had managed not to lose in our ordeal. In the low light of the morning I could just make out the little needle pointing off towards the low lands, out, further away from the cliffs. By my reckoning that meant that either north had shifted or the needle was been drawn that way by another force. Hope was beginning to be rekindle inside me.
I woke Rose and we made our way down the tree. The going was slow and the tree was huge but after twenty minutes or so we reached the forest floor. Our nerves had been on edge climbing down the thick trunk and reaching the ground did little to still them. There was a very strange odor around the place and one could not quickly forget the eyes of the night before. My only hope was that those eyes only operated in the dark.
"Where do we go?" Rose asked in a whisper. 
"The compass is pointing that way." I said gesturing off to the low lands.
"So we're heading north?"
"I figure the only hope we have for getting out of this place is if there is another one of those... light shows. The compass is the only thing that points us to them. Perhaps there is another one over there, because last time I checked, that was not north."
"It's as good a plan as any."
We started out through the underbrush. As the sun rose higher in the sky the jungle became stiflingly hot and sweat began to soak my t-shirt. The thick air seemed to choke you rather then give you life. Every so often we came to a place where we could make out clawed tracks in the damp earth. Some of which were rather small, others made me want to press on at a much faster pace. Luckily however, through the course of the morning, we avoided encountering any of the animals that had made the prints.
We had been walking for hours and the sun was starting its return journey to the horizon when we first caught sight of a large body of water through the trees ahead. We had become increasingly thirsty as the day had worn on, not to mention hungry. Driven on by our thirst we began moving a lot faster through the ferns, our arms and legs now covered in hundreds of scratches, some of which were bleeding quite badly now. As I let go of a large frond, that had been jutting out into our path, it whip back against the raw skin of my arm. In my anger at the pain it had caused me I went to rip it up but stopped when I noticed its blood stained surface. I turned and looked back, many other of the ferns we had passed also had blood covering them. Our blood, a clean and very well marked trail as it suddenly appeared to me to anything equally as hungry as we were.
"Rose, stop." I hissed in the loudest whisper I dared.
But before she could respond a series a chirps and squeaks issued forth from the surrounding scrub. 
"Shit!... Rose, don't move." 
As I said this six very quick moving animals darted out from the bushes around us, encircling us, trapping us. As the six creatures began to move around us in a ever shrinking circle, I finally had a chance to study one of this strange places inhabitants up close. I locked my eyes on just one of the animals and instantly knew what was standing before us, sizing us up. 
The animal was around three feet tall and walked upright on two very powerful looking legs. It had two smaller fore limbs which still looked completely capable of inflicting a lot of damage. Each fore limb was feathered from shoulder to wrist and the animal kept its balance via a long muscular looking tail that bloomed at it's tip into a feathered brush. The predators began to snarl, their cold eyes staring firmly into our. We where in trouble. Big trouble.
"What the hell are they?" Rose said through gritted teeth.
"Those... are Velociraptors... God damn dinosaurs!"

To be continued...