Categories > Original > Sci-Fi > Evolve or Die


by Togot 0 reviews

Andrew finds a familiar face, and something else

Category: Sci-Fi - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2019-08-11 - 2727 words

I was running before I’d thought about what I was going to do. The scream had been a girl’s, and she sounded terrified, like she was being attacked. I pushed through low hanging branches and jumped over fallen logs until I came out into a meadow where I saw the girl. It was heather, one of my classmates. She was running away from some kind of creature. I could hardly see its head above the grass, so I didn’t know what it was, but what I did see looked strange. Heather was obese, and the creature was gaining on her fast. I charged out into the field, pulling out the hatchet. I didn’t make it in time.

I saw the thing jump on heather, saw her go down and start screaming louder. My mind blanked as I rushed in, following the screams to where I had last seen them. I don’t know why but I pulled the hatchet out instead of using the spear which would have been the smarter choice. I came upon a sight right out of a horror movie. Heather was on the ground curled up in a fetal position with her hands covering her face. The creature, for I don’t know what else to call it, was on top of her biting into her back. I could see that heather’s light pink shirt was now dark red with blood.

The creature was bipedal, had a long tail with two short arms. It had a mouth filled with sharp teeth and a v shaped crest on the top of its snout. It turned to face me, and I drove the hatchet down between its crest right into its skull as hard as I could. The creature let out I high pitched cry before collapsing to the ground where it lay motionless. I had let go of the hatchet as the creature had fallen, and left it there as I turned my attention to heather who was sobbing.

“Heather?” I asked, not sure what else to say.

“Is it gone?” she asked in a trembling voice.

“Yeah, try not to move, I need to check your back.”

I moved around heather and tried to get a look at how bad her injuries were. Her ripped shirt and the blood made it hard to see. “You’re gonna have to take your shirt off.”

“What?” she said louder than I expected.

“I can’t see the wounds, and we have to bury the shirt anyway, it puts the smell of blood in the air,” I explained, keeping my voice calm and neutral.”

She took her shirt off and I took a closer look at her wounds. There were several deep lacerations and bites. They looked bad. I took my own shirt off, folded it up and pressed it on her wound. Heather whimpered from the pain, but it couldn’t be helped. I then took her shirt and cut it into strips with my stone knife while discarding the bloodstained bits, and used the strips to tie the bandage on. It was shit, but it was the best I could do.

I noticed that Heather had the same implant in her arm that I did.

I gathered as many leaves as I could and made a bed for heather to lie down on her stomach. They would act as insulation from the ground. Without them the dirt could suck the heat out of a body within hours, especially at night. I then took a moment to examine the dead creature. It had leathery skin covered in blotches of varying shades of grey. The body was covered in thick backwards facing quills. There were large flaps of skin folded back along its neck. I had no idea what those were for. It didn’t look like any creature on earth.

I had some trouble dislodging my hatchet from its skull, but when I did I saw that it had red blood. I knew that leaving it near us while we slept was a bad idea, so I grabbed it by the leg and started dragging it away.

“Were are you going?’ heather asked quickly, fear clear in her voice.

“I gotta dispose of this. Here,” I handed her the metal spear. “I shouldn’t be gone long.”

She didn’t voice any objection as I headed back to the river. I used my hatchet to mark a few trees along the way so I wouldn’t get lost, though I suppose if I had needed to I could have simply shouted for heather to find my way back to her.

I got to the river and filled the canteen, though I kept a sharp eye for anything swimming towards my hand. I chopped off one of the monster’s legs with a few whacks with the hatchet and threw the rest into the river. Several creatures darted forward and the water exploded when they reached the corpse. I watched in stunned horror as they reduced the thing to bones within a few minutes.

That nightmare fuel fresh in my mind, I headed back to heather, gather up leaves and sticks along the way. I looked for the alien object I had gotten the tools from, but was unable to find it. I heard neither its hum nor saw the light it emited. I suppose it was possible that I wasn’t near enough to it to detect it, but I didn’t think that was the case. It seemed to have vanished. i put it out of my mind for the time being. it was getting dark, and I needed to make a fire.

I had little trouble finding heather. I used the hatchet to chop up the earth and make a fire pit. I lined it with stones, setting the largest flattest ones opposite us. These would reflect heat out way to keep us warmer. Then I used the knife to shave off kindling from some of the wood I had collected. The finer the better. Making a fire by rubbing sticks together was a pain in the ass. I could do it, but it would take over an hour, and it was already starting to get dark. Then a thought occurred to me. “Do you have a lighter on you?”

“Yeah,” heather said as she reached into her pocket and pulled one out. “My cigarettes were in my purse though. I could sure use one right about now.”

I smiled and sighed with relief. This would make things much easier. I laid the frayed kindling in the bottom of the pick with putting sticks on top. i lit the fire and used a large leaf to fan the flames. it was crackling in no time. I then hammered four larger sticks around the pit and placed a large flat rock on them over the fire. This would be my stove. I placed the canteen with its top open on the stone, and then sliced the creature’s leg into strips of meat with my knife which I laid out to cook. That done, I went to the edge of the meadow and chopped some low hanging branches to feed the fire through the night. I did that for over an hour until the sun started getting low. Then I made my own bed of leaves. I used the knife to flip the meat, and took the canteen off to cool for twenty minutes before letting heather take a drink. Then I emptied the rest down my throat. Lukewarm water wasn’t exactly refreshing, but it would keep us alive.

When the meat had browned I look it off the grill and gave heather a piece before eating some myself. It tasted terrible without any kind of spices, but neither of us got sick so that was a good sign.

Our bellies no longer empty and our thirst quenched, we both settled in, and for the first time since I’d woken up, I relaxed.

“Have you seen anyone else out here?” I asked.

“No,” heather said. “I woke up in the middle of the woods all alone. I wondered around calling for help until my throat hurt, but nobody answered. Then I ran into that thing. What the hell was that thing?”

“Dunno, but it died easily enough. We should be able to fight off any more if we run into them.”

“What about you? Where you get this stuff?”

“I found some kind of container that had them in it right before I heard you scream.”

“That means there are people nearby, right?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer. The thing I saw hadn’t looked like it had been made by humans, so its presence didn’t mean people, but since I’d found her, I strongly suspected there were other members of our class out here somewhere. I mean what where the odds that the last thing I remembered was being in my English class and then I run into one of my classmates? If there was one, no reason to think there weren’t others.

“Probably,” I said after a moment. “What’s the last thing you remember before waking up here?”

“I was in class…there was a light, and then nothing.”

Just like me. So much for getting answers. We didn’t say much to each other after that. I could tell Heather with in a lot of pain. She kept whimpering and moaning. I felt bad, but there was nothing I could do for her. I knew deep down that she was in serious trouble. I knew that an animals claws were dirty, and who knows what bacteria were in its saliva. I didn’t have anything to clean the wound with. There was a high chance of infection, and if that happened…

I pushed the thought from my mind. All I could do was hope for the best. Maybe we’d find help tomorrow and get her to a doctor. Maybe.

I spent the next few minutes wiping my hands over my face, forehead and nose and rubbing them on my spear tip. This was to grease it with the natural body oils. When I had done that enough I held the spear tip over the fire to heat treat it. This process would harden the wood, improving its durability and sharpness. Seemed silly when I had a metal spear already, but there were two of us, and frankly I had no reason not to do it.

The temperature dropped fast after the sun set. Not having a shirt to shield my skin from the wind made it even worse. The only thing I could do was build the fire up as much as I could and cover myself with leaves as a blanket. I huddled as close to the fire as I dared to risk burns. Then there was nothing to do but lie there and try to sleep, which was a lot harder than you might think.

Most people down experience the dark of the outdoors. We are so used to street lights and flashlights and headlights, but out in the wilderness there is none of that. Nothing but a suffocating, claustrophobic impenetrable blackness all around. I’ve experienced it a few times before while camping, and it always terrifies me.

This was even worse. Camping I was prepared, I knew the land, the wildlife, I know there was civilization not too far away. But here? I didn’t know where I was, I barely had anything, not even a shirt, and there were damn monsters roaming around. Not only that, but now I had to protect someone who was injured. Even before she’d been wounded, Heather wouldn’t have been very useful. She was fat and slow, but now?

Still, I couldn’t just abandon her. What was the point of living if I couldn’t live with myself after all? I’d do everything I could to help her, even though I knew the chances of her making it were low.

As night settled in, the nocturnal creatures began to stir. The air was soon filled with the songs of insects and other creatures that I did not recognize, making me feel even more isolated and vulnerable. My imagination began to torture me by picturing the animals making those sounds. Was the thing that attacked Heater on the top of the food chain? I doubted it. it seemed about the level of a cheetah. So were there lions out there?

I listened to all those sounds, curling into a fetal position, hugging my spear, scared out of my mind. There was no way I was going to fall asleep. I remembered the stories of the two lions that used to kill railroad workers. How they’d slip into the camp at night, pull men right out of their tents as they slept and devoured them. I didn’t even have a tent!

Then I heard something else.

It was faint at first, drowned out by all the other noises. But as it grew louder, it got my full attention. It was a heavy rhythmic thumping, and I realized with horror what it was after hearing were footsteps. What could possibly be that big?

I heard a loud crack and then the creaking of a falling tree. Had it knocked it over? It sounded close, but how close was impossible to tell in the dark. The fire light only illuminated out to about fifteen feet. Everything beyond that was hidden behind a wall of darkness.

I placed a trembling hand on the ground. I could actually feel the impact of each step. Never in my life have I felt smaller and more helpless than in that moment.

The only thing I could think of was an elephant, but this thing sounded bigger. Much bigger. Was that just my imagination? It was definitely moving closer to us, albeit slowly. I threw more wood on the fire, hoping that the thing would steer clear of the flames. Most animals were afraid of fire. It seemed my only hope.

The steps became louder, closer. I strained with my eyes against the dark. It seemed ridiculous that something so big could be so near, and yet I couldn’t see it. I felt my anxiety spike. My chest tightened, my muscles tensed, my stomach tied itself into knots, and my mind raced through options. What would I do if it attacked? Running off into the dark seemed just as suicidal as standing my ground. Should I make noise to try and scare it off, or would that only attract its attention?

I tried to reassure myself that something so big was probably a herbivore, though even if it was that didn’t make it harmless. Hippos and rhinos were herbivores and still extremely dangerous. If it was a carnivore, maybe it wouldn’t bother with such a small meal…well with my scrawny self anyway. Heather was another matter. I put a stick halfway in the fire. Maybe I could use it like a torch to fend the thing off.

I nearly shit my pants when the thing let out a bellow that reverberated through my very bones. It was as loud as a thorn on an oil tanker. Any thought of me scarring this thing off fled from my mind. I might as well try scaring off an elephant with a match. I would have run away right then and there, if only I could get my legs to move. I was paralyzed with fear, I has small and insignificant. I was helpless.

Then the footsteps started to grow more distant. The thing was walking away. It wasn’t until several minutes after the steps had faded completely that my tension finally eased up and my legs gave out from under me. I dropped to my knees, trembling, sweating despite the cold. I tried to control my breathing, to calm down, but it wasn’t working. I looked over to Heather, and to my disbelief found her sound asleep. How had she not woken up from that? I shook my head in disbelief and threw more wood on the fire. It was going to be a long night.
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