Categories > Original > Sci-Fi > Evolve or Die


by Togot 0 reviews

Tensions continue to rise and another lost classmate is found

Category: Sci-Fi - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2019-08-12 - 2634 words

I caught up with the others quickly and tried my best to act calm. Thankfully none of them paid me much attention after about twenty minutes of walking we hit an incline that took us up to the top of the cliff. After another twenty minutes going back the other way.

“Took you ladies long enough,” Terry said to me when we got back. Not to us, to me specifically.

“Fuck you,” I said.

“I’m getting real sick of your mouth,” Terry said.

“I’m sick of you in general,” I said back.

The two of us squared off, his friends backing him up. I knew I couldn’t win a fight against them, but I wasn’t going to back down either. I thought I might be able to throw him off the cliff if it came to blows. My spear wouldn’t do me too much good out numbed and in close like this, but I still had my knife.

“Alright break it up,” Mr. Huxley said coming between us. “We’re in the middle of a jungle. The last thing we need is to fight each other.”

He had a point, but I didn’t care. I was angry.

“Andrew, apologize to Terry.”

I blinked and looked at Mr. Huxley as if I’d heard him wrong. I don’t know why I was surprised, I was always the ne blamed, left out, ostracized, this was just one more example.

“Not a chance in hell,” I said as I walked away, continuing to follow the river. The others could follow me or jump off the cliff at this point, I no longer cared. I wondered what I had been thinking trying to find them in the first place. The only two people I cared about weren’t even here.
It wasn’t long before Jason and Jennifer had caught up with me again, and a glance confirmed that the rest of the class was also still following. After about twenty minutes my anger had just started to simmer down when Jennifer spoke up.

“Can I ask you a question?”

“You can ask me anything you like,” I said, though I was not really in the mood for conversation. “The real question is whether or not ill answer.”

“What’s the deal between you and Terry?” She asked.

I let out a heavy sigh. “Oh…that. Junior year Sarah was in my biology class. She told me to do her homework for her. Not asked me, told me. I refused. She goes to her boyfriend Terry and tells him to persuade me. I still refuse, so he and his friends kick my ass. I did break Erik’s nose though.” I smiled with pride remembering that last bit.

“Why didn’t you tell somebody,” Jennifer asked.

“Because they beat me to it. Terry’s friends all said I picked a fight with him. Five witnesses with the same story, all on the football team, against me, a social outcast with behavioral problems. I got three days detention, and ever since then Terry’s taken every chance to push me around, so I’ve been pushing back.”

There was a long silence between us until she spoke up again. “Ok, that sucks but-“

“Do you smell that?” I asked. It was a convenient way to end the conversation, but I really did smell something.

“Yeah,” she said, sniffing the air. “Smells like food.”

“It’s coming from up ahead,’ Jason added.

“Yeah,” I agreed.

We quickened our pace, and it wasn’t long before the found a campfire with rich sitting nearby eating cooked fish. Rich was seriously overweight, Caucasian with shoulder length wavy brown hair and glasses who was over six feet tall. He was also the smartest person I knew. He had an identic memory and the guy read everything he could, so he was like a living encyclopedia. He looked at the three of us with surprise and said, “Oh thank god, I thought I was alone out here. Do any of you know what is going on?”

“Not really,” I said as we approached. “Most of the rest of the class is following behind us.”

“Have you found anyone outside of our class?” He asked.


“Oh,” He said, sounding disappointed. He looked down, and I could tell he was thinking. I looked around his camp and saw he had a spear, hatchet, and canteen just like me.

“You found one of those alien container to?” I asked.

“Yes. Did yours have the same contents?”

“Looks like it,’ I said, holding up the spear.

“You think it’s aliens too?” Jennifer asked.

Rich shrugged, “I like to stay up to date with the latest advances in technology. That didn’t look like anything we can currently make. Plus the implant and the creatures. Aliens make the most sense.”

“What creatures have you seen?” Jason asked.

Small things mostly,” Rich said. “Relatively speaking. They scurry off before I can get a good look at them, but they look like theropods, which don’t exist anymore on earth. I also spotted a giant dragonfly, and by giant I mean the size of a crow, but the most confusing thi9ngs are these fish.”

“Why the fish?” I asked.

“Well their coelacanth, an oceanic fish, but I found them in fresh water in the river.”

“Coelacanth,” I said trying to think. “Why does that sound so familiar…wait I remember. Aren’t they a living fossil?”

“Yeah,” Rich said. “By the way, what happened to your shirt?”

“I had to use it as a bandage,” I explained. “Heather was attacked by a creature…she didn’t make it.”

“Oh…oh no,” Rich said.

There was a brief moment of awkward silence before he asked, “Anyone else?”

“No,” I said. “But we haven’t found everyone yet, including Sam and Bryan.”

“I see,” Rich said. “Well I wouldn’t worry too much about those two, especially Sam. You said a creature got Heather, what kind of creature?”

“Bipedal, reptilian with leathery skin blotched in greens browns and greys, skin flaps like a frilled leather, spits venom, about three and a half feet tall, backwards facing quills along its back, long rigid tail, v shaped crest on its head, sharp teeth, clawed arms.”

“Oh dear,” Rich said. “I’m glad I have not run into one of those yet. On the bright side, they don’t sound hard to kill, and if we’re lucky they are the apex predator around here.”

“I’m not so sure,” I said.

“Why?” Rich asked.

“My first night here, I didn’t see it, but I heard something very big come close to where Heather and I were camping.”

“How big, Rich asked.

“It knocked over a tree.”

“So an elephant?” Rich asked.

“Maybe my imagination, but I think it was bigger. I could feel its steps through the ground.”

“We would have seen something that big by now,” Jennifer said.

“Not necessarily,” Rich said. There could be one standing twenty feet over there, and we wouldn’t see it. The jungle can easily hid large things. I’m guessing there aren’t many of them and they are spaced out a lot.”

“The good news is I don’t think they are predators,” I said. “Heather was bleeding and the thing kept its distance from us. It just seemed to be meandering through, but if there is a herbivore that big, then what eats it? Even if it doesn’t have any predators, they would die of natural causes which would provide a feast. It would be enough to support carnivores larger than the spitters.”

“Well, at least we have two spears to defend ourselves with,” Rich said.

I heard the others come up behind us.

“Ah, Mr. Huxley. Good to see you sir,” Rich said

“Mr. Reeves, how are you?” Mr. Huxley asked.

“Just enjoying my lunch, though I am very happy to finally have company.”

I looked to Mr. Huxley. “It’ll be getting dark in a few hours, he’s already got a fire going. Seems as good a place to camp as any.”

He nodded and told everyone we would be resting here for the night. Several people moved to the river to fish while others started gathering wood for the fire.

“I see many fishing spears,” Rich said. He looked to me. “Your doing?”

I nodded. Rich and I talked often so he knew about my camping trips. “Some of them also have stone knives and wooden containers for water,” I explained.

“Ah, excellent,” Rich said. “This is the most hopeful I’ve been since I got here.”

I came over to sit next to rich. “Did you learn anything from the alien container?”

“Not much,” Rich said shaking his head. “Made of some kind of metal I’ve never seen before, just like the tools. Don’t know how it was floating. It wasn’t generating wind, nor was there any kind of downwards force being exerted that I could feel to hold it up. My guess is a tractor beam holding it up from above or some kind of antigravity technology. Aside from the panel that opened it, there were no buttons, switches or instrumentation I could identify, and about five minutes after I opened it, it floated up into eh sky until I lost sight of it which suggests that there is a ship or station in orbit.”

That explained why I couldn’t find it again after I’d helped Heather, I thought. “So what do you think they want with us?” I asked.

“Oh god, uh,” Rich said as he took a moment to think. “Well, they seem to want us to survive given the containers with tools they gave us. If it were a zoo, it would better reflect our environment and we would be segregated from the other creatures, so it’s either an experiment, a nature preserve, or something akin to a reality T.V. show.”

“Given the chaotic nature of our environment, and the amount of biodiversity, I’m leaning towards nature preserve,” I said.

“God I hope not,” Rich said.

“Why?” Jennifer asked. “Is that bad?”

“If it’s an experiment, it’ll end and we might be released,” I explained. “If it’s a T.V. show or contest, it’ll also end and we might be released, but if it’s a nature preserve, we are meant to simply stay here.”

We were all quiet for a while as we let that sink in. Our quiet contemplation was interrupted when Anita screamed. Jason and I were quick to run over to see what was wrong. We found her by the river pointing at the bank as a crowd gathered around. I looked at what she was pointing at, and I struggled to make sense of what I was seeing. There was something crawling along the river bank, half in the water and half out. It was definitely an arthropod, about the size and shape of a deflated football. Its body was made of thick spikey armored segments, the largest of which was its head. I couldn’t see any legs, and imagined they were under it. It reminded me of a giant woodlouse, which reminded me of something else.

“Hey Rich, take a look at this,” I called.

I heard him groan as he got to his feet and waited for him to slowly make his way over to us. When he did I pointed out the creature and asked, “Is that what I think it is?”

“…well if you think that’s something that has been extinct for over two hundred million years, then yes; it’s a trilobite.”

“These died out after the Cambrian period, right?’ I asked.

“They appeared in the Cambrian period, they died out in the Permian period,” Rich corrected. “They are also marine based. It should be on the bottom of an ocean, and yet here it is crawling on a fresh water river bank.” He shrugged in defeat, “I have no idea what’s going on.”

“Is it dangerous?” Jennifer asked.

‘No, shouldn’t be,” Rich said. “It’s a big bug that crawls on the sea floor and eats detritus. I doubt it is even aware of us. The only way it could hurt you is if you stepped on it.”

“Can we eat it?” Erik asked.

“Eh, maybe?” Rich said with a shrug. “I know nothing about its biochemistry, so it could be toxic, and given how much effort it would take to get through that armor, and how little meat it probably has, it would probably be a better idea to just catch fish.”

I looked to Rich. “First coelacanths and giant dragonflies, and now trilobites, it looks more and more like my theory is correct.”

“If it were a nature preserve, you think they’d only put creatures from the same environment together, or at least the same time period,” he said.

“Maybe it’s just creatures from the same planet?” I suggested.

Rich sighed, conceding the point. There wasn’t any point arguing since we still didn’t have enough evidence to be sure one way or another. I decided to try and catch a fish for myself and wandered away from the others. Our fishermen were all clustered together which I knew was not the best way to do this, and given how noisy they were I realized how lucky we were to have caught any fish at all the previous day and that morning. I stayed within sight of everyone; I’m not that stupid, but getting some distance from them helped me destress a bit.

I found a relatively flat rock within hopping distance of shore the size of a car’s roof. I jumped onto it and walked to its edge. The stone was jagged which struck me as odd for a stone that is constantly being smoothed by water, but I thought nothing of it. The water was a bit muddy in this area, so spotting fish was harder. It had been a long time since I went spear fishing, and I’d only ever done it once, and I wasn’t using a fishing spear, so my odds of catching something were not good, but then again if the fish would just swim right up to you around here, who knew?

I spotted a shadow move beyond a smaller, flatter rock about the size of a couch cushion. I hopped onto it to get close to the potential fish. Now that I was closer I could see it was a coelacanth, a friendly fish. It calmly stayed right where it was, not bothered by me at all. I almost felt bad about spearing it, but we needed to eat, so I took aim, but just as I was ready to thrust, I felt the rock shift under me. At first I thought it had just wobbled from my shifting my weight on it, but then it tilted even more, far more than it should have. I tried to regain my balance, but then the rock raised up and I fell off.

I splashed into the muddy water that went up to my chest, and my first thought was of the piranha attacking me, but that fear was quickly overshadowed by what was rising up to loom over me. It looked like a giant serpent, a long neck with a massive head at the top. A wide, beak like mouth large enough to chomp me in half made a strange grin on its face. It rose of over me, looked down at me, and now it was my turn to scream.
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