Another brief fiction exercise. Forgive me for not posting for a while. This has been a very fast week. I hope you enjoy this, one of the writing prompts I did at a workshop last week.
The man didn’t make a sound except for his annoyed grunt. He willed shivers away, despite the freezing water coating his skin as if to encase him in ice. The hem and lapels of Carter’s trench coat slapped him like wet flippers. Needlelike rain and temperamental winds pushed on him, the shelter of the barge’s wreckage enticing him to come back and leave the newly opened clearing. His feet planted all the harder in the mud, plasma rifle as steady as stone in his callused grip, his gaze searching the splintered trees and wounded earth. He swore there was something big behind the foliage the antigravity barge had cleared on its way down. Something from nightmares and horror movies.
How much longer until the beacon’s cry for help could be answered? Carter didn’t look away from the jungle to check his wristband’s readout. The jungle on this continent needed to be watched. Always. Rescue teams would get here when they got here.
A glint of white teeth showed behind the branch of a giant tree fern. He cracked off a round of sky-blue light, an involuntary “Aha!” fired off with it. The big something bellowed out a cry like an avalanche when the bolt flashed against its hide, like a lightning strike.
It strode out toward Carter, three clawed fingers flexing on each hand, legs bent and rippling with power. The leviathan pressed on in furious strides, resisting the momentary sting of more rounds of plasma.
Why? Carter thought. Why was he still shooting? Why did the cannons all have to break when the barge dropped out of the sky? Why didn’t he have anything effective?
Scaly jaws with fangs as long as a hand opened and descended on him with a revolting stench. Rotten meat. Hot decay.
Carter only ripped away from the trance just in time to veer off at a 45 degree angle, tripping on a stone hiding under the ferns. A flaying pain traveled over his leg, and the plasma rifle was gone. He searched for it through the undergrowth, but the roar seemed to catapult him into the jungle.
Blinded by the rifle’s rounds, with hardly any of the overcast sky to light his way, he shot through the jungle, into denser vines and trees until he was sure the monster wouldn’t follow.
He groaned and winced at the wound his stumble had opened, the pain that forced him back to reality. What had he been running from?