Fiction: Allosaurus Attack

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.

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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?

Fiction Exercise: Music to My Sunburned Ears

I wrote this for a workshop exercise back in January, a bit of action-oriented sci-fi. Hope you enjoy.

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Carter settled in the corner of a ruined cafeteria, where some of the gunmetal gray ceiling still remained to give him shelter. Gunshots and plasma blasts whacked against his ears, the kind of music that would race his heart and sweep him up in the wash of adrenaline. A music that put him at the edge of death, and gave him a stronger sense of life than anything else could.

His dark green trench coat swept dirt and broken glass and flakes of dried blood over the floor, his fingers plucking shots from the bandolier and poking them into the chamber of his Frenesat rifle. Creaks resounded through the wrecked ship underneath him, as if the massive craft were trying to revive itself and leave the battlefield. Fighters shot by like piloted missiles, chasing each other through air that stung with smoke.

“Base, base, come in,” Carter said through his headset, which crackled with static. “Carter reporting, come in.” For an eternity, he only heard the static, behind cover, with only the hours-old bodies of the crew to keep him company. Any minute now an incandescent green streak of wayward plasma could evaporate the bulkhead and end his life before he felt the burn.

“Base-” he shouted.

“Base here, Carter.” One of the lower captains barked into his ear. “Go ahead. You have a sit rep, Corporal?”

“Same as everywhere I’ve been today, sir. SOL. Bad luck’s following me like a lost puppy. I’m on the upper mess hall for the Lightning Revenant. Something tore an awful big hole in its back, after it dropped out of orbit. Could there be any survivors here?” He gave a glance to one of the bodies, a young woman in a green jumpsuit, with very little blood around her. He could have sworn she moved. The ship shook from a missile strike, is all, he told himself.

“We got no report of survivors leaving the Revenant,” said the captain through a momentary flurry of static. “If you got no other orders, you can work your way down through the decks. That spacecraft’s the best shelter out there, in any case.”

Carter stood up, cocking the silver rifle and letting it rest in his grip like a lover’s palm. “Agreed. I’ll continue inside. Carter out.”

Just as his first sprinted step took him out from the scrap of ceiling and bathed him in a bright blue sun, the girl in the emerald jumpsuit moaned. He wheeled around to find her pushing up from the field of corpses on one arm. The other one was broken, awkwardly contorted in its sleeve, and her hands were leathery red from sunburn. She must have lain there the whole time since the Revenant’s crash.

“Help me,” she mouthed, her bloodshot eyes finding Carter’s. “Help me. Please.”

Carter dashed to her and gingerly slung her good arm over his shoulder. A stab of resentment couldn’t be entirely ignored. The battle was no longer his idea of fun, a game, a jungle gym with shrapnel. Now he had to save someone’s life other than his own.