Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #93
An abomination heaved itself through the snow along the ground. The Overseer could sense it, a maelstrom of dark thoughts that could not possibly fit into a single mortal mind. The Overseer pondered if it should test the creature, but decided against that course of action. That monstrosity would not heed its word.
Sam awoke to find his heart not beating. This, among other things, was not what he wanted nor expected to feel. He quickly gasped for air only to find that it tasted sour and thin. The feeling the pill had given him still lingered in his muscles but the warmth did nothing to fight against the biting cold of the viscous, swampy water he found himself in. The light here was strange; it did not have any source but seemed to permeate through everything. Despite this, he could not see further than five meters ahead of him. When he stood up on shaky legs he found himself to be waist deep in the ice cold slush. Ahead of him he could see a huge x shape cut into the floor, below the grey, murky depths. He tried to wade towards it but the further he got, the harder the current tugged on his waists. He even tried to swim, but his weak arms could not pull him hard enough. He gave up and began to sob, wallowing in self pity, before he noticed something moving in the distance. A bare silhouette, a black outline of something huge and menacing. This entity appeared to be scanning the landscape, roving the waters with what appeared to be its head bent down, intent on its search. Sam instinctively stopped making any noise, not even blinking. His breath came in shallow, anxious gasps, his frosty breath misting the air. He knew that he did not want to be found.
Suddenly, he noticed how many ripples were created from his small struggle. Still, his heart did not beat in his chest. It was like a constant noise had been taken away from him, an essential part of his life, and now the silence of it was louder than anything else. That was the moment he noticed the golden chain suspended just under the water. From it hung a multitude of tiny copper bells, cylindrical in shape and trailing down beyond his range of vision . It suddenly shifted, hitting him in the leg as he watched. As soon as the chain made contact with his limb two things happened: First he felt a searing pain, burning through his leg and coursing through his veins so that his whole body was afire. Secondly, he began to see through the eyes of something else, as if his spirit was unceremoniously dumped inside the head of another being far away. Fleeting images raced through his mind. His head felt ready to burst open as his simple human brain struggled to comprehend visual stimuli coming from six eyes. All his senses were magnified tenfold- He could see the fine bristling hairs on ant carapaces as they bustled in single file on a nearby branch- he could smell the rich perfumes of jungle flowers mixing together with the fear sweat of lesser creatures. He could hear the heart beats of a small family of woodpeckers hiding from him in a tree trunk. He could taste the metallic tang of the blood of his most recent prey, still tantalising his tortuous tongue. Immense, powerful muscles rippled beneath his leathery skin that could turn the sharpest of blades. Sensations new and alien flooded him, overwhelming his nervous system, and for a split second, he saw Krane. Sam felt the beast’s inhuman thoughts brushing against the boundaries of his consciousness, making his whole body shudder. What he understood from these thoughts was that the creature had been aware of Krane’s hunt for him for many days now, but it did not feel concerned at all. In fact it felt amused, like how a cat must feel while toying with a mouse.
The chain then lost contact with his legs, and Sam’s awareness of this apex predator was violently wrenched away. He was just himself now.
His entire life Sam had been told he was a failure, a mistake, a muckup. He was going to do something right.
He grabbed the golden chain, stifling a scream as his hands were burned. His skin began to peel and fuse with the metal as he began to heave, bells tingling as he fought against the strength of the animal at the end of the chain. Images dwarfed all his other senses as he became a backseat watcher in the creature’s mind, feeling as the hidden chain around its neck pulled and strangled it.
He did not see the mountainous creature emerge from the water behind him, pale white circular head dripping as it towered over him. Its matted black hair strung across its long thick body reeked of decay, but Sam’s senses only had room for what he was receiving through the chain. Leering pale lips curled into a disgusting smile behind him, revealing grey rotting gums and cracked brown teeth. It was a mercy that Sam never saw it, the bells tinkling onward as the two of them descended into the depths of the Broken.
The orange sun beat down on Krane’s neck as he hunted the creature. The horizon in the distance was stained with purples and reds in a splendid sight. Silhouetted against the backdrop of the sunset he could see the creature prowling its way deeper into the tall grass. Krane was thirsty, despite having found a special tree that was curved into the shape of a basin a couple of hours ago. The rainwater that had been inside had quenched his thirst, but now his desert dry throat was calling for moisture once again. Dirt stung Krane’s eyes as he marched onwards. The creature had not noticed him yet. Suddenly, his good leg buckled, and he crashed to the ground in a grand plume of dust. He used his hammer to support himself as he rose from the trench his fall had carved into the earth. He noticed his lip had been split on a sharp rock from the impact, as a trickle of blood rolled warmly down his chin. A singular pebble was lodged inside the crevice between the stump of his leg and the wooden prosthetic, and it irritated him to no end. By the time he had finished shaking his peg around he noticed something strange; the beast was no longer on the horizon, and Krane realized just how much noise he had been making. The jungle around him was eerily silent.
He was already swinging his hammer around just as the animal shot out of the thick brush, its jaws wide open, assailing Krane’s nostrils with the stench of death. He managed to clip it on one of its many shoulders, but the action jarred his entire arm, sending pins and needles racing down one half of his body. He readied himself once again.
It moved faster than his eyes could follow, a blistering blur, and then a deep cutting pain as it raked its claws down his back. Blood soaked his tunic as he went to one knee. There it stood, right in front of him, mocking him. Krane roared as he flew upwards, swinging his hammer furiously, but he could not manage to land another hit. Maybe if he was not in such a thick delirium he could have been more accurate with his swings, but alas the red mist had descended over his eyes. Regardless, the rage that now consumed him was the only thing that kept him standing. Every time he missed, his brother’s voice echoed out to him, mocking him- “I told you brother… This task is impossible.”
As it cut his arms and shredded the back of his legs he did not cry out, instead he only roared louder.
Time slowed down. Was this how he died? He could see it now, the creature was no longer playing with him. Now its claws were outstretching, coming out for his throat. He was going to die choking on his own adrenaline-saturated blood. He swung his hammer as hard as he could but he knew the blow would never land.
Its neck snapped back as an ethereal golden collar and chain revealed itself, and the hammer hit with a heavy crunch. It went flying backwards, and Krane in his enraged state threw himself after it, landing blow after blow. Bones broke asunder under his immense strength. It was trapped now, but Krane kept on hitting it, throat raw and sore from the endless, guttural bellows that escaped his mouth.
Finally he relented, as the clouds in his mind receded. He watched as the creature completed its death throes, spasming violently. Finally, it rested with one hand pointing towards the tallest grass patch. Krane fell to his knees. He heard the thwomp and beat of strong wings as a gong sounded, its brass echo almost drowning out Krane as he sobbed in the dirt.
He was a monster, killing this beautiful predator in a fit of rage. The Overseer was not very good at reading these kinds of emotions.
“Ah! You have completed the challenge, albeit with a little external help, but no matter. Congratulations! You have slain the horrid beast that plagued this land.” It droned on and on, but Krane did not care. He saw as the minuscule creature emerged from the tall grass, barely tall enough to reach halfway up his shin, six tiny arms flailing as colors shifted on its hard scaly back. It pressed itself against its mothers dying corpse, nuzzling and bumping its falcon like skull into one of the six upturned palms. The Overseer paused in its dragging speech to look down in disgust.
“Ah. A cub, I thought I had eliminated all of them along with the last of the other Hunter’s creations. If you want you can turn away.” Its spine creaked as it bent down to reach and snap the infant creature, but Krane jumped in front of its outstretched, spindly hand.
“This is my burden to bare!” He shouted, arms spread out in a protective stance, and the Overseer retracted its hand in surprise.
“Fine! Fine. Just don’t leave that filthy thing on my plateau. They’ve caused me enough trouble as is. Have fun.” It spat as it dived back into the earth, swallowed whole by waves of crashing dirt.
Krane slowly pried the small creature from its now dead mother. It wriggled against his grip but relented when it came close to his warm chest. He set it inside his pack, and it began snoring softly as he lay the infant inside multiple layers of insulating cloth. Its hide shimmered as it began to match the hues of the cloth, just like how its mother had become one with the jungle not so long ago.
Krane began to walk with a heavy heart. He was too preoccupied to notice the jingling of small bells in the distance…
End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #93