Wacky Wednesday – “The Great Hunt”

12 Sep

The savannah hums in the dusk. Apatosaurs honk and snort as they shuffle their grazing lips across the dusted mahogany turf. They have travelled far today, and consumed much. The blazing disc in the sky drops quickly, and the beasts must drink before the blackness comes. The herd moves as one in a wheeling arc, lumbering toward the twisting brown ribbon of life.

The predator surfaces in the muddy shallows without so much as a ripple. The waterline conceals her toothy grin, grotesque, crooked. Her glassy eyes are as old as the earth and equally unforgiving. She feels the clay rumble under her belly, and dips silently under again.

The sauropods approach cautiously. They skirt around the high water mark, tentative, their throats cracked with thirst but their bodies singing with danger. One cannot contain himself any longer; he thuds awkwardly down to the shoreline and dips his slender neck. His kin follow, knocking chunks of sand to plop into the murky opaqueness of the river. They lap at the water, their relief interrupted by instinctive jolts of fear. Their tiny eyes flicker aimlessly, seeing nothing but the flat expanse of silt and the jagged piercing sunset. Some finish and move back while others jostle through and lean down.

One apatosaur is sated. He raises his head and turns his body. There is a burst, a spray, and the bones of his tail are clamped in the crocodile’s jaws, trapped between interlocking teeth which shred his flesh and snap his tendons. His eyes roll, white and wild, and he screams into the twilight. The others scatter, scarpering away from the waterline with hoots of alarm. The prey is dragged, inexorably, into the water. He struggles feebly as his hindquarters disappear, and the predator thrashes its head to silence the movement. As the apatosaur’s neck recedes into the bloodstained river, the sarcosuchus releases its grip and clambers onto the beast’s back, its jaws yawning wide for the kill.

The crocodile’s body shimmers in the growing gloom, little points of light crawling across its thick and ancient scales, and its flesh seems to vibrate in the air. It freezes in confusion, and issues a shuddering hiss. The sparkling light intensifies, and in a moment the predator is gone. The apatosaur pulls itself out of the water and up the bank, dripping.

Inside the flagship, there is a wet thud as the reptile’s body materializes and slaps onto the floor. It is momentarily dazed, and begins to swing its head back and forth in utter bewilderment. Where was its meal, so recently within its jaws? The taste of blood is fresh on her tongue! There are no savannah smells here, no groaning of eager prey, no beating of tender hearts for her to find and extinguish. There is cold, and silence.

A crack as the pacifier arcs over the crocodile’s huge frame, liquefying its brain. The reptile goes rigid, twitches once, and expires.

A lean figure steps out from the gloom, and vocalizes its triumph. The Hierarch, watching from the gallery, slides his cloak aside to join his hands in three derisive claps.

“Well done, Praetor. I trust this trophy will satisfy your cravings, for the time being?”

The hunter parts his mandibles in a horrifying smile, raises his pacifier in salute, and bows. “It will make an excellent addition to my collection, Your Magnificence.”

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One Response to “Wacky Wednesday – “The Great Hunt””

  1. Jim CEO September 14, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I love two things – the twist ending, and the metaphor “bodies singing with danger”. Excellent!

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