This month's Friday Fright theme is 'Movie Monster Fanfiction'. The characters used herein are not my own and remain the intellectual property of their creators. Said characters are used here briefly in the spirit of fun and admiration.
My people live in a world without a God.
But not for much longer.
I zig-zag this way and that, trying to avoid the talons of the leather-winged thing sculling through the air behind me. Even through the screams of my people my ears pick out the rustling flap drawing nearer, and though my thighs burn with fatigue I run faster still, terrified that I might stumble or trip on the rubble and rock strewn ground. My arms tremble at the weight of my burden, but I will not drop it, will not set it aside.
I will not.
My son looks up from his seat in the crook of my elbow, his arms stiff about my neck, his dark eyes wide with fear. I long to smooth his hair and lie to him, to tell him all the things any father would tell his son now. I want to say it’s alright, to just hang on to me and everything will be fine. I want to tell him that I’ll save him, save us, even if it isn’t true.
I want to say all of these things but I cannot. I lack the breath. I cannot spare any of the air rasping in and out through my fear-constricted throat for the making of any sound other than a terrified panting. My bare feet pound the ground faster, faster, but still I hear the winged devil gaining. I pass others from my village to the left and right, so near to them our shoulders brush, hoping the Devil will choose the slower-moving prey, but the thing that follows does not veer away, moving with the single-minded determination of a hunter nearing its kill.
I run toward a tree, trying to think, trying to plan. The back of my neck feels the very breath of the thing, it follows so close now, and I know running is no longer an option. If I can use the tree to make it turn away, get the tree between us, make it lose sight of us even if just for a second, then just maybe —
A terrible screech rends the air, so near to me I can feel it . The sound lasts less than a second before cutting off with a sickening crunch, a multitude of snaps and cracks all at once, very like Ma’attak, the strongest man in the village, breaking a bundle of sticks over one knee for the entertainment of the children.
The crunch accompanies a wet sound, an organic almost-splash. Something rank, hot and liquid strikes my face. I lack a free hand with which to wipe it away, so it’s not until a few steps later when my jouncing stride causes some of the stuff to fall from me, dripping onto my son’s upturned cheek, that I see it for what it is.
In truth, I knew all along.
Blood. Lots of it.
I look upward, trying to follow the splash of blood back to its source — and finally trip over the rock and rubble. I curl around my son, hugging him to me as I somersault, the hard ground wracking my spine with pain as small stones bite my flesh, and I wind up sprawled upon my back, my son clutched tightly to me as I stare up at the source of the blood.
That was no tree.
Hanging above me the head of the Great Demon from the jungle jerks. Its jaws, far wider than a man is tall, snap open and closed as it shifts the body of the Winged Devil to a new position, a better angle for swallowing whole. Jagged teeth as long as my forearm pierce the thing with savage ease and blood rains down upon the stony ground. The tree moves away from me as the Demon takes a step, shifting on trunk-like legs to regard me. One of the ragged, broken wings of the Devil dangles bonelessly from the corner of that huge maw before, with another jerk of the great head, the broken thing slides down into the Demon’s gullet.
The round, red eyes are now fixed upon me.
I place my weeping son on his feet as I get to my own. I push him away, yelling at him to run and find someplace to hide. I have the breath now and I finally offer up the lie, shouting that I will come back for him, then I continue to yell as I run. I scream. I wave my arms as I run as fast as I can, trying to draw the attention of the thing, to keep its focus on me. “Here!” I yell. “Look here! Here I am!”
There is a terrible screech and a sickening crunch. The sound of many sticks, snapping. I stop my running and turn, denial leaping to my lips, though to whom I wish to protest I have no idea. My people have no God now.
In the middle of the clear space in which I fell I see a fresh spray of blood upon the ground.
In the middle of the blood is a single naked foot. Tiny and perfect, it stands upright as if placed there carefully, as if it is a joke. But it is no joke.
My people once had a God. We feared him. We built a wall to keep him out, we gave him tribute to keep him appeased, and he, for his part,kept the Demons in the jungle. He kept the Monsters from our village. He was our barrier from their world.
I curse the white men as I draw my knife, stepping forward to attack the killer of my child. I curse them and their ship, and their weapons, and their magic, for it was they who really killed my son. It was they who slew my entire village, the day they came and stole our God away, with their ship and weapons and magic.
The day they stole our Kong.