Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Survival by Chris T. Kat

October 15, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

 

Survival

(This story is set between Breeding Stations and Battle Stations)

 

“Berit! Faster!” Tom yelled behind me.

What did he think I was doing? Taking a stroll in the park?

Since I didn’t have enough oxygen left in my lungs to keep breathing and ranting at him, I remained quiet. Well, as quiet as one can be when one is being chased by a group of rams. I hated those creatures. I hated all those fucking war beasts the Tash’Ba, our worst enemy, created. Period.

Rams were particularly nasty because they hunted in packs and their razor-like claws could slice you open before you realized what was happening. Add to that their sickly greenish and yellow scales and the red ridge on their heads and they were a nightmare come true.

“Berit! Run!”

“I am running,” I wheezed out.

“Watch out!” Tom’s warning came too late. A ram, a rather large one, stepped out behind a large tree with white, fern-like leaves. My momentum propelled me right into the beast’s chest where I impacted with a morbid smack.

That was it. I was dead.

I glanced up, forcing my muscles to stop trembling so much. The ram blinked at me from reptilian eyes as it tilted its head. Slowly, I moved my left hand to one of the many pockets of my pants and searched for a bluster. The ram threw its head back and emitted an ear-piercing trill. Other rams answered immediately.

A branch snapped to my left, and the ram and I looked toward the noise’s source. Tom stood there, the sun glinting on his glistening skin. His frill folded out in all his red and orange glory. “Berit.”

“I’m sorry.” My voice broke when one, two, no, three rams hurried through the undergrowth, appearing at Tom’s back. He clutched his gun in both hands and his chest heaved.

“No giving up,” Tom said.

I gave a short, startled laugh. No giving up? What were we supposed to do? We couldn’t survive this. From the corner of my eyes, I caught sight of more and more rams closing in on us. We were dead, so dead.

I opened my mouth to inform Tom of our impending demise—or maybe I was going to tell him that I loved him more than life itself—when shouts and splintering wood attracted our attention.

Carson, my best friend, crashed through the brush, followed by his wildly firing mate, Niyara. She was yelling at him to go faster. What was it with our Nadisc mates today? There was only so much a human body could do.

An elgoth chased my two friends, trampling whatever got in its way. The elgoth swished its tail from side to side, destroying trees left and right.

“Carson!” I shouted.

His head snapped toward me, his eyes widening even more in his pale face when he discovered me. I didn’t even want to imagine how I must look—on my knees in front of a looming ram—the picture of pure defeat.

He faltered in his steps, which gave the elgoth enough time to catch up with them. An overturned tree trunk cut off their escape route. Niyara took a protective stance in front of Carson. Her tail whipped through the air, obviously annoying the elgoth, who roared at them.

This couldn’t be it. We couldn’t end like that. We’d found the watcher’s station but none of us had managed to get inside because of those damn Tash’Ba war beasts. Although… where was Fleur? She’d come in handy right now.

The rams trilled to each other. What were they talking about? Who got the first dip on the tasty meat right in front of them? I shuddered. Rams didn’t kill their prey before they ate it, and I’d seen enough of my comrades mauled by rams that I knew I wouldn’t go without a struggle.

My fingers closed around the bluster when the ram next to me scurried away. Confused, I watched it leave, whistling a sharp, commanding trill. The other rams formed into a triangle-like formation and scuttled after the one who was obviously in charge.

Inhaling deeply, I rose to my feet. Relief flooded my veins when Tom materialized at my side, sliding his tail around my waist to anchor me to him.

“What just happened? I can’t believe they let us go,” I asked.

Tom’s tail tightened and his eyes darkened. Something was wrong, horribly wrong. I glanced in the direction the rams were heading. A shocked gasp tumbled over my lips. The rams took up position around the elgoth and Carson and Niyara.

“No! Carson!”

Tom pulled me against his chest, leaving me absolutely no room to move. Niyara wound her tail around Carson, imitating Tom’s movement. Even from this distance, I could see tear tracks on Carson’s face. Everything in me turned to ice. This was my best friend. I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing.

“Tom,” I groaned. “I gotta help him.”

“If we shoot now, we might hit him or Niyara.”

“But—”

I was cut off by the elgoth’s roar. The rams snarled before they attacked. I screamed, “Carson!”

One second one of the rams closed its muzzle on Carson’s right arm and the next moment it dissolved into a puddle of stinking glob.

Carson stared at me, disbelief and relief written all over his face. Niyara pumped a fist into the air, yelling in triumph before she whirled Carson around to kiss him senseless.

I sagged against Tom, battling the urge to curl into a ball and cry. Tom caressed my face as he folded up his frill. “Fleur. She must’ve gotten inside the watcher’s station and found the decoder.”

A yank on my leg caused me to jump. When I looked down, Fleur climbed up on me in her typical lizard-style gait. She bumped her cold, wet nose against mine, then purred, “Berrrit. Fleur help.”

“You did. Thank you,” I said softly.

For now we’d survived. Again.

***

Thank you for reading!

 

You can learn more about my books on my blog (there are also links to a couple of free stories):  http://christikat.blogspot.com. You can also follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/christi_kat and on GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/ChrisTKat.

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