Science Fiction / Sci-fi Adventure
Date Published: April 2020
Publisher: E. L. Marker / WiDo Publishing
The year is 2086 and the planet is deteriorating fast. Extreme weather
events and unseasonable climate have become the norm. Millions die of famine
and drought each year and yet the population continues to grow, reaching
well over 10 billion people. After millions of years of evolution, humanity
But all is not lost.
There is another planet, far from our solar system, which may be capable of
supporting human life – Arcadia. Dr. Amber Lytton and Dr. Joel Carter,
life-long friends and academic colleagues, along with a team of
international scientists, are sent to determine if the planet is suitable
But their awe and wonder at the similarities between Earth and Arcadia fade
quickly as they learn they are not the only complex lifeforms to set foot on
this planet. Sharing is not an option.
22:30, 9 March, 2086
Alone, he ran.
Wet ferns slapped against his face and arms as he pushed forward blindly.
The moonlight could barely penetrate the thick canopy above, blanketing the
jungle in shadows. Soft rain droplets mixed with the sweat dripping down his
face. Despite the rain and the darkness, he ran. Terrified, he advanced
through the trees, moving quickly but cautiously, trying not to lose his
footing against the slick gnarled roots. His ears throbbed with the sound of
his own heartbeat.
Don’t slow down.
Need to hide, need to get away.
The thumping of heavy footsteps followed close behind. The trees rustled in
the distance from some unknown force, some unknown creature, as it chased
him through the black, storm-lashed night.
Ahead the forest thinned slightly as a clearing opened up, a path in the
jungle. The man felt a small sensation of dread swell in his chest. He
slowed a fraction as he burst from the thick undergrowth onto the enormous
A shadow flashed across the path before him. It was small, about the size
of a human, but it moved with incredible speed. For a moment he wondered if
his eyes were playing tricks on him. The shadow reappeared, closer this time
and moving slower. As it came toward him it was growing in extent. It was
not human sized at all. It was enormous; a monstrous figure obscured by the
darkness. And it was coming toward him.
The man panicked. He tried to stop running mid-step, but in doing so he
lost his footing. He slipped in the mud and hit the ground hard, rolling
several times before sliding to a stop on the wet earth. A rising pain began
to fill his abdomen; the impact must have been more severe than he realized.
He was in the middle of the path, totally exposed. With his face buried in
mud, he opened a single eye in time to see an enormous three-toed claw
sinking into the sludge beside him. He squeezed his eyes shut again,
ignoring the pain coursing through his gut.
Maybe it didn’t see.
He held his breath. He could hear the creature standing above him,
breathing deep hollow breaths. It was sniffing, searching. He could feel the
warmth of its breath against his back.
From behind, the man heard the nearby trees shake and snap as something
else huge crashed onto the path. The creature that had been pursuing him had
finally caught up.
The second creature entered the clearing and paused. For a moment, the
jungle was quiet as the two beasts sized each other up. Suddenly the
creature with the huge three-toed foot hovering over the man broke the
silence with an ungodly roar; a deep resonating bellow which vibrated the
ground beneath the man’s face. In return the second animal snarled
aggressively; it was a guttural, gravelly hiss. Suddenly, three-toes lunged
forward, stepping clear over the man who still lay silently in the
Without missing a beat, the man sprang to his feet. To his right was a
large tree with thick buttress roots which wound together creating a hollow,
just big enough for a small person to fit inside. He ran to the tree,
clutching at his stomach, and jammed his body into the crevice. His ears
were ringing from the trumpeting roars and growls as the two titans brawled
behind him. He could still feel his heart thumping in his ears. He tried to
turn his body to see the creatures outside but he couldn’t move.
Glancing down, he saw his field-medic kit. The carabiner which connected the
kit to his belt had jammed between the intersecting roots.
He was stuck, facing the huge tree, staring into darkness.
From behind, he could hear the battle raging; the wet smacking of flesh
against flesh, the crunching of bones, the snapping of nearby branches. The
sounds of these monsters were from another world. The three-toed creature
moaned and growled from deep in its throat, projecting a profound and
deafening sound, reminiscent of a lion’s roar. The second beast hissed
and snarled, more like a crocodile or snake. Each sound sent shivers down
the man’s spine.
Another blood-curdling wail rang out, vibrating the man’s eardrums.
Judging by the sound, it was the second creature, the one that had pursued
through the night. Warm thick liquid splashed across his back. He reached a
loose hand to his shoulder and felt the sticky substance: blood. The hissing
and snarling slowly subsided, giving way to deep and raspy breathing;
followed by a loud thump as a huge body crashed onto the earth. Lightning
cracked and thunder rolled as the victor bellowed a deep and triumphant howl
over its adversary.
The man held his breath again, praying the winner would not come looking
for him. After a few moments he could hear the sound of large footsteps
moving away, into the jungle, into the distance.
The man remained frozen for several minutes, too terrified to move. He
could still feel the warm and sticky blood on his shoulders. After a few
moments, his heartbeat began to slow, his breathing returned to normal. A
shiver rippled across his body as he started to feel cold. The jungle was
silent again, save for the sound of the pounding rain and the occasional
distant thunder crack.
He’d made it.
The man tried to wriggle free from the hollow but he was still attached to
the medical kit, which was firmly wedged between the tree-roots. Carefully,
he maneuvered a free hand down to his waist and unclipped the carabiner, and
the kit, from his belt. As soon as he was free he backed away from the roots
He looked up and down the path for any signs of movement. As he did so, he
stepped backward, slipping slightly as he came into contact with the huge
pool of blood seeping toward him. The man turned sharply and found himself
standing only meters from the fallen creature. It was a hideous beast, like
something out of a child’s nightmare. Its hulking mass moved slightly.
A shiver skipped across the man’s spine. For a moment he made eye
contact with the beast, his stomach tensed; but its eyes were empty and
dull; it was dead.
The man clutched his stomach as the pain continued to intensify. He pressed
lightly on his right side, just below the ribcage, and groaned in agony. He
doubled over, trying to breathe through it. As he opened his eyes again, the
man saw something strange. Lying on the ground at his feet was a beautiful
yellow feather the size of his forearm. It was completely out of place in
the depths of the jungle. He crouched down and picked it up. It was unlike
anything he had ever—WHACK.
About the Author
Kim Borg is an academic, author, and self-proclaimed nerd. She is a Social
and Behavioural Researcher at Monash University in Australia and is one of
few people to actually enjoy undertaking a PhD. In all her work you’ll see
elements of science (behavioural/fiction), the environment, and animals.
Through her research and her novels, Kim’s ambition is to educate as
well as entertain.
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