Part 02: Filia Runs

Faster faster faster!

Filia ducked and wove in between the branches and fallen tree trunks, her breath coming in gasps. As she ran, her eyes scanned the jungle around her maniacally. When the ragged remains of her shirt hung up on a snag she didn’t even slow down, allowing the rotten fabric to shred, freeing her in an instant. Heedless of the thorns that caught and scratched her newly-bare skin, she plunged ahead.


Filia gave a short, strangled scream at that sound, which came from behind her. She looked back, then stumbled when her foot lodged under a tree branch. Picking herself up, she skidded down into a shallow ravine. Spotting her own tracks in the forest litter, she turned and ran up toward the high end.


This time the sound was closer. Filia looked around for a place to hide, but despite the clutter of fallen debris the forest here was relatively open. A quick glance around her showed none of the iridescent red and green the creature had sported in its plumage. Filia took the opportunity to actually run fast in a straight line for a ways, a departure from her zigging and zagging of mere moments earlier.



The call and echo were behind her, one more distant than the other. She had seen only one earlier. Not for the last time she wished for her spear to be in her hands.

Suddenly the ground ahead of her vanished. She ground to a halt and turned abruptly to her right. Immediately she spotted a track in the soft earth: her own. But it was headed the other way! She spun and ran back.

Again she saw her own tracks, but they went back the way she had come. She stopped again. A movement to the side caught her eye. Without even bothering to look she dropped and rolled. One taloned foot flashed through the air where her bare belly had been, and another raked the dirt where she had landed. The rest of the feathered monstrosity careened past, unable to check its momentum, and dropped over the edge of the cliff. Both taloned arms scrambled desperately at the roots that hung suspended over the chasm until, surprisingly, one arm gained purchase.

Filia snatched up a fallen branch from nearby and poked hard. She caught a fleeting image of what looked like a man-sized farm fowl with arms, a tail, and teeth in its too-long beak. Then it was tumbling down into the crevasse.

As it fell it broke loose dirt and stones from the crevasse wall. In a moment its fate was obscured in a cloud of dust. Filia didn’t wait to see what would emerge. She ran. For long, long seconds she heard nothing but the pounding of her feet and the pounding of her breath. Filia had the campsite in view when the next cry sounded.

“Staun!” she shouted.

“Filia? What’s going on?”

Filia saw Staun standing by the firepit, his walking staff in hand. The faint blue of his skin and the brighter blue of his tattoos stood out vividly against the darker earth tones of the forest, the blond stubble on his head and chin not long enough yet to change his appearance much. His blank gaze was pointed just aside from her. She had known him long enough now to know he was cocking an ear to hear her better.

“Get down!” Filia yelled in reply. Her gaze flicked around the campsite. Where was her spear? Where had she put it?

Staun went down onto one knee. “What’s going on? I can’t …”

“Down!” Filia yelled, wanting him to lie flat so as to not be as large a target for the raptor’s attack. Why did she have to nursemaid a blind man? Better still, where was that spear? Then she spotted it, stuck into the ground by her bedroll, a dark shaft against the dark forest background. She vaulted the fallen log they had moved to form their campsite boundary and snatched the weapon from the ground. She pivoted, swinging the tip to point straight at the green and purple nightmare that now faced her from just outside the campsite. The raptor opened its deadly rictus and hissed at her, venom dripping from its fangs.

“Come on, you bastard,” she hissed back. The crude metal point of her spear was rock steady and her feet were braced. “Come on!”


With a blood-curdling cry the terror leaped into the air, flung talon-laden feet forward, and flew straight at Staun.

3 Responses “Part 02: Filia Runs”

  1. Claudia says:

    It needs a better ending since you don’t resolve tne action in the next section.

  2. Jeff Reding says:

    I’m not crazy about the line ‘Against the odds, one arm gained purchase.’ I would make it ‘Both taloned arms scrambled desperately at the roots that hung suspended over the chasm until, surprisingly, one arm gained purchase.’

  3. Kethrios Administrator says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, Jeff!

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