Men & Monsters

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Prolonging the Inevitable

The forest had rattled, mounds of grass and dirt were kicked up, and the ground shook as two colossal titans time and again charged at each other. Every conflict only resulted in a brief but necessary retreat as Finn and Giant caught their breath and counted the injuries inflicted on the other. Each warrior took deep, exhausted pants, sometimes as the other swallowed hard only to fight for his breath back.

Giant’s emerald-green hide was now mixed with that of crimson, yet all he could muster between their skirmishes was a swift chuckle. The confidence exuding from the giganotosaurus only worked to agitate Finn more. He wondered if it was an intentional mental trick or not, but after a relatively wicked cackle, Giant cocked his head back.

“Ah, excellent! I haven’t had the honor of fighting like this since the one with my father.”

“I thought you were finished with speaking of his memory.” Finn hissed, as the tears and cuts along his body burned. Giant’s laughter only intensified.

“Perhaps then. But now I feel exhilarated! Oh, the rush a fight gives you. How I almost forgot what it was like.” The spinosaurus sneered at the remark.

“That’s what happens when you surround yourself with lackeys.”

“And bless them so. You know Finn, I feel like this struggle here has allowed me to know you better than I ever did in conversation.”

“Then why don’t you have at it once more?” Giant’s casual demeanor all but contrasted with Finn’s tense and hateful gaze.

“You make it sound like something dirty. No. A battle should be a beautiful thing. A dance perhaps. A dance for life between combatants, almost as if to honor life itself by doing so.”

“Have you ever listened to the way you speak? Or does it just flow out?”

“Now you’re just being rude. Nothing like the way you’ve fought.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. I sense there being some sort of restraint in your onslaught. I’ve made it a point several times to expose my neck, if just to test a theory of mine, and what do you do? You pass the opportunity up entirely.”

“I’d prefer to bleed you.”

“Yes, of course you do,” Giant replied in a patronizing tone. “And why do you think you’re still alive?” Finn cocked his head to one side as his eyes narrowed. “Oh. I see. You don’t understand I’ve been playing this out as long as possible do you?”

“Why? You spoke of such games before.”

“Perhaps if for my own jollies, yes, but Finn, my very dear and old friend, I haven’t had this much fun in years. Thank you for liberating me, and I plan on enjoying every moment of our combat.”

“You truly are your father’s son. Mad!” With Finn’s words the spinosaurus noticed a swift change in Giant’s face. Once again, his bright, cheerful manner shifted to that of a dark beast, brooding on a past he was unable to escape from.

“How dare you? I am nothing like my father. The beast was cruel, but impotent in leadership, lacked the caring for his underlings and the charisma to keep them.” For once, Finn seemed to be the content one, knowing well that Giant still harbored intense feelings against his father. It wasn’t much, but a small victory nonetheless. He brought the large claw on each hand together so that they clicked, when he gave a small grin.

“You mustn’t let his memory continue to plague you. It’s not healthy Giant. If you let it, that anger might consume you.”

“Ha! I’m well aware of what my mind is capable of, old friend, and a dead beast that no longer walks this world has no power over it.”

“If that’s what you say,” Finn replied coyly as he cocked his head. This only enraged Giant. He was the one who was to act aloof in the face of danger, and for Finn to expose a weakness and revel in it only worked to boil the blood running through his veins. His eyes had narrowed, the pain searing his body numbed only by the hatred in his chest. Then, in an almost meditative manner, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and exhaled ever so slowly. In this small ritual, he opened his eyes, which glistened with that liveliness of before. He smiled just as a crocodile might.

“I’ve forgotten how much fun this is. It’s been some time since I could speak to a beast who rivals my mind and body,” Finn bowed his head in thanks. “It has me yearn for a different life. Perhaps one in which we truly could have worked together as allied leaders, Finn.”

“You still have time,” The spinosaur replied in a very calm and reassuring tone. “It’s not too late to stop terrible things from happening.”

“Or great things! You’re so caught up in preserving the past that you fail to find any opportunity when it arises and stands just out of maw’s length. Your world is the one of old, while those like myself shall enter our world into a new chapter of history. What I do will be remembered, while you’ll be lucky to have a memory survive another generation after your passing.”

“How will you be remembered is more important than being so.”

“Look at him. He speaks so softly and so little but his words sure add weight to a conversation,” Giant’s smile widened as he chuckled warmly. “It saddens me that you’ve chosen this destiny for yourself.”

“We’re no longer on a path Giant. We’re breaking new ground here, and you never know what might turn up on untouched soil.” Finn took the initiative this time, scratching the dirt beneath him with his clawed toes before starting toward his rival.

“Excellent! I had feared our conversation might wind up circling itself around,” Giant’s voice boomed as he took off as well. The forest shook as the two bloodied and battered dinosaurs rammed into each other.

Finally Finn’s eyes narrowed. Taking several steps backward, Giant quickly realized what he was up to, and promptly charged. With a smirk and turn of his heels, the spinosaurus submerged himself in the deep river. The waters proved to be so deep that it was capable of concealing his tall spine. While the mountain waters were typically clear as glass, Giant found it difficult to spot his foe with the waterfall’s rolling mists.

Without even noticing his actions, Giant leaned closer toward the waters, scanning for his opponent. Then, in a terrific splash, Finn came crashing forward, his jaws locking onto Giant’s neck while a clawed hand tore at his snout. Caught completely by surprise, the giganotosaurus yelped for but one moment. With his guard down, coupled with Finn’s weight, the dinosaur found himself stumbling helplessly into the river.

Kicking his legs frantically, Giant pulled his head up from the water with a gasp. He quickly eyed his opponent’s signature spine as it effortless sliced through the icy current toward him. For a split moment he was nervous, as he had never taken part in water combat. He retained his composure, however. That is, until the fin disappeared. A nasty feeling came over the dinosaur, when Finn erupted from the water once again, jaws clamping on his rival’s neck once again. Then, as if playfully, he tossed the giganotosaurus to the side, when an explosion of water followed. Finn smirked.

“Welcome to my domain.” It took a moment, but Giant began to emerge on the river bank, coughing and hacking as water spilled from his mouth.

“Not my sort of terrain.” He wheezed when he felt Finn bite down on his tail, dragging him back into the river. Amazed by his strength, Giant growled and threw a swift kick backwards, successfully dislodging his foe with a powerful hit to the jaw. The spinosaurus slowly sunk back into the water, where he silently waited.

Once his composure had returned, Giant turned back to the water, pacing back and forth as he eyed the river with suspicion.

“Is that how we fight our battles Finn? Like cowards?” He stopped and listened. For anything really. The silence was thick, and the dinosaur’s body grew tense, preparing for Finn’s response. Then, just as had happened before, a roaring wave emerged from the river when the spinosaurus leapt from the water, his mind and body filled with anger and determination.

There didn’t seem to be much of a disparage between the two combatants. When one advanced on the other, they were sent back two steps, only to repeat the process time and again. It was at this time that Finn looked to his opponent, where his eyes immediately looked onto a rather exposed neck. He thought of what Giant had said of their deal, almost immediately turning his attention back to the struggle, but the ease in which he could snap down on it lingered on in his mind.

A haunting, gnawing feeling that soon he realized, might compromise his efforts and thus give Giant the upper hand. He swallowed hard, but knew that if he could bring down his old friend, by means of a well-placed throat bite, he could save countless others from a lot of trouble. With a self-assured sense of righteousness, Finn knew what he had to do. In a formidable display, he cocked his head back and opened his long crocodile-like snout, bringing it down like an ax.

Instead of warm flesh, however, Finn’s jaws snapped at thin air as Giant turned back at the last moment. Caught off balance, the spinosaurus stumbled to regain it. Giant executed his plan as he continued to turn, so that his cedar-like tail swung around and hit hard into the staggering dinosaur. The blunt force was enough to send Finn tumbling to the ground, where clouds of dirt and grass were kicked up into the air. In the hard fall, Finn felt his body crack, only for pain to shortly follow. His left forearm was excruciating, and movement of anything further along the limb wracked him in intense pain. The same could be said for some of the ribs on his left side, which now made it difficult for the spinosaurus to breath without bringing about a stinging pain in his chest.

Giant never scoffed nor laughed when Finn struggled to get back up. He did not sneer as the pain kept him to the ground, staring back up helplessly at his opponent. Instead, Giant just looked down at him in a most somber manner. He took a step forward, but once he was too close, Finn’s head shot toward him and snapped. Exhausted from the fight and still catching his breath, Giant retreated, surprisingly.

“Amazing how even in the sight of defeat, life fights for every inch it can muster,” He said in a low tone. “That, you were most certainly correct about.” There was a long, tense silence between the two dinosaurs, with the only noise in the forest being that of the arrival of a soft pitter-pat as light rain soon hit the grass and dampened it and the trees.

“I can get up,” Finn grumbled.

“Take your time, my old friend,” Giant replied softly as he lowered himself to the ground and laid in a relaxed position. Both breathless, battered, and weakened, the two dinosaurs soon joined in idle conversation. Neither knew why they prolonged the inevitable, be it for rest or closure. Reminiscing and laughing, it seemed that for the first time in a very, very long time, the two spoke as the friends they always claimed to be.

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