Men & Monsters

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Make Haste

“Ve have you now! Ha ho!” Louis cried as he watched Swipe running directly into the flank he had commanded half of his comrades to execute. The chase was endless, and time and again the deinonychus had not only dodged Louis and his kin, but also the jaws of Taurus and Carnage. Perhaps Rogue was the only one who was closest to success, but after Swipe rolled under his grasping claws, his disinterest had him pull back to rejoin the rest of Giant’s men.

“Well I hope so, mate!” Swipe called back to the funny-accented velociraptor, causing the feathers on the back of his head to flare in anger. Sure enough, the larger raptor dashing through the dense brush could see specks and hints of others waiting for him. This only widened his smile. Velociraptors were better suited to the savannas and dry lands, not in the forests with their brown and white coats. Swipe’s sprint began to ease up as he came to a casual trot. This ease in speed only worked to make the smaller raptors more anxious, and just as Swipe had guessed, the wait was too much to be hand.

One raptor jumped out at him too soon and from too far away. With a simple snicker, Swipe spun on his foot, made smoother thanks to the soft soil soaked by the light rain. The velociraptor was sent reeling backward once Swipe whipped his tail like a club around and struck it in midair. He did this for another attacker as he came the other side, then one more time. Swipe worked in a series of swift, fleeting moments that one might miss if blinking. When a raptor charged on the ground, the deinonychus kicked him while his back was turned. The force was enough to send it to face first into the damp soil, when another took up the fallen’s position. Swipe turned and snapped his jaws down on its snout, when he swiveled his body and sent the raptor heavenward.

With this small squad disposed of for the moment, the goofy raptor took off once more when he sensed Louis was coming in too close for comfort. He failed to sense, however, that the small squad was not Louis’s intended flank. A dense bush rattled violently with Swipe’s departure. Before he knew it, a bony skull had emerged from the brush and two horns worked just beneath his torso before catapulting the raptor up high into the air. When Swipe came back down to the ground, his landing was met with a massive cloud of debris.

Carnage chuckled deeply as he approached the deinonychus, when his brother emerged from another dense cluster of vegetation. Their flank successful, it didn’t take long for Louis and the conscious raptors to catch up. Shaken and dizzy, Swipe babbled out nonsense as he tried to gain his foothold in his surroundings. One attempt to regain his footing after another failed, much the pleasure of those around him. Carnage and the raptors laughed outright, while Taurus seemed to retain his role as the stoic lieutenant.

You. Have you anything to say before you pay for your crimes against our cause?”

“Crimes? You make it sound bad. He’s just annoyin' really.” Carnage cackled. “Let me do it, Brother. I’m itching to bite somethin'.” Taurus looked to his radical brother with a roll of his eyes.

“Will you let him speak first?” Carnage groaned, but sure enough, backed away to let Swipe regain his balance. Though standing, his head continued to wobble back and forth, as stars continued to plague his vision. He brought a claw up and pointed toward the sky, his snout forming a crooked smile as he stumbled to one side.

“But there are so many words, mate! Where do ya think I should begin?” Taurus sighed.

“Alright never mind. Go ahead, Brother.” He nodded to the more rugged carnotaurus. The eager carnivore gave a wide, toothy grin as he closed in on the disoriented raptor. Even if he wanted to, Swipe knew he was not capable to running away. Not this time. He shook his head violently, trying to shake away the dizziness as he turned. The velociraptors were not keen on him leaving, however, as their perimeter tightened around him. No luck there. So he stumbled to another area, and again, the raptors focused their efforts on that area.

Carnage continued to advance, and just as he hovered over his target, jaws oozing with anticipation to strike, something shuffled in the forest. It startled the raptors initially, who turned to face a somewhat familiar face. Taking leisurely strides, Crash narrowed her eyes as she walked past the perimeter toward Carnage, who had not taken notice of her quite yet.

Silent, she was nearly upon him when she shot forward at a blinding speed. Bone cracked as the carnotaur’s leg shattered. Bewilderment ran through Giant’s men as they watched Carnage fall hard onto the ground. Kicking up dirt and snarling, the pachycephalosaurus grunted and cursed beneath her breath before charging once more, this time into the predator’s skull. His wails and struggles came to an abrupt end, and all but the still-disoriented Swipe stood with their jaws wide open.

“Vhat...vhat just happened?” Louis thought aloud.

“Brother!” Barreling toward her with his heart heavy, Taurus came to a halt when Crash turned that bony battering ram of hers in his direction. Raptors inching toward her likewise backed off as she looked from one carnivore to another. It was a sight to see. So many predators frightened by one herbivore, though a formidable one at that.

“Svarm her! For Giant!”” Louis commanded. Sure enough, the small feathered dinosaurs closed in all at once. Crash stamped on the ground furiously and gave out a chilling bellow, her confidence never wavering in the sight of being overwhelmed.

Her courage worked to stop the raptors in their tracks, as questions flooded in as to what she was up to. There was a moment of intense silence, when something trumpeted in the distance. The frightening noise was shortly followed by what sounded like a boulder rolling toward them. The small dinosaurs shook as they turned to see what was coming for them, when another herbivore broke through the dense brush toward them.

“Rampage!” Taurus exclaimed. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with the others?” The triceratops failed to answer, however, as he snorted and grumbled and scratched at the soil. His eyes seemingly flashed when he fixed them upon the raptors.

“He’s gonna charge!” One small carnivore cried out. Living quite well to his name, Rampage wrecked havoc on the line of teeth and claws with minimal effort.

“Fight back! For yourselves! For your self-respect!” Taurus ordered when he charged forward and scooped Swipe up by his neck. With the deinonychus dangling from his blunt jaws, he stopped and felt his teeth dig in when he gave a swift shake of his head. Before he could break Swipe’s neck, however, he heard a voice from behind him.

“You’d be better off not to do that, lad.” Rust said with a chuckle. Turning, Taurus dropped Swipe as his jaw sank. Rex and Rust had appeared from the wreckage Rampage had wrought in the woods. Swipe landed with a loud cough, but with a shake of his head, he was back to his senses. With a grin he snapped at Taurus’s ankles, causing him to leap back in surprise. Knowing all too well he didn’t stand a chance against this new group, Taurus panicked.

“Retreat! Everyone, back to the camp! Hurry!” He cried before taking off at an alarming rate. Louis landed right beside him, having been catapulted there by Rampage. Rolling once, he sprang back to his feet and followed. Sure enough, the remaining raptors were quick at their heels, leaving the small party to themselves with a few dizzied and battered bodies laying about.

“I was hoping you were close by.” Crash said as she approached Rampage. In a gingerly fashion she dipped her head and touched her bony skull to his nasal horn.

“Shucks, I knew it was ya,” He said with a snicker. “Good to see ya, Crash.”

“I’m pretty relieved, really. I’ve been following those idiots around for quite awhile. I just needed this one to distract ’em.” She then nodded to Swipe.

“Reckless, but everything worked out I suppose,” Rex said as he approached the herbivores. He gave his thanks to Swipe before looking back to the two. “Good to see you again.” Crash glared at the tyrannosaurus for a moment before looking down. She said nothing back. “Friend of yours. Rampage?”

“Yep! Her name’s Crash.”

“Crash, we’re…”

“I know who you are,” The herbivore snapped. Rex cocked his head in bewilderment, then looked back to Rust, who seemed just as confused by her demeanor. The young tyrant then looked to Swipe, who approached him with a wide grin. He hardly seemed fazed by Taurus’s bite marks along his neck. It would appear that he didn’t know how close Death was in the brief moment he was in another’s jaws.

“Boy. Am I glad to see the lot ’a ya!”

“Swipe, do you know where the others are?” Rex asked.

“Not now, I don’t. I distracted these fellas so they could get away. Say, where’s Hoppa?”

“I hope he hasn't caught up to them,” Rust thought aloud before looking up at Rex. “Lad, we should hurry and try to find them.”

“I have their scent, but it’s not very close.”

“What are you doing with this lot?” Crash asked Rampage harshly.

“Well, uh, they asked for my help. They’re nice to me, too. They're nothin' like Blade.”

“Ah yes. Blade. Am I glad I don’t have to deal with him anymore...”

“And you’re welcome to join us as well,” Rex said as he turned toward her.

“Why? Won’t you just eat us?”

“You’re not my type.”

“What are you doing here anyway?” She snapped.

“We’ve come to stop Giant from doing whatever it is he’s up to. That means your pal, Blade, too.” Rex smiled when Crash exchanged a brief glance with Rampage, then stepped forward.

“I don’t like you, Rex. Not after what happened to Crunch. But if Rampage is here, I’ll be right beside him. He’s the only one I’ve got left.”

“Good. That’s all I need to hear.” The tyrannosaur then turned back to Swipe. “Do you remember where they were going before you distracted the others?”

“Not really, no. They were by a river I think. If we follow our noses we’re sure to find ’em!” Rex’s grin widened at Swipe’s enthusiasm. It was a nice change, especially with the rather grim situation they had found themselves in.

“Alright then. Lead the way my friend.” Swipe’s smile widened when he cackled and took off a blinding speed. Before anyone could collect themselves, he was gone. Rex blinked once.

Perhaps that was not the wisest decision.

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