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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #680478
A story of one syllable words
The Beast

The hot steam rose from the pipes like a dense fog. John had to move with care in and out of the steel maze; sweat poured off his brow. He saw the trail of blood, and knew the beast was in here and that it was hurt.

The thing gave out a loud growl that sent chills up and down John’s back. It was close--right in front of him. He strained his eyes to see through the haze. The beast had quit the run and was now fixed to fight to the death. John had seen this once. These things were born to hunt and kill, not run. This was the hard part.

“Man! Come out! Kerrr not kill you!”

John ducked to a crouch and then slipped off to the left.

“I no hurt you. Come out and talk! I know you’re there!”

John’s jaw dropped. These things could speak! He had killed a lot of them, but not once had one talked to him.

It had made him doubt, and in that pause, he lost sight of the thing. He strained to find the beast, but the steam swirled in his eyes. John could hear its claws scrape the floor as it moved. He turned from side to side as sweat rolled down his face, and fear gripped him. He clutched his gun tight in wet hands.

It ran by! John felt the wind stir.

It growled. “I could have killed you then! Come out! We talk, NOW!”

It grabbed John and yanked him by the back of his neck. His gun fired twice, then was knocked from his hand. The beast held him up in the air like a rag doll. John’s face was pressed up to a mouth full of sharp teeth and hot breath. The thing smelled bad. It sniffed him, then dropped him to the floor. John crawled to the hot, wet wall and pressed his back to it. He looked for his gun, but kept one eye on the beast.

“Kerrr know you! You hunt for us. You killed my mate last moon.”

John stared up at the beast. It stood all of ten feet in height. Black hair grew on it like a dog. Its hind legs were that of a wolf, but its front were shaped more like a man’s hands with six-inch claws. The head was vile. It looked like the snout of a wolf, but with the eyes of a man. There was blood on its neck from a wound.

It had said it knew him. John was stunned. “How do you know me?”

“Kerrr know you. Kerrr smelled you. You hunt us! Killed mate, Snarrr, when moon last full. Hurt Kerrr, too!” It touched the wound at its neck. “You hunt good, like the Gor do.”

“Gor? You’re called the Gor?”

“Yes! We come this world to hunt. Have cubs, then go home.”

“Cubs? You have young ones?”

“Yes! All that’s left now. You hunt good for a man. You killed my whole pack. Soon, I die too, just cubs left. I am, Kerrr. Tell me what your name? What does your pack call you?”

“John! I am John.”

“John! It is good. John, I will not kill you, if you help Kerrr.”

“Help? How could I help you?”

The beast lay down on the floor like a dog. Its breath was short and hard.

“You must take cubs to gate. Help get them back home, then Kerrr no kill you. Will John and cubs live?”

John stood up and looked at the beast with a new sense of awe. He felt bound to help it. “Tell me what I must do.”

“Take cubs to gate at back of this place. Look for blue light. That is gate to our world. Send them home, John, home....”

“I will do it Kerrr. I will take them to the gate. I swear it.”

The beast picked up its huge head and let out a loud roar. Two small Gor cubs came out. They shied clear of John, then laid down next to Kerrr. They were the size of small dogs, one black and one brown. Kerrr spoke to them and licked them down the length of their backs.

“Come, lie down by us. Cubs must know you.”

John dropped to his knees next to the large beast. The cubs would not come near.

“Lay down by me, John. Then cubs know you one with pack.”

John moved close. He lay his back to Kerrr and tried to rest there. He could feel the beast fight to breathe. The two cubs cocked their ears up and watched, then the black laid his head in John’s lap. The brown one showed fear at first, but as time passed he, too, joined the group. They laid there ‘til Kerrr’s heart stopped and its breath hissed out.

John got up and looked at the huge beast. It now had a name, Kerrr. It had a pack with cubs. It had just come to hunt, and the hunt was done for Kerrr and John.

The cubs whined as they climbed all over Kerrr, but as John turned to leave, they came with him.

He would keep his word.

Editor's Note:
I was challenged to write this using only one syllable words. And you know me, I'm always up for a challenge. But once I got started I discovered how difficult it was and just how challenging it was going to be. It took awhile, and many nights of editing to get it right, but I think it still packs a punch and is descriptive enough to hold anyone's interest.
I suggest you try it sometime...it is tasking to say the least.
© Copyright 2003 W.D.Wilcox (billywilcox at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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