Nuyt In The Forest: Part Two
Copyright © 2002 By Anthony Docimo
Once the draak had pulled its bulk onto the level ground, it wasted no time in walking towards him. No, this brute was running.
Think think think!!
Shooting was an open invite to anything else in the woods.
But it was appearing to be the best option of those availiable. Jacobus stopped running, just in time too, as the ground level dropped several meters back down to the river valley anyway. He waited, watching the draak running closer and closer to him. Jacobus drew the pistols, aimed, but did not fire.
Three meters. The wind had shifted, bringing the armored beast's baleful odor of rotted flesh and dry leather. It began to growl, a reverberating sound to give children nightmares. The draak's jaws began to part.
Two meters. Its smell stronger now, more putrid, the jaws were opening in a roar to outroar any creature, save one. Dozens of serrated teeth lined those muscularly terrible jaws. When one needed to depict demons, they had draak jaws.
Jacobus squeezed the triggers. Twice in total, once each.
Two shots. One slightly higher than the other.
One meter and it stopped, falling forwards, lifeless, its legs limp and useless. But the beast had stopped close enough for Jacobus' peace of mind, though the stench was almost enough to make him loose his last meal. Jacobus whispered a thank-you to his God, then he -
The draak head jerked forwards a little, giving one more snap. Jacobus jumped back a good foot.
But it was dead. That was just how that sort of thing died.
The sound of a baby's crying split the air, carrying for far longer than normal infants. Jacobus swallowed as best he could, given how much all this running had dried his throat. That was no child calling out. It was trouble...something affirmed when a second, then a third, cry joined in.
Goliaths, without a doubt. And hungry by the sound of it.
Jacobus took off his pack, setting it on the ground momentarily; long enough to pull out a pair of sturdy cloths which he now used to wrap around each gun. Hide the scent as best he could -- he didn't want to be tracked by beasts.
That done, he put the pack back on, and tucked the guns in his belt.
Those towering birds were excellent jumpers -- if they could leap clear of a chicken coop's fence, Jacobus had no doubt that the Goliaths would be able to make their way onto this block of land.
Better to leave the draak for the Goliaths, he reasoned, as neither of them were his goals. They would only slow him down if he tried to carry and defend against even one of them.
Climbing down the nearest side of the mesa-like block where he'd killed the draak, Jacobus crossed the drying trickle of a stream, then climbed up the other side of the riverbank. Once, in mid-climb, another set of baby crying sounded off, ricocheting through the trees; and Jacobus froze, afraid that the birds were close by, even at the top of the riverbank and waiting for him.
Quiet for a minute, and Jacobus slowly finished his climb up the riverbank, keeping his eyes aimed upwards, his ears alert. Silence reigned, until the budgies and koalas started back up. Peering over the lip of dirt at the top, Jacobus didn't see any birds bigger than a budgie, and certainly nothing of danger. He finished climbing up, not taking a seat when he was completely up. Instead, he climbed the nearest tree, since Goliaths could neither climb nor fly.
At the second crook in the branches, fifteen or twenty feet from the forest loam, Jacobus stopped climbing and simply sat down in the crook. From where he sat, he could see the trio of Goliaths fussing free chunks of meat from the armored corpse, chirping and crying at one another. The tough hide clearly hadn't been a problem for them, as it had been cut open in several places.
Nuyt looked down at the wrapped gun. Heaven Knew that he certainly couldn't reload it then and there -- not with how it smelled. And moving through the branches would certainly alert those three to where he was. So, Jacobus did the only thing he could think of: he took a nap.
It was early evening when Jacobus Nuyt woke up. The Goliaths had abandoned the draak corpse, leaving it to thylacines, who had priority over the hopping hunters that were waiting nearby for their turn at the remains.
Neither of those kinds of beasts had ever shown interest in things moving amongst the branches, so Jacobus felt safe enough to make his way, slowly and steadily from one thick branch to another, and another.
It was a half hour before Jacobus felt secure enough to return to the ground. Once there, alert as ever, he continued towards -
A long, hearty bellow, coming from the Far Hills. Jacobus estimated the distance, based on what little he knew of the geography between here and there, and the sheer loudness of the cry this time. He was close, he could feel it in his bones.
It was early morning by the time he finally saw the owaugh.
It was browsing upon tender leaves of a tree on the edge of the forest, with only a copse of trees and brush between it and a lake on the opposite side, farthest from him. Jacobus knew that it was what it was because nothing else resembled the bellower.
Like the Shamblers, it was twice the size of any sheep, with massively thick furry legs. In an odd way, it was as though God HimSelf had chosen to enlarge a mere wombat.
But, unlike the Shamblers and wombats, the owaugh had an upper muzzle to shame any other creature created by the Lord that Jacobus worshiped. A fleshy sac that rippled and shook as the owaugh lumbered through the spaces between rain forest trees, it was the source of the echoing sound that had given the creature its name.
Jacobus whispered a short prayer of thanks to God, before raising a reloaded pistol. Jacobus aimed carefully, not wanting a wounded or enraged owaugh to deal with. Straight, right at the -
Reports in the air, sharp sounds.
The owaugh dropped to the ground, felled by the impacts to several critical areas.
Areas. There had been three gunshots audible, two of them almost simaltaneous. Someone else was here.
But who? And how did they get here? Jacobus didn't know, and found himself being led by curiosity, step by step, towards the source of the other two gunshots. Not directly towards, more roundabout, keeping himself under cover whenever possible, using the copse as shelter.
"Günaydın!" someone called when Jacobus' face was struck by sunlight, exposed by a clearing in the branches. It was possible that the man who'd said that had been speaking to someone else, but even so...
Jacobus did not move, despite suspecting that they had seen him. It would be futile, trying to run for it. Something fired by them had pierced the owaugh's fatty sides, a thing just as protective against muskets as a draak's armor. Jacobus had the feeling that he was dead if they wished him dead, regardless of his actions, so he simply stood still.
This let him soak in the sights beyond the strange clothes they wore.
A foursome of men were stepping off a rowboat, a rowboat that likely had come from that massive ship sitting offshore.
There were two poles erected in the sand, each one waving a different image in the gentle seaside breeze. The same two images were on a pair of posts that'd been hammered into the firm-packed sand. One of those two flags bore an image of a shield, split down the middle. On one side was a lion standing upon two legs, on the other was a crescent moon over waves.
People. Ships. Boats. Flags.
But none of them were supposed to exist -- there were lakewater boats and riverboats, but certainly no ships.
'Ship'. The word itself was archaic. Something from a forgotten time.
"What in the Lord's Name...?" Jacobus began to ask, but the sight simply beggared him for words.
TO BE CONTINUED(?).
[note: "günaydın" means "good morning" according to http://www.langtolang.com/travel.php].
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