Beware strange animals- Fantasy Action Books- Sara Chronicles Book3
After he finished speaking, Salius bowed his greasy head, closed his eyes, and sent his mind searching. The other three did the same, until each saw a thin trail of brownish-red vapor floating about three feet away and approximately five feet above the ground. Fixing their gazes on the trail, the party set off in that direction, unfortunately, paying little attention to their surroundings. Whatever they sought was calling out to them with an energy that was building by the second and they felt a tremendous pull to follow the trail it made. Excitement built in the group as they pursued the rusty stream in front of them, pushing aside all thoughts of caution.
It was not long after they started after their trek into the grove of dead trees that Thomas became aware of a faint rustling and crackling all around them. He froze and motioned the others to do likewise. Cursing his carelessness, he surveyed the landscape searching for the source of the disturbances. Sara and James did also; Sara threw up a wall of wind to swirl around the small band, creating a small vortex that drove all objects near them away in its rapid current. Twigs and mists of dust rose and were sucked outward, sailing past the trees where two large figures watched their every move.
What they saw made them shiver, for standing in amongst the gnarly growths were the ugliest creatures they had ever seen. James blinked and tried to redirect his focus as he stared in amazement at the … animals? For surely that’s what they must be or have been at one time; but their appearance was so mutated that they only held a vague resemblance to their original species. Large beasts with dusty grey coats stood on thick muscular hind legs, bodies continued upward to a height of about eleven or twelve feet. They looked huge even from a distance. Fur covered muzzles stretched from their faces to an uncomfortable point that distorted the features in an unnatural grimace of pain. Pointy teeth that had a green substance dripping from them, protruded from the mouths; partially obscured by a bright red tongue. Black eyes located on the sides of the thin head glared at the humans.
The creatures had to turn sideways to see them as they were not gifted with full frontal vision. They looked mean and hungry; the bodies so emaciated beneath the thick coat of hair that James could still see ribs sticking out.
“What are they?” James asked Salius, afraid to raise his voice and startle the animals who were already studying them with intense interest. With heads turned to the side and cocked curiously at an angle, the shaggy grey giants that might have once been bears, began to salivate, dripping green goo from their tongues to pool at feet that boasted inch and a half claws.
“Those are Valgo, they have lived in this land for centuries. It was not always like this. This area used to be a fertile forest teaming with wildlife, Braccus chose this place to improve upon Iam’s work. As you can see, he does not have quite the finesse Iam does; all he did was distort the originals.”
“Are these the only animals that live in this place?” Thomas turned toward the right as he heard the ominous sound of breaking twigs and brittle undergrowth pushed aside. He stopped in mid turn when he saw several pairs of white eyes studying him from black withered skin. These hideous monstrosities were much smaller than the Valgo, though just as vicious looking. Roughly the size of a small dog, they stood on hind legs that boasted ropey muscles tapering down to a set of impossibly large feet tipped with claws that looked like thin razor blades. Long arms protruded from thin boney chests looking out of place in the small bodies. The heads of these things were short and stubby with a small button nose that somehow failed to make them look cute. Long floppy ears stood out from the head at odd angles. Sara counted three of these appendages dangling from one flat skull, six in another.
Thomas noted thin spiky things growing from their face, something like whiskers but sharper, like cactus barbs, shivering slightly as they licked thin lips with a pale blue tongue. He didn’t like the hungry look they were giving his group; it was as if a four-course dinner had just strolled in and presented itself to them. “Are those rabbits?” He asked quietly as five of the mutated horrors scrambled across the hard-packed ground, sniffing, and leaving long trails of blue drool in the dirt.
With a turn of his hand, Thomas uprooted a large tree. Setting it down on the ground lengthwise, he used it to push the mutated bunnies back several feet. Low menacing growls came from the creatures, followed by a mournful whiney howl.
“Ratches!” Salius screamed out a warning as twenty of the evil little mutations rushed at them from behind. Lightning bolts shot down from the sky and hit a few of them, scorching them terribly but not stopping their advance. James watched in horrified fascination as mounds of burning flesh fell from beasts that continued to drag themselves unrelentingly toward their group. Chests heaving in pain, the injured ones flung themselves forward only to hit the strong air current Sara had made and fly backward into their companions. Little black bodies became airborne and flew towards one of the Valgos who caught them easily with a swipe of its large paw tearing them into bite size pieces with vicious efficiency.