Eat. Prey. Live. :: Flash Fiction

It was the middle of March when I woke up stranded on a desert island with nothing but a dinosaur for company. Nightmare? Alternate universe? Experiment gone horribly wrong? You decide. Either way, the experience has taken a toll on my sanity, because there are exactly two of us. Thank my lucky starfish, this desert island has trees and rocks and a little bit of underbrush, because the dinosaur would eat me in a few chomps otherwise.

Oh, you’re wondering what type of dinosaur it is? Wouldn’t it be great if it was a friendly little Compsognathus, small and dumb enough that I could wring its neck like a turkey? Or, heck, I’d even take a bulky T-rex that would make the entire island tremble with each step he took—and perhaps even make the island sink into the sea, taking the oversized lizard with it.

But no such luck.

I’m stuck on an island with a blasted Velociraptor. Not the kind you see on Jurassic Park, that’s a nice human size and has soft baby skin. A little closer to the historical monstrosity—or, bird—this thing has feathers, is half my height, but still possesses the sharpest teeth and talons imaginable.

Every day since I arrived, food falls from the sky (cue experiment theory). Every day I have to bolt to the pile of cooked steak before bird-brain makes her glorious appearance and decides to turn me into her dessert. Sometimes I arrive at the pile of food first and devour the feast before she shows up. Sometimes I have to hide in the brush—my stomach grumbling at me in disappointment while I watch Featherbrain dig in—hoping I’ll have better luck tomorrow.

But this ends today. Because today I worked my fingers to the bone creating a trap.

I crouch low in the brush, and wait for Featherbrain to appear. The food has arrived, a banquet that consists of not one, but two slices of steak. And they’ve even added a side of fries this time. My mouth waters, but I resist the urge to bolt and stuff the food down my throat like half-starved python. Because every day that both Featherbrain and I survive is another day we’re locked on this sweltering purgatory.

Every day that both Featherbrain and I survive is another day we’re locked on this sweltering purgatory.

Eventually, bright feathers appear on the other side of the circle. A taloned foot steps out, the claw tapping anxiously, like a nervous ballerina tiptoeing onto the stage. I laugh to myself. Little does Miss Bird-brain know how cunning her audience is. Finally, Featherbrain darts into the clearing like a roadrunner. Does that make me Coyote? And does that mean my trap is going to backfire?

Nah.

Featherbrain sniffs the steak, then pins a slice to the ground with her talon and rips into the meat. The flesh-eating barbarian. My nose scrunches up in disgust. I wipe my slick palms on my jeans, then reach for the lever that will release the cage.

Featherbrain pauses, then looks in my direction. I freeze, but cloaked beneath large fronds, I remain invisible. She returns to her meal, and I stretch my fingers just a little farther to release the lever—when a snout peeks out from the brush by my hand.

Bright feathers. Eagle eyes. I glance at the clearing, where Featherbrain still eats. Then back at Eagle Eyes.

Well. Son of a Brachiosaurus. Featherbrain has an over-protective boyfriend. How have I lived on this island this long without knowing there were not one, but two Velociraptors? Eagle Eyes’s lipless mouth curves up into what appears to be a savage grin.

I look ahead at Featherbrain, but her attention has been averted from her dinner—to her dessert. My heart pounds. A bead of sweat rolls down my spine at the grim realization. Trapped by the one I intended to trap. It’s the classic turning of tables, the ultimate hunter-is-hunted tale.

My mouth is dry as the sand beneath my feet, but in the moment of utter horror I manage to whisper, “Clever girl,” before Featherbrain leaps into the air straight toward me.

 

 

For more great Tyrannosaurus Reads, check out the latest issue of Havok! Want to read for FREE? Subscribe to the Splickety newsletter. Should be right there in your sidebar.

Meet the Author

Sara Baysinger grew up in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where she spent her time exploring uncharted lands and reading all things magical. She now lives among the endless cornfields of Indiana with her husband and two young children. BLACK TIGER is her first novel.

Website: www.sarabaysinger.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarabaysingerauthor/

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Posted in Flash Fiction

Meet Kerry Nietz (and win a book!)

This month Havok hosted Kerry Nietz–author and former Bill Gates minion. Since Kerry’s been working with computer language since the dinosaurs (or just the ’80s) we figured he’d be able to write a pretty good story. Let us know what you think by checking out Havok and getting to know Kerry. Careful, he’s not a great pet person and might use technology to his utmost advantage. Like to giveaway books if you enter at the end of this post.

Inquiring minds want to know–just how much did you love dinosaurs as a kid?

Quite a bit. I had dinosaur toys and books that I cherished long after the dog chewed them or the pages started to fall out. Saturday morning kids’ shows fed that obsession, with shows like “Land of the Lost” and “Valley of the Dinosaurs.” Any old movie that had dinosaurs in it was on my must watch list too, like “King Kong”, “The Land that Time Forgot”, and “One Million Years B.C.”.

Then over time that fascination was superseded by other speculative loves like “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”, but it never really went away.

Case in point: My youngest son has a first name that starts with “T” and a middle name of “Rex”.

In addition to all things prehistoric, what other fantasy/sci-fi/fairytale creatures do you enjoy writing about?

All of them, but the ones I’m most known for are robots, vampires, zombies, and cybernetically-enhanced humans.

In real life, are you a cat or a dog person? Or can you barely handle a fish?

Generally, I’m a dog person, but since starting a family the only pets we’ve had are cats and fish. The demands of three young children sort of necessitated more independent animals. In fact, there were times we almost forgot we had our last cat. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to mind. We managed to keep her alive for a long time…so that’s something.

What influences your writing the most?

Technological advances and world events.

I tend toward the harder edge of science fiction, so when I write about, say, Amish vampires, I like to have some idea how they might realistically come about. That’s where technology comes in. It is grist for the “how”.

World events are grist for the “what” and the “why” of my stories. For instance, the plot of Mask involves a system where everything, including people, can be voted on. Everything is kept or discarded based solely on its popularity and perceived value. That idea comes straight from the headlines.

Tell us about your current project.

I’m currently writing two stories. One is a sequel to Frayed, which released last year. It features cybernetically-enhanced humans, robots, and despotic leaders in a dystopian future.

The other project is a sequel to Rhats!. Rhats! a novella I wrote using the vast palette of the Takamo Universe, which is an upcoming Massive Multiplayer Online game. That story follows this rat-like alien named Frohic in his many adventures. Sort of a “Firefly” meets “The Hobbit” with a dash of “Star Wars” thing.

Sounds like something no diehard fan of gaming, sci fi, or dinosaurs wants to miss. Sort of like the latest issue of Havok Magazine, where you can get Kerry’s flash fiction and even more great dinosaur theories.

Subscribe for free right here.

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Meet the Author

Kerry Nietz is a refugee of the software industry. He spent more than a decade of his life flipping bits, first as one of the principal developers of the database product FoxPro for the now mythical Fox Software, and then as one of Bill Gates’s minions at Microsoft. He is a husband, a father, a technophile and a movie buff. He is the author of several award-winning novels, including A Star Curiously Singing, Freeheads, and Amish Vampires in Space.

Posted in Uncategorized

Guarding Eden :: Flash Fiction

 

It was a good job, most days. Bronty couldn’t complain about the environment. She was, after all, living on the edge of paradise.

She could still see the Havilah river tumbling over the golden rocks. She could still enjoy the mornings when the rising sun lit each strand of grass like a shimmering treasure, and the evenings when magenta sunsets cast a tantalizing glow on the fruit trees.

The only downside to her work was interacting with humans.

They were always looking for the secret path back to Eden. Some sought peace. Some sought to avoid death. Others longed for gold. All had to be stopped, preferably before they reached the Angel-guard.

Bronty had seen the Tree of Life only once. Only once had a human pushed past her family’s lines of defense. Only once had she seen the horrible flashing of the Angel’s great sword.

She vowed that her family would never fail again. And they had not.

Lately, however, strange whispers haunted her, foreboding that their guarding days were over. The rumors first came on the wings of a pterodactyl, tales of a giant boat shrouded in judgment. Stegosaurus claimed it was the end of Eden.

For months the whispers continued. The boat grew larger. The warning in Bronty’s heart deepened.

Finally, she could ignore it no longer. “You should go,” she said to her young daughter as they shared a meal of olive leaves.

“Go where?” Her daughter’s slender neck curled closer amidst the branches.

Bronty gestured toward the valley where the boat grew in size. “I hear that two of each order of creature is to board tomorrow. You should be one of them.”

Her daughter stopped eating. “I don’t want to leave you.”

Bronty took a deep breath, finding it hard to speak with the sadness settling in her heart. “All the same, you must. There is not room for your father or me on the boat. But you are still young. You will fit.”

That night her family gathered at the far side of the garden. They told stories of years past. Of golden days when their Creator would walk among them and the gate to Eden was never shut. They lifted their long necks toward the stars and sang soft songs of memory.

At dawn the family circle opened, and the two children, Bronty’s daughter and her nephew, emerged from the group. The children walked alone past the flowered gates of Eden, and through the long valley that would lead them to the boat.

The children walked alone past the flowered gates of Eden.

Questions tumbled through Bronty’s mind. Would they survive? If so, how much would the world change?

The pterodactyl returned later that day with chilling news. “The children have entered, and the door has been shut. No one, neither man nor beast can enter now.”

Bronty smiled, even as a tear slipped down her grey cheek. “They were granted entry. I’m so glad.”

Her husband nuzzled against her, and together they looked back on their beloved Eden.

A fierce wind stirred the trees, and a bright light shone on all of the plants and animals. And in a rush of shimmering wind, the garden vanished.

A deep voice filled the void. “Well done, my Guardians.”

Bronty bowed low before her Creator. “It has been long since we heard your voice.”

“Enter now into rest until the time of restoration,” the Creator spoke again.

Restoration. A warm breeze touched her skin at the sound of this word. It was a new word, but it called to her mind pictures of springtime, of budding fruit, and of hope.

It was a new word, but it called to her mind pictures of springtime, of budding fruit, and of hope.

“Does that mean this is not the end?” she asked.

“No, friends, this is just the beginning. It’s a rather long story with many parts to unfold. But worry not. The story ends well. You’ll see,” the Creator answered.

Bronty leaned against her husband. Perhaps this was to be their hibernation, like the grizzly bears that lived on the mountain. Her family’s role was fulfilled, now it was time to rest in hope of Spring.

A drop of rain plopped on her back. And then another.

Then suddenly, the deep call of sleep.

 

For more great Tyrannosaurus Reads, check out the latest issue of Havok! Want to read for FREE? Subscribe to the Splickety newsletter. Should be right there in your sidebar.

Meet the Author

Kristen Harmon blogs from Florida where she lives with her husband.  She works in Human Resources and enjoys writing real letters, poetry and stories.  Find her on the web at www.tuesdayschildren.blogspot.com

Posted in Flash Fiction