Hello everyone! Bringing you two chapters this week. I hope you enjoy them, I welcome feedback so feel free to leave a comment you can even ask questions and I’ll answer back 🙂
Survival of the Fittest
The insidious smile the man had made my skin crawl, every part of me was screaming danger, I could feel that this was the beginning of something awful. I took a quick glance around my surroundings, all around was filled with huge towering trees with a dirt path straight down the middle, accompanied by the echo of monkeys howling, tigers growling, and birds chirping.
“Take it in children, this is your home for the next three months”
Everyone looked at the man emotions filled with confusion and horror. My hands began trembling, I couldn’t think straight, I did not understand what was happening before I knew it I yelled out.
“What do you mean we are stuck in here for three months! why are we here! what do you mean we are nothing but weapons! I don’t understand what you want from us!!”.
“Who told you it’s okay to address the sergeant boy!”
One of the soldiers off to the right came over kicking me in my chest, “UGH!”… I fell to my knees gasping for breath. The soldier grabbed my hair pulling my face up, as the sergeant slowly walked directly in front of me picking me up by my neck turning around, casually tossing me off the platform. I looked at the sergeant standing at the edge of the platform as it slowly moved further into the distance as I feel my body fall through the air. Hitting the ground with a loud “THUMP!” I scream out as the sound of snapping rings throughout my brain accompanied by a stinging pain in my left arm that causes me to fall unconscious. My eyes slowly begin to open, the pain rushing back causing me to let out a low groan. Immediately after I hear the voice of Tyler.
“Niko! Are you okay man?” I try to tell him I’m fine but a sharp pain prevents me from speaking. “I..It..It’s okay man everything’s fine we’ll make it through this, Daniel is pretty knowledgeable about cleaning wounds and taking care of the injured since Eric and I always got into fights with the older kids in the bottom sect.”
“Cough..Cough..Thank you..all three of you, did they say anything before they left? Like why are we locked in here?”
“Uh-uh… Since Eric is bigger than Tyler and I, he carried you on his back while we tried to find a safe spot to clean you up. They just told us to go down the stairs before leaving. Tyler and I discussed it while you were still unconscious, it seems as though its some hellish survival training, maybe to weed out the incompetent and weak children? We have heard some screams come from the east and west a few times within the last hour, I can only think the worst…”
At that moment, Eric came back holding two dead squirrels, his shirt had a patch ripped off which looks to have been used to make the stone sling he held within his other hand. After handing the squirrels to Daniel, Eric walked over to me sticking his hand into his pocket pulling out a handful of berries. Managing to pull myself to a sitting position, I use my right hand to hold the berries. “Thank you Eric”, He silently nodded to me with a smile before quietly relocating next to the fire.
“I just realized, I have not heard Eric talk is he a bit shy?”
Without stopping his fiddling with the sling Tyler casually replies “Oh, Eric is mute, he is unable to talk, he is also partially deaf in his left ear.”
I began opening my mouth to continue the conversation but was interrupted by the snorting of a boar.
“Here Niko, take this!”
Daniel handed me a stone sling,
“We can use these slings to take out the boar”,
he said as he hid behind a large rock. I slowly stood up, wobbling behind a tree leaning on it waiting for the boar to come into sight.
“There he is!”
“it looks like he’s a big one no? Must be a mana boar, they grow a lot more compared to normal ones, make sure to use the trees, and rocks as cover. do not let it charge you!”
While we were talking the boar came into attack range,
a hard “THUMP”, sound followed by a squeal, Tyler hit it directly in the head making the boar wobble, the boar then immediately focused in the direction of Tyler preparing to charge “Swoosh, Swoosh” The sound of the heavy hoof scraping the ground “SQUEEEAL”….“Thump…Thump…Thump” The boar recklessly charged in the direction of Tyler. Tyler waited for the boar to get close before jumping onto the other side of the tree “BOOM” the boar smashed through the tree.
“Niko, Daniel, Eric, NOW!”
We all swung around our sling releasing the stone in the direction of the boar, I missed miserably, but Daniel and Eric hit the boar dead on causing it to wobble again “SQUEEEAL” It looked injured but does not appear to be enough to take it down.
“Tyler, Daniel, How are we gonna take it down? It seemed damaged but hasn’t gone down yet and we already used our stones?”
during my conversation with Daniel, Eric runs at the boar stabbing it in the neck with a sharpened stone, causing the boar to go into a rage.
Immediately After being stabbed the boar begins attempting to shake Eric off, squealing louder than when he was hit with the rocks. A few seconds later the boar managed to shake Eric off sending him flying a few feet away, it then looked in my direction preparing its charge. I was still injured so I could not move very fast yet, I saw that Erics knife had landed next to the tree I was behind. Grabbing the knife I prepare for the boar. “THUMP…THUMP…” the boar comes barreling towards me, I tuck myself behind the tree, measuring the distance of the boar using the sound as it comes closer, and closer, finally a few seconds later I jump out from the side of the tree, out of the way of the boar hearing a loud “BOOM” as the tree crashes down. Temporarily dazing the boar long enough for me to take the knife driving it into the side of the boar’s skull. Finally, after wounding it multiple times the boar falls down no longer breathing. I sit next to the boar enduring the pain of my broken arm, and tattered body. Shortly after my mana begins to circulate absorbing mana from the vicinity causing my body to feel as if it is burning from the inside out. “AAAHHHH”, I scream out in pain as I roll on the ground, hugging my stomach with my noninjured arm.
“Tyler go check on Eric! Niko, what…what’s wrong?”
Daniel comes running over, he begins to check my body for new injuries.
“D..Daniel..UGH… I don’t know, it feels as if my body is burning!”
The burning began to fade away after a couple minutes,
“what is the matter with Niko? Are his wounds hurting again?”
“I..I..don’t know, he screamed out in pain but it seems to be fading away now….Niko, how are you feeling now?”
“I actually feel a lot better, my arm doesn’t hurt anymore either!”
I sat up shrugging my shoulders and waving around my arm surprised that all my injuries seem to have healed.
“Woah dude..you are pretty freaky, you were in a pretty busted state a few minutes ago…”
“It’s weird, it felt like after I killed the boar my body absorbed its mana, mixing, and condensing into mine..”
The three boys looked at me with shock on their face. Daniel thought for a second.
“Maybe it is related to the incident from when we first met you? The soldiers must have done something? Humans normally are not able to gain any more mana then what they are born with right?”
I remember the teachers at the orphanage teaching this, it is even common sense among humans, one of the first things taught in class. “I guess this is one of many mysteries we must solve concerning the situation we are in.”
“Heh, your right about that, for now, we should focus on surviving. We might be from the bottom sect but Eric, and I are pretty used to needing to fend for ourselves, while Daniel has always focused on books, and learning new things. Working together we should be able to manage these three months.”
“mm..sounds good, I look forward to the three of us walking out of here.”
I walked over to the boar pulling out the sharpened stone sticking in the side of the boar’s skull then began cutting into the tusks,
“what are you doing Niko? “
Without stopping what I was doing I replied to Daniels question.
“I was thinking we could take out the tusks and use them to defend ourselves.”
“Oh, oh, that’s a good idea. I am gonna take Eric back to the campsite so he can rest, you and Daniel should try to cut that boar up a bit. Don’t forget to bring some of the meat, and hide back after you collect those tusks.”
Two and One-half months later…. The three of us have managed to survive by working together using rocks, twigs, and animal parts to craft weapons and to eat. I have not seen any other children that entered along with us. Screams and shouts can still be heard from time to time followed by the howls of large animals. We have done well in avoiding the larger foe’s within this forest by hiding in the trees or within the caves, we have come across boars, and bears but have managed to defeat them using our slings, the bigger animals that possess large condensed quantities of mana we did our best to avoid, like Tigers and Giant Anacondas. The slings are not strong enough by themselves to take them out.
Throughout these last two months, my body has managed to absorb the mana fleeing from the body’s of the prey we kill, changing my body to become stronger, faster, and allowing my body to regenerate at abnormal speeds whenever I begin to feel tired or get injured.
“Guys look a boar!”
I look in the direction Tyler pointed in, load my sling, and launch it towards the boar. The piece of stone pierces through the boar’s skull with a loud “CRUNCH!” as it passes through cleanly.
“Damn Niko! Maybe you are a monster after all. You have gotten insanely strong during our time in this forest your body is weird man!”
I roll my eyes at Tyler’s words as I walk over to the body of the boar, “SSSSSS” I hear the loud sound of hissing
“Guys! Where is that coming from?”
“I don….” Right before Daniel could finish his sentence a large anaconda towering twelve feet over us slithered into sight.
“FUCK! Guys we need to run!”
I scream towards the others while turning my body to begin running when a strong force sweeps me off of my feet throwing me into a tree off to the side.
Tyler shouts my name and the three of them turn around to come help me
“No! Don’t!.. Run away!”
I tried to get them to run away but they were already using their stone slings while Eric tried to help me up. Tyler and Daniel got two clear hits with the slings without any benefit. It only seems to have pissed the creature off. Moving its body darting towards Tyler. Not being able to move out of the way fast enough the snake managed to unlatch his jaw swallowing Tyler whole.
the three of us screamed as we watched Tyler disappear down the throat of the snake,
Daniel sprung forward as fast as he could launching his sling while taking out his knife running straight towards the huge snake. “Swoosh!” the snakes tail whips through the air hitting Daniel hard, causing him to fly backward slamming onto a rock with a loud “CRACK!!” as his head hits.
Eric hits my shoulder than points to Daniel indicating he wants me to go check on him. When I got over to Daniel his body was twitching, he wasn’t breathing either, his eyes cloudy with blood leaking from his head,
I looked over towards Eric who was wrapped in the tail of the snake being squeezed, I took out my sling shooting the snake in the eye, causing the snake to flail around letting Eric go. Running as fast as I could hoping to grab him and get out of the area. As I reached him the snake slammed down his tail squishing Eric’s body. Immediately after the snake looked towards me opened its mouth then darkness filled my surroundings.
I felt a burning light breach through my eyelids causing me to blink my hazy eyes, slowly the room focused as the haze dissipated. In my view was a white ceiling, I manage to lift myself into a sitting position where I looked at my body which had wires leading to a machine at my bedside. “Wha..what..happened? I..thought…we all……..died?”