As I soar through prehistoric skies with my barbarian Hunt Brother Kru’Orthok, I look down on a landscape of cracked, magma-lined volcanic waste, bordered by the seeming opposite: Lush reaches of green jungle. Every now and then I see a brontosaur poke its head above the canopy, then go back to foraging. “Hunt Brother Kent.” I turn my head to look at Kru, my pterodactyl-riding barbarian partner since we were both young enough to take part in the Hunt. He grunts and momentarily turns away from me so he can guide his mount, who flaps its wings to steady itself on the thermal we’re riding. “Mmm? What is it Kru?” He casts an uneasy glance toward the ground below, then locks his gaze back onto mine. “I fear we’re being followed.” I can’t help but snort out a disbelieving laugh. “Who could follow us, Hunt Brother?” I pat the thick, scaly neck of my mount Biteologist Rex, and give it a rub. This elicits a long croak of pleasure from my lifelong friend and war-ptero. “We rule the skies with the finest flint-tipped arrows the land has ever seen, and there is no one who is as well trained in aerial combat as our ptero-borne Hunt Brothers. No, Kru, your concerns are misplaced. Even if someone could track us from the earth, they wouldn’t be able to—” and then I see a stone tablet flying toward us. It flips end over end, too small to do damage, but there are figures writ upon it. Kru and I briefly look away from each other to examine the writing and NYAAAAAHHHH!!!! My brain feels like it’s going to blow out my earholes as my eyes lock onto a flash of Demonite scripture etched into the stone—TPSREPORTSACCOUNTSRECEIVABLEMAYBEYOUCANHAVEACORNEROFFICEJUSTSTAYONBOARDFORANOTHERFIVEYEARS—I regain consciousness to the sound of my own screams. I pull hard on the hide reigns of Biteologist Rex and—nyeeeeaaaAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!—manage to pull us out of our nose dive. As we regain our climb, I see Kru plummet into a patch of jungle, causing a puff of disturbed leaves to scatter into the air. I yell, “KRU!” and veer towards where he crashed. Who would do this to us??? The question cycles through my mind at hurricane speeds as I rush toward my downed comrade. Wetness drips down my cheeks and jaw, and I dab my fingers against it. I hold them out in front of me, gazing at them with a mix of astonishment and fear. Mother Ballach, my ears and eyes are BLEEDING! Suddenly I hear a female voice shout, “He’s in range! Now!” I hear the twang of a catapult, a snarling blur arcs toward me and—VELOCIRAPTORVEEJAYS!—knocks me clean off of my ptero. The world becomes a tumbling spiral of sky and jungle as I crash through canopy, entangled with my attacker. I grab onto a branch—my shoulder feels like it just got wrenched out of socket—but my attacker isn’t so lucky. She continues falling, screaming and cursing at me all the way down. My lungs are pumping a mile a minute as I descend from the tree, trying to keep my muscles from trembling. When I get to the ground, I notice that I’m surrounded by a circle of wolf-head/hide clad figures. “Where’s Kru?” I demand. Fear causes my voice to shake. Beneath the shadow of a wolf head, one of the figures smiles and lifts both her hands up, and I see she’s holding a dripping liver and spleen, freshly ripped from a body. “He’s right here,” she says, then maows down on the grisly bits of meat. The others draw back the hoods of their wolf-skin hides and I stiffen in shock. MY EXES! Shrubbery parts with a rustle as ten of them carry in my mount Biteologist on their shoulders, now hog-tied and squirming. “We’ve had enough of you Kent!” the lead Ex spits. “Not only do you fart yourself awake in your sleep, scarring us for life, but your magical phallus has ruined our ability to utilize cylindrical fruits and stildos (stone dildos), or any man to pleasure ourselves! Prepare to be consumed!” All of them produce knives of chipped stone and start edging toward me. I close my eyes and my mind reaches into the far future, where I will one day incarnate as an author named Kent Wayne and write a sci-fi series called Echo. Magic flash. Biteologist Rex morphs into his future self—a little 10 lb. terrier mix named…you guessed it—Bitefighter! The ladies all stop and stare, transfixed by my buddy’s cuteness. He looks left, then right, wags once, then—beeeoooooooooOOOOOOORRRRRRRPHHBBBBT—lets loose with a fart straight from the darkest pit of the demon lord Icthultu. My Exes are right at ground zero, and I see their skin instantly disappear—not melt, disappear—and they fall to the ground, writhing in pain as their muscles shrivel and flake off, causing all kinds of blood and gooey bits to plop out of their torsos. A widening circle of dead, char-dark vegetation expands away from Bitefighter as he continues his olfactory assault. He cracks an eye open as the death-cloud crawls toward me, and—poot—lets loose one last bit. The horrible miasma ceases coming creeping toward me just in time, and I see that the Ex by my feet is now a bleached set of dried bones. Bitefighter morphs back into Biteologist Rex and we take to the skies, thanking Kal-El the Sky Lord for our good fortunes.
Just in case you happen to be a prehistoric sky-quester who gets assaulted by your exes….Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle