Mega 4: Behemoth Island (8 page)

BOOK: Mega 4: Behemoth Island
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Kinsey grabbed onto her net, took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and let the heaviness of her suit pull her under.

 

***

 

Shane had the tiny raptor by the throat, the gloves of his compression suit squeezing until the small dinosaur’s eyes bulged then popped out of its skull. Tossing the corpse aside, Shane swung out with his left arm, a wide haymaker that was intended to clear, not club. The four raptors that had just leapt at him collided with his fist and forearm. They went flying this way and that way, their feathers no use to them as they were merely covering, not part of any winged limbs.

“Fucking little rats!” Shane shouted as he kicked a fifth raptor in the jaw, snapping its head around one hundred eighty degrees. The animal fell to the jungle floor, dead. Shane stomped on it for good measure. “Fuck these things!”

“Keep fighting!” Thorne yelled. “Do not let them get in at you!”

Two raptors hung from Thorne’s left arm, their teeth hooked in the metal mesh of his compression suit. He tried to shake them off, but they refused to budge, their needle teeth stuck in a material that should not allow needle teeth to get stuck in it.

“Fucking elves,” Thorne cursed as he shook his arm over and over while he swatted at the rest of the raptor pack that continued to leap and jump at his face. “Fuck them all!”

“Hey now,” Lucy said as she grabbed a raptor in mid-leap and smashed its head against the trunk of a palm tree. “There was no way they could have known we’d come up against little dinosaurs. You can’t plan for every contingency.”

“It’s their fucking job to plan for every contingency!” Thorne yelled, ducking under a leaping raptor. He kept shaking his arm, but the raptors would not be thrown loose. “Fuck!”

“Here, hold still,” Darren said, appearing at Thorne’s side with a thick, heavy branch in his hands. “Try not to move.”

“Fuck you, Chambers,” Thorne growled.

Despite his obvious annoyance, Thorne did not move as Darren went batters up on the small dinosaurs. Darren dislodged them with one swing of the makeshift bat and the raptors screeched briefly as their broken bodies tumbled through the air. Their screeches ended suddenly as Lucy caught the first one then the second one and slammed them into each other, popping both on impact.

Darren kept at the swinging, knocking back wave after wave of the tiny raptors until the creatures decided that the humans that had invaded their territory were too much of a threat and they fled, screeching and chirping as their small legs sent them running into the underbrush and out of sight.

“They’ll be back,” Thorne said. “I can feel it. The little fuckers will be back. Keep moving.”

“Uncle Vinny, as much as I believe you, which I do, I’m not sure keep running is the best advice,” Shane said, nudging a raptor corpse with the toe of his boot. The thing was only half a meter long, barely longer than Shane’s foot. “What we need to do is climb a tree and get some rest. Take shifts sleeping until we are all recharged and ready to get back in the fight.”

“Do you honestly think I’m going to agree with that plan?” Thorne asked.

“Not at all,” Shane replied and shrugged. “But it was worth a shot.” Thorne glared. “Or not.”

“He has a point,” Lucy said. “We’re all exhausted.”

“We are also trained to push through that exhaustion,” Thorne said.

“No offense, Commander, but I was trained as a shooter,” Lucy responded. “I didn’t go through BUD/S like you tough guys. I wasn’t a SEAL. I’m Coast Guard and my job was to shoot shit with a big gun from a moving helicopter. I may be in great shape—”

“Awesome shape,” Shane interrupted. “And I mean that as a compliment to a colleague, not as a creepy sexy thing.”

“I know,” Lucy said. “As I was saying, I am in great shape, but not run all night in a fucking jungle while dinosaurs chase us and try to eat us shape. We need to find shelter and hole up for a few hours. Regroup, catch our bearings, and then move forward.”

“We do not stop,” Thorne growled.

“She’s fine,” Darren said. Moving so he was directly in front of Thorne and there was nowhere else for the commander to look. “Yes, we have no idea where she is, but Kinsey is fine. You know that. That woman can survive anything.”

“I’d like to confirm that myself,” Thorne said. “Which means we keep going.” He looked at the rest for Team Grendel. “We have a teammate missing. We do not, under any circumstance, leave a teammate behind. That is the basic tenant of all SpecOps. A man goes down and we pick him up and carry him home. That man is my daughter which means there is no way in this jungle fuck of a hell that I will even consider the notion of quitting, of resting, of taking one motherfucking second away from searching for her. If you want to stay then stay, but I am continuing on and finding Kinsey. Understood?”

“Understood,” Darren replied. “But we aren’t saying we should leave her behind. We’re saying we need to regroup and think this through while also getting some much needed rest. We have no idea where we are, we have no idea where she is, and we have no idea what other threats are out there that could end our search in three seconds with a couple well-placed chomps. We need a plan. Running blindly through a neo-prehistoric jungle is not a plan, it’s a disaster.”

“What he said,” Shane responded. He winced at the look he got from Thorne. “Sorry, Uncle Vinny, but as much as I hate to admit Ditcher is right, which, trust me, I hate doing, he is right. It’s that simple.”

“You already know my thoughts,” Lucy said. “We can’t keep going if we don’t know where we’re going. That’s just not smart soldiering.”

Thorne looked like he was about to explode. His whole being shook and violent tension came off him in waves. Team Grendel simply waited until he got himself under control.

“Alright,” Thorne sighed. The tension was still there, but the violence had subsided. “We rest, come up with a plan, then go get my girl back.” He scanned the dark jungle and frowned. “Any ideas on where we’re going to do that?”

“I suggested we find some trees and climb our asses up into them,” Shane said.

“You saw how big those other things were, right?” Lucy laughed. “Climbing a tree only puts us at eye level.”

“Unless you see a Motel Six around here then what else are we going to do?” Shane asked.

“Motel Six? Way to dream big,” Lucy said. She turned about, her hands on her hips. “Did we come from that direction?” She pointed to their left.

“Yes,” Thorne nodded. “Why?”

“I think I saw something back that way when we were running,” Lucy replied. “I don’t know how far away it is, but if I’m right then we may have at least a little protection while we rest.”

“What did you see?” Thorne asked.

“A group of boulders,” Lucy said. “Maybe there’s enough space between them for us. That’ll at least provide some type of barrier if more big things come at us.”

“And solid surfaces for you to go smashy smashy if the little ones come back,” Shane said.

“That too,” Lucy grinned.

“Okay,” Thorne said. “You take point. Lead us there.”

Lucy nodded and took a deep breath then led them from the raptor corpse-covered clearing and back into the thick of the jungle.

 

***

 

Kinsey felt like her lungs were burning from the inside out and she almost panicked at the thought that maybe she had swallowed some of the death honey. But she shoved the thought from her head and kept going. The blue lines of her containment net lit up the whole area and she could see the undulating surface of the living pit’s belly. Or stomach lining. Or whatever it was.

Kinsey couldn’t give two shits what it was exactly, all she cared about was whether or not it could feel pain.

She reached the bottom and shoved the containment net at the living pit’s belly bottom.

Nothing happened.

Her burning lungs told her to get her ass to the surface and breathe, but her will refused. Kinsey Thorne had never quit anything in her life. Yes, she cheated during her BUD/S training by using amphetamines. Yes, she let Darren walk away from their marriage. Yes, she had become a hard-core junkie that would shoot, snort, drink, swallow anything put in front of her.

But she never quit.

She shoved the containment net at the bottom of the living pit’s belly again, this time using her legs, pressing down with her boots, pushing the electric blue lines deep into the dark green flesh.

The whole place shook.

Even in the gel-like substance that she called death honey, Kinsey could feel the living pit shudder as she pushed the lines deeper and deeper into the plant’s (maybe?) flesh. A ray of hope opened up in her. So did her need to breathe. Hope and desire, a desire for air, filled her body as she pushed harder and harder down on the containment net lines.

Black motes swam before her eyes and Kinsey knew she was only seconds from losing consciousness. If she didn’t get back to the surface and fill her lungs with fresh air then she’d end up opening her mouth and swallowing the death honey. That was something she knew she wouldn’t survive. That shit would dissolve her innards in seconds. It would have dissolved her skin if she didn’t have the compression suit on.

Kinsey’s fight became a war of wills against herself. She almost laughed at the thought. Her father always said she was her own worst enemy. She was about to prove it to herself.

Yet she didn’t get the chance.

With one last shove of her boots, the containment net lines sliced into the living pit’s belly, sending black clouds of plant blood oozing into the death honey. The shuddering grew so violent that Kinsey was tossed to the side, the containment net and her body slamming into the pit wall.

Then she was up and moving.

It wasn’t her choice. The lack of oxygen had pretty much sapped her of all conscious decision-making ability. What made the decision for her were a dozen thick vines that grabbed her about the arms, the chest, the waist, yanking her free of the death honey and up out of the living pit’s massive mouth.

Kinsey was thrown from the living pit, tossed like a wet rag out into the darkness of the jungle. She flew from the clearing that the living pit called home. She flew through stands of giant palms and huge conifers. She spun end over end, her feet up, her head up, her feet up, until she slammed down through a thick patch of thorny brambles that nearly impaled her and came to a sudden, violent stop.

Her body ached and Kinsey knew that when she took off her compression suit, despite its protective nature, she would be black and blue and basically a walking, talking bruise. She started to laugh. It hurt like a bitch, but she kept doing it. It made her feel alive and that’s all she cared about. Even if she did end up as a walking, talking bruise, she would at least be walking and talking. And laughing.

“Fuck you,” Kinsey whispered as she raised both hands and flipped off the entire jungle. “Suck my dick.”

“That would not be anatomically possible,” a voice said from a few feet away.

Kinsey rolled over, careful of the huge thorns that were inches from stabbing her to death, pushed up to her feet and stood ready to fight. The jungle swayed and rocked, but she stayed upright. She hadn’t quit when she was submerged in death honey and she sure as fuck didn’t intend to quit when some mystery voice decided to sneak up on her.

“I am not in the fucking mood,” Kinsey snapped. “Show yourself, state your purpose, and get ready to have the split fuck beat out of you if I don’t like either.”

“Relax,” the voice said. “We’ve been watching you. How you survived th
e
Brocchinia gargantu
a
, I have no idea. It was quite a surprise to see you come flying out of there.”

“Bronchitis what?” Kinsey asked.

Her world swam and she staggered a couple steps to the side before she regained her balance.

“Doesn’t matter,” the voice said. It was a man’s voice. Confident, sure. A voice of authority, used to giving orders and having those orders followed. “I can see you’re wearing some sort of suit. That must be what kept you from being digested quickly.”

“I’m guessing so,” Kinsey said. “No fun falling into a honey pot.”

“Pitcher plant,” the voice said. “Calling it a honey pot wouldn’t quite be accurate. Although, strictly speaking, calling i
t
Brocchinia gargantua isn’t accurate either, since bromeliads don’t have prehensile vines that hunt for and carry prey back to the digestive region. We’re still figuring it all out.”

“I don’t give a shit about what it’s called,” Kinsey said. “I got out. That’s all that fucking matters.” Another stagger and Kinsey almost fell. “Who are you?”

“Sorry,” the voice said and a shape detached from the foliage. “Dr. Will Logan. I used to be in charge of this island.”

“Used to be?” Kinsey asked. Her chest constricted and she felt a painful shiver rip through her body. “Oh…”

“Your suit didn’t protect you completely,” Dr. Logan said. “The alkaloid in the nectar must have gotten into your bloodstream. Sit down and let me have a look at you.”

Kinsey laughed. “Sitting isn’t happening.” She staggered as her legs began to vibrate uncontrollably then she toppled over, her head slamming into the thick earth of the jungle floor. “Maybe falling is. Shit.”

BOOK: Mega 4: Behemoth Island
3.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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