Short Stories from the Elements – Flora

Continuing on from Dark last week, it’s now Flora’s turn. Enjoy!

Crouching low to the ground, Tiris paused. The beast was close. Its putrid smell curled her lip and hardened her gaze. She heard branches snapping as the creature searched for her, hungered for her. It was fast to have caught up with her already. It was getting closer. She would have to run again soon if she wanted to stay ahead. And if she wanted to stay alive, she had to stay ahead. Only a little further till the grove.

Taking a deep breath, she broke her cover, her bare feet skidding slight on the muddy ground. With a fierce roar, the beast bounded after her. In its haste to catch its prey, it didn’t see the thin vines tangled around its legs. Twisting roughly, it hit the ground with a snarl. She didn’t stop running as she knew it would only take the brute a few seconds to remove the binding, then it would be after her with twice the rage. Now it was hungry and annoyed. A dangerous combination. Flinging her hand up, she griped the vine above her head. She leapt up into the branches, narrowly avoiding the claws that scraped in her wake. That was close.

Regaining her balance on a low branch, she continued. The beast was still pursuing her from below. Its claws, while extremely sharp, were ill suited to climbing trees. She glanced down through the leaves to inspect the creature. They were so close to the grove now. Just a little deeper. Bringing her gaze up, she quickly ducked under a branch. Regaining her balance, she lowered her eyes again. The beast had slowed, dropping further behind. She brought her eyes back to the front to see the branch end under her feet. She hissed as her feet hit the ground below.

Glancing up, she met the beasts’ eyes as it realised its prey was once again in mauling distance. As almost purr like noise slipped through its bare teeth as it increased its speed two fold. Turning, she took to her feet once more, crashing through the undergrowth. The beast was fast. There was no escape now. Skidding to halt, she turned from the large tree that barred her way. The beast broke into the clearing and towards its meal. Opening its foul maw, it leapt, claws fully extended towards her. Its triumph fell short as its claws hitting the ground just in front of her.

Glancing around, the creature realised its mistake too late. It had thought it was the hunter. It was wrong. Vines rose and fell around it, surrounding the beast and binding it tight. It was lifted off the ground. A smile spread over Tiris’ mouth as she hurried to her spot in the grove, sitting. Strange hissing echoed around her as small mouths began to appear on the plants around her. The family would eat well tonight. She returned her eyes to the huge mouth appearing in the giant tree opposite her. Another hiss escaped her mouth, joined by the plants around her. Dinner time. The beast knew what was coming. With the last of its strength, he trashed about, slicing through some of the vines that bound him. For everyone that was cut, it was replaced by two.

Leaping to the side to avoid the falling vines, a snarl twisted Tiris’ face and then she felt alone. Looking around her, she frowned. These plants were nice but they were unfamiliar. She didn’t like the stone under her feet. She turned and paused. She may not be in her forest any more but there was still prey here. And she was hungry.

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