Abyss in the Mist

A pulp sci-fi story where a colourful hero journeys between the stars to have a swashbuckling adventure on a hostile, exotic alien planet to rescue a beautiful, scantily-clad, large-breasted woman who has been carried off by a bug-eyed monster.


Flight to freedom

A huge tree sprouted towards the azure sky to his left hand side. Climbing up and shimmying along the swaying branches Stantham narrowed his eyes to scan the scene before him. The jungle steamed with lush exotic flora in the early morning, an eruption of birds lifted skyward in the distance, the sound reaching his keen ears a millisecond later. Twisting his head he tried to make out the space port, their ultimate destination. He could just about see the vague outline of buildings and the reflective shimmers of the rocket ships. Shifting his body weight around he turned looking back towards the still smoking twisted hull of his crashed ship. He started to call to his co-pilot below. Before he could speak, his friend barked upwards:

"Commander Stantham!" the call was demanding. "You need to get down here quickly. Something's moving towards us, and fast!"

The “something” entered the clearing as Stantham's boots hit the undergrowth with a thud. The massive vicious beast clawed up huge lumps of earth as it bounded towards the two men, its broad cavernous mouth opened to show chains of flashing daggers. Across its arching back jade plates protruded cruelly upwards; the tail was a thrashing nightmare of barbed spines.

Stantham dodged and bounded away as it stormed towards him, the jaws cracking the space he had vacated only a split-second before. Realising its quarry was gone, the monster skidded to an abrupt halt and swiveled its grotesque skull around, spittle drooling ichor-like from the edge of its jaws; membrane flicked back and forth over the repulsive obsidian eyes riveted into the side of its head as it looked for its prey.

Despite its colossal size its swiftness was extraordinary, its agile nimble body rotated at an almost unnatural angle, the tail swaying to one side to counterbalance the turn slicing effortlessly through nearby foliage.

Stantham friend, John King, leapt clear at the last second, his body spinning as he came to rest, twisting him off-balance. He struggled into the undergrowth in a desperate attempt to provide some cover. The cruel barbs from the foliage protruded outwards clawing and ripping at his clothing like as he laboured to stand upright. Stantham thrust his hand into his jacket and pulled out his battered, seared handgun. Jerking it upwards he levelled it at the creature and pulled the trigger. A bloodshot inferno gushed from the nozzle, a thread like spear of fire of agitated atoms surged forward to penetrate the monsters side, breaching the skin and detonating in surge of destruction.

Injured, the beast raised its terrible head, jaws yawning, whirling to arc its tail in Stantham's general direction. He hurdled the tail as it carved its way through the air towards him, but it smashed off his leg and he tumbled, twisting, pitching, lurching, sensing the next blow which would end his life, crushing his skull like it was nothing. Lying in the dirt, Stantham somehow managed to lurch round and aim his pistol. In unison King darted at the animal, carrying a heavy rock in his bloodied hands. The rock was a futile, almost useless weapon, but it may just provide a fleeting diversion, a distraction to benefit his comrade.

A thudding sound like wet leather hitting concrete reverberated through the air as the rock boomed off the reptilian cranium.

Once more the nightmare raised itself. Stantham unleashed a gout of flame as the soft sickly buttery abdomen presented itself.

A dreadful stain vomited over the skin of the monster, blisters erupted in a millisecond only to erupt outwards discharging themselves and then collapsing rapidly into searing, smoking caverns which once held living tissue. A vicious mess of vermillion gore shot towards the still echoing source of the gunshot, tracing a ghastly red trail back to the source of its doom. Stantham followed-up the first shot with another, then another and still another. Blood heaved in all directions and ripped veins spewed a cascade of death.

The monster was perishing, its insides spilling onto the earth, the heart ruined, but it was still posed a real danger. As King turned, with one last surge of life of, it roared forward thrashing with its condemned reflex action, destruction spun around it as the jungle absorbed the last few moments of its life: bushes were trampled, trees were scarred where it clawed at the trunks, and deep gouges were pulled out of the ground.

And it shrieked, a dreadful pathetic piercing wail which climbed and lingered, hovering. Then a sudden stillness descended as the creature gave a one last twitch before remaining motionless.

Stantham turned towards King:

"Time to get off this planet, old friend and fast!"

The End

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