Monday, March 26, 2012

Chapter XIII: Primordial Dread

Actual Posting Date Is April 1, 2012
Date: 29 September 1900
Location: Into Open Country
Situation: We Abandoned Great Elk Meadow

See Chapter XII posted 18 March 2012 here:
Expedition To Alexandrapour
Colonel Lawford's Narrative Perseveres

"The 29th instant commenced routinely enough with our march into what we subsequently named Great Elk Meadow. It's park-like setting of grassland, forested ridges in circumference around it and the placid beached lakeside dotted with giant deciduous and palm trees entranced us. A camp beside this lovely spot surely would rejuvenate us. The few singular sightings and events of the first half of the day only temporarily jolted our expectation of reverie."

"Yet there arose a growing presentiment of unusual danger, suspense, awe, mystery and even excitement. There was something of uncommon magnitude about our Terra Incognita. Consider the gargantuan reptile now named Max after the Latin word maximus who the week before had shockingly dragged a bhistie to a river bottom to be consumed. Today the men became aware of a dead beetle the size of a beaver, two giant and magnificent Elk and the startling charge of angered woolly brutes resembling some kind of unknown elephant. This was followed by another unexpected discovery. Our scouts found a hidden and crumbling structure apparently of ancient origin wrapped in a jungle shroud. Naturally I decided to inspect it."

"Approaching the rear portal nothing could be seen inside. Shafts of light, gloom and pitch darkness combined to make observation very difficult. Only by walking within would my eyes adjust to see what perhaps no one had seen for years if not centuries. I had to know what might be found."

"For some reason my heart rate increased. Nervousness perhaps? Yes and there was something primordial here; an inexplicable ancient dread. Rubbish surely. Steady on Lawford. There was nothing but pleasant birdsong above,the buzz of insects of a more normal size everywhere and conversation of the men nearby. As I was about to step inside...."

"A malevolent head rose up. Serpentine fangs were at the ready accompanied by loud hissing and scattering rubble. I lurched left to avoid the inevitable lethal strike to save myself and then..."

"I jumped down. The alert Captain Ismay turned about, drew his revolver and fired into the thing. The bullet had no effect. I drew my service revolver and fired too. Yet...."

"The great serpent still came on adding a bony rattling from its unseen tail. We backed off still firing. One of our hussars joined us. Round after round hit their marks and...."

"Finally the creature slumped to the pavement and expired. We thought our danger over but...."

"An enraged and ghastly twin appeared to our right."

"Rather than stay and perhaps encounter even more trouble from this nest of vipers, I immediately ordered a retreat back to the no doubt alarmed battalion square waiting for us in the meadow.

"Great Elk Meadow was fast becoming 'Orrible Meadow in our minds. We broke our square and marched out the way we came in. We would camp in more open country."

"Many turned to look backwards thinking something new and oddly dangerous might suddenly appear to antagonize us even more. Thankfully nothing came. The men began to relax."

"However, in the open country beyond a band of dark skinned men armed with shields and throwing spears appeared before us. Oh too much. Too much! I rose my hand. The column halted."

1) The structure came from the retail pet store named Petco. Aquarium supplies can be prodigiously useful.

2) The serpent is manufactured by RAFM kindly on loan from Chuck L's cast of pulp characters.

3) Natives are Foundry Masai graciously on loan from the collection of Todd B.

4) Return April 15th for Chapter XIV to find out what happens next.

5) Your remarks add considerably to the atmosphere of the story. Please continue doing so below at the word Comments. Thank you.


Earl said...

From one dangerous situation to another. Carry on old chaps! We're behind you...way behind you.

ColCampbell50 said...

Seems like your heroes have penetrated into "The Land that Time Forgot."


tidders2 said...

Great story line, love the serpents.

-- ALlan

A J said...

Dramatic and atmospheric. Just remember, should Doug MacLure appear in this Land that Time Forgot, order 'Three rounds rapid!' ;)

Larry Stehle said...

Petco -where the pets and wargamers go! I too have found them very useful!