Except from Monster in the Woods

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In the woods surrounding the city of Harmon, nature flourished in all its beauty. While some viewed the natural world as peaceful and lovely, others saw it is wild and dangerous. In reality it was both. There was certainly much beauty in the plants, trees and creatures of the woods, but there was also a threat. For inexperienced explorers, the wild was fraught with hazards and predators, but for the rangers and woodsmen of the world, there was nothing to fear, but much to be respected. As with most things in the world, the wild always sought a balance. Sometimes, when the balance was ruined, the actions of the natural world’s defenders were required to set it right.

    On one calm and warm afternoon, a herd of deer was grazing in the shade of the forest canopy; sheltered from fear and danger. This particular herd was composed of 5 males. The dominant male was large and strong and commanded the respect of the others through yearly battles for mates. With mating season still months away, the males were able to coexist and get along well enough though they recognized the superiority of the alpha. They had no cares in the world as they nibbled at bushes and leaves from low trees. The herd did not have the faintest warning that the peaceful balance was about to be upset.

    Nearby, an ancient creature sniffed the air and caught scent of the herd. The beast growled low and looked about for signs of the animals but did not find them. Instead, he sniffed again and turned to the direction of the unsuspecting bucks. He squinted his eyes and sniffed some more, confident he had found the source of the smell. He slobbered and groaned thinking about how delicious and tasty the bucks would be. His eyes focused as his hand gripped a rudimentary club in his giant fist, tightly.

    The deer perked their heads up hearing a commotion nearby. Their ears twitched back and forth as they tried to determine the direction and nature of the disturbance in the otherwise peaceful and calm woods. Nerves shot down their spines and told their legs to run but they did not know in which direct to flee. They were frozen with hearts pounding and eyes bulging, ears desperate to find the danger.

    Then a crash nearby gave the bucks the confirmation they needed. They broke into a dash for safety, leaping over fallen trees and crooked bushes. Their pursuer was not about to let his meal escape however. The beast was so large that it bowled through trees and smashed through brush growing hungrier each leap.

    The bucks dashed as fast as they could. Quick and lithe they fled for their lives but they were not getting further from the beast.

    Like thunder rolling across the forest floor, the monster reached the herd and swallowed them up.

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