Reacting with a speed even I found surprising I somersaulted toward a fallen tree. However, I misjudged the distance. My lower back slammed into the trunk leaving my feet up in the air. Buckshot grazed the soles of my shoes. I heard the baboon land then surged towards me.
For an instant I prepared to enjoy this rather unique death. After all, how many people are murdered by shotgun toting simians? Perhaps more than anyone suspects.
The shooting ceased with a distinct click. Though I still heard the baboon running a chance for survival had opened. Maybe today wasn't my day to die.
Scrambling to my feet I snatched a large rock. Standing up I saw the monkey ten feet away and closing fast. I let loose a war cry that sounded as if I'd stubbed my toe. Vaulting over the tree trunk, the rock raised in my right hand, I felt a rush many call being truly alive, while others dub it a mere surge of adrenaline. Either way, I was ready to bash that baboon's brains out.
We charged at one another. Six feet. Four. An explosion erupted between us, the blast flinging us apart.
I flew several feet before slamming into the ground. A minute passed where nothing existed except a steady ringing, and fuzzy view of the jungle. Sucking in a desperate gasp I groaned in agony. My chest felt like it'd been pummeled by a wrecking ball. That said, I took a little pride in the fact I still held the rock in my hand.
I heard muffled sounds. Dull thuds accompanying shaking earth. A voice crying as if from a great distance. Something like the crack of an electric whip.
Wincing, I pushed myself up on an elbow only to be immediately tackled back to the ground.
The baboon hollered in my ear, "Are you mad? Stay down."
Not thinking clearly I hit him with the rock.
The monkey snarled. Nothing makes your life flash before your eyes quite like baboon fangs inches from your face. He caught my arm before I could strike him again.
He growled, "I am not trying to kill now. There are more perilous things afoot."
Grabbing me by the hair the baboon lifted my head a bit. I saw what can only be described as a walking aquarium: a set of metal legs attached to a bubble full of hazy purplish liquid, and around this sphere an array of nasty looking weaponry, everything from machine guns and chainsaws to a crackling set of tongs whipping out green bolts of energy. One such bolt sizzled past exploding on impact sending bits of bark and dirt raining down on us.
"I see your point," I said.
"Indeed. We seem in need of an alliance."
The baboon nodded, "Good. You distract it. I'll get it from behind."
"I feel like you'd make a better distraction."
Another bolt struck. This one quite near.
The monkey asked, "What makes me a better distraction?"
I replied, "You seem more agile, less likely to get shot."
Frowning, the baboon nodded, "I see your point." -- He reloaded the shotgun then handed it to me, "Aim for the blue tube on its back. Don't miss."
The baboon took off, practically flying up a tree. The machine let loose a stream of bullets chasing after the monkey. For a moment I considered just running. There's no shame in a tactical retreat. Yet, I knew the primate would probably survive then track me down to unleash some unholy, albeit deserved, retribution for my desertion. So I nutted up, pumped the shotgun (ejecting a shell in the process, however, action films have taught this is how one declares hoorah Ima bout to fuck shit up), and charged.
The machine kept its focus on the baboon. Green bolts burst the trees, while a hail of bullets shredded everything in their path. But the monkey managed to stay ahead of it all. Meanwhile, I ran crouched, moving quick as I could to get behind the maleficent machine.
The closer I got the more I saw myriad wires, tubes, and belt feeds reaching from the various appendages and weapons around to the back of the walking death. Sure enough, I spied a tube glowing neon blue in the center of the thing's back. I took aim, and fired.
Something to keep in mind: shotguns fire, what is in essence, a cloud of tiny pellets. Though it is never fun to get hit by them, one should remember this type of ammo is not devastating at a distance. To put it another way, a few small holes peppered the blue tube while the rest of the pellets tinked off the machine's metal plating. The neon contents gushed out, melting the grass where it fell.
The machine ceased firing. Awkwardly it stamped the ground in an effort to turn around. Not dumb enough to give it a chance I ran forward. No more than three feet away I fired again. This time the tube burst. I dodged the spray, though some got on my jacket. I tossed it off as it started dissolving.
In a panic one doesn't associate with machinery, the marching aquarium snapped off a few more bolts and bullets before stuttering to a standstill. That said, I stayed behind it. One chainsaw continued circulating with an idle growl. No sense in giving the contraption any kind of a chance.
From a nearby tree the baboon called out, "Well done!"
The monkey hurried down. Strolling nonchalantly, it patted the machine on the way to me. With a grin he remarked, "Ha ha. Couldn't've done better myself." Holding out a paw he added, "Now then, would you kindly return my gun?"
"Uh, fuck no." Pump; chee-chunk.
The baboon frowned, "I understand your reticence, but I'm plotting no treachery."
"Yeah. Sticking with fuck no."
The monkey glared at me, "This is a dangerous place to be without friends, sir."
I replied, "Not five minute ago you were going to kill me."
Straightening up the simian said, "That's the nature of the game. It was nothing personal."
"Oh well, since murdering me was nothing personal..." I aimed the shotgun at the baboon's head to emphasize my sarcasm.
He said, "A fair point there. However, our shared experience with the Phalanx changed all that."
The monkey knocked on the machine's leg, "This abomination. The blue tube is such an obvious weakness this type of machine tends to travel in packs, marching shoulder to shoulder to protect one another. Harder to flank you see."
When I'm sober I'm a surprisingly swift learner, "Meaning this thing is probably not alone."
We both looked around. Though neither of us saw anything the jungle felt too still. Silence is always more terrifying than cacophony.
I heard a dull bumping sound. It came from the machine. Peering around at the front I saw a brownish figure floating inside the bubble. The body looked like a mummified human. It was slapping the inside of the tank.
The baboon said, "If I told you my name was Nigel would that put you at ease?"
"Is that really name?"
"Pleasure to meet you -- ya still not getting this gun."
"Son of a bitch."
There is a distinct sound to something sprinting through the jungle, foliage being slapped aside, brush rustling. I heard that noise then a group of people ran passed. They all had their hands tied, and wore what appeared to be radio collars on their necks. None of them so much as glanced at me, the machine, or Nigel. The whole group seemed panicked.
"RUN!" Nigel shouted, immediately following his own advice.
Off in the distance I heard a whump-whump-whump. Soon after a series of thumps preceded a wall of fire roaring its way towards me. I decided then and there, I absolutely hated this place.
COMING SOON! PART 3: THE OAKLAND RAIDERS