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This article, The Distance Beyond: A Malchom's Woods Story, was written by me, Carnotaur. Please do not edit this page without my permission.

The Distance Beyond: A Malchom's Woods Story is a short story written by Carnotaur. It is the second installment in The Malchom's Woods Series, followed, canonically, by Malchom's Woods and The Cage.

Story

The Devils

I saw them. The predators. I huddled next to a bush, wondering if they saw me. I heard them chirp. The Green Devils were hunting me. I waited for a few minutes, until they left. I walked out behind my dwelling, and sniffed. They're foul stench filled the air, in conflict with the gorgeous landscape. I looked around to see where they had gone off to. They were in the distance, hopping towards some other possible prey, another one of my kind. I wasn't going to help him; He could fend them off himself. I darted off to higher ground. Luckily they did not see, or hear me. The Green Devil's bite made you loopy, and very tired. I had been bit before, and I barely escaped. As I went up the hill, I heard the cries of the other in the distance. I didn't look back, because I wouldn't have liked what I saw...

My beak tore another piece of food from a shrub. Luckily, the Devils had left, and I hadn't seen them since I ran away. The territory I called home, was secluded, and full of vegetation. It had many trees, so I climbed into them to sleep, and to rest from looking for food. The sun shone down while I ate, and it made me hot, and then thirsty. This caused a problem: The nearest source of water was a distance away, and close to where the Devils were last seen. I wondered what I should do. I was thirsty, and I could wait, but it was getting late, and at night the larger Devils came. If I went now, I could make it back before dark. I decided that I should go get a drink.

The source of the water was a little stream that ran through the area that we lived in. By "We," I mean my kind. We call ourselves The Plant Eaters. The ones that hunt us are called The Devils. There are other little fury creatures, and other similar animals like us(with scales), but they are slower, and their legs are bent, as if they are broken. We see anything that eats the green of the Earth, as good, and the ones eat the flesh of the living, are evil. It can be a thin line, because some animals eat both, and we see them as our kind, that have been drawn into temptation, to eat flesh. Eating flesh is wrong. However, none of use know why things are this way. But we guess that must have been a schism many a year ago, where one side began eat others, instead of plants.

I made it to the stream within a few minutes, and went to it's edge. I looked around for predators, to make sure I was not being hunted. I took a drink of the water, and noticed another one of my kind across from me. It was a female, and she was getting a drink. It was mating season for our kind, so I started to display. My neck is covered it sickle-shaped patterns that are usually a dark maroon. But at that moment, they were a bright crimson. I reared up on my back legs, and made a few clicking sounds. I knew this was dangerous at this hour of day, and I knew carnivores could possibly hear me. But I was younger then, and eager to find a mate, so I did not take consideration like I had back at my home. As I stood up, my underbelly was shown. It had green markings as well; They served the same purpose as my neck markings. The female was responsive, and she came across the tiny stream. She was fit, and healthy, a perfect mate. She came across the water, and inspected me as if I were food. Now that she was closer, I could see here patterns as well, and she was very attractive. She was my first female I had tried to court, and it worked...

The year of short peace

Time passes fast for my kind. Every month is like a year. Months feel short, and since a month is like a year, every year is short as well. A year passed since the courting at the stream, I was successful. Our kind mates for life, and me and the female lived happily in my territory. We left eventually, and found a even larger patch of trees located in between two mountains. Not quite a valley, but it protected by two massive formations of Earth, that stretched high into the blue heavens. There were many mountains in these area, but farther east, there were none. So the mountains were boulders on a plain of sand, that stretched into distance... I never ventured far from the area was born, and so I liked to imaging great forests situated around lakes, and jungles inside great canyons and valleys miles across. And beyond that... I could not imaging what was even farther. Maybe when you went far enough, the eaters of flesh would be present, and our kind would flourish. Now, when I still lived with my family group, I was told my kind came from a paradise far away, where flesh eaters and our kind were packed together, and dying. Eventually, the paradise was destroyed, and they were taking by "Them" to where we live now. "They" were the strange creatures that lived all over the place. They were smart, and were eater's of both plants and meat. They were our saviors, and we never attacked them, because they had done good to us.

Me and my mate lived in our home for a year, nearly untouched and happy. We managed to have five young, of which four survived. The one that died was hatched stillborn. The four, two females, and two males, live with us for sometime. Then the day which I dread to remember came...

One day we were searching for food in the trees, when I heard one of the young screech. It was one of the males. I climbed down quickly to go see what had scared him. I found him under a shrub, shaking. I looked around to see what it was. There was nothing. I looked down and nudged him to follow back to where the rest of the group was. He and I went back, me in the lead. Then I heard a swift motion behind me, and along with it, a wisp of air brushed by tail. Then I heard a gurgled squeak, and then a chirp. I look behind me to see one of the Green Devils standing over the blood-covered youth. It looked at me, it's evil eyes, unblinking. It hissed at me, baring it's sharp needle-like teeth. I sprinted as fast as I could to the trees, but when I arrived, a scene of horrors was beheld to me. A large group of the Devils had began to attack my family group. The little females had been killed, and my mate was attacking one of the creatures, and had used her massive beak to bite off one of it's pathetically tiny arms. I charged at one, using my frill to slam into one. I heard the animal's breath blast out of it's tiny lungs, when I rammed it's torso. I began biting him with my beak, until I saw red covering a portion of his mass. I turned back to my two remaining family members, and saw that my mate was succumbing to the bites of the monsters, and that the last two youths were already dead...

I did not dare rush in madly to attack, for there were dozens of the little terrors, and I would have certainly been killed. Without thought, I began running away from the flat parts of my territory, and onto the rocky edges of the mountains. I had made a good ways up, when I saw that two had followed me up the mountain, hoping for another kill... However, I would not let them get it that easily.

I stood there on a ledge, watching the two creatures, waiting for one of them to get cocky, and attack. And they did. One lunged forward and began to snap at me, and chirp in a manner that did not match his actions. He continued to try to get on my back, but I snap right back at him, and tore a decent-sized piece of flesh from his neck. He squeaked, and without mercy, I dashed forward, and crushed his stick of a neck in my massive beak. Blood was in my mouth, and I tried to not swallow the red, otherwise, I may have been tempted to eat flesh myself; Many types of animals have been tempted, and their young would do the same. I shook the little monster's body violently, until I was sure it was dead. I looked up at the second, who's face was indifferent at the gory sight of his late friend. I let out one of my warning calls, but the idiot just stood, lusting for my meat. I stood my ground as he came at me. When he was just inches away, I burst from my original position, and slammed myself into him. We went tumbling down the mountain after I hit him.

As we tumbled, I felt hits of stone on my body, which would cause bruises later. It occurred to me that I may not survive to feel them. I watched the Devil splatter on a boulder, and I saw the ground rush up to meet me. I hit, feeling a pain in my leg, and I heard a CRACK! A laid there for maybe ten minutes, drifting between reality and chaos. I regained full composure, and tried to stand. As I did so, I felt as if my leg was split in two... I had broke my leg. I walked around, limping, looking for more the creatures. I heard, and saw none. Except for the body of the one I killed, which looked in a very bad shape. I listened for a time, but heard nothing, which confirmed that my group had all been killed, except for me. I would die soon from the wound, if did not find another of my kind.

The journey

I left my dwelling, and limped of towards the west, hoping to find help. A few hours later, I found another part of the same stream I drank from before, and took in crystal liquid of life. I kept casting looks around to see if any predators were deciding to end my broken life. I still wanted to live, even if my days were being shortened swiftly. I walked for two days, taking many rests, and eating as much as I could. I followed the stream, hoping others would be present along it's banks. The distance spread out before me, offering no help at it's great expanse. The sky hung over, offering no help either, for it allowed the Sun to burn me, and dry my mouth of the moisture that it held. The ground conspired as well, being rocky, and unpredictable; One minute being flat, the other having gravel, and large stones across it... the world did not wish me to help make it to wherever I was going...

As I went, my silent lamentations echoed in my mind: Would it have been better for me to have died then? I was going to no doubt die here, and dying from the bites of the Devils seemed an easy escape by then. My family had died, and I felt that I should have died along with them. Wouldn't that have been the right thing to do? These thoughts and more were haunting me, and they occasionally join me to this day. I continued on, mourning myself, into the distance beyond...

Finale

I walked until I made it to a strange place. It was built of wood, steel, glass, and stone. It was a settlement of the beings which saved us. But I was confused because there was no one present. It was empty. I expected to see them here, but I only saw one of the other plant eaters. It was a long necked ones; One of the Giants which ate of the trees we lived in. He didn't look at me. He couldn't see me no doubt, and he would have not known what I was. They may have been dumb animals, but they were very beautiful. His neck was erect, and reached up high into the air. I watched him a few minutes, until I heard the calls of death...

There they were, jumping around, and on things, chirping like a bird... but these were not Birds. They were monsters. I saw them come at me. I began limping as fast as I could to get away. I tried to ignore the pain, but it was almost too much. Adrenaline pumped through me, causing me to urge on. It was like throwing gasoline on a weak fire, which was nearing it's end entirely. I made it about thirty feet, when I felt the searing pain in my neck... the searing pain, which would surely end me. I thrust my neck side to side, throwing the shrimp against a rock wall, hurting him, but not ending his life of evil like I wanted. I turned, now feeling the sleepy feeling coming over my mind, and faced them. I used my will to live as a weapon of it's own. A weapon which would hopefully give me a few more precious moments. I screeched something terrible at the horde. They hissed back, their wretched, unblinking eyes staring into my soul. Then they came, marauding forward, hissing like asps from Hell. I braced myself, waiting, waiting for the green wall of hisses. When it hit, I was ready. They bit me everywhere, and I pummeled them. I crunched their body parts with my jaws, tasting blood once again. I hit many with my frills, battering them with it like a shield, which it was in a way. One got my underbelly, and clung on, so I threw myself hard against the ground pushing air out of his lungs, crushing bone, then his insides. The feeling was sickening. Another got my tail, and I threw him off. One got my neck, and I swung my frill against his own neck. I suffocated him, by forcing my frill against his neck, and my shoulder. A tiny gurgle came from him, and then a tiny gasp. His last sound was a Demonic-sounding chirp, and then CRUSH! The world was turning blurry, and I felt tired. From both fighting, and their bites. I hope I'll kill them all, I thought, wondering how long I had left. My leg was now numb, and I thought I had lost it. It was becoming peaceful, and I was drifting... drifting slowly off into... death...

The bang ran out threw the horde of animals, dispersing them. Everything went black by then. I couldn't tell if I was blind, or if my eyes were just closed. I felt wounds across my body, that felt horrible. I heard something walk up behind, me. I thought that maybe it was a large meat eater. I excepted that I was going to die, and I let one final breath leaved my lungs.

Final peace

I awoke in something very soft. It was softer than the moist ground, softer than leaves. I was inside of a place, with strange objects around me. I saw that there was one of "Them" sitting on one of the objects. I wondered what he was doing. He noticed that I had lifted my head, and he came over. He rubbed my side, and took a look at my leg, which felt better. I could not have imagined that this being would become a good friend.

The being took care of me for a while, and helped me heal my leg. He fed me, and he made me a small area to rest, which was full of leaves, rocks, and dirt; It was like the outside in a small container. It was a cage, but it was large, and he always kept it open so I could get inside. He brought me food, until I got well enough to leave. I did snap at him for the first week, but I realized he was not going to harm me. That was why I went back there, after he let me leave. I saw more of the Devils one day, and remembered him, so I decided to head back.

Months went by, and I charted out my territory around the structures. The being's house was right at the center. Food was, and still is plentiful here, and the Devils have gone away. I haven't seen any since the first day I went back to the being's home. I still live here, and I love it. Each day that passes helps me remember my group fondly. I rarely think of that day that they perished.

One day, after I had finished foraging, I went back to the being's place. When he saw me, he said something odd. Every day since then, he calls me that one word. I take it that he thinks that is my name. Although, I didn't have a name before, so I suppose that it is my name. He calls me, Alexander...

Trivia

Reception

Crypman8:

I absolutely love it!

Z15TYRANNO:

[Carnotaur has] amazing writing skills!!!

Characters

Thanks

I would like to give thanks to Diabolusaurus127, and Mikeshatter105 for their help with the logos.

Gallery

IMG 0587 (2)

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