Author: Joshua Reynolds | Banner: Joshua Reynolds

Such arrogance. Humanity’s reckless violation of the natural world brought about their very downfall. Stirring in the darkness of ancient labyrinths, nightmare creatures awoke as the planet died. From nuclear weapons, global warming, over population and deforestation, mankind created the perfect environment for them. The point of no return came and went within days of their awakening. Every time one was brought down, it seemed as if two more took its place. New nests were located every hour. Within two months, entire continents went dark. Within a year, humanity had lost. Every major city had become a feeding frenzy. At a cost of billions, the human race had lost its place at the top of the food chain. Packed highways became smorgasbords. Towns had become buffets. Everything alive was on the menu.

The Gyaos had won.

What little remained of humanity hid in small pockets. They rarely ventured outside, choosing to live in the darkness of caves and underground dwellings, feeding on mushrooms and subterranean insects. Mankind was reduced to an endangered species of animal…

But like the humans creating the call that summoned the Gyaos, the Gyaos made the call that attracted something else. Their overpopulating, coupled with their size, made the Earth stand out like a beacon of water in the dry desert that was the cosmos. In a universe ruled by the laws of nature, survival of the fittest was key. It hadn’t eaten in months. Its stomach routinely growled, desiring food. It flew the cosmos on outstretched, crimson wings. A green tongue licked its needle-like teeth, coating them in slobber. Enlarged ears could hear something in the distance. It was days away, but the sound was loud.

The beast’s emerald eyes widened. This was it. This was the meal it was clamoring for. Its huge wings flapped once more, picking up speed. It soared through the vacuum of space like a shark does the water. It had no way of telling how much time passed before the image of the blue planet appeared on the horizon. It didn’t care. All it cared about was the delicious sounds being made by the Gyaos…

Mount Everest, the highest point on God’s green Earth, was now her nest. The largest and oldest of the Gyaos swarm used it as a turret, looking down upon the world. She knew food was growing scarce. In a matter of months, if not weeks, there wouldn’t be enough living things left and her kind would start to turn on each other. She would wait here until that time came. Being the largest, no Gyaos would dare challenge her, let alone attack her. She didn’t care for the cold and snow of this region, but she was used to it. She survived the darkness for eons, since the fall of Atlantis. Her body was accustomed to the environment of death. When the nightmare was over and she fed on the last of her brethren, she would retreat back into the abyss in which it came. Then she would hibernate for countless millennia, until the Earth recovered and the next civilization would create an appropriate environment and food source for the Gyaos to survive.

The Gyaos closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She was tired. The natural time to hibernate was approaching. But she desired one last meal. If she couldn’t find any humans to devour, she would simply have to make do for an entrée of her own kind. The monstrous, bat-like thing stood on the top of the mountain and expanded her wings. She prepared to take flight for a hunt.

But then she stopped. Something pierced the night sky. It was the cry of a Gyaos, but a Gyaos in agony. The larger one traced the starry sky with her cruel eyes, trying to find the source. Then, a yellow beam shot through the heavens. It was quickly cut short. But in that brief second of light, the Gyaos saw the outline of something else. It was another winged giant. It was just as big as she was…

But how?

This Gyaos was eons old. She had survived through the tests of time to become this big. No other Gyaos alive could reach this size yet. Then another sound came. It was this thing’s roar. No, it was a screech. Like nails being dragged down a chalk board. The Gyaos snarled. This wasn’t a Gyaos…

Indeed, what had invaded the Gyaos’ home was an interstellar predator. While the Gyaos had become the apex predators of the planet Earth, Bagorah was the apex predator of the Milky Way galaxy…

The Gyaos stood tall and outstretched her wings again. Her large mouth released a scream, a sort of challenge, to the newcomer. High above, Bagorah’s emerald eyes looked down. Its tongue licked its chops again as bits and pieces of the smaller Gyaos fell from between its teeth and talons. The space bat turned in the air and flew down, jaws wide and talons outstretched. It shrieked aloud…

The battle would begin now…

The Gyaos braced herself. The air between her teeth-lined muzzle warped. A whistle-like noise came from her throat before the sonic cutter fired. The beam pierced the air, illuminating Everest. Bagorah cackled, swerving to the side, but Gyaos chased the monster with the beam, eventually clipping the tip of its tail. The bat hissed, spiraling downward. The Gyaos shrieked, ceasing her beam and hopping into the darkened sky. Bagorah missed, its claws digging into the rock and snow where its victim once stood.

The bat’s head turned, eyes narrowing. The Gyaos’ talons came down, scratching at its crimson forehead. Trenches of green ichor began to flow across its face. The shadow of evil pushed downward, trying to overpower the invader. Bagorah gave way, bending its knees but bracing its body with its wings. Its mouth opened as wide as it could, seemingly unhinging like a snake’s. A horrible noise erupted from its gullet, warping the air. The snow around them began to vibrate. Waves began to roll across the Gyaos’ flesh as she dropped head and limbs twitching.

Bagorah lifted a foot and brought it down on the Gyaos’ back, digging its sickle-like claws into the soft, brown flesh. The beast shrieked in agony, quickly thrashing about as the claws raked across her spine. Bagorah’s head came down, jaws spread wide. Needle-like teeth sunk into the Gyaos’ neck, drawing more of its delicious blood. The bat fed like a baby, sucking the blood from its victim’s neck. The Gyaos’ eyes began to roll. Its head went limp and jaws slack…

Bagorah gorged, sucking the precious life fluid from its victim. However, the sound of more Gyaos suddenly rang. The bat dropped its quarry and looked up into the starry night. Its eyes narrowed, spotting several smaller Gyaos swooping in. Like the larger, they were starting to degenerate into cannibalism until sensing the newcomer. Bagorah stood upon the largest, wings spread wide. With a single movement, it was airborne to meet the oncoming, smaller Gyaos.

Several sonic beams fired in perfect unison. The space bat managed to avoid several, but three hit their mark, clipping its wings and mid-section. Bagorah released a cry of pain, but kept flying forward. Two smaller Gyaos were first. One was caught in its massive talons, the second’s head in its mouth. The Gyaos caught in Bagorah’s eagle-like claws was crushed into pulp. The other screamed as it was held in place, the teeth stabbed into its chest, back and shoulders. The living embodiment of evil struggled, screaming in absolute horror as Bagorah’s head thrashed side to side, turning its teeth into saws. Its jaws continued to chomp like a frenzied shark until, finally, its entire top section was carved from its body. The lower half fell limp, falling to the base of Everest with a trail of gore following. The top half vanished down Bagorah’s throat, only acting like the appetizer to the meal it longed for.

Several of the smaller creatures watched this grisly show unfold. They turned around, choosing to die of starvation than be devoured alive like they did humanity. Some of the larger ones moved forward, not afraid of Bagorah’s blood soaked mouth and talons. A larger, fifty-meter Gyaos descended onto Bagorah’s back from above. It pushed down, trying to drive the space bat back onto the mountain. More Gyaos followed, swarming the crimson predator. Their heads shot down, biting and gnawing at the apex predator’s flesh.

They hit the side of Everest like a meteor. A titanic boom was followed by a colossal avalanche. The top of the mountain came down with a mind of its own. The warring predators were swallowed up by the snow and rock, covering them entirely. But that snow quickly began to turn a mixture of green and purple ooze as their bloods mixed. The icy dust had no time to clear before the snow exploded into the air. Bagorah stood tall, shaking its body in an attempt to rid itself of the piranha-like things clinging to him. Its head came down, biting into the wing of a Gyaos and easily sawing it off. But another Gyaos came down on it. Bagorah flailed about, perhaps it had targeted the wrong planet.

Stumbling back into a cliff face, Bagorah was pinned. There were too many of the Gyaos clinging to its body to attempt to fly. Torrents of green blood were flowing from numerous wounds. Bagorah’s eyes spun in their sockets. Its jaw spread apart, popping at the joints to open as wide as the muscles and bones could possibly allow. A low rumble came from within the depths of its crimson form. The air warped between its teeth and a terrible scream erupted from the core of its being. Instantly, the Gyaos’ clinging to its body dropped to the snow. Their bodies thrashed and wings gripped the sides of their heads. Their eyes bulged in their sockets and jaws gurgled saliva. Half-digested remains of other Gyaos began to erupt from their mouths as the horrible, sonic screams caused them to violently vomit.

Bagorah hissed, ceasing its attack for but a brief moment to catch its breath. The predator snarled, looking upon the ground in which the Gyaos lay twitching in puddles of their own fluid. Its head lowered and mouth opened wide again, this time launching thunderous, drum-like sounds. The snow began to vibrate as the sound focused on the fallen Gyaos, pushing them downward. Their bodies began to flatten outward, their fragile bones snapping and breaking from the thunderous booms of the waves of sound…

Even when the last of the Gyaos that had swarmed it was killed, Bagorah continued to beat them with its sound waves. Some of the Gyaos hit directly by the blasts were crushed nearly paper thin, their skin popping like blisters and bones turning to dust. After several grueling moments, Bagorah’s jaws snapped shut. It snorted and stepped forward. Its body leaned down, biting one of its victim’s legs and tearing it off in haste. This was the type of meal it longed for…

Suddenly, it fell forward. Bagorah’s face was pinned in the ribcage of one of the Gyaos carcasses. The largest of the Gyaos was back, now angrier than ever before. She held Bagorah’s head in the guts of her brethren, trying to smother the life out of it. The powerful predator thrashed, but the largest Gyaos was too heavy as she stood on top of its shoulders.

Bagorah’s lengthy tail came up like a tendril, wrapping around the Gyaos’ neck. It pulled, yanking the shadow of evil off of itself. Bagorah quickly released and rolled onto its side. Its mouth parted, launching more of its booming soundwaves. The Gyaos took flight, dodging the visible, circular blasts of noise coming from the crimson beast. The Gyaos shrieked, closing in again with talons outstretched. Bagorah’s mouth shot up, biting the clawed toes. The needle-like teeth cut through the foot at an angle, severing its digits with a sickening gush of blood and snapping bones. The toes vanished down the bat’s throat as its large jaws tried biting again, but the Gyaos moved her wounded foot at the last second. Her other leg came down, scratching at its opponent’s eyes in an attempt to blind it.

Flapping wildly, Bagorah took to the air with Gyaos trying to slash its face. The winged monstrosities gripped each other by their talons and outstretched wings. They spiraled about as they continued to lose and gain altitude every passing second. A ball of screeching horror, flailing limbs, snapping jaws and flapping wings, the monsters orbited the top of Everest. After several rotations that rained a mixture of green and purple ooze onto the mountain, the giants plummeted. Bagorah landed on top of the Gyaos, pinning her wings to rock with its own, talon-like hands. The Gyaos shrieked and the air around her mouth warped.

Before it could fire, Bagorah’s mouth shot down at lightning speed, biting the lower jaw of the creature. The teeth sunk into the insides of Gyaos’ mouth and, with a single motion, tore off its bottom jaw. The Gyaos’ cries of agony quickly became gurgles as her own blood flooded her throat and lungs. The living nightmare continued to thrash and struggle, trying to break free in order to continue her eons of life. However, Bagorah merely dropped the jaw from its own and parted its mouth. At point blank, a high-pitched scream erupted from its gullet once more. Her head was forced down as the snow vibrated into the air around it. The Gyaos tried to cry, but it was unable to. Even if her lungs weren’t flooded, the sound would have been driven right back down into her mouth. The Gyaos’ ears began to bleed. Her eyes bulged, tears of purple ooze coming from the corners. She continued to struggle for almost a minute as the sound ramped up the pressure on her skull until she could take no more…

The Gyaos’ head shattered like glass, spilling her brains across the snow. Instantly, the Gyaos’ struggling ended and her body went limp. Bagorah released its hold, shaking its head from side to side. Now it could eat in peace. And if this was the largest of this species, the rest would quickly follow its path directly into its hungry stomach.

In the endless reaches of the cosmos, the Gyaos believed they were the biggest fish. Today, they learned there is always a bigger fish…

Winner: Bagorah

 

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