View Full Version : The Darkwoods Pack: The Hunt (Extreme Violence) - (2512 words)

February 25th, 2013, 10:28 PM
This is the first ever of my series of paleo-stories. That is my word for the type of stories I am writing at the moment. They are my attempts at imagining an age man has never been able to see, and that fascinates millions around the world. I try to do this in a realistic and accurate manner... with some storyline. XD Yes the dinosaurs do have names, but that is simply something to refer to each individual by. Warning! This story contains dinosaurs. It also contains some pretty violent bits, so if you don't like reading about blood, this isn't going to be the story for you. If you're not familiar with most dinosaurs then you may want to click these links to look at the pictures. It will help you have an idea of what you're reading about, I imagine. Thanks in advance to anyone who reads or anyone who offers critiques or advice. I am aware my grammar is far from the best, and I am trying to improve my writing as a whole.



It was a warm, humid, Cretaceous day 76 million years ago. In the area that would become Alberta, Canada a pack of predators was on the move. Their small forms were hard to make out in the relative darkness of the forest floor. The huge Conifer trees that were so plentiful in the area created perfect hiding places for the creatures as they darted from tree to tree. Their brown and black forms camouflaged quite well with the rest of the forest.

The pack of Dromaeosaurs hadn't made a kill in over a week. Not for a lack of trying though, as many of their prey items had simply escaped through strength and luck. Today they were determined to make a kill. The leader of the pack issued a short screech, causing the other raptors to suddenly halt their advance. The leader's name was Streak, and she was easy to distinguish from the other pack members. She shared their general coloration; brown feathers on the upper part of her body, white on the bottom, two bands of black running across her neck and an additional band over her eyes. What separated her was a black stripe running down the length of her back. This trait was seen only in the leaders of packs of Dromaeosaurus. She was also the second largest of the pack. Turning her head towards the other raptors, Streak observed the pack.

There were 5 others with her. First was Mono, the darker colored male who had lost his sickle claw on the left foot during an encounter with a rival predator many years ago. Also with the hunting group today was Heed. He was a cautious hunter, always picking his moments carefully. This attitude had probably saved his life on numerous occasions. Rare was there as well. He was the easiest to tell apart from the others. Rare was born with a condition where his feathers grew very sparsely, thus he displayed scales over 85% of his body. This didn't seem to hinder his abilities though, and he was possibly the smartest of the entire pack.

Rounding out the hunting troop were Martial and Root. Martial was an exceptionally large male raptor with thicker stripes than the others. Standing a full 8 inches over the others, he usually won confrontations with the other pack members. He was almost always the starter of these disputes as well, his aggressive nature showing towards all except Streak at some point in his lifetime. Root was an average sized raptor with extra long tail feathers. She was also the mother of 4 chicks. Her brood was back at the nesting site, under the protection of the 7 other Dromaeosaur adults who had not joined in on this hunt.

Streak had called for the pause on the very edge of a clearing. Ahead of them was a dinosaur the pack had encountered a few days earlier. The lone Edmontia, at 20 feet long, 6 feet high, and covered in thick sharp spikes could smell the pack approaching many minutes before they arrived. The pack was not a true threat to him being, but he had already lowered himself to the ground, leaving only spikes and armor plates left to attack. Streak knew from experience that the group could not kill the creature without massive casualties. The dinosaur would have been more than a match for the group of lightly built 6 foot long predators. Her instincts told her to attack the prey, but her brain told her to continue on. With another call, the pack was on the move again. They proceeded through the clearing Martial and Mono even stepping on top of the Edmontia as they followed Streak.

It was only about 15 minutes later when Streak and the pack arrived at their intended destination. The forest abruptly gave way to a very large expanse of grass. The plains were only interrupted by a small creek which was used by many dinosaurs for a source of water. Sure enough, a massive herd of herbivores had gathered here. Usually the different species didn't coexist this well, but after the rainy season food was so abundant that the added safety of more creatures was worth the extra mouths to feed. The herd consisted of about 20 or so Centrosaurus, twice that many Lambeosaurs and Edmontosaurus each, and also a small number of Albertaceratops. The individuals were spaced quite greatly in some areas, but their sheer numbers generally kept them safe. The raptors all watched from behind the towering trees, trying to find a weak link in the herd. For what must have been an hour the small predators observed their quarry. Eventually Rare noticed an adult Lambeosaur that appeared to be struggling to walk around. He issued a light cry and a response from Streak came a few moments later.

A shrill call echoed into the clearing from inside the dark forest. The members of the herd paused in panic. All turned towards the direction of the sound. Just seconds later two Dromaeosaurs burst from among the vegetation sprinting towards the herd. Absolute chaos ensued. The Lambeosaurs and Edmontosaurus turned and fled in the opposite direction. Their stampede spurred the instincts of most of the ceratopsians as well. Streak and Mono continued their pursuit of the herd. All was going according to their plan. Everything except for one bull Centrosaurus that is. The lone bull of the ceratopsid dinosaurs had encountered Dromaeosaur attacks before and survived them all. The hulking behemoth had no fear of the smaller more agile predators. He rushed towards the pair of charging raptors with a fury seldom seen from the plant-eating "gentle giants" of the age.

Streak and Mono veered off in opposite directions. Neither wanted a confrontation with the dangerous bull. As they began to run around the angered dinosaur an incredibly deep roar issued from inside the forest. Streak continued running, but Mono paused for just a second. He had heard that roar before. Bad memories were associated with it. When he snapped back to the present, the Centrosaurus was almost upon him. Mono attempted to jump out of the way, but was struck by the horn of the raging beast. He landed a few feet away, all of the wind driven from out of his lungs. As Mono struggled to regain his breath and senses, the bull turned back around and charged again. Streak had kept running, confident that Mono would soon join her when he evaded the horned dinosaur.

The raptor was able to escape the wrath of the titan's horn this time, but was stunned just enough that he wasn't at full speed. His tail was caught in the bull's razor sharp beak. A squeal of pain shot through the plains as Mono tried his hardest to escape the jaws of the bull Centrosaurus. He pulled with all his might, but was too weak to free himself. The bull tried to land a head butt on the small carnivore, but missed when Mono crouched, tail still clamped firmly. Mono's fighting instinct kicked in and he lunged at the larger dinosaur's now close throat. While his tail was stuck in the bull's mouth, Mono still had one sickle claw, his claws, and a mouthful of strong teeth to attack with. He launched a full assault on the behemoth, biting with all his force and sinking his claw as far as it would go into the bull's soft vulnerable neck. Driven into further rage the larger herbivore shook his head wildly and managed to release the grip that Mono had on his neck. While still clamped onto the raptor's tail, he took aim at the now trapped and airborne predator with his horn. Mono didn't have time to react and was skewered, killed instantly. The bull bellowed in triumph, but blood shot from his mouth as he did so. The massive creature fell to the ground. As he took his last breaths, he wasn't capable of realizing that when shaking the raptor he had caused the claw to slice deeply into the vital components of his neck. The triumphant beast died quickly from a combination of suffocation and drowning in its own blood. Streak had continued on, never witnessing the terrible fate that had befallen Mono and his attacker. Up ahead, the hunt continued on.

A couple hundred yards ahead, the pack had isolated the chosen Lambeosaurus and was giving chase. Streak had now been joined by Root and Rare. The three were just a few feet behind the much larger herbivore. While almost in lunging distance, it wasn't their plan to attack yet. They continued to harass the beast, nipping at its flanks and making mock lunges. The chase speed was a little slower than usual however; as the Lambeosaur's right front leg was injured. The herbivore most likely suffered a sprain in the last week. It was just a few seconds before the prey would have reached the edge of the forest when the rest of the pack sprang from behind the trees.

Seeing Heed and Rare emerge from the forest at full sprint, Streak screeched the call to attack. Rare jumped at the beast's right rear leg, clawing his way up and slashing at the herbivore's spine with his claws and delivering surprisingly powerful bites for a creature his size. Streak lunged onto the prey as well, working her way to its vulnerable neck area. Root had also managed to climb onto the creature and began gouging huge areas out of its flank. Martial added to the attack, jumping onto the victim's left flank. The combination of Martial's momentum, the weight of the pack, and the Lambeosaur's previously injured leg caused the beast to topple over and strike the ground with an enormous impact. All members of the pack landed on their feet except for Martial, who had simply stayed atop the fallen duckbill. The ensuing struggle was brief, violent and bloody. Weak from blood loss and exhaustion, the Lambeosaur could do nothing but writhe in agony as the pack began to eat him alive. The most danger the raptors were in at any point was the spat between Martial and Streak over who was allowed the liver. The organ was torn in half as the duckbill took his last, gasping breaths.

The now group of five was scarfing down as much of the carcass as they could. Past experiences had taught the pack the importance of speed in finishing a meal. Sure enough, after only a few minutes of feeding, the pack suddenly stopped eating and began to look around quickly. They could feel it drawing nearer. The rumbles in the ground sent tremors up their bodies, alerting them to the presence of a common foe. Out of the forest stepped an absolutely massive bipedal dinosaur. The Daspletosaurus approached the kill calmly, huge teeth showing through its slightly open maw. The pack jumped atop the kill, screeching and hissing as loudly as they could. The Daspletosaur was not intimidated. Although his arms were absolutely tiny, he had never met another creature that his massive bite couldn't rid the world of.

The challenger continued to approach the carcass, despite the pack's best efforts to dissuade the juggernaut. Martial charged at the tyrannosaurid, arms agape in a threat display. The Daspletosaur didn't take kindly to threats apparently. The Black and Red scaled titan attempted to take a bite out of martial, but he wasn't fast enough to land the bite. Martial ran back and joined the rest of the raptors, who were now behind the Lambeosaur carcass. The Daspletosaur stepped upon the kill and took a huge chunk of flesh off. He was pleased. After downing the large piece of meat he stepped over the carcass and roared at the pack scattering them. Turning around, he began to feast on his prize.

On a normal day, that would have been the end of the story. But one raptor had quickly returned to the carcass. Root was not ready to give up just yet. She had chicks back at the nesting site that needed to be fed. It had been almost a week and a half since they had last had food. Her maternal instincts drove her to do something that was exceptionally rare for her kind. Streak and the rest of the pack returned, urging Root to continue the hunt elsewhere. A small screech, but with a very clear message was Root's response. Attack. In a show of pure athleticism and speed Root charged at the unaware adversary and climbed up its back. She made her way to its neck and began to attack with all her available weapons. When the Daspletosaur began to respond it triggered the pack's instinct to save their own.

The Daspletosaur tried in vain to bite the pest off of his neck, thrashing around violently. His pain was multiplied as the other members added to the assault one by one. Martial attacked the beast's massive leg. Root moved her way up the Daspletosaur's skull and was replaced on the neck by Streak and Heed. Rare had also made his way to the juggernaut's head. Although clinging to the side of such a large dangerous dinosaur's face was generally a death wish, there was in fact a method to the Dromaeosaur's madness. He unleashed his sickle claw on the creature's most vulnerable area. The Daspletosaur roared in pain as his left eye was gouged all the way through. During the struggle he had slowly made his way closer to the forest, and now shaking his head wildly, he felt the slam as his head connected with the trunk of a particularly massive tree. Roaring in agony and now in a daze, the Daspletosaur continued down the edge of the forest, moving as fast as he could to escape the blitzkrieg fury of the raptor pack.

The Dromaeosaurs all jumped off the wounded enemy, not wanting to risk injury to themselves unless absolutely necessary. Looking around, they saw the limp form of Root, curled into a ball at the base of the tree. Martial called out her and upon receiving no reply walked towards his fallen comrade. He nudged her head urging her to get up. The other members of the pack had started back towards the carcass, knowing what had happened. Only streak remained to watch Martial as he stood by the tree in what could only be described as mourning. Streak turned back, wanting to have food left to eat for herself when she arrived at the carcass. It would be a few moments before Martial would return to eat, the death of his mate weighing as heavily as it could on a raptor. After the meal was finished and the pack was returning to the nest they ran across the carcass of the Centrosaur. They realized the fate of Mono, recognizing him by his scent. The return home was silent, save for the deep vibrations that vibrated the ground as the pack left the scene of Mono's death.

February 27th, 2013, 05:16 PM
This was an interesting piece and here I thought I was the only one who wrote paleo-stories. I guess it's a little less uncommon than I might have thought. Anyway, I found no SpaG errors. But I think you could tighten up the descriptions here and there as some places tend to get a bit wordy. Another thing I had a problem with was your use of modern-day measurements ("at 20 feet long, 6 feet high," "15 minutes later", etc.) as those would have no meaning to a dinosaur.

There are a few other things I'd like to point out.

This trait was seen only in the leaders of packs of Dromaeosaurus. She was also the second largest of the pack. Turning her head towards the other raptors, Streak observed the pack.

The word 'pack' is used three times right after another and for that, I think this passage could be rewritten to omit two of them so it will flow better.

They proceeded through the clearing Martial and Mono even stepping on top of the Edmontia as they followed Streak.

Edmontonia. And I'm sorry, but I just don't see him keeping calm while a couple of therapods are leaping on his back.

The return home was silent, save for the deep vibrations that vibrated the ground as the pack left the scene of Mono's death.

Vibrations don't vibrate by themselves. What's causing them? The Dromaeosaurus aren't heavy enough. Is there a stampede I should be worried about?

Despite this being a chase/hunt scene, it read a bit slow. Again, this could be tightened up and I think you should work on the 'voice' of the piece to make it more interesting for readers.

That said, who's the protagonist in this piece? I'm assuming it's Streak, but it could very well be another member of her pack. I had a tough time telling the characters apart even with those descriptions at the beginning. I know this is only a single scene, but the characters never really stood out for me. I need to be able to care about them and what happens to them. Will your stories have any dialogue in them? I know dinosaurs don't speak English, but the dialogue could at least convey the meaning behind their screeches and even their body language. If you're going in for some character development, I would suggest using a first or third person narrative instead of omniscient which is what you're using. Make the reader care and your story suddenly becomes a whole lot more interesting.

Do you read animal fantasies, by any chance? Warriors (the original series) by Erin Hunter and Firebringer by David Clement-Davies are good reads for people interested in that kind of thing. They're not about dinosaurs, but it might help in writing animal characters that us humans can grow to love.

Whew. That was a longer critique than I expected. From one paleo-story-teller to another, I think you've got something good going here. I'd really like to see some character development and I'd be interested in reading further stories by you. Keep up the good work.