Author : Ian Hill, of 14
The crimson clothed hunter stood leaning against a large boulder smoking a cigar lazily, his pointed brown fedora angled towards the ground to ward off any unnecessary light. His outfit was a mismatched black and red military formal with large collars and buttons, it gave him quite a distinct look.
“Oi, there’s one.” came the soft voice of his partner, Alexander Flynn.
The hunter nodded slowly and brought his rusted metal and wooden rifle up. Quite an old bolt-action firearm, but he was proud of it. He had even named it the Norbrück. Peering at the sky he looked for what Alexander had indicated, and finally found it. A singular long squid-like entity floated loftily through clouds, looking around lazily with a single wide eye. It had a thin, almost invisible, chain anchoring it to the ground. These creatures were called the Avial by the locals, magnificent beasts said to keep the planet from falling into the vast void of nothingness known as space.
Shouldering his antiquated rifle the hunter peered through the slightly offset scope. “Probably a five, maybe even six hundred pounder.” he said quietly and did a quick mental calculation. “That would fetch around 10,000 credits with the Keitl.”
“By all means, shoot it.” said Alexander excitedly, looking at the squid in anticipation.
“I plan to, son.” replied the hunter evenly.
The Avial traced lazy circles in the sky ponderously, it was a wonder they even managed to stay afloat.
After a few seconds of steadying his rifle and controlling his breathing patterns the hunter let loose a single round. The bullet sailed through the air in a minor arch and eventually impacted the squid-like creature directly in the side, sending it spiraling out of control. The Avial folded in upon its self and careened towards the ground. After many seconds of falling the squid contacted the ground with a sickening thud, the two men surged towards it to claim their prize. Stepping over rocks and leaping across crevasses the hunter and his partner located the gelatinous body of the dead creature with its thin chain trailing off into the distance.
“Good shot.” said Alexander, crouching beside the Avial with wide eyes.
“Easy shot.” the hunter amended. “Get that thing compressed and packed up, I want to make it back to the Hinterlands before night to bag a couple of snow whales.”
With a brief nod Alexander set to work at storing and preserving the game.
The hunter cycled the bolt and chambered another round in his rifle, peering up at the sky which had grown ominously dark.
“How big do these things get, Alex?”
“I dunno. There were some stories from this planet’s mythology that spoke of some many miles wide.” he replied in a bored tone still working on the Avial.
A huge chain with impossibly vast links appeared on the horizon, spiraling up into space and eventually connecting to an enormous blue spear-like blotch which was descending quickly towards the surface.
“How much do you think that one would fetch on the Keitl market?” asked the hunter in a queer tone.
Alexander looked up slowly, searching for another of the squid. His eyes finally widened in understanding.
Soon enough the giant Avial blocked out the whole sky, extending long tendrils of electricity towards the hunter and his partner.
“I think I’m going to need a larger caliber.” said the hunter matter-of-factly.
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows