From what Brad could see, it would take approximately two hours to reach the destination.
“We’ll go there after the sun gets cooler,” said Teyata.
“Fast-forward,” said Lisa.
She sipped her coffee as the scene of Brad and Teyata flitted through a virtually event free day. When they began to walk together towards the road, Lisa said “play.”
Their trek took them to the road about 500 metres up the incline. Brad stopped by the guardrail, overlooking the green fields, leading to a sandstone cliff a few kilometres away.
“This is the final test,” said Teyata. “You’ll have to wait until dark. If you make it across the field I’ll meet you on top of that cliff.”
Brad half laughed, not sure if she made a joke. She looked concerned or guilty; he couldn’t tell. He opened his mouth, about to ask Teyata to explain herself, when she turned away and sped off.
“I’ll pray for you,” she said.
Brad continually paced and watched the sun as it made it’s all too slow downward arc. Two hours it would take by his estimation. He laid on the ground and rested his head against the guard rail. With his goggles pushed to the top of his head, he closed his eyes…
Cool air descended on his body, waking him. He opened his eyes to the tune of mosquitoes buzzing like an annoying cloud around his face. Apart from the stars, he got to his feet in a virtually lightless night. Slipping his goggles into place, he scanned the plain between himself and his destination. Nothing moved, or looked out of place.
Why did Teyata seem so scared?
He cleared the guardrail with a standing jump, and cautiously made his way down the steep incline. Laterally he tried to pick his route. Halfway down his feet lost traction and slid. The self preservation program on his foot bands activated. Claws sprang free, anchoring him to the ground. In a crouch, he made it the rest of the way down without incident, where he scanned the ground ahead… nothing. Was this a joke? Teyata was a playful person. He wouldn’t put it past her.
Employing all his senses, he headed for the cliff. The only thing between it and himself came in dried tufts of grass. Still, caution dictated his movements. Shuffling, brief and faint, came from somewhere close. He felt something nudge his boot. On looking down, he saw the strangest creature, a blend of rabbit and lizard. The head looked semi-reptilian, yet the rest of its body looked like a horrid blend. It’s bulk looked furry and white, with the standard fluffy bob tail, yet it’s stumpy legs looked clearly reptilian.
Brad laughed, as it looked like a lizard wearing a rabbit sock; obviously harmless. He leant forward to pat the creature. It turned it’s head and hissed sharply, exposing a forked tongue through its needle teeth. Without warning, it sprang at his face. He brought up an arm to shield his eyes. The self preservation program activated, skewering the little animal. Pulling his arm away, the creature silently opened and closed it’s horrid mouth in it’s death throes.