Like a Bat Out of Hell
Timothy Mason, or Saul of Flean, as he is known on Cket-a3, seldom runs from a fight. Running away isn’t very good for the reputation if there are witnesses. In a city like Rostian on the planet Cket-a3, reputation is important.
To potential clients of an Adventure-Travel Guide, from the Grand Taosan Galactic Empire, reputation is everything.
“What is One person’s speck of time compared to the entirety of a civilization?” Saul’s mind wondered as he lay on his back, eyes closed.
Taosa proper as a planet is Three Billion Years old, so why would one person’s One Hundred and Eighty Years, without enhancements and extensions, be of any significance? Seventeen Hundred Millennia ago Freder Gorsez, completed his basic structural mapping of the Taosan, dual armed spiral galaxy, and today he is still taught in schools.
“Would generations be taught my name?” Of course, these thoughts came to Saul as a reaction to the fear that it all might be coming to an end, while he dangled in a cage at the end of a rope a hundred feet over a public square, in Rostain city.
Apprehended for trying to sell a stolen figurine in the market. The truth was he had acquired it from the treasure hoard of the Frum. He had pled his case, explained that the folks who had stolen the figurine most likely had fallen victim to the Frum. They must have had the figurine with them when they lost their lives. Now he was awaiting the ruling of the Trader District’s judiciary. It didn’t help that the figurine had belonged to a “Nobel” family that had been victimized.
Hombre and Burges were waiting and hoping that the story would be accepted, so they could leave and not be forced to extricate their boss. That would put a twist on things, they might even have to find a new city to base their expeditions from.
We digress however, this story started with reference to running from a fight, and reputation. You see how Mr. Mason’s mind wanders when he has to much time to think. Like all the time spent swinging back and forth above the square, in the cage, pondering his life or death.
Three weeks ago while leading a client on an adventure in the Telvorian caverns, Saul, Hombre, and Burges, along with two Henchmen, they hired from the city, capable young men who wished experience; stumbled upon the one thing the caverns had to offer that Saul did not want to experience. Well, not all up close and personal anyway.
The Fitash Auroom, an enormous beast thirty feet in length, quadrupedal, elongated snout, long tail, yellowish-brown in color, its skin hard and scaly, oh, and massive wings. The Fitash Auroom is a fabled bringer of death, tales say it will descend upon a city followed by its mate and hundreds of its offspring, they will wreak havoc and destruction and eat almost everything. It eats metal, especially shiny metal like Gold, Silver, and Copper, as well as flesh.
Important to note, the female is smaller than the male, the young Fitash Auroom from birth to six years or so, are very small compared, the size of a pony.
“The problem,” Saul explained to Horris Albrath, his client. “is that the attacks on cities occur during birthing season. The male is actually fleeing the female and offspring because during birthing they become ravenous to the point of cannibalism, there is somewhere between fifty and one hundred offspring from a single female. So the male will flee, and lead them to a place with a large amount of food.”
whichever survives the chaos, the father or mother will lead the remaining offspring back to the den where they will mature, brutalize, and feed on each other till they leave. Usually just one or two remain till the time the parent rejects them or the young kill the parent and move on.
The Fitash Auroom later rid themselves of the metal they eat through bowel movements marking their dens. So it is likely that a person would come across random piles of precious metals prior to actually stumbling upon the lair of a Fitash Auroom.
In this particular case. there was no warning at all. They turned the corner from the corridor they were in, large enough for several men to walk abreast tall enough to ride a horse in, it opened up into a large cavern. There before them were twelve or more beasts. An aged Male and his young. Luckily they were asleep. The offspring were still small enough that a few could follow them into the corridors of the caverns.
The men stood in astonishment staring. Later they would recount, “It felt like we stood there staring from hours. Did you see all that gold?” In reality, it was two minutes twenty-four seconds, and Mr. Mason was furious that it took him that long to come to his senses.
Saul quietly turned the party around, ushered them back into the corridor and after moving a few yards away from the cavern entrance, said “Run, run and don’t look back, run as fast as you can, like bats out of Hell searching for a moonlit feast, run,” as he pushed and pulled the party down the corridor.
Out of one potential hell into another, the chain suspending the cage squeaked with each slight movement.
Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.
T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.
Mr. Mason is a Series of stories published every so often, stories from the Grand Taosan Galactic Empire. Each story is a chapter or two, or a stand-alone Flash Fiction story. They are original, first rough drafts. Mr. Mason the,” Adventure-Travel Guide from the Quarstanian District of Flean, in the Taosa Stellar System Orb, of the Grand Taosan Galactic Empire. Below are the previously published Stories of Mr. Mason. New stories will be titled Mr. Mason # xx, and a subtitle. I hope you enjoy it.