I was on the hunt, and I was loving it.
Okay, I was just joking around. This was no real hunt. But this weirdo I was chasing sure was acting like it was one, and I was going to milk the game for as long as I could. It's not every day you get to have this kind of fun, after all. Especially with a guy who just gave you a very unpleasant wake-up call. The flatttooth, who I might add was no featherweight, had nearly sat on me. I might've been resting under a pretty large shrub, but come on, not paying attention to where you sit down in the Mysterious Beyond is a fantastic way to get yourself eaten. It was for this flattooth's own good—not to mention my own entertainment—that he needed to learn a lesson about that. The next time he almost squished something, it might not be as friendly as me.
I screeched at the flattooth, baring my pointed teeth.
"EEEEEK!" he shrieked.
Wow. That shriek was higher than a newborn hatchling's.
In another second, the guy turned around and began to flee. Now, this was going to be fun. I might have been past my prime, but I could still run as fast as anybody. Let alone this poor klutz, who was bumping into stuff left and right as I pursued him. I knew the forest. He didn't. It gave me an advantage, but I paused now and then just to let him think he had a chance of getting ahead. The wind rushed in my ears, and the trees and bushes melted into an exhilarating blur, everything whooshing past me.
There was something invigorating about a chase. Most creatures I encountered, even the largest ones—especially the largest ones—had always run from me. It used to bother me when I was a kid, but I learned to have fun with it soon enough. It was some kind of power when you thought about it, really. Though I must say that I never fully understood it. It wasn't as if I was venomous, and I'd never thought of myself as particularly fierce. I seldom hurt a fly.
Soon, the flattooth I was chasing tripped over a particularly large root in his way and was thrown to the ground. I stopped in my tracks, hesitating for a moment. He wasn't injured, but he looked downright horrified, cowering against the dirt. Was it time to have mercy on him and give the game up?
Nah, I couldn't resist. He'd gotten his chance to run away, but he kept sitting there whimpering. With a shrill cry, I raced towards him and leapt into the air, coming down onto his back. The squeal that came from him was priceless.
Truthfully, I was amazed this poor fool had survived to adulthood in the first place. Yes, he was an adult, believe it or not. I wouldn't have pulled this on some kid. In fact, I helped out a group of lost kids before. Had a little fun jumping out at them first, but then I showed them there was no reason to be scared of me, and they let me help them out. Good bunch of kids. I wouldn't mind crossing paths with them again, honestly. See, I'm a nice guy.
But nice guys can have a sense of humor, too.
"Help—HELP!" the flattooth screeched. "Oh, no—oh, man, he's biting me! HELP! HELP!"
Oh, for the love of skywater. I was not biting him. I just pulled out a couple of feathers. And he was in no danger of running out of those, trust me. He'd been shedding them nonstop during the chase, so much so that I was still trying to get some bits of down that had hit me in the face out of my mouth. Was that this creature's defense mechanism? Gag the predator with feathers? Evolution must not have been so kind to this poor guy…
"Stop! Go away! Please!" the dinosaur cried as I grinned down at him. "No! No! HELP!"
Etta descended from the trees above her friend, coming to a landing beside him with an amused smirk on her face.
"Settle down, why don't ya?" she chuckled, picking up the creature that stood on top of him. "It's just a tickly fuzzy!"
"B-B-But…" Wild Arms sobbed, "but…I don't like tickly fuzzies! And it was going after me, I'm telling you!"
"Come on, now," sighed Etta, rolling her eyes, "don't be such a scaredy-egg. Why, it's just a harmless little critter." She scratched the fuzzy gray rodent under the chin. "I'm sure it was just trying to play with you."
As Etta glanced down at the little creature, she thought for a moment that it winked at her.
But then, of course, she realized she must have imagined it.