Excerpt from CAPRITARE [Cycle 1]

Alright. I feel like this passage is polished enough to post. Enjoy!

Narrowed eyes told me that others were already planning,strategizing. A six-pointer glared at me. I stared back.
Armidy lifted a large, white stone above his head. Hisarms bulged with the weight of it. The tips of his fifteen-point antlers stretchedhigher than his uplifted hands. I scanned for someone smaller than me–someone I could possibly force to touch the tree.

Armidy slammed down the stone. “Begin!”

Frenzy. There was the instant strain of muscle, bone,and roars. Scattering. My mind whirled. Run! My legs jerked. Catch. Don’t get caught. A tree. Hide. I slid, hit the ground. Lay low.
I could see struggles all around me: large groups wrestling, vying for one another, lone beasts skulking. Locked horns. Bucking hooves. Ferocious eyes. The rotting wetness of the mulch beneath me assaulted my nose. A pair of Yramidians thumped past me. An Esque, captive to their strength, struggled to break free. Her loud screeching echoed off the leaves.
Movement to my left—Neelid. Gasping. He hid with his back against a tree. I peeked out, then crawled to him.

“Cap. This is crazy! I got punched!” He lifted his shirt to reveal a red mark in the shape of a fist burning on his ribs.

“What should we do?” I asked. “Team up and try to get someone?”

“Who? The little ones have already been nabbed.” Neelid hunched lower. “You and I are probably the smallest ones left.”

“So what? We just lay low and wa—?”

I was rising. Jerked. Pressure on my chest. Heat.Tightening. Treetops whizzed overhead. Kick! Kick! I arched my back. Squirmed. Kicked—hard.

Bamm! The hardness of ground. I slowed my racing eyes. The six-pointer was already back up on his knees. His red eyes glowing. His face contorted into every shape of rage.
I leapt up and stumbled to Neelid. “We’ve got to fight him together!”
We stood side-by-side with our backs against a tree.Six lowered his head, cut his eyes up at us, and lunged. Two steps, three. Too quick to dodge.

Pain exploded in my side.

Six pulled back, sliding his antlers out of side. Hot blood ran. He took aim again. I closed my eyes to brace against the pain.

Clash. Clacking of five points on six. Antlers intertwined. A snap like the breaking of a twig. Neelid threw punches with a force beyond his small frame. Searing in my gut. Six scooped Neelid up, slammed him to the ground. Neelid kicked out his legs, knocking Six’s out from under him.

Darkness crept in at the edge of my thoughts.

Booming from afar, “We have our winners! Stop thegame.”

What game? My sight dimmed as Neelid untangledhimself from the six-pointer. White heat shaded with redness blazed at my side.A red vividness streamed out of me. Darkness eclipsed my world with black. Oblivion.


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