"Sahara, how much longer do you think it will be until we reach the next town?" A boy with sandy brown hair asked.
"Why? Are you hungry again?"
"Why must you always assume…yes," he finished.
"Well, you're gonna have to wait, I haven't been here any longer than you have, and I also know about as much of the forest as you do," the two were walking through the forest. So far, Sahara had managed to trip over several roots, rip up most of her clothes from climbing over thick downed trees, and become soaked in muddy water from falling into it while trying to cross over a feeble branch.
"Yeah, well, do you know that this part of the forest also looks a lot like somewhere where those giant spiders live?" Now, they were cutting their way through thick, white webs that blocked most of the nonexistent path. It was growing darker the further they went and they knew they only had a few hours of light left.
"Malik, wait up!" Malik started speeding up and, when Sahara tried to catch up, she ran straight into a web.
The web began to shake violently and she looked up into the many eyes of a dark red, furred spider. Struggling was useless as were Malik's attempts at chopping through it with a kitchen knife.
A sabre shot out and sliced clean through the webbing. Covered in webs, Sahara stumbled away from the advancing spider and toward the shadow that was her rescuer. A second shot revealed the spider's blood as it left a trail in retreat.
He held out a hand, "My name is Spike."
"Thanks," Sahara said, taking the extended hand, "I'm Sahara, and my friend over there," she gestured, "is Malik." He nodded.
"You look like you could use a rest, why don't you rest at my house."
Panting, they were both out of breath from trying to keep up with their rescuer.
Upon entering his house, they saw that it looked like a fairly decent sized cabin. It was large enough for at least another three people. There was a fireplace on the opposite end and a large table near it. The table, they saw, had food already set upon it as if he was expecting company.
"Thanks," Malik panted out.
"Don't mention it; I just happened to be in the vicinity," he replied earnestly, "eat, you two must be starving. You didn't seem to pack much for people who knew they would be traveling in this forest."
"Yeah, well, we took an unexpected detour," Sahara caught the glare Malik shot at her and took the time to look interestingly at her drink before finishing it. Malik looked down at his, for some reason he had not bothered to drink it. He caught a strange look from Spike and immediately took up his drink, pretending to take a sip.
"You both look tired, why don't you rest here for the night," he showed them a couple of beds before heading off to bed himself while also saying, "maybe you could meet my friend tomorrow too, we don't often get visitors."
Malik couldn't sleep very well. He was awake, but made sure to keep his eyes closed and his breathing shallow. He didn't quite trust Spike. He just happened to show up and help them. Not to mention the fact that he even lived in the middle of this forest. Who would live here and why? Solitude perhaps? But he seemed to enjoy other peoples' company. Perhaps because he was living here alone for so long. And what about this friend? They hadn't seen any signs of another person having been here.
Meanwhile, Spike made for the room he had put them in and went over to Sahara. She was sleeping peacefully and Malik could hear her bed creak as he lifted her, almost soundlessly, and headed outside. Malik jumped up quietly, and followed him closely. He heard a soft sound of brushing leaves as he watched from just inside the door frame. Spike laid her on the ground gently before talking to someone. The rustling started up again and Malik couldn't help inching a little closer. He heard a strange, strangled growl protruding from, what he thought looked like, a giant leaf. He edged closer and saw it move. He realized that he was almost right, but it also appeared to have a mouth and very sharp teeth.
The 'head' of the creature protruded from a large tree trunk sized stem. Sahara stirred. She gave a low groan and raised her head slightly. The sight of the plant with teeth hovering above her startled her. Malik jumped out from behind the door frame.
"Since the two of you are awake, and both so eager to meet him, I guess I should start by telling you the story."
"Why I live in the middle of this forest. Why I'm alone." "My mother lived in the woods with my father and a mad scientist, my 'creator'. My siblings (Thorn, and Thistle) and I were changed into fierce creatures. Hybrid mixes of Venus fly traps and humans. Thorn left and Thistle disappeared but I stayed around. Our mother was killed by the scientist and both my father and 'creator' were killed at my own hand."
"You know, there's something familiar about you. I just can't place it," Sahara pondered.
Spike smiled bitterly, "unfortunately for you, I can't let you leave."
Just as he said that, he called up vines that bound both Malik in place. Sahara watched in a mixture of awe and fear. She couldn't help shouting out pleas. He growled at her in annoyance. He hated it when people begged for their lives. He needed to get rid of her.
He turned to her and smiled. Handing her a knife he said, "Perhaps if you can find a replacement for him I could let you both go."
She smiled nervously and nodded.
It wasn't until she was almost out of sight of the cabin that she realized there wouldn't be another human until the next village. Not only would she have a hard time finding the village, but she would have a harder time finding her way back to the cabin. And that would also mean sacrificing another human for her friend's life.
She ran back to the cabin and unwisely burst through the door. Malik was still tied up.
"You never expected me to come back, did you? You thought I would just leave him here to rot and save myself."
She waved the knife dangerously close to him, but he did not flinch. Instead, he gave her a toothy grin. She saw he had unnaturally sharp teeth. She backed away slightly, but didn't look away.
"I hate humans. They're the ones who made me like this. They turned my mother into a monster and us along with her. They killed her, so I killed them," he slowly advanced, regardless of the knife. His smile discarded.
He grabbed her knife hand and she gasped. She realized why she had recognized him earlier. She had seen him in one of her dreams.
He continued, "Humans are nothing more than chunks of meat, food for other, more suited creatures."
"Wait, I…may be of use to you," she said abruptly.
"Use? Of what use do you speak of?"
"I have a rare talent. I have premonitions," She explained.
"Hmm, that could be of use, but what about your friend? I suppose you're offering to stay here if I let him go or something."
"You're in luck. I may just take you up on that. Of course, what's to stop me from keeping the both of you here?"
She didn't have a response. She lowered her head in silence.
"What the heck, why not?"
That startled her and she expected it to be some kind of trick, but he untied Malik and the vines pushed him toward the door.
"But, Sahara..."Malik started.
He opened his mouth to argue but decided against it.
This story is kind of an experiment I'm trying. Tell me what you think.