It's getting hard to see - the sun is setting, and the beach is cold and lifeless. In better times, this was a good place – this was a breeding ground for the slow, flightless birds, and meat was plentiful, but now times are leaner. Tri and I stalk the water's edge hungrily, desperately on the hunt for food and precious animal hides.
Tri sees the giant turtle-beast first. Armored like a tank, fully the height of a full-grown man, the sullen reptile glares at the two of us from beneath the waves. It might be my imagination, but I think I can see hate glimmering in its beady red eyes.
Game is scarce now. We've been sustaining ourselves with roots and berries in a hard-scrabble struggle to fill our bellies, but it's simply not enough. We need meat. We need leather to make shoes and bedding. So we grit our teeth, raise our spears, and wade in to the dark, cold ocean to kill a monster.
The water is frigid, and my breathing quickly becomes laboured. I can feel the cold seeping into my limbs, numbing my fingers. Tri and I hold our breaths and dive into the dark water. We split and surround a beast that show no concern – prudent men don't come here, and for good reason: we drown, we freeze, we sink. But we're not prudent men. Hunger has made us desperate.
In the end the fight is silent and bloody. Rent by a dozen spear thrusts, the beast finally crushes the life out of me with a rock-hard beak the size of a beachball. From its blind side, Tri stabs desperately wounding it mortally. I die, my chest viciously punctured. The turtle dies from dozens of deep, bleeding wounds. In a cruel twist of irony, Tri has spent too much breath and energy struggling to survive, and can't reach the surface. He drowns. Only the dark ocean dines tonight.
Postscriptum: As I'm the first to die, I'm able respawn at our meager hut, where Tri has prudently thought to place a bed. I jog down to the beach and in to the water to render the corpse of the Carbonemys down to a floating mess of meat and hide. Next, I drag Tri's bobbing corpse safely to shore. Unfortunately, my own corpse cannot be found. Tri is next to respawn, and together with Wilson, delivers much-needed fire, food, and clothing to my shivering, naked self. Tri loots his own corpse for his precious belongings, and we cook steaks made from his body in a hasty beach bonfire.Read More