Illustration by Caio Corsini Filho.
Dionne P Nash was undoubtedly one of the most influential singer/songwriters of the mid 21st century. With a voice from a bygone era, a colourful, eccentric personality, and a cheeky sense of humour. She captured the hearts and minds of millions of fans around the world in no time. Sadly however like so many great creatives before her, we all know how Dionne would be plagued by her personal demons, which coupled with the usual unsympathetic and exploitative treatment from the media affected both her career and reputation. She eventually became a complete recluse for the last several decades of her life.
Many bemoaned the waste of her talent, but little did anyone, including even those closest to her know however. The reason for Dionne’s torment and seclusion was actually a dark secret that she was forced to keep, even from her family until the very end. One that would have surely seen her ridiculed and even locked up had she shared it. Dionne knew the truth about what was really out there, demons, vampires, the supernatural, but even more than that, she also knew what would become of our world in the future. She saw how all of the progress we make today will ultimately be worthless in just a few centuries time, yet she could never share that burden with anyone, that is until she met me.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Dionne in her reclusive years, which were not as dark as everybody says. Quite the opposite actually. I first met Dionne who I always knew as Mrs Sande (her married name) through her daughter Shingai, who has been my best friend since the age of five. I can still remember my first meeting with Shingai. I was a shy kid, who hadn’t made any friends in my first six months at school (which felt like an eternity,) when she suddenly invited me to play with her and her friends. I didn’t know why she did it at the time, but as the years went on I’d see her do the same thing again and again, even when we were adults at college together. She’d always be the one to ask the shy kid at the back to nights out and try and talk to them. I eventually realised that was just who she was, which is why to this day I count myself lucky to have met her. Other friends have come and gone, but even with the life I’ve led, Shingai is the only friend who has stuck with me right the way through. Recently she even made me the godfather to her adorable little son, which honestly is one of the greatest honours of my life. I know that Shingai was just as wonderful a daughter as she was a friend, and that she and her parents were very close and happy together.
Dionne absolutely adored Shingai and regularly used to tell me how every day she wanted to tell her the truth. However sadly Dionne knew that even if Shingai did believe her, then she would still just be dragging her daughter into the same despair. I can’t say I ever disagreed with Dionne or Mrs Sande about protecting Shingai from that.
The only reason I became an unlikely confident to Mrs Sande, was because I had earlier thrown myself into the never ending war between humanity and the supernatural. I was just fifteen when I met my first vampire. It was preying on the inhabitants of an old folks home. I lost my grandfather that way, just a few weeks after he had been admitted.
Whilst I helped a more experienced hunter kill the vampire that took my grandfather (and by helped I mean, sharpened his stakes.) I sadly wasn’t cut out for the life of a vampire hunter like I thought. I went on a few more hunts, even actually managed to take down a few demons myself, but I just couldn’t cope with the horror. As monstrous as they were, I could barely bring myself to actually slay a vampire. I tried to make out it was because I was too pure and good for that life, but my co hunters felt I was just too much of a wimp for it.
At any rate I went back to my old life, in my old neighbourhood and was eventually able to settle down there and be happy, but many years later my past would catch up to me again when a demon began to possess people in the local area. I instantly recognised the tell tale signs of a demon attack, but I soon discovered to my surprise that Mrs Sande did too.
After we vanquished the demon back to hell together, Mrs Sande or Dionne as I would come to know her in her later years, (whose knowledge of exorcisms far surpassed mine.) Grilled me about how I knew about the supernatural.
After I shared the little pedestrian experiences I’d had with vampires that back then seemed so impressive, Dionne would slowly start to open up to me about what she had seen. I’ll be honest actually, I somewhat forced them out of her. Even with me she was worried what the truth would do, but I assured her that after the monsters I’d seen, nothing could shock me. Sadly much like my belief that I could be a badass vampire killer. I was wrong.
It took me a long while to process how bleak our future seems in some respects, though I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for Dionne having seen it and being on her own that entire time.
You might be wondering why, even with the life I’ve led I believed all of Dionne’s stories. Well for one thing even before I became her confidant, I knew and trusted Dionne enough to tell when she was lying, which was never. Finally conclusive proof would be offered to me many years later, though I am afraid I can’t quite share what that was until the end of this tale.
Ultimately all Dionne would ever share with me were small tidbits, and even after all this time I’m still not completely sure of what the full story was. It’s mostly lost, at least to our generation. Whilst talking about it did offer Dionne some relief, at other points it brought her to tears to the point where she couldn’t talk anymore.
Still I was able to piece together an overall picture of what her life in the future was like and here for the first and only time is an account of the secret life of Dionne P Nash. I hope that one day when the truth is revealed thousands of years from now, Dionne will be recognised for the hero that she was. Until that day however this must remain hidden to protect the timeline and also to make sure that I’m also, you know not seen as a lunatic by my friends and family.
Dionne P Nash was born on the 6th of May in the year 2030. Though she would often make out she was working class and perfected a gruff cockney accent. Truth be told she was a spoilt rich girl who from the very beginning was poised for some kind of career in showbiz, with her mother being an actress and her father being an industry big wig.
Still that’s not to say she didn’t have talent. I don’t need to tell you that if you’ve heard her music. You’ll know how incredible her voice alone was. Dionne grew up on a healthy diet of classic female singer songwriters from Dinah Washington, to Ella Fitzgerald, to Amy Winehouse, all of whom would help shape her own style in the early years. Amy was undoubtedly her greatest idol. In fact I’d say her favourite era overall was that late 00s-early 10s wave of eccentric female singer songwriters that Amy Winehouse kicked off, which was fitting as Dionne herself would inspire a similar wave of retro singers in the mid 21st century. I can remember Shingai showing me a picture of Dionne when she was just a little girl dressed up in a beehive, much to her mothers embarrassment, though only because of how rubbish the beehive was. She felt she didn’t do her idol justice, even though she was only 9. I personally always thought it was adorable, though that just made Dionne even more embarrassed.
Anyway, it didn’t take long for Dionne to realise she wanted to be a singer, and her first album, titled “Blackheart” was released when she was just 18 years old in 2048. Its mix of different genres from hip hop to soul to even Jazz would win her great critical acclaim, but it would be her second album “Travelling” which largely abandoned Jazz, and focused entirely on soul that really put Dionne on the map. It proved to be an international hit and three more albums would be released over the course of the 2050s, “Spoilt” a satirical, more punky look at her upbringing, “Empty” a more sombre soul effort inspired by the sad passing of her father, and finally “Frown” which saw her move unexpectedly into the country and western genre. None of these albums matched the overall success of “Travelling”, but they all were at the very least big critical darlings, except for “Frown” and she remained respected within the industry for being able to mix so many genres, again except for her foray into Country and Western, though personally I have always rather liked that album. For many that’s probably as dark a secret of mine as the vampires.
Despite the continued success, Dionne didn’t view this period as a particularly happy one. At least that’s what she told me. Whilst she obviously loved the acclaim and the free time, the attention her work drew from the media who as always began to scrutinise and lie about her private life obviously wasn’t appreciated. Her label also came down on her quite badly, constantly threatening to drop Dionne if she didn’t do things exactly their way, like focus on soul music rather than move into other genres. It’s safe to say that every single album of hers took them by surprise, for better or for worse.
Added to that her focus on her career hadn’t left much time for her personal life and as Dionne’s 30s approached she even spoke regularly to her friends from that time of how much she would just love to give it all up and escape the industry for a few years. She used to joke to me that the entertainment industry was the last place a truly creative person should be.
Sadly she would end up getting her wish in a way she never expected when not long after her 30th birthday, Dionne would be whisked away by a magical force far beyond what she, or indeed anyone from her time could comprehend to the strange land of Tairos.
Little did Dionne know at that point however, she had actually already visited Tairos twice before hand. Tairos is the name our planet will be given several hundred years into the future. At some point many centuries from now, the surface of the earth will be destroyed by a hostile race of alien monsters known as the Hylexans. Almost all life on the planet will be exterminated, except for a small group of warlocks, witches and civilians, camped out on Point Nemo, an island further away from any other landmass on earth.
For over 100 years this colony of survivors on Point Nemo will work on a spell, powerful enough to eventually restore the earth to life, covering it in a beautiful, magical forest in the process, as well as reviving the oceans as golden waters. This reborn earth will be christened Tairos which simply means home in the language of magic.
Dionne was taken to a time long after the rebirth of the earth, when humanity had to some extent rebuilt. Most of the world was still forest, but there were at least several cities and settlements, scattered around the planet that had been founded by the descendants of the survivors on Point Nemo.
The city responsible for abducting Dionne meanwhile was called Mosterik. I’m afraid that Dionne didn’t share much of its history with me, but apparently Mosterik was founded by some of the warlocks and witches of Point Nemo, specifically those who had preserved the historical records from before the alien invasion. As a result this city came to appreciate the arts more than any other civilisation of Tairos and would make its money through the trade of old, otherwise lost pieces of art and music.
Eventually Mosterik would become one of the most powerful cities on Tairos thanks to its trade, and would master magic to such an extent that it would even discover time travel. Now according to Dionne, time travel is a lot stricter in real life. It is impossible to change your own established history and timeline. If you were to go back and say stop your father from meeting your mother before your birth, you would create a paradox, for the simple reason that you would never exist to stop your parents meeting in the first place, which would then allow them to meet, meaning you would be born only to go back and stop them meeting, which would ensure you’d never exist to stop your parents meeting, who’d then meet without your interference and on and on it would go. All you’d accomplish would be to trap yourself in a time loop that could never move on from this point.
In order to stop these time loops which in extreme cases can trap entire worlds, and have a corrosive effect on the timeline in general. Creatures known as the Guardians will abduct and erase any time traveller who changes history and imprison them in an area outside of time and space known as the Abyss, an endless dessert where they will never age or die, as they are no longer subject to the natural laws. No one knows where exactly the Guardians come from, though certain myths claim they were the invention of the creator of our Omniverse to maintain order in His absence.
Either way no one and nothing can stand against the Guardians. Despite this however time travel is still practised by many beings across the universe, as it is possible to not only travel without interfering, but in some cases it is possible to create your own history too. For instance, imagine you travelling backwards in time was the reason your parents met in the first place, that would be you creating the circumstances of your birth, rather than changing anything.
The civilisation of Mosterik would find this out the hard way when several of their earliest time travel experiments drew the wrath of the Guardians. Fortunately for them however future incursions would take the utmost care not to interfere.
Mosterik’s time travel technology would be used primarily to abduct famous actors, singers, artists and writers from throughout all of history for a few weeks at a time and have them create new songs, films, books and art for Mosterik to enjoy and profit from, before sending them back to their own time, with all of their memories of Tairos wiped afterwards to preserve the timeline.
For centuries Mosterik was able to hold concerts with the likes of Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, create original operas with Freddie Mercury and Adelina Patti, and have Sir Henry Irving perform in plays shown on television and written by William Shakespeare. Even to cities who had no knowledge of the earth’s past, the novelty of deceased artists producing new work, would always ensure big sales and money.
Dionne herself would be brought back to Tairos three times. Like all others her memories were wiped when she was sent back after the first two visits, though each time she returned to the future, bits and pieces of memories of her previous visits would return, but never enough sadly to fully remember her experiences. She did however have until the very end, an image in her head of being on stage with Freddie Mercury from her second visit which she described as among her only good memories of Tairos. The only visit to the future Dionne would remember in full sadly, was the third where everything went wrong.
Dionne’s third visit was planned just before the city of Mosterik was overrun by the vampire horde. These bloodsucking demons will also return to our world once it is restored and become a more unified force than ever before.
This period represented arguably the height of the undead’s power, where many of the greatest civilisations of Tairos would fall to them.
The vampires whilst evil and sadistic, were still careful not to anger the Guardians and made sure after they took the city, all of the figures from history were sent back.
In Dionne’s case however, she was the last to be brought through. On the night the vampires took the city, the machine was programed to pluck Dionne from her living room in the 21st century, where she ironically thought she could have a nice relaxing evening.
The attack from the vampires (which took Mosterik completely by surprise) initially damaged the machine, resulting in Dionne being trapped part way through her journey to the future, in the vortex itself. She described the experience as being one of the most beautiful and terrifying of her life. In the vortex Dionne saw visions of all of history. Dinosaurs frolicking in their natural habitat, the Roman Empire, the second world war, the fall of our society thanks to the Hylexans. It was too much to take in however, the voices, the pain, even the joy and happiness. She could almost feel it, or fractions of it and both shut her eyes and covered her ears until the journey was over and she was finally brought into the now dead city of Mosterik.
After the vampires repaired the time machine to send back the people from history, little did they know, the magic of the machine would also automatically finish its original instruction and bring Dionne into what was left of Mosterik. The process normally took a few weeks from the people in Tairos’ perspective and so Dionne arrived after the vampires had completely destroyed the city like the barbarians they were and fled.
Dionne had no idea how long she spent in the time vortex. She preferred not to think about it.
As soon as she arrived in Mosterik, Dionne was confronted with the sight of a teenage boy, who helped work the machine’s mutilated corpse. The vampires had forced him to repair it, and after they had what they wanted from him, they slit his throat. The cowardly monsters didn’t even bother feeding from him!
The rest of the building was filled with the corpses of other victims, who had not got off so easily from the vampires fury and sadism.
Outside meanwhile was even worse. Beautiful golden buildings, of the most exotic architecture lay in ruins, and bodies or in most cases parts of bodies lay strewn through the streets.
Dionne was actually sick at the gruesome spectacle around her a few times, to say nothing of the stench of the corpses. She eventually made her way to the very edge of the city, desperately searching for and calling out for any signs of life.
When Dionne reached the edge of the forest outside of the city however, she barely stood three feet into it before retreating. It had begun to get dark and the screams, roars and howls from that jungle would have made even the most experienced hunter from our time retreat. Furthermore Dionne was not only still having to deal with the shock, but also vague flashes of memory of her previous two visits, which were trying to force themselves painfully back into her head.
She soon took refuge in a nearby building that was at least partially intact in order to try and make sense of what was going on, not that she could. Still anywhere would have been better than the streets, well apart from the jungle.
Dionne was sure and hoped that this was just some horrible dream, but it soon became apparent that sadly wasn’t the case. The next few hours were spent trying to make sense of the vague memories flooding back into her head. From what she could piece together she was able to get the names Tairos and Mosterik, as well as a vague idea of what this world was. She knew that it was the future and that she had been brought back because of her music, which even in these circumstances she found extremely flattering. (Especially after the bad reviews for “Frown.”)
Still that was all she could piece together of this strange world. She had no idea who, or what would be capable of causing this slaughter.
That night however she would get some gruesome reminders of just what was lurking in these jungles. Almost as soon as it got completely dark, the city would be flooded with the moans and screams of the ghosts of its former inhabitants. Dionne would even be greeted by the ghost of a young man who had been butchered by the vampires in the lower level of the building she was hiding in. She had actually earlier tripped over his corpse and when she fell she landed right on top of him and saw his face up close. Even as an old woman, decades on from her perspective, she still never forgot the sheer look of horror and agony on the boys face.
Upstairs his ghost would attempt to talk to Dionne who was so petrified she could barely even speak. The boy at first wasn’t even aware he had died, but as his memories started to flow back of the vampires tearing his throat out, he began to panic which caused Poltergeist activity to affect the room. The walls started shaking, chairs started flying about the place, and the few windows that weren’t already broken even started to crack. It soon became too much for Dionne and she hurled herself out of one of the already broken windows onto the grass outside.
As she looked around however she saw that hundreds of similarly confused and frightened spirits were appearing and disappearing all over the ruins of the city. In our time ghosts can take a long while to manifest in our world. Whilst much about the afterlife still eludes us, it is known that most spirits initially go to a space called the veil after death where they are sent through to the other side properly (Whatever that is.)
Those who can’t crossover however due to unfinished business or something else, end up back in our world until they complete whatever is tying them to earth, but it is usually after a period in the veil where they can become aware of their new status and can therefore interact with our world in a more stable way. There are a few ghosts however who don’t make it to the veil and end up in a more feral, confused state as a result.
Finally some are able to cross back into the veil and back on earth again, once they become skilled enough on earth. The veil in these circumstances serves as a kind of spiritual travel inn before the spirit is finally able to cross over, after finishing whatever it is tying them to earth.
Sadly however in the age of Tairos, due to the magical forest covering the planet, spirits were not only common, but now most of them often didn’t even reach the veil, with the mix of unusual magics covering the planet via the forest, instantly trapping their souls on earth, resulting in the spirits of Tairos also being more feral and unstable.
Several of the ghosts of Mosterik started to grab Dionne, with their fear and anger also making it easier for them to interact with the world. A ghosts ability to interact with the physical world stems from its emotions and will.
Dionne tried to push the tormented spectres away, but there was nothing for her to push against. That’s the worst thing about ghosts, they can hurt you, but you can’t hurt them.
The spectres were all screaming at her to let them know what was happening simply because she was flesh and blood.
After a few minutes however the spirits started to flee. The only thing that could terrify a ghost was its natural predator, a vandal. These demons were old rivals of the vampires ironically. Both species have been feuding since before our recorded history began and will continue to feud long beyond the age of Tairos.
There are in fact many different breeds of vampires and vandals, all possessing unique powers, though all vampire species have a need to drink blood, and all vandals have a desire to consume souls. This particular breed of vandal, one which doesn’t exist in this day and age, known as a Jurak, is said to be among the strongest, but is also as single minded as an animal, hence why it is shunned by other breeds.
These creatures stalk the jungles and ruins of Tairos looking for any souls they can devour. There are two ways that vandals can feed on souls, though they must always use their claws (same way that all vampires use their fangs to draw blood.)
They can either stab their hands into their victims stomachs and drain their souls whilst the victims wither and die in agony. Or they can hunt the ghosts of those who are already dead. Some vandals through magics have even been known to enter the veil itself to hunt.
A massacre like this was an all you could eat buffet for the Juraks in the age of Tairos. Despite the age long hatred between vampires and vandals, the bloodsuckers were only too happy for their clawed enemies to deal with their left overs.
The Juraks were tall creatures, standing over 7 foot, and they possessed large, plated black scales, no hair, huge wings and bright red eyes than shone through the darkness.
These monsters cut their way through the spirits of the city with virtually no effort. Just one Jurak was capable of taking down dozens of spirits at the same time. Dionne was lucky that the soul devourers didn’t even notice her, the spiritual energy was exciting them so much. As she neared the end of the city however, one of them did turn its attention to her. The creatures arms were so long that they could move around on all fours like an ape. Also despite their size, they could move at a tremendous speed, with this creature managing to catch Dionne off guard and send her crashing to the ground before she even caught sight of it.
Fortunately for Dionne the vandal was distracted by the ghost of a warrior, who still thinking he was alive, nobly charged at the demon to try and rescue a damsel in distress. Sadly he didn’t last more than a few seconds as it shredded his entire spirit to pieces, but it was long enough at least for Dionne to escape. Whilst he along with the rest of the army may have failed to save Mosterik, with this action he would at least help to ensure the monsters responsible for this atrocity would one day pay.
With no other choice, Dionne fled into the forest up ahead. The roars and screeches were deafening and at one point Dionne later told me she almost felt like giving up, as she threw herself to the ground and screamed back at the roaring darkness around, hoping that something would claim her and this nightmare would be over.
Instead however something incredibly happened. The roars and screeches suddenly stopped as a gigantic Dinosaur emerged from the woods around her. Specifically an Anklyosaurus. These magnificent beasts, though a by word for extinction to us in the modern day, will once again roam the woods of Tairos. Though technically they are all around us today, as birds remember are Dinosaurs.
Still the non avian kind will be a common sight on Tairos. These Dinosaurs are not survivors of the extinction event from 66 million years ago however. Rather they were revived from the spell to restore the earth, that will also revive life forms from throughout the entire history of the planet, aside from Dinosaurs. Even humans from different time periods will be among those returned to life. This will be an unintended side effect of the spells restorative powers. It will only be a few hundred creatures from every species and era that will be revived however, and even many of them will not last beyond the subsequent great conflict for resources their reappearance will create during the early years of Tairos. The Dinosaurs however ultimately will persevere well beyond the war and flourish. In fact they will continue to exist on our planet long beyond even the age of Tairos. (It is also through this restorative spell that many demons and supernatural creatures will return to our world including the vampires themselves.)
The Dinosaurs of Tairos will be a varied bunch. The unpredictable magics that brought them back will in some cases restore the ancient beasts to exactly how they were. In others however the restoration spell, will twist their bodies, making them larger, and more aggressive. Added to that certain cities and forces such as the vampires will turn the Dinosaurs into mounts and further distort and mutate them via magic to aid in their war efforts, creating whole new species, hybrids and monstrous caricatures of these great reptiles.
Thankfully for Dionne however this was a real Dinosaur. She could tell from the brief glimpses she had seen of the 66 million years ago in the vortex. The Anklyosaurus was a plant eater, though it was still not to be trifled with. From what Dionne told me in fact the plant eaters could be even more aggressive than the meat eaters.
The Anklyosaur waved its clubbed tail at Dionne, which could swing with a force of over four tones. She quickly fled deeper into the jungle in response, but as she looked back, having been so scared she almost didn’t realise what she had actually seen at first, and once she was a safe distance, she soon found herself staring in marvel at the prehistoric beast which knocked down several trees to clear a path. The trees would only be gone for a day at the most before they instantly grew back. (With the cities being built over them using magic.)
At the very least the presence of this 7 ton reptile seemed to stop the screaming from the woods. Through the darkness and up above, Dionne could see that the trees were rustling as a result of the Anklyosaurs path. Whatever dwelled in them had been scared off at least for now, though Dionne didn’t want to wait and find out what was in those trees.
For the next few minutes, the forest was eerily silent. Then suddenly throughout the darkness emerged the noise of a young woman screaming for help.
“Please, please, please someone help me!”
Dionne looked around but saw nothing. It was clearly one of the ghosts that had escaped the city she thought as she ran through the woods, until she tripped over another body. That of a young woman this time, whose corpse was lying on her stomach in the mud, though her head was actually tilted to the side, and much like the boys corpse was caught in an expression of horror and pain. Her back meanwhile had been ripped open, with three very distinct claw marks on her shoulders. Death it seemed had come from above and just then, Dionne noticed the trees beginning to rustle again.
“Please, please, please, someone help me.” The exact same phrase repeated again and again, and Dionne moved slowly back through the woods constantly looking around and above. After she got a few feet away from the corpse, something came bolting down from the tree tops, with Dionne only narrowly managing to avoid it.
It was another Dinosaur, known as a Dromeosaur. This animal was roughly 7 feet long and about 4 feet tall. It was completely covered in feathers, except for its snout. Its face was also covered in blood and most disturbingly of all when it opened its mouth, rather than a roar, it spoke! Specifically it said.
“Please, please, please, someone help me.” Dionne would later learn that just as some birds can mimic human speech, like parrots, then it seemed so could some of their Dinosaurian relatives too. In this case it was clearly a crude way for Dromeosaurs to lure prey out into the open, human or otherwise by mimicking their calls. These creatures also like birds lived in and hunted from trees, jumping on their victims from above, pinning them down with the claws on their hands and feet and then literally eating them alive. This Dromeosaur was most likely imitating the screams of the young woman whose corpse Dionne had found, who had been its latest victim. These were probably her last words as the Dinosaur ate her alive. The screeches Dionne heard earlier where all Dromeosaurs nesting in the trees, screaming at the disturbance caused by the vampires, as well as imitating the humans from the cities cries as they were being slaughtered. The Anklyosaur making a path for itself had chased the small bird like Dinosaurs away and made them go quiet. However the further Dionne got into the woods, the closer she got to more nests.
At first Dionne didn’t even think it was a Dinosaur, it looked so avian, (though again ironically all birds are Dinosaurs.) It was only when it opened its blood stained mouth that Dionne saw it had teeth rather than a beak, right before it lunged for her. This time she wasn’t as quick and the Dinosaur knocked her down. When it tried to bite down however, Dionne reached up, grabbed a hand full of its feathers from its side and ripped them out. The momentary pain distracted the Dinosaur long enough for Dionne to push it off after which she wisely ran, screaming out for help just like the last Dromeosaur’s victim had done. Just like its last victim, the Dromeosaur even started to mimic Dionne’s cries for help back at her, almost as though it was mocking her.
Unfortunately however whilst Dionne was able to keep barely ahead of the feathered predator, she was so distracted that she failed to see another jump from the trees above on top of her. The sheer force of the Dinosaur that’s torso landed on Dionne’s head, knocked her unconscious instantly.
That would have been the end of her, had it not been for the fact that luckily Dromeosaurs were solitary killers. They could now and again join together into loose groups to take down bigger prey, but even then once the prey had been killed, they would fight and even kill each other over the carcass. Being knocked out ironically saved her life, for both of the Dinosaurs believed Dionne to be dead and as soon as one tried to take a bite out of her, the other would intervene. Both soon engaged each other in a brutal fight, with Dionne being awoke by the screeches of the victor, pinning the other down and stabbing its sickle like claw through its neck, making the other Dromeosaur literally choke to death on its own blood.
Once the other Dromeosaur was dead, the winner set about disembowling it with its jaws, which allowed Dionne to quietly slip away through the undergrowth. She would literally crawl along the forest floor for the next several hours too scared to even stand up, in case she came to the attention of more Dromeosaurs. Now and again she would hear more human sounding screams and cries from throughout the woods, which she was sure were more of those horrors.
Eventually when the sun rose Dionne felt the courage to stand up again. Little did she know the Dromeosaurs actually hunted at night anyway, but she felt at least a little bit more secure now that she could actually see where she was going. The forest surprisingly looked beautiful during the day. The leaves were so bright and colourful they almost shone, whilst the pools and lakes were gold. If she didn’t know any better she’d honestly think the forest of Tairos was a paradise
Dionne soon stumbled upon a large herd of plant eating Dinosaurs, which included several Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and numerous duckbilled Dinosaurs, all frolicking together near a large golden lake.
For up to half an hour Dionne would just stand there observing these incredible creatures, though she later admitted to me that it wasn’t just the wonder of these prehistoric beasts that kept her here. She felt safe being near these gentle giants as she hoped that none of those feathered fiends from the tree tops would be foolish enough to come near when all of these larger Dinosaurs were present. Whilst the herbivores could be aggressive, as long as she kept out of their way directly then she’d be safe. Dionne also needed a rest just to take everything in.
Sadly however whilst Dionne was right that no Dromeosaur would dare attack a herd this big, an even more dangerous predator had already laid eyes on them, a particularly vicious tribe of humans known as the Vasta.
Just as many of the Dinosaurs had not been brought back as they were when the forest of Tairos had been created, and were made larger and more aggressive by the magics. Then sadly the same had been true of some, but not all of the humans throughout history up until that point too. Whilst only a small amount will be brought back as the Vasta, I hate to say because it sounds so self centered, but I constantly worry that I might be one of them, or that the people I love like my wife and two sons, or Shingai could end up being transformed into one of those monsters. It doesn’t matter if our bodies are long gone by then. Your soul will still be torn from the hereafter, made flesh and transformed into one of those hideous abominations.. Dionne herself said that for years this was why she didn’t have any children as she didn’t want to introduce a child into a world where even after death there was the possibility of no peace for them. I shudder to think that one of those monsters tormenting Dionne could have been Shingai and can only pray that it wasn’t.
The Vasta as they referred to themselves, were a very particular type of magically mutated human. They stood over 9 feet tall, appeared incredibly gaunt to the point where their skin almost looked wrapped directly over their bones, whilst their teeth and finger nails were not only far larger in length and width and sharper, but they also lacked any lips or hair of any kind too. Their skin overall appeared much thicker and leathery, whilst their eyes were also larger and looked almost bulging out of their sockets.
Despite their somewhat frail appearance however, the Vasta were far stronger and faster and more durable than any normal human could ever be.
Worse than that however, the Vasta were also much like the magically mutated Dinosaurs, mentally unbalanced. In fact they were absolute savages who enjoyed hunting and killing just for fun. Their sharp intelligence and great strength made them some of the most dangerous creatures in all of Tairos.
The Dinosaurs instantly started to panic as soon as the Vasta came within reach and Dionne was very nearly crushed to death under a stampede of Triceratops who were the only Dinosaurs that managed to escape the area unscathed. The Vasta meanwhile had sneakily prepared for the other Dinosaurs, by having only some of their number at the back to chase them, whilst others waited in the tree tops where the Dinosaurs were fleeing too, who’d then spear the reptiles from above. Three Stegosaurs were brought down this way along with one Hadrosaur. The Hadrosaur suffered a quick death, as one of the Vasta from above was actually able to jump on its shoulders and pierce the Dinosaurs throat. The alpha male of the Stegosaurs however required several blows from multiple different Vastas who at first overwhelmed the great reptiles from above, until the alpha was significantly weakened, after which another group of Vastas then surrounded it, and slashed whenever they could. The Stegosaurus was able to land a few blows with its tail, but unfortunately the Vastas durability and accelerated healing factor allowed them to easily shrug them off.
The twisted caricatures of humans laughed like hyena’s as the Dinosaurs strength faded. One of them jumped onto the back of the Stegosaurus, whilst it slowly died in agony, and even imitated the Dinosaurs screams as it breathed its last.
Dionne watched the gruesome spectacle from afar, almost too petrified to move in case she ran into one of those horrors. Once the Dinosaurs were dead or at least too weak to fight back and the Vasta started to tear their bodies open and gorge on the reptile’s entrails like animals, Dionne slowly tried to walk back the way through the woods, whilst trying not to be sick. At this stage she’d rather take her chances in the ghost city than deal with these mutants.
Unfortunately however she was so transfixed on the monsters ahead, she failed to notice one of the Vasta hiding behind a nearby tree, which soon leaped out and pinned her to the ground. The monster then let out a scream which alerted two more of its tribe, who were smeared in Dinosaur blood over and though she struggled as hard as she could it was no use and a quick strike to the face knocked her out cold.
She was now at the mercy of these horrors.
To Be Continued