An adventure / horror story I've been playing around with...
ORINOCO RIVER, SOUTH AMERICA, 1585 A.D.
They were being hunted.
It went against all reason, yet was still happening. Jose Martin de Abuljar had come to the New World to spread the Word of God, but found instead the yawning chasm of the Gates of Hell.
He stood at the center of a rickety raft, between his two remaining comrades. The raft careened down the churning river at an incredible pace, on the back of thousands of tons of water that would wait for no one. It was inky black, lit only by a sliver of moon. Flecks of foam were the only warning they had of rocks that could smash their raft to bits.
That didn’t frighten him.
It was what was in the water that filled him with horror.
Only minutes ago he’d dared to think they’d made good their escape, that they were safe. He’d even secreted away an object as evidence of their travails. They’d come back, in force and with fire, to visit the wrath of God upon the beast. Pope Sixtus V would know what to do with them. His mind had brimmed over with thoughts of righteous vengeance.
“There!” Miguel thrust out an arm, pointed at a flash of gold specks slipping by in the water. “Salatoc!”
The hell spawn had found them.
“Aim for the eyes,” advised Franco, his voice quavering.
Abuljar tightened his grip on his rough hewn spear and watched the water with wide eyes. The tattered remnants of riestly robes hung from his gaunt frame. He’d not eaten in days, and his stomach was a knot, his neck rigid from stress. He had a fever from drinking river water. Franco was even worse off. His long time friend could hardly stand. Abuljar felt a dizzy spell coming on, but there was no time for that.
“Do you see it?” demanded Miguel. “Do you see? There!”
Abuljar scanned the blackness at which Miguel pointed. He could see nothing.
There was a sudden explosion of foam and a dark shape surged upward and hit the front of the raft hard, lifting it. Miguel lost his balance, and with a cry of despair, the man toppled into the river and was gone.
The creature approached again, and this time slapped a great, webbed claw onto the deck and hauled its sleek torso up out of the water. It had a broad, flat head and wide set eyes, and its back glittered with flecks of gold. The lipless maw opened and flashed rows of razor sharp teeth.
Abuljar and Franco jabbed at the bulging black eyes in a mad frenzy. Franco began to scream, as if he had become completely unhinged.
Wood pierced jelly.
There was an inhuman howl of agony.
Saliva coated fangs snapped shut around Franco’s head, cutting his cries short; the river beast then dropped low, flexed sinewy arm muscles and pushed off the deck, heaving backward into the water, and dragging the limp body of Franco along with it.
The raft spun about into foaming rapids. Abuljar staggered and lost his balance as the raft tipped forward, then back, and he smacked face first into the deck, cracking his skull.
Everything went black.