This post is part of an ongoing story set in the pulp-era world of Hollow Earth Expedition. If you are new to this series, I suggest starting at the beginning of the story.
Maia leapt from the deck a split second before the dinosaurs collided into the drilling machine. She cleared the head-plate of the largest of the triceratopses and touched down on its spine, spreading her arms and legs wide to hold on. With a triumphant whoop, she righted herself on the animal’s back and waved her fedora in the air like a cowboy at a rodeo.
Then she saw that the others hadn’t been as lucky. When the triceratopses had smashed into the broad side of the drilling machine, they had rocked it into the air, and Maia’s three companions had spilled over the far side and tumbled to the ground. They managed to struggle back to their feet only in time to face down one of the enraged dinosaurs as it rounded the corner and pawed the ground in preparation for another charge. The two professors pressed themselves against the machine’s wheel wells, but Celeste tore off through the open field and the three bull triceratopses launched themselves after her. The actress pumped her arms like a trained athlete and she drove herself towards the tree line, but her terror-fueled sprint would not be fast enough to escape the massive animals barreling down on her.
As Maia clung to the back of the lead triceratops bull, the wind stung her eyes and whipped her hair across her cheek. She had witnessed a stampede once before, and she understood what it was like to be in the path of violent, threshing hooves. She had been a child then, watching the approaching tide of four dozen head of cattle that a rancher had been illegally driving through the Kiowa reservation. The other children had cowered on the far wall, but Maia hadn’t seen the point—their schoolhouse building was so rickety and dilapidated that the jostling of the passing cows would surely knock it down onto their heads no matter where they stood. She watched through the glassless window as her school teacher, a prune-faced old priest, stepped out the door and fired a pistol into the air. The cattle didn’t slow down, but they veered off towards the sunset and disappeared into their own dust storm. Maia had always remembered that moment, because it was the instant she realized that the old man used fear to control the cattle in the same way he controlled the “little red savages” whom the United States Government had entrusted to him.
As the triceratops’s horn sliced the air mere inches behind the back of the fleeing Celeste, Maia un-slung her shotgun and fired into the air. The boom echoed through the jungle and birds exploded from the trees. The triceratops heaved underneath her as it turned in its charge, bewildered by the noise. It must have triggered some primal instinct meant to protect the dinosaurs from volcanoes and lightning, because the huge beasts wheeled and surged away across the field, Maia’s own mount thundering to catch up to its herd.
She looked over her shoulder to see the actress sprint into the dark forest. With Jack gone on his scouting expedition and the professors huddled up by the drilling machine, it meant the expedition was now completely scattered throughout this strange wilderness. Still, if Maia jumped off during the stampede, she would be broken into pieces by heavy saurian feet. That was okay—there was no point getting off the ride until the fun was over.
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Hollow Earth Expedition was created by Jeff Combos and is property of Exile Game Studio. For more Hollow Earth Expedition action, check out ExileGames.com