Prologue

 The hunter steadied his gun, boots sinking deeper into the muddy ground until wet grime inched over the bottom of his laces. The forest should have been teaming with loud calls and chatter of local animal life but instead was filled with the dreadful echo of oblivion. There wasn’t a predator alive that could have provoked the intense stillness in the saturated region, at least not one that he has ever observed. Heal to toe through the rain forest he moved stalking a beast that was out of sight but could be sensed with all the instincts he inherited through ancestral blood. With the immense elephant gun raised  and despite it’s weight he brushed aside branches and giant leafs with a soft ease and wraith like movement. The hunter ignored the dripping water from the upper echelons of the forest balcony, waiting patiently after each step for his eyes to adjust to the unpredictable light trickling through the horde of foliage encasing him. Years spent hunting prey in the night has evolved his vision to even the smallest change of light, if unable to see then survival was greatly reduced on the dark continent .

The deafening silence continuously poisoned his thoughts and distracted his attention, he consistently had to reminded himself to hush his wandering  mind and concentrate on tracking. A short time ago when the sun was a modest distance from where it was now he observed an adolescent elephant just a few leagues from the position he stood. After a brief acknowledgement the child ran into the protection of the forest and blackness of it’s cover, escaping from his sight. He was able to track it’s path deeper into the region and the animal’s shallow prints told him it began to slow its pace in this area.

The smell of a copper type odor permeated his nostrils and resonated on his tongue, it was all too familiar, elevating his heart to a pounding speed. The hunter attempted to ignore his head again but the recognition was unquestionable, the smell was without a doubt blood and it wafted through the air .
His senses told him to hook left after the wind shifted and he followed the scent, adjusting his gait to take precaution of any excessive noise. The blood in the atmosphere  appeared to get thicker, an invisible liquid filling the deep bucket of silence that could almost be measured.
The light instantly became faint so he paused to gain his bearings, a fragment returned through an exposed  opening from the forest canopy which revealed a discoloration at the end of his rifle. A red stain from the end of his barrel to where his hand rested clotted with chucks of blood dripped from his sleeve onto his muddy boot. With his eyes newly adjusted to the change of spectrum he looked right and noticed that the shadowy bushes had large patches of black oily substance on them, he could tell it was thick streaks of fresh blood.

An obvious noise broke the silence,reverberating endlessly in his ear. It was the  undeniable sound of teeth breaking into bone and flesh, the unmistakably frightening sound of something chewing what once was alive.
The hunter attempted to hail his feet to step backward and retreat but despite his internal intuition his ego followed the source to a concealed clearing  and witnessed the most awful sight he had ever seen.

At first it didn’t make any sense, but when the vale of madness and confusion lifted he was able to process what his eyes absorbed. The rotting carcasses of multiple elephants were strewn around the clearing, the blood in the air was over powered with the stench of decay. He attempted to count the bodies despite the putrid smell but many bones and dried appendages were impossible to identify and the pieces were thrown all over. It was hard  to tell which part belonged where, each victim was in a different state of decay and some parts were missing entirely. Small amounts of light exposed through the ceiling and after his eyes focused he saw the beast who resided in the space of death. With its front legs bent and leaning forward, its mouth was engorging on the soft tissue of the baby elephant’s torso.
The face of the monster was immediately recognizable but the reality of the situation was absolutely impossible and drove his already fragile and confused mind further into a vulnerable state of fear. The monsters grey skin was dry and scaly making its light complexion more apparent through the dark backdrop, thick black cracks depicted separated areas of  muscle and joints.  Not seeing the man the monster lifted one of its large tusks and crashed it down on top of the lifeless head of the baby elephant making the most awful sound, his ears imploring for silence again. The tusk raised with clumps of blood and brain matter dripping from the bone colored ivory, it used its massive trunk to move the body for a better position and began to engorge on the cracked head.

The man let out a deep breath and the horror stopped eating and instantly a concussion of fear waived through the forest, lifting it’s head it looking directly at the man he knew he must have been seeing the devil. He heard stories from shaman in various villages of a primordial demon as old as the world itself that had been too much for the African gods to handle so they banished it into a bottomless pit, and here he was in in the leviathan’s pit staring at a creature even the gods of this mysterious continent feared.  The depth of the monsters black featureless eyes cut through the empowering darkness and presented themselves with unwavering terror. The black discs never ended and in them he thought he could almost see the gates to hell and clearly read the inscription above: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Once he locked with those heinous and incessant eyes all sanity was drained from him and the wail he emitted was deaf upon the forest that wouldn’t dare answer back , the maddened hunter stood at the edge of purgatory looking into the depths of the lifeless abyss.

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