Man's First Enemy, by Bruce Corbett



Copyright  2000  Bruce Corbett


Smashwords Edition






 In The Hunters several wealthy people travelled far into the past to observe the flora and fauna of the Cretaceous Age. A primitive mammal inadvertently shuts down their security system, however, and the humans became food for a pack of intelligent dinosaurs. This story is the reciprocal. What would the story would be like from the other point of view. How would a dinosaur respond to humans and their machines? Here is my take on it. This short story was first published in SPACEWAY magazine in February of 2000.





I led my egg-mates in the Direction-of-the-Setting-Sun. I was still in shock. Something huge and round had materialized near us even as we were resting under cover from our only enemy, Big-hunter. Twentieth-Born, the pack's youngest, wanted to investigate, but I growled caution. Something that large could be very dangerous. Smaller creatures had swarmed out of the globe, including two shiny-flying-creatures that floated on the air. The smaller animals looked like they could be edible, but there was no sense in attacking when the giant shining Egg/mother was so close. Thus we left the area of the mysterious giant Egg/mother, and I led the pack out on to the land-of-the-grass on a hunt. The herd of mixed Spiky-horns, Tall-standers and Spiny-backs were nearby, but even before we broke cover, part of the herd sensed our presence and started to grunt and bellow. The Tall-standers are the worst. When suspicious, they rise up as high on their hind legs as they can, and act as sentries. As soon as the first one spotted us, it started the damned bugling which is then echoed by all the rest of its kind. The result is instant stampede; away from us.

Third-Born and Fourth-Born tried arcing away from us in an attempt to herd some of the animals back our way, but the animals had got too great a head start. We had not eaten in several days, however, and hunger would soon make us weak. Having expended the energy we had to date, we went flat out. I signalled the pack to use their speed and we would see if there were any lame or injured animals which we could pull down. All twenty of us charged after the retreating herd at full speed. The land-of-the-grass cleared unfortunately quickly, but in the midst of the galloping animals stood a titan.

The Swamp-monster stared down benignly at us from his impressive height, but he did not hurry on his way. The giant monsters only feared my big cousin, the Big-hunter, and even then, in a one to one contest, it was not Big-hunter who always won. I would not have believed this myself, until I actually saw a Swamp-monster rear up, and simply fall on an attacking Big-hunter. NOTHING could survive having a full-grown Swamp-monster fall on it!

Well, our strategy had got us nothing but tired and more hungry. In sheer frustration, Nineteenth and Twentieth-Born attacked the Swamp-monster. It was rather comical, for they could only run around its legs as if they were circling giant tree trunks. They were the more recently hatched members of the pack, and they were still full of the ignorance of youth. Still, some of the other members of the pack joined in the game. I should have snorted a retreat, but I was too slow.

Several of the youngsters were trying to bite through the tremendously tough hide of the creature's legs. They were no more than annoying the beast, but as I said, it wasn't as defenceless as it looked. Its tail, thicker toward its end than our entire bodies, swung in an irresistible arc that caught three of the youngsters just as they were darting in to simultaneously attack a leg. All three hurtled through the air, and Eighteenth and Twentieth-Born did not rise when they landed. We would return to see how they fared after we found food for the rest of us, but for us to spend time with them now to see if they would recover would simply mean that we might all die of starvation. I had just grunted an end to the game we were playing with the Swamp-monster, when the second mysterious thing happened that day. I had been watching, out of the corner of my eye, a group of creatures slightly smaller than us, who in turn seemed to be watching us from the nearby hilltop. They had the two shiny-flying-creatures with them, so I knew them to be the ones we had seen earlier beside the Egg/mother. Of the Egg/mother itself, there was no sign. They stood on their hind feet, very much like one of The People, though they seemed strangely incomplete without a decent tail. They seemed to be mainly blue or tan in colour, but they had particularly ugly pink faces and paws. And it almost looked like they were wearing leaves on their head.

One of the blue creatures aimed a stick at the Swamp-monster, and I saw a sudden flare of lightning-flame. That was strange, but what happened next was incredible. The abdomen of the Swamp-monster just disappeared. There was thunder without a storm, and suddenly the great beast was mortally wounded and gushing blood.

As one, the pack ran away from the terrible noise, but we stopped. The scent of life-giving blood was in the air, and the huge monster suddenly toppled onto its side. I knew from experience that it would move in its death throes for some time to come, but it was helpless. That was enough. I growled at the others to stay back, and then I investigated. As Firstborn, I had some privileges, but also the responsibility of leadership. Before the pack closed, I had to ensure that this was not some sort of trick..........................This story is available for purchase at, Apple eBook store, from Sony, Diesel, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.