The ten foot long millipede-like creature arched backwards, standing up on its back half. Its feelers and mandibles gesticulated wildly as it peered into the clearing ahead. Enough light came through the trees that its long, winding shadow could be seen tapering off in the direction of the tangled foliage that stood to their right.
“What is it, now? If we get there after they’ve left we’ll be in deep trouble,” warned the bearded man. “There won’t be any place prepped for the night time.”
The creature skittered to a different vantage point and again reeled back again, this time swaying from side to side a little.
“You know I don’t want to go around. Never mind the hours we’ll lose… I just can’t stand those brambles.”
Unswayed by the complaints, the millipede eased into the nearest thicket of brambles. The clearing was maybe few hundred yards across, and the way around was difficult. The man said little for the next few hours besides a few stray curse words. Looking back over his shoulder when he could peer through the trees again, he suddenly hissed in surprise.
“Smelly…. Behind us,” he whispered.
The millipede turned back to witness a pack of four ten-legged cat-like creatures the size of horses stalking towards them. They were just about in the middle of the clearing when the ground suddenly fell away under the one in front. Rocks, grasses, the animal… everything in a four yard radius disappeared as the jaws of a giant mole thrust up out of the ground. The other cat-like creatures turned to flee.
“Eh,” said the man. “I suppose this is where you say, ‘I told you so.'”
An odd clacking sound emanated from the millipede’s mandibles.
“You think this is funny don’t you? Well we wouldn’t have made more than an hors d’oeuvre for that thing. And you’ll be laughing when we’re freezing our butts of tonight, too. But you know what I really want to say right now, Smelly?”
At that moment the man scrambled down another drop-off. He reached for a branch to steady himself, but as the large fronds dipped down, he could suddenly make out the outline of another of the large, cat-like creatures slinking their way from deeper in the forest.
“I was going to say… RRRUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!!!”
The man ran as fast as he could manage. Luckily, the trees and brambles were so thick that the cat-thing could not go full speed. The man slid, crashed, tumbled, and leapt over the rough terrain. The fact that he could scramble through places that it couldn’t go was the only reason for his still being alive. He was starting to gasp for breath when he finally found a tree that was a maze of languid branches. He swung up into it and climbed as far up as he dared.
Looking below him the creature soon arrived to pace back and forth at the trunk.
“Moons of Mephibosheth!” the man exclaimed as he palmed his face. “Now what…?”