“All around the world nature is being annihilated. Yet the human-race does not fight it, it glorifies it. Gold mining shows on TV make more hunt gold despite the damage it does to earth. Loggers are decimated Earths last few woodlands, again they’re made heroes on TV. Hunters are making our majestic creatures extinct and then be rewarded for it with trophies. Each and every one of these groups of people and many more besides should face murder charges for they are murdering Earth and in turn murdering us all.
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie– Photo challenge — The picture above by Yuuki Morita
Pensitivity’s three things challenge – Tucked – Buy – Rush
Word of the Day Challenge – Rumpled
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Stealthie
“How the hell did that happen?” Police detective Leonard Peterson stood in front of a formerly stunning battleship-grey Bentley Mulsanne. The luxury V12 gas guzzler’s roof and body were crushed almost flat.
“Looks like a herd of rhino stampeded on it,” remarked forensic investigator Edwin, taking pictures of the wreck, road and surrounding woodland for evidence.
“Agreed. However, the largest thing in these woods is deer. They couldn’t do this.”
“What about cows?”
“That’s a good suggestion, Edwin. However, the nearest cattle farm is ten miles away.”
“Officer Irving to detective Peterson.” Came a voice over the radio.
“Go ahead, Paul.” Leonard tapped his earpiece increasing the volume for Edwin’s benefit.
“The owner of the Bentley is Bartholomew Elkin — a top-ranking bank manager. He went to buy the car this afternoon. Nobody’s seen him since he drove away.”
“Thanks, Paul. He must’ve gotten out before this happened. He’d be dead if he were still inside.”
“I concur. Speaking of the dead. There something else you should know …”
“Not sure I want to, but carry on.”
“Officers searching for Bartholomew have just found three dead lumberjacks in the woods. They look as if they’ve been mauled by lions.”
“What in the world!” Edwin gasped.
“Thanks, Paul. Radio me the coordinates. I’ll check it out.” Leonard shook his head and set off into the woods.
The deceased lumberjacks were a mere fifteen minutes ramble away.
“Thanks for coming so quick,” said officer Paul Irving meeting him.
“This has to be connected to the Bentley. Question is, how?” Leonard remarked as they came upon the three corpses. Each man had his clothes and body torn to shreds. Their chainsaws were smashed to bits beside them. “Holy hell!”
“Yeah, that about sums up. All three were attacked by something with big claws. Yet the only prints we can find belong to a human.”
“These guys have phones on them?” Leonard asked, “Maybe they took a picture of their attacker.”
“Way ahead of you. I was able to check two phones. The third is encrypted, we’ll have to get forensics to hack into it. The blonde guy over there has lots of pictures of a female his age. She never seems to look at him.” Paul showed him the phone. “Don’t they seem odd?”
“Stealthies, I’d bet.”
“Pardon me detective, but what’s a stealthie?”
Leonard chuckled, “You need to keep in touch with trends. A stealthie is a picture taken without the subject knowing.”
“Ah, a selfie for a creepy scumbag —” Paul spun around and drew his Taser. Something had cracked in the darkening woods.
“Yeah, you got it.” Leonard spotted the newcomer and smiled. “Sergeant Manish. Be careful creeping around here. You nearly got yourself tased.”
“My apologies. I have radio troubles. I needed to find you urgently,” said the Indian officer. “Sorry, if I scared you, Paul.”
“That’s okay. Do we want to know what you have to tell us?” Paul tucked his stun gun away and shook his hand with a grim smile.
“Perhaps not. We’ve got more bodies.”
Sergeant Manish led to detective to a field on the outskirts of the woods. There a white van stood in the shadows with its back doors open. A mound of tree cuttings, broken furniture, plastic bags full of rubbish, and tyres was piled in the bushes nearby.
“We believe they were fly-tipping,” Manish indicated a dead man and woman wearing dark clothes close to the rubbish. A forensic scientist was looking over them. “We’ve got more coroners on the way. Early indication is that these two were crushed and asphyxiated.”
“I’d say by a large snake too; going by the skin impressions on this guy,” added the forensics lady.
“Thanks, Ellen?” Leonard scratched his head as he played his eyes over the scene. A pattern was beginning to emerge. His attention was taken by an enormous eagle soaring in the darkening sky above him. It was jet black and not a species he recognised.
“Should we contact the zoo and see they lost anything?” Suggested Manish.
“Please, but I doubt they have.” Leonard noticed footprints leaving the scene. They matched those left by the lumberjacks.
“You know what’s going on?”
“Maybe. Gas guzzling car, men felling trees, fly-tippers. Our victims are all destroying the environment; and it appears, paying the ultimate price for it.”
“Say, I agree. Where are all these exotic animal’s —”
A masculine scream tore through the woods turning everyone’s blood ice cold.
Leonard’s eyes met Manish’s, they nodded and left together at the rush.
Darkness fell completely over the woods by the time they found the screamer. He lay face down with his right leg in a torturous, spike-mouthed animal trap.
“Help me!” he cried in agony.
“Did you lay this trap?” Leonard asked.
“I did. I was trying to catch badgers. They have rabies you know.”
“Then, I’m arresting you for illegal animal trapping. You don’t have to say or do anything. But anything you do say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Manish told him. “How did you get nabbed by your own trap?”
“Just get me out of here. I’ll tell you later!” said the man.
Leonard could tell he was sweating with both pain and mortal fear. Kneeling in the leaf litter he took hold of the trap. “We need to know what happened.”
“Fine, I caught a badger in this one. As I freed it …” the man shook his head fallen silent.
“Go, on.” Manish urged as he turned a circle. Feeling watched from all angles.
Leonard wrenched the trap open.
The man screamed out, “Argh – ahh! — The badger transformed into a monstrous black bear.” he rolled over revealing the deep scratches in his chest. “I fell back into the trap. The bear ran as you arrived. It was going to kill me.”
“That’s insane!” Manish breathed.
Leonard said nothing. He’d seen the same prints as before. Steeling himself he set off into the dark woods without another word.
He didn’t know how long he walked before he found the cave. His skin crawled with a thousand eyes watching him the whole way. “Come out of there! I know you want to protect the environment, the planet. Murdering people is not the way!” He yelled as he flashed his torch into the brown rock cleft which disappeared into the earth.
“Gaia gave many warnings to you humans. Earth is dying and yet you all do nothing to save it,” replied a voice so deep it was inhuman.
“Trust me, I know. I regularly donate money to charities that work to save Earth. Greedy people ensure their work is futile,” Leonard placed a hand on his baton praying he wouldn’t need to wield it. “Even still, I cannot allow you to murder people.”
A demonic laugh, “And how will you stop me?”
Leonard watched her figure emerge. Dressed in an expensive, rumpled grey suit; his body passed as normal. His head was anything but. The left side of his face was skeletal and earthy green. A dark chlorophyll stained his eyes with a demonic appearance. The skeletal face was connected to a heaving mass rising two feet from his skull. It was covered in the forms of Earth’s creatures, a lion, bear, chameleon, octopus, sheep, rhino, buffalo and many more. “Bartholomew? Is that you? What happened to you?” The detective gulped as he realised, he’d found the owner of the car.
“Bartholomew is gone. His pollution-mobile sealed his fate. He has become a vessel for the purification of Earth,” the being took a step forward. A black wolf leapt from his head and grew until four-feet-tall and standing right in front of the detective. It foamed at its fang-filled mouth as its heckles bristled ready for attack.
“I’m warning you — stand down!” Leonard raised a hand palm out. “What are you?”
“I am the Adameve. My mother and father gave birth to every living creature on the planet. Now, human lust is destroying everything. You’ve left Gaia no choice. She gave me life so I can readjust the balance. I will purge the human race of those who seek to destroy nature, healing the planet as I go.”
“No, you can’t do that,” Leonard took a step back.
The wolf growled and matched him.
“You are a protector of Earth and so you can be spared. Try to stop me and you too must die for the sake of Earth.” Adameve stepped up beside the wolf and scratched it between the ears. “The choice is yours.”
Leonard thought back to the carnage he’d seen in the last hour. His mind wandered to the damage wreaked upon nature around the globe. He realised he couldn’t stop this being even if he wanted to. “You win. Go forth and save the Earth. Please, try to be forgiving. Try to teach instead of kill. I pray that you are successful.” With that, the detective turned and left the woods.
In the following days, he came upon no more victims of the Adameve and felt, he’d dreamt the whole thing. Then a newspaper report proved him wrong. ‘30 gold miners slaughtered by mysterious tigers in the Amazon jungle.’
Have a great day!