IN NATURA: a science fiction novel (ARZAT SERIES Book 2)

IN NATURA: a science fiction novel (ARZAT SERIES Book 2) by David Samuel Frazier

Book: IN NATURA: a science fiction novel (ARZAT SERIES Book 2) by David Samuel Frazier Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Samuel Frazier
pulse. She was too scared to raise her head to try and look around. Then, her body began to shake, the freezing water ripped through her skin like thorns.
      Just as she started to pull herself out, unable to bear the cold another moment, she heard a sound above her. She dared to look up and could see the dark silhouette of one of the enormous creatures, looming over the edge of the creek, just steps from her position. Another joined moments later.
      Despite the tremendous cold, Maria willed herself not to move or breathe. She could vaguely hear the creatures’ deep and raspy voices above the noise of the water as they conversed in some unknown language.
    * * *
    “Where can the uman have gone?” Mek said to Baa.
      Both of the Arzats scanned the creek and flicked, each of them perplexed that they hadn’t found the female immediately. They had somehow completely lost her scent.
      “She must have made the other side,” said Baa, exhaling, unconsciously scratching at one of the scales on the back of his enormous head. His entire body was still aching from the beating Za’at had given him.
      “See where Za’at and the others are? That’s probably where she crossed,” said Mek. He pointed across the creek and further up it. He could see the other Arzats already standing on the other side, examining the ground. “Come, Baa, let’s go and join them.”
      Za’at had followed the female’s strong scent to the water’s edge and had easily forded the stream’s strong current. He was sure that she had made it to the other side. But when he got there, he noticed no tracks and could detect no further scent. He flicked his tongue and sniffed vigorously. Nothing. His eyes narrowed as he looked both ways up and down the edges of the water. It was impossible that she could have simply vanished. He glanced at the other hunters who seemed equally confused.
      When Mek and Baa approached, Za’at questioned them. “Did you carefully check all along the shoreline?”
      “Yes, Za’at, but we could find no sign of her,” Mek replied. “We lost her scent at the water’s edge.”
      “She has to have come out somewhere. She must be further up.” Za’at was perplexed. They should have found the female instantly.
      “Mek and Baa, stay on this side and walk against the flow, we shall go back to the other and do the same. She cannot have gotten far,” he said.
      “Yes, Za’at,” Baa replied, also sniffing the early morning air, flicking his tongue to get the full flavor of it.
      Like Za’at and the others, Baa was surprised they had not immediately found the missing uman. He was about to suggest that it was possible that the female had been swept up in the current and drowned and that they should check downstream first since there was no sign or scent of her on this side of the water, but he blocked the thought from Za’at, afraid to offer any advice.
      Za’at looked over at Baa. He wanted more now than ever to kill him, but his obsession with finding the female was far more pressing. Now he was totally confused. He knew he should have easily been able to sniff her out from a half a day’s walk. Even if she had left no physical scent on the ground, he should have been able to smell the female just from the air moving around her as she traveled. He squatted and placed his palm to the ground, trying to sense movement, and then tried again with his nose and his tongue.
      With the mistakes that had been made so far, Za’at knew his standing with the entire clan would be in jeopardy and even more so if he had truly lost the female. Now, he was more determined than ever to find her and take her to the caves as a prize—something to show for all of their efforts and hopefully save him from the wrath of the Elders. He absolutely could not imagine that she could get away, and it caused him to make another mistake: he ordered the hunters to head in the wrong direction.
      The Arzats made their way swiftly

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