Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

Ridley Scott knows what he’s doing. He knows damn-well.

The 2012 Alien prequel known as Prometheus, while being a film of grand visuals and ideas, was much maligned by many xeno fans due to the lack of the iconic monster first introduced in 1979. Was it an Alien movie or wasn’t it? Though I knew it was well before seeing it, that question still entered my mind on more than one occasion while viewing it. Not enough creatures, not enough deep space claustrophobia, not enough psychological horror, not enough…well, ALIEN.

Sir Scott has learned from those mistakes and brought back the terrifying face rapist in all its slimy glory. There’s no question – COVENANT is a full on Alien movie, and, at a few frightening points, is a bright highlight of the whole franchise. I read a quote from Scott where he says “okay, you wanted aliens? All right. I’ll give them to you.” Give them to us he does, in a way that would make Giger proud, in a bloody, disgusting (my wife had to look away many times to keep from vomiting), and, yes, scary way.

It didn’t actually scare me (I’ve seen these films since I was four years old), but the pacing and structure of the first two acts truly did fill me with dreadful anticipation. You’re going to be gripping your arm rests, waiting with a racing heart to find out what happens next.

One thing I liked about it was the music. The new score was foreboding and excellent, don’t get me wrong, but the real treat (and there are MANY treats in this movie) was hearing Jerry Goldsmiths score from the 1979 original. Those haunting symphonies haven’t been in a motion picture since 1986, and they will put a smile on any Alien lover’s face that will remain for hours after watching the movie. And that’s just one example of why this film is so excellent. Just like Star Wars, Trek, Godzilla, and Marvel movies, retro is IN. everyone’s bringing back the movies of the 80s and revamping them. Usually it ends up being a rehash of sorts, and seems to indicate that Hollywood has run out of ideas, but with Covenant, the nostalgia is extremely effective. It honors the other films in the franchise, and plays out like an Alien greatest hits collection. The claustrophobia and slow pacing of the original, the intense action of the second one, the existential nihilism of the third, and the beautiful body horror of the fourth – all these elements are combined and hybridized in Covenant like one of David’s unholy mutations. Speaking of David, he and his doppelganger, Walter, are the best parts of the film where characterization is concerned. The dialogue and nuances between them is fascinating to watch, and the parts are played very well by Fassbender. All the acting in the film is great, even if the characters aren’t very memorable. But I didnt see it for the people. And neither will you. It’s all about that xeno, baby. These Aliens are wicked. They move faster, look sleeker, and do more damage than they’ve ever done before. The NEOMORPHS, an early breed in the xeno evolution, are both beautiful and sickening. They enter the body through spores, then burst out from either a back or a neck. These violent eruptions alone make Covenant one of the bloodiest movies I have ever seen. The creatures start out almost “cute”, but quickly mature into living nightmares. With white skin, spiked backs, and human like limbs, they look like a ghastly combination of Giger’s scariest paintings and the Newborn from Alien: Resurrection. There’s one shot in particular where a Neomorph stares into the face of David as he tries to communicate with it. These short few seconds are the epitome of cinematic horror. You actually FEEL like the monster is looking at YOU, and it really is quite a thrilling feeling…

But the movie’s crowning achievement is the traditional chest bursting scene. Though it doesn’t shock us nearly as much as the original did (we are probably all secretly a little sick of it) it still packs quite a punch. There’s no way to ever recapture that particular moment of terror from the first film, but the Alien birthing scene in Covenant is still better than all the chest burster sequences of the other 6 entries. And, despite being visceral and completely over the top, the moment somehow elicits a feeling of beauty and even tenderness, which is something I’ve never felt while watching a horror movie. You’ll just have to watch the scene for yourself to know what I’m talking about. 

Oram: what do you believe in, David?

David (smiling): Creation.

With a subplot focusing on androids retelling the tale of Satan’s rebellion (David is Lucifer, Walter is Adam, the Xenomorphs are the demons, Earth and the xeno home world are both symbols of paradise, and humans and Space Jockeys are “God”), a well paced and well structured screenplay, good acting, fantastic special effects (too many CGI aliens though, as it is with monsters in EVERYTHING nowadays), and horror that makes the blood run cold, Alien: Covenant fixes all of the problems of Prometheus, explains the origin of the Xenomorph, and stands as the third best entry in the franchise, behind Alien and Aliens by only a little bit. This is a better “throwback” movie than the new Star Wars episodes, the American Godzilla, Jurassic World, and all of the superhero movies combined. Long live nostalgia, and long live the facehugger. 



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lol…..lol…..lol…..

This isn’t going to be very long. I’m already sick of reviewing stuff anyway and want to get back to poetry and my books, but I can’t resist reviewing this film. I’m gonna be lazy about it and not be in depth or anything, which is actually kind of more than it deserves lol.

When I say that, I mean that it isn’t a good film compared to other good films. It’s not well thought out. The plot sucks. The actors suck. And, most importantly, it’s not going to be remembered in the same way the original ID4 was remembered. Even though the original wasn’t like an Oscar winner or anything, it was still fun and bombastic (like most movies of the 90s). 

But if you are like Roger Ebert and hated the original, then you’ll wanna stab your eyes out with this one. 

Aliens come back to destroy the world. But instead of multiple mother ships, they come back with…..

ONNNNNNNEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t need to clarify that plot hole. 

Now, at first, I thought their whole “picking up China And dropping it on Europe” was fucking stupid. Like, what’s the point?

But now, I see that the aliens have emotion and actually have resentment towards humankind for the war of 96. Revenge in the most destructive and “fuck you” way possible.

(Or a way to sell movie tickets by “trying” to be original) 

Back to the one ship thing, the aliens are now revealed to be controlled by a queen. She rips off of Aliens and Godzilla.

Heavily.

Now I will list my two main complaints. 

Those badass, slithery, freaking tight looking aliens are back, suits and all. But guess what? 

They’re all CGI. 

I’m sick of movies doing this. Does the population really not realize that practical effects work way way way way better than computerized ones? Or is it the studios’ fault? In one scene, the aliens shoot a bunch of people with their guns as they wade around within some form of creek or something. 

Halo 6!!!!!!!! Yay!!!! Oh….wait….

Why wipe out all of humanity in one fell swoop when you can hunt them down on the ground with laser guns? Right?!?!?!

The other main complaint I have(aside from the script and the acting) is that this film TRIES SO HARD TO BE EXACTLY LIKE THE FIRST INDEPENDENCE DAY. I mean LITERALLY. I felt sort of the same way with FORCE AWAKENS, but at least it didn’t seem contrived. Plot structure, lines, everything. 

Be all that as it may, however…

This movie is FUN

I think they should have taken it more seriously, but they obviously didn’t. If they had, it coulda been a film that would be remembered for decades to come.

But since it wasn’t made seriously, and was made more as a campy throwback to the original, it is actually a very enjoyable film with some great moments and good special effects(practical would have been better though). 

Therefore, I give ID4 Resurgence a 6 out of 10.

But it’s like a 3 if they Actually seriously tried their hardest on it.

I’m a sucker for aliens! Can’t help it! 

Bottom line (hate me if you must) it’s worth watching, but still nothing compared to the original ( much less compared to landmark sci-fi such as “alien”, “Star wars”, and “Star Trek”). 

BRENT SPINER IS FREAKING AWESOME THOUGH 

p.s.

Why are the digital effects not as good as they were in another Emmerich movie titled, “Godzilla” (in name only)? It’s been eighteen years since that one came out, and this one looks shitty compared to it. Video game CGI….I digress. 

This review is 4 years too late. Maybe 3, since I only started by blog in 2015. But either way, I find it shameful that I haven’t mentioned this movie throughout my blog career. The “alien” movies are the greatest films ever made. So I should have reviewed this one early on. 

But wait… Is it actually an “alien” movie?

I think I’ve discovered the answer.

Anyway, I’m not gonna go through the plot and stuff like that, other than the fact that some scientists are on a mission to discover whether or not aliens created human beings. Which to me is immediately stupid(but still epic) because either way, someone had to create the alien creators in the first place, as mentioned by the film’s chief protagonist, Elizabeth Shaw. But it doesn’t matter – the film is about people looking for the alien “engineers” who created us. 

Turns out, they’re right. The world they arrive on is completely devoid of life – at first. But then, an android playing the role of a resentful Lucifer finds a bio-mechanical substance that can alter life forms and in fact create new life, and he uses this to infect a scientist who proceeds to impregnate his girlfriend with an extra terrestrial Satan spawn. 

Did I mention that this was an “alien” prequel? Well, we will get to that later, after I explain the merits as well as the mistakes of this film. 

The best thing about the film is Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of David the android. The character is a devil straight out of   “Paradise lost”, hating his creators(mankind) who look down upon him, and slowly plotting revenge against them. The film has many spiritual themes, but this is by far the best one explored. He also practically creates the XENOMORPHS, although AVP(if it’s considered canon by Ridley Scott) and the upcoming “Covenant” may prove that the acid creatures were alive long before David infected Charlie. Sorry if you haven’t seen this movie yet, but I’m sure that by now everyone has. 

Another merit of this film, though the one I just mentioned is the chief example of this, is the religious themes. Who created us? What happens when we die? What is our purpose? The way the film explains it, especially through the special effects, is spectacular, though I honestly feel that our origin story(as well as that of the xenomorph) could have been written better(Shaw’s conviction in her Christian faith however is rendered beautifully). 

Which brings me to another merit – special effects. They are amazing. Some of the best CGI I’ve seen in years. Tons better than Jurassic World and the new Godzilla. A lot of artists who worked on the first alien film in 79 also worked on this one, and it definitely shows. Some of the shots of the kitchen and corridors in this movie are eerily similar to those in the original “alien”, though much more streamlined and advanced. But even though this movie technically takes place before the first “alien” film, it still looks better, obviously, because it’s not 1979 in the world of filmmaking anymore. The way Prometheus explains this is that the NOSTROMO ship from the original alien was basically a space truck, and that the Prometheus vessel in this film is a fully funded science vessel. I must say, it makes much more sense and works way better than the updated effects of the Star Wars prequels.

That being said,despite the wonderful CGI and miniature work, the film still pails in comparison to the sets of the first “alien”. Now that shit was epic. It felt real because it WAS real. Wasn’t a detailed video game like this one. 

So, effects are pretty good for what the video game CGI guys do nowadays, but how is the acting?

Passable.

I mean, Noomie Rapace is the only one who really stands out as an actor other than Fassbender, but all the actors still do a nice job with the script they’ve been given. 

But Fassbender as David – damn near perfect. Ridley Scott apparently wanted this film and his future alien prequels to have an intensely religious, spiritual theme – well, he only succeeded with the David character – and that’s actually more than enough. 

David resents his creators. Even Peter Weyland, the old man who commissioned his construction, calls him “a man, but a man without a soul”. And the other characters in the film treat him the same way, aside from Shaw, who feels sympathy and, more importantly, respect towards the android. 

But Shaw’s boyfriend certainly doesn’t. He constantly refers to David as “boy”, constantly wants to use him as nothing more than a mechanical tool, and even tells the android straight to his face that he can’t feel disappointment or any other emotion.

Well, David proves him wrong whether Charlie knew it or not. He infects him with the black virus (one more criticism – waaaaaaayyyy too much like the x files) and speaks to him in a very sarcastic”you have no idea what I got planned for you” type of way. David is easily the best thing about the film, from his desire for revenge to his quoting of classic motion pictures in an attempt to be more artsy and human. He reminds me of Star Trek’s DATA – except he performs in the way I always wanted Data to perform. Emotional, vengeful, and sarcastic – this character wants to be his own man, as far away from the human race as he can possibly be – and yet, compared with the other characters, he’s more human and believable than all of them.

Finally we come to the point of me watching this film – it’s connection to the “alien” universe. When I first watched it in 2012, I was excited anytime the word Weyland was mentioned. I was overjoyed with the depiction of the SPACE JOCKEYs, the “engineers”. 

But after two hours of some well designed extra terrestrials that paid a faint homage to the original xeno, I was quite disappointed to find the titular creature at the end of the film making up only about 60 seconds of the entire movie. I still liked the film, but I agreed with Eric Cartman’s opinion – even the writers didn’t know what this movie was about. Is it ALIEN or not?

Well, that complaint has slowly diminished with me over the past few years. Even though Ridley Scott is a liar about whether his films will contain the original Alien or not, I have finally concluded that Prometheus is a true Alien movie with just enough hints and Easter eggs to make it so. I originally hated how it sort of distanced itself from the iconic franchise it was intended to preclude – but I have changed my mind. 

It’s a good idea, letting us know just barely that is is a film connected to the Alien franchise. And this makes us want to see part two, “alien: covenant” even more. But regardless of what Scott planned, he is a liar. He originally said that “covenant” wouldn’t have any XENOMORPHS in it. Now he’s endorsing their appearance. Somehow, I feel that all this double talk was planned – that he only made Prometheus 10 % of a real alien film just to get us excited for the next one where he’s gonna go all out.

So, without further ado, I grant this film 7.5 out of 10 stars. Better than the AVP films, but not quite up to par with “alien: resurrection”. 

Don’t be hatin: that was a great movie 

imageThe ALIEN franchise has always been essential, influential, groundbreaking, and just damn well conceived. Though it was inspired by B movies like “It: the terror from beyond space”, “Planet of the Vampires”, and the Swiss surrealist, H. R. Giger(who designed the creature, and let’s face it: if the alien didn’t look as disturbing and original as it did, no one would have given the films a chance, despite the excellent acting and screenplays), it always had a flair of originality as a franchise that inspired countless sci fi sagas. Play “Halo” or “Call of Duty”. Watch the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”(I may be wrong, but its structure seemed to closely follow that of the second xeno installment, “Aliens”). Watch the original Independence Day. Play any sci fi video game or watch any extra terrestrial movie. Star Trek’s “Borg” (how did H. R. Giger not get a credit for the imagery?) and “Species 8472”. It’s all inspired by INTERNECIVUS RAPTUS(species name of the xenomorph -http://web.archive.org/web/20080820074424/http://www.anchorpointessays.com/egg.html )specifically the way the monster and story was portrayed in James Cameron’s “Aliens”(don’t ever watch “alone in the dark”, “the cave”, or “leviathan” – movies that rip off the alien franchise so much that they make my stomach turn). Hell, even the “Predator” franchise probably wouldn’t have happened without “Alien”(predator never really ripped off of alien in any way. I just feel like “Alien” opened the door for the galactic Arnie hunters). Even though many agree with me, you can probably already tell that I am extremely biased. The Alien films are my all time favorite movies. I even love the ones people hate. Alien 3″(why? That stuff was DARK, nihilistic, claustrophobic and terrifying), “Resurrection”(a beautifully directed film with stunning cinematography and SFX), and – gasp – even the AVP films(okay, they are shitty compared to the originals of both franchises, but you can’t say that they aren’t fun). But, regardless of how much I enjoy the films that started and came after “Alien 3”, the first two alien films are the watermark. That’s why I became so excited when I heard about Neil Blomkaamps “Alien 5” film, a direct sequel to the second movie, which would bring back Ripley, Hicks, and the lovable little girl turned hardened badass Newt. Prometheus was awesome and extremely well directed, but it still disappointed me(I basically waited two hours to see the last ten seconds of the movie).

So yay for Alien 5 right?

Cue Ridley Scott, director of the first Alien.

He decides to come in and stall Alien 5 until his Prometheus 2 film, “Alien: Covenant”, can be released. What? Keep us from seeing our favorite actress Sigourney Weaver kill acid bleeding monsters so that the sequel to the prequel can be made? Okay, okay, so he had “Prometheus” way before Blomkaamp started working on “5”. He has the right to finish “Covenant” first, even if it annoys (but still excites) us Alien fans. I’m truly excited for “Covenant”, especially now that, unlike “Prometheus”, it’s an actual “Alien” film. But here’s why I have a few worries:

RIDLEY SCOTT IS ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED DIRECTORS IN THE INDUSTRY AND DIRECTED MY ALL TIME FAVORITE FILM (ALIEN), BUT HE TRIED TO MAKE PROMETHEUS ONLY “LOOSELY” CONNECTED TO THE XENOMORPHS AND HAS BEEN MAKING CONTRADICTIONS FOR YEARS NOW.

I don’t remember the exact quotes, but the contradictions are as follows:

(Four years ago) “Prometheus will have Alien in it”

(A few months later)
“Prometheus will not have Alien in it”

(The movie comes out and, lo and behold, the creature is actually in it, albeit for only ten seconds at the end)

(2015)
“The beast(referring to the ALIEN not actually being in Prometheus 2) is cooked. They’ve wrung it dry. There’s only so much snarling you can do. No more Alien. I’m done with “dragons” and shit.”

(A few months later)
“We’ll have them all. Egg, face hugger, chestburster, then the Big Boy. And it’s not “Prometheus 2”. It’s “Alien” (covenant)!”

What the fuck?

Ok, I do put my tongue in my cheek at these contradictions, but I actually have nothing against Scott or the new Alien film he’s making (at least it will be more of an Alien film than Prometheus…hopefully). I love the hell out of him, and he’s tied with Inoshiro Honda, David Fincher, and Steven Spielberg as my favorite director. I’m just annoyed in a very immature way that I won’t see Ripley again for a while and have to keep guessing on whether “Covenant” is really going to be a film with the xenomorph or not (I’m sure it will be though… Scott has said before that successful sequels to films such as “Star Wars” has shown him that giving in to the nostalgia of the fans is where the money really is).

I do however have a very big glimmer of hope:

Danny McBride reveals his role in ‘Alien: Covenant,’ gushes about film’s practical FX

“You said they were vegetarians.”
“Pardon?”
“You said they were vegetarians. That isn’t true. I watched them eating their young.”
I started this conversation with the cow after I had awoken to find myself being carried on his back. My helmet was now clipped to a belt on my waist, which allowed me to begin eating the strange candies that the cow had given me. Even though I wasn’t sure if I could trust this cow, I was still famished enough to eat what he gave me. Surprisingly, I felt no pain from the kick he had inflicted earlier. It was very dark. Moonlight stabbed through the branches above, taunting me with its beauty. I remembered dreaming about a beautiful woman during my cow induced sleep. I loved her hair….silky, golden, and mesmerizing. It was to my enjoyment that I remembered her because she took my mind off of the horrors I had faced previously and that I would probably have to endure again in more dreadful, terrifying ways. Still, the dream was like a blur…upon awakening, I could not envision her fully. I had only caught a blurry glimpse of what I would later come to find was the most utterly real and beautiful thing in existence. Was she from my past? Did I even have a past before waking up in this world? Could I ever see her face to face?
But it was hard to find solace in thinking about her, because the cow I was with knew things, things of this world, and I didn’t, so I had to talk to him. He didn’t answer my question, so I asked again.
“Cow, they aren’t vegetarians. I saw them…”
“Address me as Steer, young creature. Or, if you prefer, sir. I am much older and wiser than you. Every creature of this world is older than you. Centuries old. Though none of us really know how to explain it….oh silly me, I’m rambling like a common horse. You want me to tell you of the Fairies? They are a dreadful annoyance, every time someone new comes along, they have to frighten them. They are not evil or even formidable in the least bit. That display, young man, was the fairies feasting on their own bodies…..why so shocked? Your face is sickly pale….well they don’t like eating anything else with blood filled veins, and their wounds recover instantly when inflicted by themselves. Their main diet is fruit and leaves, but eating themselves allows them to live forever. Most boring creatures, all controlled by one simple mind and vocabulary….”
“Why is nothing here normal?!?!?! Cows talking?!?! Creatures that eat their own flesh?!?!?! A suit of armor that is somehow alive?!?!? Tell me now or I’ll slice you with my sword, I swear…”
The cow simply laughed at my interruption. I was in horror, and this creature who acted as if he was my helper did not even give me pity. He replied, with a look of self righteous satisfaction on his face.
“You cannot harm me, silly one. I am noble servant of the Alpha, as are you, and I know that each of our brains are too large to permit us such stupidity. And what, exactly, is normal?”
I could not answer him.
“As I had thought. Cut me with your sword indeed! Even if you truly wanted to, I am much faster than you, and…”
I rolled off of his back and kicked him hard in the face. Vengeance was mine. I didn’t care to know how he could help me anymore. His assumed authority over me (that’s how he seemed, anyway) was unbearable. I put my helmet back on and ran off laughing as he howled with pain. Yes, it did sound very much like a moo, and it was hilarious.
“COME BACK HERE YOU FILTHY COWARD!!!” He began to chase me with surprising speed. I sped off into the jungle, wanting to look back, but not daring to. I cut through vines with my sword, smashed tree roots with my colossal feet….and then I tripped. I could hear him calling behind me. I waited for a laugh or another fearsome kick from his hoof, but neither came. As he approached me, I could see a look of what seemed like fear upon his face.
“You have called Vengeance,” he said. “You have called it…it will be here shortly, we must make haste. Terrible mistake you have made! Terrible!”
If this cow, this Steer, this sole creature I knew that had answers was frightened, then I knew I should be as well. He seemed to know this world so well, acting as if he had survived centuries grazing amongst the place. What on earth could frighten him?
“We must make haste, we must make haste,” he said in a terrified whimper. “Vengeance is coming, we must make haste! Get on my back.”
Fear was now coursing through my veins, but putting my helmet back on gave me courage. I got onto Steer’s back and held tight. He zoomed off into the jungle even faster than I had done just a moment before. His strides shook the jungle floor, scattering birds and fairies from the trees and into the night sky.
“Where are we going?” I said.
“We are going to the waterfall, the only place that can protect us from Vengeance until you are trained. What a considerable amount of mortal peril you have gotten us into…hold on tight!”
We continued our race through the jungle. I had a feeling we were out of harm’s way, for nothing seemed to have been following us or anything, but then something broke that illusion. I heard a bloodcurdling roar that shook us hard enough for Steer to trip over his own feet and fall face first into a puddle. I fell off his side and rolled down a hill.
“Youngling!”, he yelled as I tried to grab hold of a branch, a vine, anything that could keep me from rolling further into this unknown called a jungle. I finally gripped a slimy toadstool protruding from the earth that didn’t break or even budge as I latched onto it. It held my weight and suspended me over what I now saw was the edge of an immense cliff.
I began scrambling up the cliff face, hoping that whatever produced that roar wasn’t waiting there to face me. As I pulled harder onto the toadstool to lift myself up, I saw that it was not a toadstool at all. Two big yellow eyes were perched atop its head. Slowly, it lifted up out of the ground to reveal a body covered with feathered tentacles. It made a disgusting shriek that was echoed by my own, for I was in deep fright. An evil mushroom, for pity’s sake! In this moment of fear I made a terrible mistake and let go, falling thousands of feet down, down to certain death below, down to the end of all things…
But I was saved.
I had almost reached the bottom when slimy tendrils coiled around my head, legs, and arms. The cables jolted with the speed and weight of my falling body. I looked up and saw that the fairies had rescued me.
“Look alive, ninny!” they laughed. “We’ll have ya back to your ugly cow in no time!”
My saviors carried me up to the top of the cliff. They released their hold on me and I roared with pain as I fell to earth.
“Would you rather us have let ya fall down there?” they shrieked. “We can still do that if you’d like! It wouldn’t hurt at all when ya landed!” They howled with laughter into the moonlight.
“No, thank you,” I said. I didn’t much care for them, but they had just saved me for a second time. “Thank you for saving me.”
They continued to laugh, acting as if they didn’t even hear me. Then, Steer appeared and trotted towards me.
“Time to go,” he said. I climbed onto his back and we set off once more. The earth was still shaking, due either to the deafening roar, or perhaps the footfalls of the thing that made it. I apologized to Steer as he ran.
“No time!” he said. “No time at all. But apology accepted.” He was breathing very heavily. Many twists and turns later, we found ourselves in the middle of a clearing. Yellow and violet flowers were scattered all over the ground amidst our presence. I was attracted to them, like I was to so many other frightening, terrible, and beautiful things of this world. They were absolutely gorgeous, so pure and colorful that it just didn’t seem right, especially so because we were running from some sort of gigantic monster.
“Why did we stop?” I said.
Steer hesitated to reply. He was muttering what may have been curse words under his breath. His fur was soft and wet from the trees we had clashed against in our run.
“Steer,“ I began to plead, “Why have we stopped?”
“At least now you’re being polite,” he replied. “You are learning young one. Now let’s see…no, not that way…maybe there perhaps…ah yes it is this way…oh dear, I am mistaken.” His head was jerking rapidly left to right. It was obvious that he was unsure.
“Are you lost, oh noble, wise, intelligent servant of the Alpha?” I knew these words seemed like harsh sarcasm fired back at his all knowing disposition, but in my heart I meant them. He may not have been as fast as he said he was, but he definitely seemed wise, though I suppose any cow with formal speech could be considered wise, compared to other cows.
“Oh calm yourself, creature. I know exactly where we are going. I don’t appreciate sarcasm by the way.”
“Which way, then?” I asked impatiently.
“In the direction of the Alpha or course! Now, which direction that is, I haven’t the faintest idea.”
He seemed less frightened, but still I could hear the uneasiness in his words.
“So you are lost?”
“Of course I am,” he replied. “But you know even less than me! You don’t even know yet where I am taking you or what wonders you will see…that is if your stupid, careless mistake didn’t land us in the belly of Vengeance. Why, you practically offered us up as a buffet!”
“What is this “Vengeance”?” I queried.
“It is where you are wronged and you try to give the perpetrators what they deserve for it. You didn’t even know that?”
I was annoyed. If this cow wasn’t my only way to knowledge, I might say I’d be very happy to slice him with my sword and roast his ribs on a fire. He would have made an excellent steak, and I could have used his pelt for a bed. At this thought came another, a humorous but at the same time vile one of a steak talking to me, saying things like “Youngling” and “I know exactly where we are going”. No, killing him probably wouldn’t do, as insane as this world was. I’m not even sure if I would have been able to kill him. My sword was heavy and it was very difficult to lift. Instead, I simply just returned to our conversation.
“Of course I know what vengeance is. But you are speaking of it as if it is a beast, as if it is that creature that produced the roar.”
“Is it not a beast?” Steer said.
“Yes, I suppose,” I replied with annoyance. “But last time I checked, it didn’t roar or have legs to chase us with. Or does it fly?”
“It can take many forms. That is why it is so dangerous. Vengeance and demons like it affect you and your predecessors much more than creatures like me. That is why your seemingly trivial action against me called it out. Alpha shall explain more when we find him. You wanted vengeance on me, and there it came. Trouble is, vengeance doesn’t just kill the antagonist. It kills the poor soul that conjures it to life as well. So its after you too.”
“What variety of forms can it take?”
“Well, let’s see…the ones I’ve seen it take are a vampire bat, an elephant, an immense tree, a toadstool, a giant reptile, and a lake. But it can transform into virtually anything.”
I shuddered at my realization. Perhaps the toadstool I grabbed was the very monster we were trying to avoid. When I told Steer of this, he fell silent for a few moments.
“Steer?” I said. “Why are you lost? I thought you knew this jungle.”
“Know it?” he said in a soft, frightened tone. “I know it very well. But some places are cursed, and if you go for a run at night, or are placed into deep trouble by a fool such as yourself, you will wind up in said places. They turn you around…confuse you…try to stop you. They are not of the Alpha. They are evil.”
“What are we to do then if we are in a cursed place?”
“We must simply guess at the right direction, and seeing as we are in the same predicament with the same advantages, you get to choose the path until I remember where we are going.”
“Why must I choose?”
“You are the chosen one, my friend. In situations like these where all hope seems lost, you are the one to eliminate the dirty, clouded illusion of fear and doubt, and bring order and direction to the world.”
Pride and determination flooded my being. Could I truly be the savior of this Jungle?
“You simply guess?” I said.
The cow nodded.
“Alright,” I said with confidence. “We go that way.” I pointed to the left, where the trees were the most colorful and beautiful in the moonlight.
“As you wish,” he said, and then cocked his head to the right. “Oh no, now that is it.”
“That’s the right way? But I thought you said you didn’t…”
“No. That is Vengeance.”
I looked to the right and felt my jaw drop inside my helmet. If I had been afraid before, it was nothing compared to this. In the tallest trees, I made out a shape that seemed reptilian, but gargantuan, simply colossal. Its horse like head parted the branches as if they were mere twigs. I saw six eyes with teeth for brows, curved teeth in its jaws, a long, forked tongue, and tentacles coiling out from all over its body. So far, every creature in this world besides Steer seemed to be related to an octopus. This newfound terror’s color was mottled gray, and the moonlight seemed to have enhanced its horrific appearance. Blue crocodilian spikes christened the monster’s gigantic back. Its appearance almost made me want to embrace death with open arms.
The beast stared us down with a look of pure evil. We were both petrified in fear, with no hope for escape. I could feel Steer trembling beneath my legs. I’m sure we both thought that this was the end.
But then I remembered something.
I was the chosen one.
“GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” I yelled at the top of my lungs and thrust my sword towards the left side of the clearing. With my excitement, the blade wasn’t even heavy. I felt ready to take on this whole world and all its vicious monsters. Steer regained composure and ran as fast as he could to the left. Tentacles swayed from Vengeance as he let out a deathly cry and began to pursue us on two gigantic, birdlike legs. One tentacle slammed into my back so hard that I almost fell off of Steer.
“Hang on!” he cried.
A tentacle soared over my head and attempted to knock me off again. I was quicker. With a flash of gleaming silver, I cut the tentacle in two with my sword as Vengeance let out a howl of pain. Thick, blue blood splashed all over me.
I rode Steer further into the jungle. The trees were closer together now. It was to our misfortune that there was hardly any space between them, for Vengeance was still in pursuit, rearing his ugly head up into the bright light of the moon. He kept roaring, and it was filling me with fear again.
“I can’t do it!” I yelled to Steer. “I can’t go on! I will simply die!”
“Don’t you talk like that!” he barked, losing his breath with his run. Every word was rushed and separated by heavy breathing. “Doubt…is…an…illusion. You…are…the…chosen…WAAAAAHHOOOOOOOOO!!!” He screamed the last word of his sentence as a tentacle wrapped around us and lifted us high above the treetops. We were being carried higher and higher towards its mouth.
The colossal jaws opened and let out an ear shattering roar that literally made me go deaf for a few seconds. The ugly beast reared its head back and spat out fire that seemed to engulf the moon with ruby red flames. It was a most horrible sight. I was laced with sweat and couldn’t breathe. Steer, on the other hand, kept screaming so helplessly that it nearly brought tears of sadness to my eyes. They were already soaked with sweat and tears of fright anyway, so tears of sorrow wouldn’t add much to their already sopping wet sockets.
Despite my fear and sympathy being combined into a ghastly emotion that one can only get by being lifted into the air by gigantic monster, I was not ready to die. I had a survival instinct, and I knew I had to use it. My purpose was to get myself out of tough spots without letting fear stop me or slow me down. This was my chance and I decided to take it.
As we got closer to the mouth of the dreadful, roaring beast, I swung my sword into the tentacle wrapped around Steer’s body and my legs. A howl of pain was emitted as we began to fall from the severed set of tendrils. Then, we were caught again by another appendage and carried once more towards the mouth. This time, the tentacle coiled itself around Steer and I in such a way that it seemed impossible to lift my sword for another strike.
“Punch it! Punch it!” cried Steer
I took his advice and began punching the slimy tendril with my sword less arm. The tentacles seemed to have their own form of life themselves, their own form of mind; for when I had struck it with my fist I could hear it emit a squeal of pain amidst the colossal roars of Vengeance. I kept punching and the tentacle seemed to only tighten its grip. I could feel the monster’s hot, sickly breath on the skin of my armor. We were inches away from its gaping jaws.
As I kept punching, seconds away from being swallowed, Steer leaned his head back in such a grotesque way that it seemed to me that he had snapped his neck. His jaws clamped onto the tentacle and bit right through it, freeing us and my sword. As we fell and screamed, another tentacle lurched towards me, but I was too quick. I sliced and diced about ten tentacles in all on my way down. I began to think I was getting the hang of this warrior thing.
We fell into a pool of water and I could hear the beast of Vengeance no more. I looked down, scanning the bed of the water pool for those hairy beasts I had seen earlier in the river. There wasn’t anything but black, shiny stones with a colorful aura around them. They intrigued me, for they were colors I cannot describe, and reminded me again of how I seemed to remember certain things such as color, light, speech, and water, but not much else. I quit thinking about this and pushed Steer towards the surface. He was unconscious. I heaved him onto the bank with surprising strength. He was light; a cow that probably weighed at least a ton was light for me. I felt good that I was this strong.
I knelt over him and his eyes slowly opened. “The Fall,” he said. I replied, asking if he meant the fall we had just experienced. “No,” he said. “The Fall behind you.” I looked behind me and gasped.
In front of me was an enormous, beautiful waterfall. The water was bright white with hints of blue. It almost looked like frozen water or crystallizations, for like the rest of the water in this world, the waterfall was not flowing. The falling water was simply suspended in midair. It was such an incredible sight.
“Get us behind there,” said Steer. “We will be safe there.”
I lifted him to his feet and we began walking towards the fall when I heard an ear piercing roar, more dreadful than any sound I had ever heard. I looked back and saw Vengeance coming at us fast. He looked angry and even more terrifying than earlier.
“Run!” cried Steer. We ran as fast as we could through the huge sheet of enchanted water and tripped on a large stone, falling a few feet into a brightly blue lit cavern. There were stalactites and stalagmites everywhere. I looked towards the sheet of water and saw the immense shadow of Vengeance on the other side. He roared in fury, walked in circles for a bit, then ran far away until his screams became distant, and eventually, inaudible.
Steer began murmuring in a panicky state, “The Alpha? Where is Alpha? He said he’d be here! Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no.” I tried to calm him down by telling him we were safe here, though I did not know why we were. This mere waterfall had protected us from a creature of unspeakable evil and colossal height. But why?
“You don’t need to ask questions yet,” said a sweet sounding voice that echoed through the cavern walls. It seemed like singing. Steer was still huddled over in fear, obviously too shaken to pull himself together.
“Did you hear that voice?” I asked. When it spoke he didn’t seem like he took notice of it at all.
I got my answer not from Steer, but from the voice itself.
“You need rest. Badly. You look terrible. Go to sleep and I will reveal all things to you in the morning.”
“But I don’t want…” I started, but the voice cut me off.
“It’s not what you want or don’t want. It’s all about what you need. That’s all anything is about, in the end. And right now, you need sleep.”
The voice seemed male, but at the same time kind, smooth, and reassuring. I wasn’t even afraid.
“Steer did you hear that?” I said. He replied, saying something I couldn’t make out much of through his muffled sounds. “Voices, oh……..no………no one here…..we’ll be alright though won’t……tentacle tasted dreadful.”
He began asking me if I was alright when I heard the voice again.
“Only you can hear me. Now sleep.”
Instantly, I felt a weight of drowsiness pressing upon me. I fell to my knees. It would be impossible to stay awake. But could this be a trick?
“No trick,” said the voice.
As I faded out of consciousness, I saw a blurry white figure of what seemed like a skinny man standing in front of me. He seemed to be shining bright. He was the last thing I saw before I fell asleep, and the last thing I heard was Steer.
“Alpha! Alpha! He is the one.”