The sun was just beginning to spread a red glow through the haze of the morning light when Gorath awoke. He was hungry and thirsty, and was very frightened. He thought of the journey he must make if he wasn't to starve, and he shook with fear. There was only one known region that had any food or water for him, and he had to cross the Hardland's to get there.
The trip wasn't long, and he wasn't worried about getting lost, for if he headed toward the source of the always prevalent stench of rotting flesh, he knew he would quickly get there.
With his journey over the dry, dead land that was his home nearly ended, Gorath peered through the bushes he was hiding behind to see the long, black band that stretched ominously in front of his path. He was preparing to cross, when a sound caused him to stop and freeze with terror. His keen hearing had picked up a deep rumbling in the distance. It was a familiar sound that never ceased to terrify his family and friends. It was a creature of the Hardland. It moved at a speed incomprehensible to Gorath. Its four feet seemed to touch the ground spontaneously, as it traveled toward some unknown goal, devouring and mutilating everything in its path.
Gorath huddled behind the largest bush he could get to, and watched with terror widened eyes as the monster quickly passed by, roaring its defiance at any who might be in its way.
Gorath's memory wasn't very good, but these sights and sounds forced him to recall a happening in his youth that made his blood curdle and his heart freeze. He was heading toward the same drinking and feeding place with his parents and brothers and sisters. He had stopped near the Hardland to pull a thorn out of his foot while his family crossed ahead of him. The monster was there and gone before he could do or say anything to warn them. It had done its job well. All that remained of his family were their torn skins and other unrecognizable fragments.
Gorath shook his head, trying to free himself from that memory. The sun was beginning to rise out of the morning haze. If he was going to satisfy his hunger this day, he would have to cross right away, for the further the sun traveled, the more often the monsters would rush madly by.
Slowly, with the caution that years of fear breeds, Gorath approached the forbidden land. He strained to hear a warning sound that would send him fleeing back to the bushes and shelter.
There was no sound, only the rustle of wind through the bushes sounding like the muffled screams of anguish of the dead. Not hearing or seeing anything, Gorath took a trembling breath and began to make the crossing; too slowly, too cautiously.
He was halfway across, when he realized that a sound in the wind was growing in intensity each second he stood listening. His heart seemed to leap to his throat and the bottom fell out of his stomach. In the distance a monster, with his eyes glistening in the sun, was running toward him! Gorath began to run with all the speed he had in him, yet everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, that is, everything except the charging creature. Realizing that at any second it would be on him, Gorath made one final, desperate lunge at the edge of the black earth.
He felt the hot air made by the speeding wheels as he fled, with ears back, into the dense undergrowth and safety.