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London Rush Hour

A magnificent bolt of bright, white lightening struck across the blank, dark clouds which covered the sky like some form of colossal balloon. This lightening was striking over the massive capital city of England, London. The year was 1957.There had been a heavy thunderstorm the day before and today, the weather was proving not to have changed its mood. Many people were struggling through the noise, the merciless rain and the increasing intensity of the slow moving and utterly depressing rush hour. The rain poured down on the depressed people who were desperate to reach home and relax. One man was gagging to return back to the sofa and the television set screen. His name was John Mackey. He had just come back from a really hard day’s work at the local pharmacy and was down right exhausted. John didn’t really earn enough money as one might have expected. He earned about seventeen pounds a week. Because of this terrible payment, John had to loan money from other people, but he still couldn’t afford to pay off his mortgage. He stepped into a small side street where his house wretchedly stood. John pulled out a rusty brown key from his chest pocket and swivelled it into the lock. The door opened in an instant. John entered and the moment he shut the door, he immediately dropped the heavy weight, in the form of his bag, onto the floor. He took one look around the hall and saw a terrible mountain of paper work perched on top of his kitchen table. “I don’t believe it!” John growled. He slammed his fist on the work surface as he stared at a letter that was lying on the foot mat. He slowly, and with dread, grabbed hold of the envelope and tore it open. John unfolded the letter and started to read it. The words struck him with a dreadful feeling of horror: To Mr. Mackey You have not been keeping up with your mortgage payments. You have a maximum deadline of a week to pay off your debts and then the bailiffs will pay you a visit. Mr. T. Lionel John growled in utter frustration as he tore the letter from the bank up and tossed it to his hungry bin which was perched in the corner. “I’ll have to get some cash from somewhere” John told himself. He knew that the chase to find some money would certainly be a long and difficult struggle.

Nil Belief

Al Harris was quite literally waiting to collapse to death in his rickety chair. This meeting of the Royal Society was moving at a slow and incredibly laborious pace. So far, the top scientists on the community had talked about nothing other than amoebas. Al had something important to show the board, if he ever had the chance! Al had just entered the tough world of science. He was a young and charismatic man, only twenty six years old. He had joined the Royal Society after a publication he produced at Exeter University called Ultimate Guide to Africa, which had gained several nominations and wins. The governors of the university had recommended him to the Royal Society and Al had been only to glad to take the chance. But today, he was beginning to wish he’d never joined. He had made a discovery which, if proven, would guarantee a new world to explore. “So, can we be sure?” one bearded fellow asked, “Harris, any suggestions?” “Look, old chap” Al started, “I want to make a contribution to this meeting, but only if there’s a point in you letting me” “Al” a friend noted, “You haven’t produced any findings for five years” “Well, its a different kettle of fish today” Al smiled. He stepped up from his cranky old seat to take the chair. “I have been sent these by an American shipping corporation” Al began. He pulled out from his case, a set of paper. They appeared to be worn and torn, immensely creased and water stained, and they showed a set of very complicated and mixed up drawings. One was easily recognizable to the learned mind. It was the canine of a tiger. “But, what d’ you make of this?” Al inquired. He proudly presented to the academic group of men an equally creased ship’s chart. It was showing a region in the South Pacific Ocean. The dotted line represented the ship’s course. But suddenly, the line vanished in a province close to New Zealand. “And what kind of significance is that supposed to show, exactly?” one scientist asked, mockingly. Al growled, but managed to hold back his anger. “These, my friends” he sneered, “Were found in the pack of the body of a man that was drifting out to sea. Now, on this chart, the captain has noted that they were above sea level. But, ah! Can you see any land of any sort?” “No” the board answered. “Well, there you go!” Al smiled. “And your point is what?” another scientist inquired. “That if this ship was above sea level” Al explained, “There must be an island or some such landmass in that area!” “You seem to be forgetting that our technology is the best its ever been” the chairman reminded, “We have no more blank spots on our atlas” “Are you sure?” Al asked. “We’re positive!” the chairman replied angrily. Al madly snatched the chart and the drawings up from his desk. “Think what you like, sir!!” he roared, “But I’m going to find a public opinion and then see who’s the dipstick!!” And with that, Al blasted out of the meeting.

Redundancy

John was now feeling ready to blow up. He was behind the counter at the local pharmacy and the customers that had been in so far had been in a hurry. They didn’t even show any gratitude. John stared at his watch. It was half past five. Soon it would be time to set off for home. But more trouble was yet to come. As John started to stack the products up for the night, his employer, Mr. Fredrick, strolled down the steps and out into the store. He noticed John packing up. John turned around and noticed the distinct form of his supervisor looming in the doorway. Mr. Fredrick had a very serious look on his face. “Better buckle up” John thought. “Mr. Mackey” Fredrick called. “Yes sir?” John asked. “Well, I have to tell you something” Fredrick explained. “What’s that?” John muttered, still packing up the shelves. “Well” Fredrick began, “Business has been disintegrating” “Its bound to lift” John encouraged. “That’s my point, John” Fredrick explained, “It doesn’t seem to be lifting. I’m just as low on money as you are” “So, what’s the problem?” John inquired. “I can’t pay your wages” Fredrick explained miserably. A wave of bitterness filled John’s mind as he realized what his employer was saying. “I’m afraid I have to let you go” Fredrick groaned, with deep and really genuine regret. John took in a sharp intake of breath. He went over to a nearby rack and fetched his hat and coat. “I understand sir” John sighed. And he strode out of the pharmacy with dignity, leaving Fredrick with more despair to wade in.

A Secret Plan

Al stormed down the lobby of the museum. The sheer size of it to most people was beyond belief. The reception that Al had just received dampened his high regard for this building. As he walked at a fast pace down the lobby, he took a second to look up at the gargantuan skeleton that took centre stage of pride. It was what they called, Diplodocus. Al had always felt marvelled by it, that hundreds of millions of years ago, animals this big were roaming the earth. Turning his head down, Al marched towards the exit doors. He shoved them open and took the large stone steps three at a time. The streets were churning with all sorts of people. When he reached the bottom, somebody was waiting. “Al?” he asked. Al snapped his head sideways and saw a tall figure with grizzled, greasy blond hair and oval glasses. His beige coat draped over him, almost as if it were too big. “Oh, its you Scruff” Al muttered. Dr. Jake Scruff strolled over to speak to his friend. He was slightly younger than Al and a lot less ambitious. “How did it go?” he asked. Al snapped a glance back. “Why the nerve of those jerks!” he exclaimed, “They didn’t believe a single bloody word!” “Well what were you expecting?” Scruff inquired. “God damn it!” Al exclaimed, “Of course I wasn’t thinking they’d believe it!” “What now?” Scruff asked. “Well, I can say that in two days” Al began, “We’re setting off for the Pacific. Call the ship” “They won’t let us on now” Scruff reminded. Al breathed a mournful sigh. Then, the answer clicked in. “I’ve got it!!” he thought in excitement. A cunning grin began to form on the surface of Al’s face. “What is it?” Scruff asked. “I said I’d get a public opinion!” Al quickly explained, “TAXI!” The classic London cab pulled up next to the pair. Al rushed over to it and shot in. “I’ll be back in a few hours!” Al called. “What am I supposed to do in the meantime?” Scruff asked. Al pondered that question for a few moments. “The hours will pass” he shook off. And the cab sped off down the street, leaving Scruff in utter confusion.

A Public Opinion

John paced in a hurry up and down the street corner, trying to search for any shop that he liked. Unfortunately for the poor man, he had run out of time and the bailiffs had now taken most of his belongings. Now that he had been made redundant from his job at the pharmacy, it was back to pounding the pavements for this down-and-out. John tried hard to contain his anger at the situation which he had fallen into, but climbing out of the financial hell seemed completely impossible and even trying to find a way out was now starting to feel pointless. “I wish I had some money trees!!” John thought in utter frustration. He had spent almost seven hours hounding the streets like a dog searching for its prize, but no good fortune had befallen John, only the worst. Now, that his quest for work had come to nothing, he decided to head back to what was left of his home.

Al Harris slumped in his seat as the taxi turned around a bend. Was he ever going to find somebody who would listen? The car turned up a busy lane with loads of people crowding the pavements. John was just a few meters from Al. The car screeched to halt. Al paid the man and then set off on foot. But, now it seemed pointless. “It’s most dispiriting” he thought, “I haven’t been able to find a soul who’ll tell me an honest opinion. But, there’s still hope. I’m not giving up because of some lying wallies!!!!!!” Al followed the crowd round the corner and when he leaned over to see what was beyond, he noticed a man walking up and down the lane. “There’s my man!!” Al thought in triumph, “When I reach over there, I’ll have him!” He slinked along through the swelling crowd like a crafty panther, cunningly edging closer to his trophy.

John was getting ready to leave for his house. He hadn’t noticed a man who was watching him in amongst the swelling horde of people. John turned and started to stroll off down the street. Then, that coiled spring, inched with tension, suddenly sprang forward to pounce! The man burst out of the shelter of the crowd and stepped up to John. “Excuse me sir” he started. John turned aggressively around. “Yes” he snarled. The man stepped back a little in submission. Whoever this stranger was he was certainly edgy.

Al was cautious as this man advanced. “Look, could I spare a few minutes of your time sir?” Al asked. The man stared up in thought for a moment. “Okay” he agreed. “Al Harris scores again!” Al thought in victory.

Later on, in a pub across the road from where the two men had met, Al brought over the drinks; one scotch and a beer. The other man stared up. “So, what’s your name sir?” Al inquired. “John Mackey” the man answered, “Look, what d’ you want?” “I’m demanding a public opinion” Al explained. “On what?” John asked, “The Nazis?” “No, on these” Al grinned.

John had no idea what this man wanted. Why should he value his opinion? John watched as the man pulled out some sheets of paper from his case. They were incredibly blotched and torn, but John could just make out a set of mixed up drawings. “What do these look like to you, sir?” the stranger requested. John studied them in closer detail. The first one looked like an ostrich, except it had no feathers. And then, John noticed that the head was large and box-like with scuffed teeth. This drawing was unlike anything he’d seen before. The next picture was very clear. It was a cat’s tooth of some kind. “Who drew these?” John asked, “Was he a bad artist?” The man’s lips tightened. “These were found in the pack of a dead man who was drifting out to sea” he explained. John gasped in some fresh air at the shock. “He also had this” the man noted. He placed on the table a map that showed a region of the Pacific Ocean close to New Zealand. There was a dotted line going through the sea. “This is the rout his ship took” the man described. It was then John realized that somewhere near New Zealand, the dotted line vanished. “The ship disappeared somewhere around there” the man went on, “The captain has noted that they were above sea level, but in that region, there’s no landmass. This means that there must be a landform of some sort there” “Like a sea volcano or mountain?” John suggested. “Exactly” the man answered, smiling, “Now, I’m Al Harris. I’ve presented these to the Natural History museum, but they won’t listen. In a couple of days, I’m setting sail to that area. I’m low on help, so it’s going to be difficult” A spark snapped in John’s mind. This was his lucky break. “If I go on this expedition, maybe I’ll be paid!” he thought. “Well, that settles that” Al muttered, “Nice to speak with you sir!” “Mr. Harris” John called, “Seeing as you need help, I should very much like to join you” Al was stunned. “Okay, Mr. Mackey, you can come as you please” he welcomed. The two gentlemen smiled and shook hands. They were now ready to set off on the adventure of their lives!

S.S Falcon

The brass, shining taxi pulled up at the kerb and screeched as the brakes jammed down. The back door swung open as John climbed out. He was at the bustling and vibrant docks in Portsmouth. He took another look round at the effervescent docks. This was where Al Harris had said they would be setting off. John looked around again for his host. Then, he caught sight of Al standing proudly on a crooked pier, like a commanding general. “Hi there, Mr. Mackey!” he called, “Come on, it’s this way” John paid the cabby and strolled causally over to join his mentor. Al seemed delighted to see him. “Which ship is it?” John asked. “Its this one here” Al pointed. John glanced up and saw the toughest and roughest ship he’d ever looked at. A large, broad funnel, which must have been over twenty feet tall, sprouted up behind where the wheelhouse must have been. The black and grey paintwork on the sides of the ship was tacky and the walls were lined with harpoons. The bottom of the ship was lined with all the green stuff it had picked up on its travels. On the back of the ship and on the sides, it bore the name S.S Falcon. It swayed around in the choppy water. John was not at all friendly to seasickness. The crew were traipsing back and forth, heaving supplies up the precarious gangplanks. One man slipped and sent a whole cartload hurtling back down the ramp and crashed into a large, wooden box. It burst into tiny smithereens on impact. Al strode over to a figure with a large black coat. He was ticking off the ship’s loads on a large, wide clipboard. “That must be the captain” John thought. “Cornell!” Al called, “How many supplies left to shift?” The captain turned his grizzled face sideways and gave Al an irritable stare. “Only a few more” he answered. John noticed that Cornell had a slight accent; Russian perhaps. “Right, let’s get a move on!!” Al shouted. The crew had just finished moving the last of the supplies onto the deck. John stepped up to the gangplank and looked up. Al was already up there, talking to a tall man with straight, blond hair. “Right, Scruff, everything ready?” Al asked. “Yep it’s all set” Scruff replied. “Good!” Al commended. John took his steps up the rocking plank as Captain Cornell strolled up another plank and over to the wheelhouse where Baz, the first mate was waiting at the speed leavers. “Start the engines!” Cornell ordered. “Dead slow ahead both” Baz responded. He pulled down on the levers and then the ship gave a long, low, loud blast on its foghorn. The ship started to move, out into the harbour. Al took a few steps towards the edge and leaned over the rail as the Falcon slowly chugged away from its resting point. The wind whistled in the air and the ship gave another deep blast on the foghorn. Al watched the hustle and bustle of the docks around him. He smiled. It would take a few months to reach the South Pacific. And once they were there, they could begin the real adventure! It was to be the adventure of his time!

Voyage at Sea

John stumbled as the ship swayed in the current of the ocean. He quickly latched onto to a hook on the edge of the wall as the Falcon righted itself. They had been sailing for other three weeks and according to Al, they were in the South Atlantic, east of Argentina. John had never been this far into the world before. Al had given John twenty pounds for coming on the expedition. It still wouldn’t be enough to pay out the mortgage when they returned to Britain. But Al had said that he would pay John more as they progressed. John strolled into the dining room where Al and Dr. Scruff were waiting. They were discussing the route which the other ship must have taken. “It’s not as if they were guessing the route” Scruff noted. “They were shout east of the Chatham Islands” Al pointed out, “That’s a tropical region” John staggered into the room. “Oh hello, Mr. Mackey” Scruff greeted. John managed a smile back; the rhythm of the sea was making him sick. “What are you discussing?” he asked. “We’ve noted that the ship was lost somewhere north from the Pacific Basin” Al explained, “Way beyond the shipping lanes” “Anyone for lunch, huh?” called a voice. It was Zak, the cook. According to Al, Zak often set the food on fire by accident, so every meal that the crew had was fried, roasted or smouldered. “We’ll have it in about twenty minutes” Al answered, “Put a couple of bacon rashes in there, Zak!” “Will do!” Zak replied. John slumped in a crooked wooden chair. He was definitely not looking forward to lunch. Burnt bacon and the rough sea did not mix!

Later on in the day, and John leaned out on the wooden rail near the wheelhouse. He had never been so far from his home in his life. Just as John had predicted, Zak had burnt the bacon and now John felt as bad as ever! The sea glistened as the sun shone down on it. John turned to the right and noticed a couple of sailors playing a card game. “Come on, make your move!” one jeered. “But what’s the point, eh?” the other protested, “You’re gonna beat me anyhow!” “I don’t care, ya wuss!!” the other shouted. Baz climbed out from the wheelhouse and strode over to the edge. “HEY, WHO TOLD YOU TO SLEEP ON THE JOB?” he shouted, “GET CRACKIN’ YOU DOPEY SODS!!!” The sailors shot of their backsides in fear and jumped back to work. “Baz!” the captain called. John laughed as the pair scampered away. Inside the wheel house, Cornell checked on the stash of M1 Garand rifles. They had enough weapons to annihilate London.

Six weeks later and the Falcon was now way out of its depth. They had journeyed round the tip of South America and were now slowly heading west into the vast and featureless expanse of the great blue Pacific Ocean. At least the area they were heading for was tropical, rather than polar. Up in the wheelhouse, Captain Cornell and Al exchanged a conversation. “I’m concerned that we’re heading into a Bermuda Triangle” Cornell explained. “Well, who can blame you?” Al laughed. “There’s nothing there!” Cornell insisted. “We’re heading directly into the unknown, Mr. Harris” Baz noted, who was maintaining his position at the wheel. “Look” Al began, “I swear that nothing will go wrong” “How can you?” the captain snorted. Al prepared to leave, when all of a sudden, Cornell grabbed him. “I’d like you to know” he started, “That when I was out in these waters, I just happened to stumble on a wrecked ship. No one was alive, all sleeping with the fishes. But, it had disappeared in that same area” Al stopped for a minute. “The locals were all saying “Tangira” Cornell continued, “And about a place called “Claw Island” “What has that got to do with it?” Al asked not really caring. “Well, it sways my view on this expedition” the captain clarified. Al paused, but not having a clue what Cornell meant, he stepped out of the wheel house and onto the steps. He brushed past John who was just coming up the steps. Cornell looked on as Al left. “What the heck’s the matter with him?” John inquired. Cornell simply stared, not saying anything. John continued down and then through a door into the kitchen. Zak was preparing yet another disgusting dish. But then, he started to turn spooky. “Ya know” he started as John entered, “The skipper’s right. There’s an island out there. Those people said of a thing that was the stuff of legend. It belongs to the devil! There’s something that’s almighty, still alive on that island. And if you find this place, if you go with the others…..You’ll never come back” John froze. Zak’s words struck pure terror into him. What did he mean? What was out there? “I’ll take that into account” John muttered.

The Falcon slowly chugged its way through the swaying waters. John stood on the bow watching the sun’s ray’s dazzle against the clear blue of the water. Baz moved the wheel at a steady pace as the ship rocked. Then, John was rewarded with the most spectacular sight. A curved fin slowly broke the surface in a jagged line under the prow of the ship. No, it wasn’t a shark, it was a dolphin! Two more followed suit along the side of the ship, riding the bow wave, saving their energy. Eventually, John could see hundreds of dolphins, stretching out on either side of the Falcon for a mile. They were chasing a huge shoal of fish. John just sat back and enjoyed it. After all it was something he might never see again. Meanwhile, Baz kept at the wheel, while Cornell pondered over some charts. Baz turned to the captain. “How much more can we take?” he asked. Cornell sighed as he took a look at a map. Al passed by, ignoring the dolphin display. As if to add to the happy mood on the ship, up in the crow’s nest, the black sailor, Felix, started playing his whistle.

Later, that night, Scruff traipsed around the corridors, looking for Al. He had just visited Zak for something to eat and he had only had some slime in a bowl. Then, he noticed Al coming in the opposite direction down the corridor. “How you doing, Al?” Scruff asked his friend. “Not too good” Al answered, “You don’t seem so good yourself. Have you eaten Zak’s food?” “You guessed right” Scruff muttered. They traipsed up onto the top deck and started to stroll around. “How’s Mr. Mackey?” Scruff asked. “Better than we are” Al replied. “What good can he do?” Scruff inquired. “Mr. Mackey is going to help us with our studies” Al explained, “And a witness when we get back to London” “That was a good idea of yours!” Scruff commended. Al smiled as the walked along the deck up towards the wheelhouse. On the way, they passed Felix. “How ya doing?” Al asked. “Very good, Mr. Harris” Felix answered. As Al and Scruff neared the wheelhouse, they heard Baz shout from it. “ROCKS TO STARBOARD CAPTAIN!” he called. Cornell rushed up to meet Baz and took the wheel. John flung out onto the top deck and stared out. Al did the same thing. “What are we looking for?” John inquired. Cornell swerved the wheel as he saw what they were heading for. John saw some grey rocks floating by. But as they drifted closer, John and Al saw that they were metal chunks. And to add to it, John noticed one large piece of drifting metal had the name S.S Fisher. These had come off a ship! The Falcon chugged by. An icy feeling swept over John’s skin. What had happened to this ship? Where were the crew? John felt this voyage was starting to become extremely eerie.

Straight into the Unknown

Three days later and the Falcon was heading further and further out into the Pacific. Baz had been checking their position every night, using the stars. But then, the night before, Baz had reported that there were no more stars shining. John was starting to feel incredibly shifty and it seemed that the captain was feeling the same way. Al had been called to the crew’s meeting room to have a word with Cornell. “I’m turning my ship around” the captain informed. “What?!” Al exclaimed. “I’m not prepared to risk my crew’s lives for your benefit” Cornell snapped. “Don’t be ridiculous man!!” Al shouted, “No one’s lives are in danger here!! Everyone’s here of their own free spirit” “Then what did you see a few days ago?” Cornell reminded. Al stopped and gritted his teeth. “If anything more happens, I’m turning back” the captain warned. Al stared at the floor as Cornell left the room. The captain brushed past John as he entered. John stared after Cornell in confusion. “What the heck was that about?” he asked. “He’s worried, that’s all” Al passed off. “I can’t bloody blame him” John exclaimed. “Look, we can’t be assuming al the time” Al sighed, “All we need to think about is getting to that area where there might be a landform!” “Suppose so” John muttered. Al strode over to an old fashion radio and began to turn its dials. John staggered back into a wooden chair and patiently waited for sound to come out of the speakers. But when Al turned the switches, nothing happened for a few moments. Then, John’s stomach lurched as the ship rolled tremendously. Al fell backwards and crash landed on the wooden floor. “What the hell?!” he exclaimed. John and Al burst out of the room and swayed up the steps towards the top deck door. Felix sprinted past them, shrieking in terror. Al latched onto the door handle and swung it down. What awaited him when he reached the top was the most astounding sight. John pulled himself up as the ship swayed again and finally reached the deck. John and Al’s mouths dropped open when they saw fiery molten lava shooting up out of a small pimple of a rock, the tip of an undersea volcano. The lava ignited the water with its magnificent glow. It was a glorious sight and under the water, a huge cloud of volcanic ash spread in all directions, choking anything that was in its destructive path. The glow of the lava struck on John’s face which glared in the outstanding heat and he flung himself backwards as the ship swelled in the volcano’s gigantic waves that it had created. Cornell brushed past John as he sprinted for the wheelhouse. “He’s gonna turn it around!!” Al thought in panic. He raced after Cornell who had already reached the wheel. Al took the steps four at a time and lunged for the wheel. Cornell pushed him off and turned the wheel a hundred and eighty degrees. As Al picked himself up off the floor, he turned towards the captain. “If you turn round” he warned, “You won’t have anything to gain or lose” Cornell turned his beady eyes on Al. He wanted money greatly. “Fine” Cornell gritted. Inside the ship, Scruff stumbled up into the kitchen, were Zak was standing as still as anything. Then, Scruff saw why. One of Zak’s cupboards was half way through the floor! Up on the top deck, John watched as the ship sailed past the undersea volcano. But all he could think about was: “Jesus! What next?!”

A couple of days later, Baz had reported that the Falcon was heading into the Pacific Basin. Al was just as excited as ever, but Scruff was becoming really nervous. John had been recalling the things that Zak had said: There’s something almighty, still alive…If you find this place…You’ll never come back. In the early hours of the morning, Al and Scruff started to discuss the underwater volcanic eruption that they had witnessed. “How can that be?” Scruff asked, “There aren’t any volcanoes in this region. It’s not on a plate margin” “Ah” Al started, “But New Zealand itself is on a plate margin. Hawaii has a range of volcanoes. So does the Galápagos. It could be the same in the Pacific Basin” The sun peaked up above the vastness of the ocean and the black smoke sprouting from the ship’s funnel was silhouetted. The door from the cabins opened as John strolled out onto the deck. Cornell was at the wheel while Baz sat at the stern. John paced himself and watched the waves ripple in the breeze. Baz kept his eyes skinned for anything suspicious. Then, he rose from his position and pointed. “ROCKS OFF THE PORT BOW!” he shouted. Cornell stared out into the ocean and sure enough, he saw two large, curved boulders rising up out of the ocean. They were pointed at the tips. “Man, I never saw rocks that big!” John thought in amazement. The rocks were almost as tall as two fully grown men and as wide as a double Decker bus! Ignoring the abnormal spires, John turned back to the cabins. As he turned back to take a stare at the huge rocks, he was astonished to see them begin to judder. Then, slowly but surly, there was no denying it. These rocks were actually moving!! John cried out in shock as these great pinnacles with sharp, curved, pointed tips moved with alarming speed…straight towards the Falcon. Felix clapped his hands over his head in horror. From a nearby window, Al and Scruff watched in amazement as the boulders advanced. John turned to see Zak, the cook, lunge forward with a stick of dynamite in his palm. Then, he lit the fuse which sparkled in a flare and held his arm well back. “EAT THIS!!!” he hollered. Zak sent the dynamite hurtling downwards, and just as it was about to hit the water, it exploded with a very loud bang! The explosion itself was very small, causing no damage at all to the ship, but the noise was incredibly loud! It made the water dance for miles around. John clapped his hands over his ears to block out the painful sound. The spires continued to approach the ship. If they reached the vulnerable hull, they’d sink and the crew would drown. Cornell jammed the Falcon’s engines full throttle, but then, just like that, the spiked rocks started to sink into the ocean and then disappeared from view. Everyone stood still as they looked around for any signs of life. And that’s when John noticed, the water had been swept to the sides in a tremendously oversized wake. Had that been caused by the rocks? Or by something else? John thought he’d never find out. And with that settled, Cornell would no longer trust the crew unless they always had Felix up in the crow’s nest.

Claw Island

The Falcon chugged slowly through the morning mist, looking like a ghost ship. The black smoke from the funnel spewed out into the bitter air and it blasted its deep sounding foghorn. Al leaned on a rail in the wheelhouse and stared out to sea while Baz maintained the wheel. Out on the deck, John leaned on the rail and simply stared. He clutched his arms as a chilly breeze came drifting in. He had expected that the Pacific was tropical, but this morning it was freezing. Al had explained that the breeze was coming up from Antarctica. Baz muttered to Al as he steered the Falcon on its course. “This is meaningless!” he snorted, “We’ve been away from land for three weeks. Our supplies are severely low” “We’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got” Al passed off. “Who knows how long that’ll hold up?” Baz inquired. Al grunted and slumped back to his old position. Baz started to turn the wheel slower. And that’s when he noticed. The compass on the dashboard was going haywire. Then, the arrow stopped on north. “Captain!” Baz called. Cornell shot up the wooden steps and dashed into the wheelhouse. Al took a look at the compass’ position. “There’s something out there” he muttered. “Steerage way only” Cornell ordered. “Dead slow ahead captain” Baz obeyed. John rose up from his perch and looked out to sea. He then turned up to look at the captain. His eyes were narrowing. John was starting to feel really worried as the ship sailed on through the waters. Al snatched a pair of binoculars from the dashboard and lifted them to his eyes. John followed his gaze. Nothing yet. Up in the crow’s nest, Felix was hardly paying any attention to the scenery around them. But as he turned to face the bow of the Falcon, he caught sight of something…a rock. He cowered in fear. “ROCKS!!” Felix hollered. “Take it slowly Baz!” Cornell ordered. “Aye, aye captain!” Baz responded. Al turned his binoculars and sure enough, spotted the hard grey crag of pointed rock rising up out of the ocean’s gloom. But then, he saw another and another. They reached out, as if they were trying to snag the Falcon. They were claws or spikes, reaching out at the ship. John stumbled back as more rocks rose up from the dark water’s gloom. “LAND AHOY!!” Felix shouted. John followed Felix’s point and saw… a beach! “Land! Finally!” he thought. Then, more shouting from Felix: “ROCKS, ROCKS, ROCKS!!!!!!!!” Scruff stumbled up onto the top deck and stared in amazement at the giant spires that towered out of the water. “DROP THE ANCHOR!” Cornell ordered. A sailor quickly lowered the anchor and it fell into the water with a loud splash. Al tore himself out of the wheelhouse and raced over to John. Together, they gazed up in amazement at the land that loomed out of the mist. Al stared up in utter glory. “CLAW ISLAND!!” he shouted in triumph. “Congratulations!” John cheered. The efforts of the expedition had at last been rewarded. They had finally found the hidden landmass that Al had been searching for! Al couldn’t take his eyes of the small beach. It was surrounded by jagged cliffs and rocks that rose almost fifty feet above the rest of the island. The sand on the beach was disturbingly grey and bleak. But now, all Al wanted was just to land on that beach.

The lifeboat steadily sailed through the shallow waters to the shore. Al could hardly believe what he was seeing and what was happening; he was about to land on Claw Island! He stood proudly at the bow of the small boat. Also in that boat, were Baz, Scruff, John and three sailors. John couldn’t take his eyes of the scenery. Nothing could have been less welcoming. The large cliffs that sheltered the small beach were of a crude grey colour. They were jagged at the edges and at their summits, making them look like razor sharp spikes. Like the gates to the beyond. John looked up at the huge rocks and all of a sudden, noticed that one of them had a face carved into it. The face of an empty, lifeless skull. John looked down at the water in shock, but even more gaping, wide eyed, elongated faces stared back at him, as if they were telling him to, turn around, to go back and never return. John tiled his head sharply upwards and then exchanged an extremely concerned and worried glance with Scruff. “Can you believe this, Scruff?” Al asked in excitement, “We’ve proved it!” The lifeboat slid with a crunch onto the dreary, cragged beach. Al shot out of his position. He proudly took his first steps on Claw Island. Baz and John followed. The three other sailors brought out the rifles and tossed them to the others. Al took his gun, but not as a precaution. The cold, sea air bit into the crew’s cloths as they stared around at the place and the wind whistled in their ears. John took some stares down at the sand. It was covered in small fragments…fragments of bone. John snapped his head up and noticed a large, tall cave leading up into one of the cliffs. The rock of its base looked like it had solidified only yesterday. In interest, Al leaned down and picked a small, black, jagged rock, which spiked his palms. He pressed his ear close to the wet, cold bleak rock. He gave it a tap with the serrated stone. The tapping made an echo. That meant the ground was hollow. It looked like the sea, calcified in its most lively minutes. John looked up and saw the entrance to a vast cave. The wind shrilled through it. “Wonder what’s up there?” he thought. “Come on fellahs!” Al ordered. The small party followed after the explorer as he strode up towards the cave entrance. As they walked up, John could see yet more fragments of bone and even some teeth. Al tramped inside the cave with the rest of the men right behind him. Al took one look around and saw, not fragments of bone, but whole bones, human bones. Al stared around and saw more and more bones. They had been ripped to shreds by something. The bitter wind whistled through the dark, dank cavern and it made the crew shiver. Al caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye and he tore over to the side wall of the cave. “Mr. Mackey” he called, “Look at this” John traipsed over to join Al. He was looking at some engravings in the rock. They were elongated shapes with strange figures. Then, John caught sight of drawings. They seemed to be of men with spears. There was even more. “Look!” Al cried. He pointed to a large oblong etching. It had a large, box-like head and a massive tail. Then, John saw that whoever had drawn these, had added stripes to this one. “It’s a tiger!” Al exclaimed. The whole scene was becoming even creepier. “Hey, there’s light up there!” Scruff informed. John stared up the horrible passage and saw rays of light shining through the other end. At last, some relief from this pile of bones. Baz led the way up the tunnel, with all the caution as if he was entering a German battle ground. Al and the rest of the men on the Falcon respected Baz tremendously. Many of the sailors had been involved in the war and had vivid memories of fighting Hitler’s Nazi troops. The war had left a terrible pain in everyone’s mind and it was very clearly seen on Baz’s hard face. After the war, you must have though everyone’s lives would be solved, but in these people’s case, it was the other way round. The crew traipsed up the steep, stone passage to the beams of light. Al was the first to reach the top. John and Scruff followed close behind. John was astounded at the sheer sight. There were yet more bones, some were massive. It was a bone yard. They were surrounded by death. What had happened to these things? Some of the bones were clearly human. So there were humans on Claw Island. But where were they now? “Careful!” Baz warned. The whole graveyard stretched out for a mile in either direction. Beyond it, Al could see a vast expanse of jungle, but the only way to reach it, was to walk through a small chasm that was thirty feet high. “Let’s go!” Al ordered excitedly. “Mr. Harris, I think we should go back” John cautioned. Something didn’t feel right at all. “Don’t worry, Mr. Mackey” Scruff reassured. The crew carefully started to descend down a steep slope. Surrounding the party were more bones, and tombs that had been smashed open. Who could have made these? Were they still here? Then, Baz held his hand up to the rest of the group. “What’s wrong Baz?” Al asked. Baz was looking really edgy. And then John saw why. “Good Lord!!!” he thought. A small bundle lay in a heap near the entrance to the chasm. Baz and Al raised their rifles and took aim. As they neared the bundle, John realized it was a man. He had been expecting someone typical of a Pacific islander, say in New Zealand, but this man was unlike any islander John had ever seen before. As they stepped closer towards the bundle of flesh, John could just make out this man’s appearance. He had dark, almost charcoal black skin. And his body was covered in a hair or fur garment. His face was all tightened, his eyes closed. John knew he was dead. Al lowered his gun and edged closer to the deceased person. The rest of the crew followed, but were really cautious. The all of a sudden, in a blink of an eye, the supposedly dead man sprang up. His eyes were a horrible red, and his mouth was filled with crooked yellow teeth. He seemed almost devilish. He seized Al by his leg. Al retaliated by swinging back and striking the native hard on the face. Then a notched, jagged spear landed at John’s feat. “WE’VE GOT COMPANY!!!” Scruff hollered. “Shit!!” John whispered. As silent as shadows, a wave of horrifying men all sprang up from the rocks and charged at the crew. Their eyes shone with hatred and bloodlust and they babbled talk to one another. Then, the spears came whistling in apon the party. The sailor next to John let out a small gasp of air. John turned and saw a spear had impaled the man, going right through him and had broken his spine. The sailor collapsed, blood soaking through his shirt. “JESUS!!!!!!!” John cried. “OPEN FIRE!!!!” Baz shouted. The survivors all fired their rifles and five men fell at the whistling bullets. Two men grabbed hold of Al who let out a howl of furry. John drew pistol from his pocket and blasted two rounds out of them. The men who had Al fell to the ground. “BAM!!! BAM!! BAM!!!!” Cornell and some more sailors poured out of the tunnel behind them, firing away. A brave villager rushed up towards the captain which a spear. His eyes struck terror into Scruff who cowered behind John in fear. Cornell quickly silenced the man with a single shot. Then, the devilish villagers all scattered as the gunfire came hurtling down on them. Cornell raised his pistol and made one last check to see there weren’t any natives hiding. “Let’s go Mr. Harris” he ordered. Al’s teeth were chattering, but he sharply stood up and replied: “Quite right”

Tangira

That night, back on the Falcon, Cornell insisted that the expedition would set sail for New Zealand the next day. Despite Al’s pleas, the captain resisted. They had to be rid of this island as quickly as possible. In his cabin, John sat down and stared around the small cramped room. He just couldn’t forget that day’s horrible battle in the bone yard. All those different skeletons that had filled that wasteland were all of different sizes and shapes. It led John to think: What exactly had happened to the crew of that missing ship? Were they alive, or dead? John knew he’d never find the answers. What kind of place was this?

Up in the wheelhouse, Cornell and Baz discussed tactics on how and where they were going. “We could try Sydney” Baz suggested. “New Zealand’s closer” Cornell retorted. Al let out a big yawn and stared back at the vast land that was Claw Island. There was a great discovery, a new land, waiting to be explored and all the others could think about was delivering themselves from the wretched place. Even Scruff and John had cast their vote with the captain. Al leaned back in his chair and reached over for a flask. The night was incredibly silent, save for the rush of the sea’s waves as they crashed on the beach and on the sides of the Falcon. Then, all of a sudden, a glow shone throughout the island’s bleak coastline. “No, can’t be” Al thought, baffled. But it was still there. A fiery, orange glow was spreading far over the rocky horizon of Claw Island and it was growing, fast. “Cornell” Al whispered. “What?” Cornell asked, half tired. Then, something happened, something that no one was expecting. “AAAAOOOOOMMHH!!!” That roar was so thunderous, it echoed for miles around. The rocks that towered above the ship seemed to shake, the sea water danced in the vibration. Cornell and Baz shot up from their seats and stared at the blazing radiance that illuminated the island. John blasted into the wheelhouse. He had heard that awesome sound. “What in God’s name was that?!!” he inquired in panic. A determined look settled on Al’s face. “Let’s go!” he ordered. “GET TO IT!” Cornell shouted. The crew dashed across the deck straight after Cornell’s order had been issued. They came back carrying rifles, sub machine guns and all other sorts of weapons. Zak shot out from his quarters carrying huge sticks of dynamite. A few sailors manned the rickety lifeboats. “Come on, Scruff!” Al called. Scruff raced over to the boats. John followed close behind. The crew gently lowered the boats into the murky waves below. It was a return to Claw Island.

A few minutes later and the boats were rowing through the waves, back to that lifeless beach. John sat at the bow with Al close behind. In the other boat were Cornell, Baz and Zak. They heaved the awes back and fort as they propelled the boat towards Claw Island. The first boat landed with a crunch onto the beach and the crew shot out of it. John grabbed a rifle and dashed over to that tunnel, through the scattered white bones Al following quickly behind. They all sprinted back up that dreadful tunnel, back to where that sailor had been slain. They all held onto their shoulders as the cold wind air swept through the cavern. Al was first to reach the top. There, he watched awe struck as he saw hundreds of natives all gathered up ahead and chanting. The vast plateau was now a sea of a raging fire that made the horrible death yard come alive with the inferno. “D’ you here that?” he asked John. “TANGIRA...TANGIRA…TANGIRA!!” That word was so unusual, and it sounded incredibly powerful as the villagers chanted it over and over again. The booming of the drums gave it more power. “TANGIRA…TANGIRA…TANGIRA!!” Al just watched, amazed at how the grey-blue crag of the rocks was now illuminated by the blaze of burning fire. John wanted to move closer, to see better what was going on. Quietly, he slipped away from Cornell and Al and ventured along the rocks. “TANGIRA…TANGIRA…TANGIRA!!” “AAAAOOOOOMMHH!!!” Silence fell over the wasteland as the thing roared in majesty like it had the last time. Then, mayhem was let lose. The natives screamed in terror and ran for their lives. John froze as he heard the sound of thunderous footfalls from the distant jungle. They made the ground shake, just as bad as when the ship rocked in that volcano’s eruption. He edged up onto the plateau and watched as the islanders sprinted for cover among the jagged boulders. Eventually, John was walking out on flat ground. The ground vibrated tremendously, sending bones rattling across the rocks. The ground shook and this time, John fell backwards. A dark shadow, cracking the trees, pulling them down with a sickening crunch, crashed out from the jungle and a huge foot with four, fury toes and massive, yellow claws that were extending and retracting, stomped down in front if John. He fell backwards as the other slammed down. He tilted his eyes up to see what it was and: “AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!” A tiger was crouched in front him, abnormally huge. The cat’s massive luminous eyes glistened as it stared down at John and its whiskers bristled with anger. The feline’s lengthy tail swished from side to side and its stripes lined down the animal’s back like train rails. It raised its colossal head and its large, sparkling teeth were revealed as it snorted. “GGGRRRAAAAAHHH!!!” The beast thundered over to a massive bonfire, which had probably been made by the villagers. It was as tall as John’s lounge back in London. It was then, John saw that a young child had been impaled on a large piece of razor sharp wood and had literally been roasted. The smell of burning flesh was enough to kill a sensitive stomach. John turned away with horror, but the giant beast crouched down, sending even more old bones flying, and snatched the corpse from the flames. The giant animal swallowed the scorched soul and then growled. John could feel the sound vibrating in him. Then, the immense tyrant thundered off into the jungle. John was intrigued by the monster. He quickly lowed himself down into the chasm and raced off down it into the jungle.

Al had seen the beast as well and was awe struck. “HOLY HELL!!!” Baz shouted. “AAAOOOMMMHH!!!!!!!” The rest of the crew were frozen with pandemonium and watched as the gargantuan tiger, enlightened by the glow of the village’s fires, lumbered off and disappeared into the trees. “Jesus!” Al finally exclaimed, “What d’ you think of that, Mr. Mackey?” He turned to where John was supposed to be standing and that’s when Al realized. John was gone. “JOHN!” Al shouted, “HE’S GONE!!!” The crew snapped out of their state of terror. Cornell took one stare around. Nothing else had happened. Everyone looked around for John Mackey, but he had indeed, vanished! Then, Al recognized something in utter horror. He grabbed Scruff by his lapels and shook him violently. “THAT THING’S SNATCHED JOHN!!!” he hollered.

Rescue Mission

Ammunition boxes were unlocked and all sorts of supplies were tossed around while Cornell gave out orders. “You can take Baz” he started “And seventeen others. The rest of you, stay guard here until they come back” Zak and another sailor called Mac were among the first to volunteer. Al and Scruff loaded a pair of rifles. Baz signalled and the rescue party set of down the chasm while the rest of the crew waited behind. Baz lead the way with his gun cocked. The void that led to the jungle must have been about half a mile long. It would take the men about twenty minutes to reach the trees. They traipsed down the chasm and they eventually lost sight of Cornell and the others. In due course, they had covered about two thirds of the small pit. The walls which were over thirty feet tall rose up and towered above the people. There were small holes in the sides of the grey-blue crag, big enough for a human to squeeze through. Zak took a look around to make sure no islanders were following them. Al reached into his bag to find a flask of cider. As he was about to take a swig of the strong stuff, high pitched screeching filled the emptiness of the black night air. “What’s that?” Al asked. He tilted his eyes up and saw an enormous swarm of bats all leaving their roost from the other side of the wasteland. They emitted high pitched screams as they went, not the clicks that other kinds of bat made. Their wing s formed a mighty roar and the swarm of nearly twelve hundred animals passed by over the team’s heads. The rest of the group had noticed it too. At the front of the group, Baz signalled to the others to stop. “Listen” he whispered. Al listened to the air around him, but nothing was clear. He couldn’t hear anything. But slowly, Al began to hear a slow whooshing of wind. It was now becoming louder. The rest of the crew heard it too. It was getting louder, fast. Al breathed slowly in terror as the sound was coming closer. Then, he heard bones being clattered across the sharp, crude rocks. Was it the tiger? Had it come back? Al quietly and really little by little by little, slipped an unused cartridge into his gun. There was no more of that dreadful whooshing of wind. The rifles slot clicked as Al fastened it tight. “IIIAAARRRRGGGHH!!!!” Al quickly shot his head up to the top of a chasm and stumbled back as huge dark shadow soared over his head, uttering a deep, long screech as it went. Al realized that this thing was alive; circling over the bone yard, seeking for a better aim. Its wingspan must have been over forty feet long. Its wings were like that of a bat’s, but its head looked more like a snake’s. Curved, sharp fangs protruded from its long, narrow maw. It’s skin was black as cinders and it’s eyes were a milky grey, which shone out in the darkness. It shrieked as it homed in on the crew. Baz brought his rifle to his shoulder and fired. The giant flying horror swerved as the rest of the crew, including Al, fired round after round. The beast’s eyes glowed as Al fired his gun. It let out an agonizing, shrill cry as it closed in on the nearest target…Scruff. It swooped down on Scruff with a loud shriek, but Scruff blasted off a bullet and the creature soared up again. The leathery rustling of its enormous wings filled the air as it swooped over the coastline and eventually, Al could no longer hear it. “What the hell was that?” Zak asked in horror. No one answered. They had no idea. A giant animal, like the thing that took John. Ho could that be? Al had dealt with all kinds of big animals, but that thing was something else! Baz continued to lead the way. And as they set off back down the murky chasm to the jungles of Claw Island, Al couldn’t wait to see what they’d find next. The monster hunt was on!

A quarter of a mile away, John stumbled through the dark, chilling entanglement of the vast forest. He shone his torch on the surrounding vegetation. These plants were unlike anything that he’d ever seen. The tree’s branches were about the size of a modest British pine. They were BIG trees. The roots were as long as railway tracks and twisted across the jungle floor, grabbing out at anything, trying to catch something. The leaves were as large as a desktop in a university study. The ground itself was a thick blanket of green moss which choked the soil. The smell that drifted through the trees that looked like twisted hands were overwhelming Eventually John’s boots were covered in mud and were soaking. They were so wet that John’s feet became soggy. “God!” John thought. These forests were unlike anything on the planet. It was incredibly cold and John wrapped his coat around his shoulders to prevent them freezing. The jungle was strangely quiet. He turned his attention back to the humongous feline that was thundering through the trees. He was carefully following the giant beast, one step at a time, being greatly careful not to step on any creeper or twig that would snap. He had his M1 rifle at his side, ready to fire if the natives came back. John tore over to a gap in the dark green vegetation and watched as the mammoth tiger prowled through the jungle. Its slobbery tongue swiped both sides of its face clean. “Hang on!” John thought, “Tangira!” The natives had repeated the word “Tangira” so greatly that it might have been the monster’s name. They must have revered the giant tiger as some sort of a divinity. Tangira took a stare up at the light that shone down through the tangled trees, illuminating the darkness of the island night. From his position, John estimated that the cat had to be at lest thirty five feet long. It sniffed the breeze twice and then grunted. Tangira sat back on his massive haunches. John watched the marvellous animal for some twenty minutes, and in that time he started to wonder. How the heck did a creature like this come into being? Were there others? “Jesus!” he thought, “What were the rest of the animals like?!” Had mankind ever seen anything so incredible before? The beast was spectacular. After that, Tangira growled and then reared up to his full height. He took one sniff at the pungent air and then prowled into the thick green of the forest, sending small saplings hurtling across the jungle floor. John desperately wanted to keep the beast in sight, so he stood up from his hiding place in the thicket and continued following the monster into the mysterious depths of the legendary Claw Island.

Ambush

The rescue team traipsed through a muddy quagmire in the middle of a small, green clearing. They had been tracking the huge beast and John Mackey for over an hour. Al estimated that it was three o’clock in the morning and the team waved their lights around. The jungle was nothing like any other that the world knew about, it was huge! The trees were humungous and they seemed to be almost primeval. The large creepers almost looked like twisted hands as the snared all over the jungle floor. The bleak moonlight shone down through the massive leaves as Al stared up at it. The smell was incredibly overwhelming, not in a nice sense, but in a way that would have made the crew’s noses bleed. It was worse than the smell of the burnt bacon back on the ship. Al continued took round through this amazing new world. He looked on further and all of a sudden saw some strange engravings in the rocks. As Al went over to have a closer look, he saw that they were faces, giant skull faces. Al pulled away more leaves and creepers and saw…a wall. As the last of the crew made their way through the muck, Al and Baz discussed the plan of attack. “This thing’s one step ahead of us!” Al groaned. “Yeah” Scruff said in agreement, “He’s probably miles away by now” “At least we won’t lose his track” Baz reassured, gesturing to some smashed trees. It looked like a battalion of tanks had been down that way. It didn’t take a master hunter to follow something that big. And when the team found that tiger, they would probably find John. Al headed up to the front of the group with Baz and after the team had finished their break, they set off again. Then, suddenly, Mac stopped. “Bloody Hell!!” he cried. The rest of the crew traipsed over to see what Mac had found. Al couldn’t put his finger on it at first. It seemed like most of the puddles they had already swam through. But then, as Al went on looking at it, he realized it was actually a track! It was massive, almost the size of a small pool. The thing that they had seen at the village, Al had no doubt, was an enormous cat. The shape of this footprint didn’t look like a cat’s, but the sheer size of it! “Look’s like he’s headed this way” Scruff suggested. “Come on fellahs!” Al ordered enthusiastically. But the question was this: Al was looking for a giant tiger, but who else was out there, or what else?

Not very far away, John continued to follow Tangira into the jungle. He shone his torch around to check where the tiger was. Tangira was just up ahead, heading north, according to John’s compass. He had been traipsing through the mess of rainforest that still stretched out on either side of him. As John had progressed through the jungle, he had begun to notice huge stone structures, smashed bits of stone lay around him, littering the ground. The old ruined walls towered above John, vines creeping through the bricks like snakes. Had these ruins been made by the natives? “No, couldn’t have” he thought. The natives obviously hadn’t made these kinds of buildings on the wasteland. They had clearly been constructed by a much more sophisticated people. John kept quiet, not to alert the mighty Tangira. Then, he heard a squelch and glanced down. He struggled to pull his boot out of some thick, black, sticky mud. As he did so, he heard a deep growl. He turned up to see Tangira had spotted him! “Just keep still” John told himself. “GGRRRAAAAAAGGH!!” John stood stock still as the colossal beast lumbered straight towards him, yellow teeth bared in a nasty snarl. John cocked his rifle just in case. Tangira tore down two of those massive trees, snapping them like they were twigs. He thundered down on the tiny creature that feared him. Tangira growled, deep and rumbling. Then, he turned his attention on John, who stood petrified amid the tangle of green. The giant creature crouched down and lowered his head close to John. So close, John could fell Tangira’s breath on his face. Eventually, Tangira came so close to John that he almost stumbled back. The monster snorted in disgust. This puny animal was nothing. He rose up and walked over John who was now on his knees. He looked up in awe as Tangira lumbered off into the jungle. John continued to follow the beast. But the question for him was: What would be next? What else lurked in the jungles of the island?

More than three hours later, not far-off, the rescue party staggered through the jungle with the packs of supplies and ammunition on their backs. Al led the way with his rifle at the ready. There was no sign of the beast, or John. Al took a look up at the sky. “The sky wasn’t that bright before” he realized, “Must be almost dawn” He was right. No sooner than twenty minutes later, the sun peeked up above the forests of Claw Island. Al listened to the many different sounds that swept in from the trees. They were of many different birds, one with a particular howling cry, which Al or Scruff couldn’t classify. Eventually, the team didn’t even need the torches or the flashlights anymore. As they covered more ground, Al was starting to see more of this place. The trees were surrounding them on all sides and were, well…the word gigantic sprung to mind. They were unlike any tree that Al had ever seen. What evidence to bring back to London! The leaves were as huge as large kitchen plates. “They must be taking in a lot of sunlight” Al thought. He couldn’t believe that they were probably the first humans on earth to see something like this. Baz was leading the way as usual. He had his gun raised and was prepared to defend, should any of the islanders turn up. Then, Zak noticed a gap between the gargantuan trees. “Over there!” he called. Through the thick tangle of jungle, Al caught a glimpse of some beams of light passing through the plate-sized leaves. “Maybe there’s a clearing over there” he thought. Baz led the crew closer to the edge of the trees, with all the caution as if he were entering a French battle ground. Eventually, after some careful checking, he allowed the group to press on. Al eagerly ran forward, being careful not to become ensnared in the tangle of roots and creepers. He pushed a huge, round leaf aside and burst out into the open. Birds scattered from all directions as he emerged onto a vast plain. It stretched out for a mile and it was full of a strange looking grass. Grass was an everyday thing, it was normal. Yet this grass seemed so unusual. Al noticed that it was short, bent and it was ridged with thick, studded spines. How could anything survive on a plant that was so sharp? Behind Al, the rest of the rescue team blasted out of the jungle and took a look at the surrounding landscape. Out into the distance, they could see yet more of the lush, green jungle and huge grey mountains. The sun shone down on this mysterious world, making it seem like a picture from some great film. “COME ON, MR. HARRIS!” Zak called, “LET’S HAVE A BREAK, EH?” “He’s right” Mac plonked down next to Zak. Al growled in frustration. What could happen to John in the time it took them to have a break? But then again, he saw it as an opportunity to explore this new and amazing land. He signalled to Scruff who came over to join him. “Okay” Al began, “You see that outcrop up there?” He pointed a large, rocky hill that led to a high summit. “I’m going up there” Al finished. “Okay” Scruff agreed, “You’re the boss” Al signalled back to Baz who simply held his hand up. Al slipped a cartridge into his gun and closed the breach with a click. Scruff followed him up to the outcrop. Al noticed that it was relatively easy to climb. The pair started up the steep, rocky path to the summit, which must have been about fifty feet high. It was covered in small shrubs which dotted around the rocks. Al and Scruff felt around for cracks in the light grey rocks to help pull them up. He also pulled himself up using the branches on the shrubs. The wind whistled around their heads and as they continued to ascend the difficult climb, Al began to wonder. What other forms of life were there on this island? As Scruff reached up for a hold, he heard a big crunch from above his head. He didn’t have tome to react when a huge boulder was sent hurtling downwards. Scruff heard it shatter on the rocks below and then looked up at Al. “Sorry!” Al apologized. They continued the climb up the pinnacle and Al could just see the top of the ledge. He lent his hand down to help Scruff up, who had his foot caught in a crevasse. Scruff managed to hoist himself up as he reached the top. Al pulled himself over to the rim of the pinnacle…and saw the most unbelievable sight. A vast, grassy plain with more of those giant trees stretched out over the landscape. And feeding on those huge trees were the most astounding creatures that Al had ever set eyes on. Their necks arched as they reached up and stripped the trees clean of the lush, green leaves. Their equally long, green tails swayed to and throw. They uttered long, rumbling bellows as they browsed in the morning sun. As he looked at the closer, Al realized what they were…dinosaurs!! That was the only thing they could have been. They were living…real!! HOW IN GOD’S GREEN EARTH WAS THAT SO?! There were five or six of these giant beasts which thundered from tree to tree, tearing the leaves off them and swallowing them with a loud gulp. They shape reminded Al of the classic brontosaurus image that had stuck in the public’s mind for years. And their silhouettes against the backdrop of the huge plain gave them more magic. Al and Scruff watched in sheer awe as one of them reared up on its hind legs, sounding out a long shrill below as it tore a whole branch of the tree. It came crashing down to the ground and it vibrated tremendously. They lumbered back and forth, tearing the leaves and Al couldn’t take his eyes of the enormous reptiles. “We’re gonna make history with this place!!” he thought in excitement. Scruff was open mouthed at the sight of these lumbering monsters. Al sat down on the high boulders, observing them for about twenty minutes until finally, as the beasts disappeared among the green trees, he and Scruff started on the long, rocky path, back to the rest of the crew. “THIS IS GONNA BE MASSIVE!!” Al cried. “Just imagine it!!” Scruff shouted in agreement. “REAL LIVE DINOSAURS!” Al exclaimed. “BAM!!” There was a pause for a few moments as that sound echoed around the jungle and hills. Al quickly glanced around in tension. “What was that?” he asked in bewilderment. “MR. HARRIS!!” Baz called from back down the slope, near the jungle. “YEAH?” Al called back. “WHAT WAS IT?” Baz shouted. “I DON’T KNOW, IT WASN’T ME, WAS IT YOU?” Al answered. “AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!” Gunshots fired from the rest station down the hill and Al froze in terror. He cocked his rifle. Scruff drew his pistol and the pair of them sprinted through the spiny grass. When they reached the station they saw a sailor’s body, covered in blood and entrails strewn in the grass. As Al turned away in shock, he saw Baz, Mac, Zak and the rest of the sailors dashing towards them, being chased by some more dinosaurs. These made the giants look like gerbils. This kind were vicious, they sprinted along on strong legs. They were coloured in dark black and a horrible shadowy green and indigo. A row of feathers lined the back of their heads and dagger like teeth filled their gaping mouths. Their curved claws on their hands and feet looked incredibly sharp and their tails swished from side to side with the bloodlust. Raptors! Al had seen similar skeletons at the London Natural History Museum. They were the most vicious and ruthless killers the planet had ever seen. A raptor turned around and aimed for the nearest target, Zak and Baz. Al had to do something. He quickly emptied his loaded bullet. The raptor dodged and sharply turned on Al. Scruff scampered away but Al stood his ground. The vile creature snarled and edged closer. Suddenly, it lunged for Al who shot of another round. “BAM!!!” The raptor dropped to the ground, dying. But two more raptors shrieked in anger and dashed towards Al. “Holy Christ!!” he cried. He sprinted over to the trees, but the beasts followed in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew were fighting for their lives. Baz emptied round after round from a submachine gun, but the raptors dodged them like expert pilots. More and more sprang up from the grass and rushed to attack the humans. One sailor was battling with two raptors, but another rushed behind and sank its razor teeth into the man’s neck. Another was looking for a good aim on one of the dinosaurs, but failed to notice the gleaming eyes from the trees. With lightning speed, the creature plunged down on the man, teeth and claws. Two more sailors were in trouble; the raptors closed in a circle and then attacked, ripping the men to shreds. Al weaved in and out of the trees. He peered over a branch to see what was beyond. Baz was fighting the dinosaurs! Then, Al heard a crash as one of the vicious beasts leapt up onto the fallen branch and swung its claws back and forth, screeching with the excitement of the kill. Al took a step back and was about to draw his pistol, when he stumbled backwards and…fell! Al crash landed on some hard soil and once he had pulled himself up, he peered upwards. He had fallen between a couple of massive tree roots. There were two dinosaurs fifteen feet above him, clawing away, eager to reach the ensnared human, like in a rat trap. “JESUS!!” Al cried. Then, he heard a soft slither from somewhere behind him. He sharply turned around with his pistol loaded. There was no denying it; SHIT… something else was in here with him!!! Al tried to see what was in the pitch darkness in front of him. He heard the slow scraping and then saw a pair of highly reflective eyes. The hood sprung out on either side of the thing’s neck. It was a cobra!!! Only this was no ordinary cobra. As it reared up in front of him, Al guessed it had to be thirteen feet in length. What was worse? If those dinosaurs outside didn’t reach him first, this serpent would end him fast!! Al was not leaving anything to chance. He rapidly emptied three bullets into where he imagined its brain must have been. The cobra hissed a long and dreadful shriek and then collapsed. Al looked up to the gap between the massive roots. The dinosaurs were no longer there. Al hoisted himself up on the smaller roots to the larger gap and then thrust himself through it. He heard the gunfire coming from the rest of the crew. HE HAD TO REACH THEM, FAST!!!! Al blasted out of the jungle and saw the crew running out into the plain, being chased by a line of extremely hungry raptors! Al sprinted over with his pistol still raised. Then he noticed Scruff was with them. But then he noticed that Scruff had been terribly injured and was being supported by two other sailors. The dinosaurs kept on coming. Al had to do something. “HEAD FOR THE JUNGLE!!!!!!!!” he hollered. Baz was just close enough to hear him and he led the team racing into the trees. Al headed for the trees himself. Mac was finding it hard to keep up with the rest of the group and the raptors were closing in. Mac decided that it was best to shoot his pursuers first. He turned around with his rifle and attempted to fire a shot. It just clicked; he’d forgotten to load the gun!! Mac barely had time to scream before one of the horrid dinosaurs plunged down on him and sliced his head open. The blood stained the grass and horrible sounds emitted from the spot as the raptor sucked on the man’s brain. It swallowed it down in a single, satisfying gulp. The rest of the team disappeared like a flash into the darkness of the forest.

Lost City

John climbed over a huge, moss covered log and then dragged his bag over. He could hear that unmistakable sound of cracking and splintering wood as the mighty tiger, Tangira, ploughed his way through the jungle. It seemed that the tyrant had allowed John to tag along. But as John followed Tangira through the entanglement of rainforest, he couldn’t help wondering. Where were the others? Where were Al and Baz? Were they alright? John tried to shove these thoughts out of his mind as he continued to walk alongside the mighty beast. Tangira swished his tail to and fro as he continued on his way through the jungle of Claw Island. As they were progressing, John started to feel unnerved. Every time he turned, he expected to see something come at him. What if the natives had followed them all this way? Not likely. John could here sounds from all around him, as things passed by in the dark depths of the forest. It was now about half past seven in the morning. The light was now shining and John could see the place a lot more clearly. He could see older, ruined walls and smashed idols that littered the soft ground. These must have been age old relics of some lost people. But where were they now? Were they still here? These thoughts rapidly left John’s mind as he heard a loud, rumbling snort. It hadn’t come from the giant tiger. John cocked his gun and turned behind him. Through the entanglement of the huge trees and massive leaves, he heard the great crashing of boughs, and he saw something enormous and reptilian charging towards him. It had strong sturdy legs and it ran on all fours. Its huge muscles in its shoulders and neck sloped down to a strange looking head. It had a beak, like a parrot. Behind its head, it sported two massive horns that sloped back over its neck. It let out an angry shriek and charged straight at John. He’d thought the colossal tiger was all he had to fear, but he was discovering that Claw Island was filled with monsters. Tangira swivelled his huge head sideways and caught sight of the thing. “RRRRAAAAAGGGHH!!!” As the reptile lunged for John, Tangira ran flat out at it. It was much smaller than the tiger, about twenty two feet, but its titanic horns made it a fearsome target. It dipped its head at the cat who, with brute force, clasped his huge paws and claws on the animal’s face. It screeched out in pain and swung round. Tangira was holding on like a vice! As the creature squealed in agony, Tangira snarled and with a great heave, sent it hurtling into the undergrowth! There was a great crash as the thing hit the boughs and John could no longer see it. The mighty cat growled and then sauntered off, sending trees crashing down in the process. John looked at the beast in awe and drew his machete from its sheath. He’d need it if he was to chop down the overhanging branches.

Al blasted into the clearing. That had just been unbelievable, Living, breathing, live dinosaurs!! Al was now beginning to open his eyes to the truth of Claw Island. He saw the stump of a colossal tree that had recently fallen. He plonked himself down and watched as the other survivors followed after him. Baz led as usual. “Right” he started, “Everyone stay in sight. I need to know how many left” “Well” Zak said bitterly, “Six of us are dead” Al was shaking; he couldn’t believe what had just happened. Men had died. It was as bad as it could come. Scruff came staggering into the clearing, being supported by two sailors. He’d been savaged by the raptors. Zak saw to Al’s assistant while Baz stepped over to him. “We can’t go on much longer” Baz warned. “But, Mr. Mackey” Al pointed out. “After what you’ve just seen, d’ you really think Mr. Mackey could be alive?” Zak asked harshly. Al loomed aggressively over to Zak. “YES” he sneered. “Well we’ve got a choice” Zak began, “We either go back or keep going” “How about we split up?” Al suggested, “One takes Scruff back, find Cornell and the rest of us keep looking?” Zak considered it for a moment. “Might as well” he grunted. Eventually the team split. Baz, Zak and Al were to continue the hunt for John, whereas three sailors and the injured Scruff would go back.

John traipsed through the thick mud with great difficulty, while Tangira managed it in one small step. Every now and then, the giant beast would peer over his shoulder, to check on his little follower. He was starting to trust John and allowed him to follow at a close distance. “He must be very intelligent” John thought. He swung down his machete at some low lying leaves. These leaves were becoming different as John ventured deeper into the island. They became narrower and once, when John brought the blade down, he saw flies gathered on the fallen leaf. His body was covered in sweat from the sheer humidity of the jungle. Claw Island was turning out to be more than he’d expected. Tangira had no trouble negotiating the tangled rain forest. He just pulled anything that stood in his way down. As John swung the knife blade down once more, he heard a hoard of howling cries coming from just up ahead. Tangira tilted his head up, alert. He continued to prowl on though, the cries becoming louder. John sliced a branch from its socket and when he looked up, he couldn’t believe his eyes. “MY GOD!” he cried. Towering out of the primeval jungle, were titanic walls of brass stone they were carved in sculptures and dominated the landscape. It was a city! John could clearly see the turrets were people would have watched out from, the great jagged spikes on the sides of the walls, but strangely, no visible entrance. Maybe it was around the other side. The shrill cries continued to resonate from the great structures walls. To John, they sounded familiar, like monkeys. When the stunned John turned back, he saw that Tangira was gone. “RRRRAAAAAGGGHH!!!” The monkeys from the city exploded in a frenzy of howls and shrieks. John was now feeling terrified. That roar wasn’t from Tangira. It was from something else…

The rescue team sliced the leaves and branches from their slots with their machetes as the jungle became denser. Baz led up front with Al close behind. There were now just twelve members of the team left. The hot sweat poured down their faces as the slashed their way through the branches. “Bloody Jungle!” Al snorted. They were following a well worn track, presumably made by the great beast. It wasn’t that difficult to follow, as if tracking a snow leopard in the Himalayas. This was easy. Al estimated by his knowledge of time that it was about half eleven. Zak was starting to grumble again, but Al didn’t care. All he cared about was finding John. Al had brought that man onto the island and he intended to bring him off again. Suddenly, Baz signalled for the rest of the group to halt. Al looked ahead and he was stunned by what he saw. A face, it had been engraved in the wall of…a giant castle, or turret. It loomed up into the sky, dwarfing the surrounding forest. The bricks on the walls were made of brass stone and were in the process of being reclaimed by the dark jungle. The face strongly resembled that of a cougar or a leopard. Its eyes stared lifelessly into the shadows of the giant trees and its gaping mouth was pitch dark, like a black hole. “What if it goes inside?” Al wondered. This was massive. Al assumed that this giant castle had been built by the same people that had made those ruins in the jungle. They must have been a major empire, to build structures like that. Baz signalled and the rest of the crew followed obediently behind. Eventually, the massive trees cleared and they were now directly underneath the jaw of the carved face. Al looked up the towering wall. Nothing, no giant tiger, no dinosaurs, nothing. They were safe, for the time being. Al looked around for anything that would help him up. Some large vines were poking through gaps in the ancient bricks, forming ideal steps. Al latched onto them and began the difficult, fifteen foot ascent. Baz and the others followed suit. Al heaved himself up onto the ledge. It was smooth, like flattened marble. From here, Al could see out into the forest beyond. No signs of life. Zak was second, followed by Baz and the other sailors. Al peered into the darkness of the face’s throat. He saw a huge tangle of vines and creepers and small slithers of light tried to shine through them. Cautiously, the twelve men stepped through the darkness. Al pushed away the thick green vines to take a look around and was flabbergasted by what he saw. This wasn’t a castle…it was an entire city!! He could see the spires of ancient buildings towering up above the courtyard and jungle. The entire square which was jammed packed with creatures that Al hadn’t been expecting…Monkeys. There were thousands of monkeys that occupied every single space of stone. They were unlike any monkeys that Al had ever seen before. They had bright yellow fur with pale black underbellies. Their necks were short and they had very snubbed faces. Their bright eyes were full of a mischievous nature. They shrieked and howled like a mob of drunken teenagers on a city street. “Careful” Baz warned. Slowly, slowly, slowly, the team carefully strode through the swelling mass of monkeys. As they progressed, Al could see where there had been houses, markets and squares. They must have been full of people…and now they were gone. The crew tried as best they could to avoid the primate’s attention, but as Al looked up to the spires of the temples, he heard the most bizarre sound that echoed and resonated off the temple walls. “OOOAAA, WWAAAOO” He looked up to a large, white, chalk stone building which the entrance to a vast hall. And something was coming. It waddled proudly out of the temple darkness on its hind legs, with its hands held high. It must have been about nine feet tall, dwarfing the humans. Its red fur covered almost all its body and it had a strange grey tinge to it. It had a human face, or at least far more human than any ape Al had ever seen. The eyes were full of intelligence and its teeth were bigger than any man’s. Large, grey wattles that looked like jewels spread out from its cheeks. In most ways, it resembled an orang-utan. It fixed its cunning eyes on the humans down below. It smiled and made a deep, gurgling laugh. “HEHEHEHEHEHEHEH!!!” Al and Baz looked on, totally baffled. Then, the ape’s sound changed. “OO, OO, OO, OO!!” Now extremely irritated, Zak raised his small pistol and blasted a round out of it. “BAM!!” The monkeys scattered in all directions across the courtyard, shrieking in terror as they went, but the ape had disappeared. “SHIT!!” Zak shouted. “Come on fellahs!” Al encouraged. They all cocked their rifles and sub machine guns and headed for the ancient temple where the ape must have gone into.

Zak’s loud shot had not gone ignored. John had heard the sound from the thick entanglement of the nearby jungle. The others were in those gigantic ruins!! John turned back to see the mighty Tangira wandering off into the dark shadows of the forest, breaking down the trees as he went. John raced through the thick shrubs, flat out towards the vast fort. He had to find Al and the others!

Treasure of Death

The crew trudged up the wide stone steps to the temple with their guns loaded. This building had huge columns that were holding it in place. For how much longer was anyone’s guess. The city must have been centuries old. Al and Baz led up front followed by the other sailors. As they reached were the door must have been, Al switched on his torch to see what was beyond. The inside of this great hall was colossal! “WOW!” Al shouted. The sound resonated around the giant stone walls. Al remembered caves he’d been down in Britain and he’d seen massive caverns. Just little cracks compared to this. The sheer size of what confronted him now dwarfed those caves. The team slowly strolled in with guns raised. The only light came from the small, smashed windows near the temple’s roof. Al could see that the once vibrant city was in the process of being broken by Claw Island itself. As Al continued to walk through the giant hollow, he began to see more. He saw more etchings in the stone, of dinosaurs, attacking things. There were also engravings of giant leviathans of the deep, but drawn as big as some of the dinosaurs. Al asked himself the impossible question: “Why was this island blessed with such strange and hellish life?” Al thought that he’d never find out. It was too complex to even imagine. “Over here!” Zak called. The team all walked over to where he was standing. Zak was standing next to a large metal gate, which lock’s had been worn off years ago. But that’s not what made Al and the others stagger back…This gate was over twenty feet tall! Baz raised his gun as Al edged closer to the gate. “A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A!!” The crew shot their heads up to a stony ledge above the gate were some bricks had come lose. The ape was standing up there with a big grin on its face. Again, Zak raised his loaded pistol. The ape registered the threat in an instant and just like that, it disappeared! Al stared up at where the ape had vanished, utterly baffled. “JESUS!!” Zak shouted in frustration. Then, he made an incredibly stupid mistake. He tried to lean up against the age old gate, but as he did so, with a loud and painful creak, it gave way against his weight. Zak let out a cry as he fell into the black depths below. There was a tunnel behind the metal gateway!! Baz took one quick look down it. “There’s only one way…” he began. “No way!!” Al cried, “We are not going down that shoot!!!” “WE BLOODY WELL ARE!!!” Baz shouted. No one made another complaint. At times like this, Baz was the man in charge. He took another look down the huge shoot. Was Zak still alive? No one knew how deep this shoot was. “ZAK!!!” he shouted. A small groan came from the bottom, somewhere in the murk. “He’s alive!” Baz smiled, “Now, who’s first?” Al took a huge sigh. “Fine” he grunted He took a look down the shaft and then pulled his legs over. Baz slapped his hand on Al’s back. “Ready?” he inquired. Al took a deep breath. It may have been hundreds of feet to the bottom. But it was the only way. “Yes” he answered. “GO!” Baz ordered. Before Al could react, he plunged into the black murk of the shoot, falling like a water bucket into a dank well, only much faster. All the air was squashed out of his lungs as he landed with a bone cracking thud on the hard ground beneath. Groaning heavily, Al picked himself up and slowly started to look around. Zak was lying on the rough ground, the air knocked out of his sails. Al could see that the ground down here was soft, full of thick, black mud. It was a small, circular end to the tunnel. Al could smell an odd odour and it wasn’t at all pleasant. Al looked around him and saw that the pit which had fallen into was covered in a radiant white substance, its colour standing out in the gloom. What it was however, he had no idea. Al tilted his head up to give Baz the signal. “ALRIGHT” he shouted, “START FALLING!!” Al then turned his attention on Zak. He grabbed both of the cook’s arms and heaved him to his feet. Al drew out his torch and switched it on. It was really damp and horrible down here. But then, just to the left of him, Al could see light! At last! He and Zak tore over to the small passage. They crawled through the water which had collected in the dank tunnel, becoming wet in the process. As he crawled through the wet tunnel, Al could smell something, though it had nothing to do with that stuff back there. With all the strength he could summon, Al just about managed to thrust himself through the narrow opening. When he was able to stand up…he was dazzled. He was standing in a giant hall…full of mountains of treasure!! Al was shocked and open mouthed at this sweeping marvel. The ground was littered with silver and gold fragments, jewelled necklaces, diamonds! The walls of this ancient coliseum were decorated with gold, silver and bronze. Rubies, sapphires and emerald bricks. It was a colossal treasure house, age old antiques and jewel statues were dotted over the floor! Up on the wall was a statue…of a long necked dinosaur. Behind Al, the rest of the team squeezed through the tunnel and were awe struck by the sheer scale of wealth and riches that confronted them. Al stood on a bridge which was crossing an underground river. He smiled in amusement. Zak clawed in delight at the scarlet, ruby necklaces, his eyes wide with astonishment. This was heaven for man!! But all these thoughts were about to come tumbling down. As Al marvelled at a diamond engraved, sword, a sharp clicking noise made the entire team look up. It was the ape again. The hairy, red primate laughed at the crew in a humorous manner. “THAT BLOODY MONKEY!!!” Zak blasted out. The ape rose up on his hind legs and Al could see that he was holding a large, wooden club. The beast slammed it down hard on the brick four times and then stopped. All the joys of this discovery faded away as the ape now looked unnervingly devoid. Then, out of the dreadful, anxious silence came a whisper-like hiss. Al was terrified to see the very jewels on which he was standing begin to move. “S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S” He and Baz now quickly loaded their guns and the men quickly glanced around with their rifles in nervousness. Then, a horrible hush of silence came over the treasure yard. No one moved. Not the men, nor the ape. Stillness of terror had seized the men and the animal alike. It was not a nice feeling. There was something in here with them…In a flash of lightning pieces of jewellery were sent flying as the long, arched body rose up in front of the men. Al just couldn’t make his voice work. “Merciful Heavens!!!” he finally whispered to himself. The thing’s head was terribly ugly. It had large, round lifeless eyes and in its mouth were sharp dagger-like teeth. It rose up even further, looking like a sea serpent from a child’s nightmare. It had to be over a hundred feet long, dwarfing the crew with sheer scale. It flicked its split tongue in and out of its mouth. The huge scales on its back were twice as big as a man’s head. “S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S!!” Al stumbled back on the bridge in horror. With amazing speed, the thing plunged down on the nearest crewman and sliced him clean in half. From his high perch, the ape slapped his hand over his eyes. “OPEN FIRE!!!” Baz ordered. Everyone snapped out of their awe-struck state and blasted their rifles at the leviathan. Spud guns against this thing. The great ell-like monster swished its tremendous tail from side to side, scattering the treasure and sending three men flying. Zak stumbled into a nearby pile of treasure, eager to make an escape with at least some of the riches. But all of a sudden, the ground gave way beneath him. IT WAS QUICK SAND!!! Zak cried out in terror as the black, oozing sand started sucking him down. Al heard him screaming but couldn’t watch as Zak was slowly sucked to his doom. The giant creature continued its feast in the sailors, snatching them up in its jaws and then dropping them. The treasure was dashed to pieces on the bronze walls. Al stared at the river which was running quite fast. Baz dashed over to join him. “LET’S GET THE HELL GOING!!!!” Al hollered. Without any hesitation, the pair jumped off the golden bridge into the ice cold, dark water of the churning rapids, which swept them, at incredible speed, away from the horrible beast and into the pitch black of the vast, dank underground.

White Scar

John blasted through the hard green of the unforgiving jungle to the city. His comrades were in there, he had to help them! When John was finally clear of the low hanging branches, he could have a good look at the base of the towering walls. There was no visible way up, or in. “There’s bound to be one!!” John thought in hope. Of course, how would the ancient civilisation have travelled in and out?

The incredibly wild river cast down the tunnel out of the city and into the jungle. Al and Baz were tossed violently around, like toys in a bath. Al hadn’t the strength to fight the tossing current. But Baz did. He reached over to Al, grabbed him underarm and started to swim to shore. Eventually, after some huge heaves, the pair of them managed to drag themselves out onto the shore, absolutely freezing and soaked to the bone. “MY GOD!!” Baz spluttered. “No kidding!” Al half-laughed, half-muttered. Baz managed an uneasy laugh. The men managed to stand up and look back at the awesome city. They were the last ones left. “What should we call it?” Baz asked. Al stared deeply at the enormous castle for a moment. “Skull City” he concluded. “RRRRAAAAGGHHH!!!!!” Baz and Al turned round in surprise. A giant howl erupted from the city. “RUN!!” Al whispered. Within a millisecond, they dashed through the tangle of leaves and vegetation. Whatever had made that sound wasn’t far away. Al tried to keep in contact with Baz, who still had his gun, but was useless. As he continued to sprint on through the forest, Baz suddenly realized that Al was nowhere to be seen. “BAM!!” He fired off a cartridge from his M1 Garand. No response. In a hurry, Baz quickly reloaded another bullet and closed the breech with a click. He froze, cold sweat poured down his face. The dark forest was now eerily silent. Baz couldn’t stand it. It wasn’t a nice feeling; something was around here, watching him. “MR. HARRIS!!” he yelled, “WHERE ARE YOU?!!!” Still no response. Baz took a stare round with his gun ready. “BOOM!!” Baz froze up. That single sound sent waves of terror sweeping through his body. Then, slowly but surly, heard the sound of splintering wood. Baz slowly stepped backward. “G-R-R-R-R-R-R!!!!” He quietly spun round and tried not to make a sound. When he turned around, more ice cold sweat poured over him as he had been struck by lightening. The towering creature stood stock still. It was over twenty feet high on powerful, sturdy legs. Its grey colouring made it stand out in the dark green of the foliage. It had ridiculously small arms that flicked back and forth. Its tail flicked in focus while it used its huge nostrils to sniff the air. Its head was like a snap trap, with a long jaw and a formidable set of razor sharp teeth. It fixed its small beady eyes on Baz, who noticed a large scar going from the top of its head right down to its jaw. The white tissue stood out against its scales. White Scar. He looked strongly like what they called…Tyrannosaurus rex, only bigger. Baz desperately tried to control his instinct to run for his life. White Scar took two sniffs at the atmosphere. “RRRAAAAAAGGGHH!!!” Baz couldn’t control it any longer. He dashed for his life through the tangle of leaves. White Scar was hot on his tail. “JESUS!!!!!!” Baz yelled in terror. He turned behind him…only to see the beast closing in on him fast. As an act of sheer desperation, Baz turned round with his gun. “BAM!!! BAM!!!” “RRRAAAAAAGGHH!!!!” Baz realized it was pointless. But as he turned back round to run, the big maw filled with sharp, gleaming teeth, sank into him. Baz just had time: “AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Clash of the Monsters

From far away, perched high upon a rocky ledge, high above the ground, Al heard an agonizing scream. “BAZ!!” he hollered, “BAZ!!!!!!” No one replied. And that was that, Baz was gone. Swallowing the despair of the moment, Al picked himself up off the rocks and continued through the damp, dark jungle. He was now the only one left alive to save John. He took one look round the forest. There were no signs of life. But why could this have happened? How could so many people die on this godforsaken island? “I’m dreaming” Al thought, “Or I’m in a really bad nightmare” He wasn’t, it was real. He was on Claw Island, the last man standing. But there was still a tiny flickering candle of hope, that John Mackey, the man Al had brought out here, was still alive. Al peered up to the light of the vast green canopy above him. “JOHN!!!” he shouted. He listened for a while, but heard absolutely nothing, only the sounds of the jungle around him. “Ah shit, JOHN!!!” he yelled. Then, he heard a faint sound echoing through the shadows, cast down through the leaves. “AL!!!” “JOHN!!!!” Al hollered. He dashed through the creepers that slithered across the soil. Despite his soaking clothes and numerous sores and wounds, Al managed to run faster than he had ever run before. “AL!!!” “JOHN!!!” Al screamed. Up ahead, he could see the light shining through the dark shadows of the gigantic trees. He exploded out of the vegetation onto another of those spiny grass plains which stretched out as far as the eye could see, until it reached more jungle. Al excitedly glanced around and heard some rustling. “John, is that you?” he nervously whispered. Then, all of a sudden, the leaves and branches were sent flying as John blasted out of them. “John!!” Al cried in relief. John was smiling. “Hello, Mr. Harris” he greeted. “Welcome back, Mr. Mackey!” Al laughed. John cocked his rifle and they set off across the vast plain to the opposite jungle.

“Where are the others?” John asked, “Where’s Baz and Zak?” “We’re the last ones left” Al explained. John stopped to take the words in. “They’re all dead, Mr. Mackey” Al said in sorrow. John took a deep breath and then held his head up high. “There’s only one thing for it” he declared, “Let’s go back to Cornell and get out of here!” “What’s the time?” Al asked. “About half twelve” John answered. Al smiled and as they traipsed through the jungle, they managed a few jokes. But all that was about to change. “AAAAOOOOOMMHHH!!” The pair froze as the sound resonated through the dark green of the forest. “Its him” John whispered. “Its who?” Al inquired. John gave him an icy stare through the black, dried mud caked on his wild looking face. “Its Tangira” John hushed. Al stared at him in utter confusion. Who the heck was Tangira? “AAAAOOOOMMMHH!!!” That sound shook the trees, sending birds screeching up into the sky. John then ran off into the dark green foliage. “John!!” Al called, “For God’s sake!! Shit!!!” WHY THE HELL WAS HE RUNNING TOWARDS IT?!!! Not wanting to lose John, Al followed him into the jungle. The moist leaves slapped at his face as he blasted through them. “BLOODY JUNGLE!!!” Al shouted. He burst into a tiny clearing and saw John, frozen motionless. “What the hell are you doing?!” he asked in confusion. John held up his hand, telling him to shut up. And as Al looked up to see what was ahead…he saw why. The trees toppled over like small saplings with a crack as the beast took lumbering steps at the puny humans. Its long narrow head was equipped with a giant maw with dagger like teeth. Its long tail swished to and fro in focus while its strong sturdy legs, with three gigantic claws supported its tremendous weight. Its arms were only about four feet long, ridiculously small. Its back, armed with immense scales, was lined in brown stripes. Two sharp pointed spikes protruded from behind the back of its snap trap head. Al realized what it was in an instant. One of the giant carnivorous dinosaurs!!! It fixed its narrow eyes on them and uttered a menacing, low rumble. “Run!!” John whispered urgently. The two survivors tore through the undergrowth in a flash as the mammoth reptile lunged towards them, bellowing in fury as it went. As they ran for their lives, John noticed that the dinosaur could run much, much faster, each of its strides matching twenty of theirs. It would all be other very quickly; they’d be dead in seconds. “OVER HERE!!” Al yelled. John turned quickly to see light shining through the trees. As he heard the sound of the huge reptile approaching, John dashed over to join Al. They slashed at the leaves as they ran from the jungle. When they looked ahead of them, they saw an enormous, crystal blue lake which stretched out for as far as the eye could see. A sheet of mist drifted over it and beyond that, John could see yet more rain forest. They didn’t have time to enjoy the scene however, as the sound of cracking branches from the dinosaur was coming closer and closer. “RRRRAAAAAAGGHH!!” “SHIT, RUN FOR CHRIST’S SAKE MAN!!!!!!!!” Al screamed. John dashed of after Al as the dinosaur blasted out from the jungle on the other side. It lifted its immense head and inhaled the air. What if dinosaurs could track scent like fox hounds? Then it caught sight of the humans, dashing over the muddy bank, desperate to reach the opposite trees. John turned around as the gargantuan creature thundered towards them. It would all be over before they knew it. But all of a sudden, the dinosaur stopped in its tracks and stared into the forest. “AAAOOOMMM!!” John could just about hear the thunderous footfalls. As quick as a flash of lightning, pulling down tow trees and in a flurry of orange and black, something came hurtling into the air and crash landed with a rattle in front of Al and John. It was Tangira. Al staggered back on the rocks in awe of the creature that towered in front of him. That was thing they saw at the beach! It was right next to him!! John smiled in relief as Tangira edged closer to the dinosaur. “GGGRRAAAAGGHH!!!!!” The reptilian behemoth registered the challenge and lowered its jaw. Without any warning, it took a thundering lunge at the mighty tiger. Tangira had quick reactions and just as the dinosaur was about to chomp down on him, he grabbed the beat’s head with his two front paws and drew out his claws. The thing screamed in terrible agony. Tangira flexed his massive and rippling muscles and with a great heave, sent the beast cart wheeling into an immense tree with an incredible crash which sent John head over heels. “RRRRAAAAGGGHHH!!!” The powerful dinosaur had not been defeated that easily. It quickly rose up from its falling point and took the next lunge at the giant cat. Tangira was quick to grab the tyrants jaw as it came into colliding and thrust the thing’s head backwards. “COME ON!!” Al called. He was taking this opportunity to quietly slip away. John stumbled over the water lapped rocks toward him. Meanwhile, the clash of the monsters was still on. Angry at not finding a grip on Tangira, the dinosaur swished its tail sideways and instead, it went straight into the humans! “AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It sent John and Al rocketing into the forest! The branches tried to snag them as they went hurtling down a cold muddy crevasse, faster than a bullet. They slammed against the sides and cried out in shock as the plunged into the ice cold water of a river. John and Al were dashed in the churning torrent, the coldness and chill sweeping through their clothes. Back up on the rocky lake bank, the two tyrants were now battling it out to the death. Eager for the first lunge, Tangira quickly grabbed the humungous dinosaur around its belly and pushed backwards. The reptile lost its balance and because Tangira still had a grip on the beast, they were sent tearing down the same, vile tunnel. “AAARRRRGGGGHHH!!!” They shot out and landed with a great splash and a bone cracking thud, which sent a tidal wave washing down stream, into the ice cold, rushing water. John had managed to pull himself up onto a twenty foot long drifting long which was half in-half out of the rapids. Al quickly latched onto the mossy, thick bark and began to haul himself up. Tangira slammed his paws into his adversary who howled in pain. Spray was sent flying back and forth. The dinosaur retaliated by sending its tail whacking into the giant tiger. Tangira was sent flying backwards and crashed into the human’s log! John let out a scream as the log was thrown violently about in the turmoil. “HOLD TIGHT!!!!” he hollered John looked up ahead and in amongst all the spray and rapids, he saw a sharp edge to the river which was about thirty feet wide and the water was going vertically downwards. That could only mean one thing… “A WATERFALL!!!!!!!!” John shouted. They held on tight as the log was steered sideways by the tumbling rapids. John’s stomach lurched as it did so. He gulped as the ice water swept them closer. This was it! John closed his eyes in terror. But all he heard was a crash, bones in his body juddering and then nothing, just the swell of the water sweeping over him and Al, soaking their skins to the bone. John slowly opened his eyes and saw that the log had become jammed, just on the edge. He slowly looked down and saw an immense drop! He couldn’t see the bottom because of a dense cloud of low lying mist. “RRRRAAAAGGGHHH!!!” John snapped his head back and saw that the clashing monsters were edging closer to the waterfall’s edge. “GET OFF NOW!!!!” he hollered to Al. Al half slipped, half ran to the end of the log, John following in hot pursuit. The dinosaur slashed its hand claws into Tangira’s massive haunches. The giant’s strong legs were able to withstand the fast current and Tangira flung himself at the dinosaur. It roared in agony from where the tiger had slashed its neck. “RRRAAAAAAGGGHH!!!” John looked his right and gasped in horror as the towering titans edged closer and closer to the sheer drop. The reptile once again tried to latch onto Tangira, but the gigantic cat was more than a match for this monster. As the dinosaur came in for another lunge, Tangira grabbed it from its lower torso and with a loud groan, actually managed to lift the gargantuan beast from hell high into the air! “COME ON JOHN!!!!” Al hollered. John just about managed to reach the end of the log, just in time before Tangira sent the terrible dinosaur flying towards it. It let out a shriek as it blasted into the log, which was smashed to smithereens and sent splinters rocketing away. Its mouth hung wide open and it hopelessly clawed at the harsh, grey rocks for support, but it was utterly useless and all it could reach was more water. “IIIRRRRAAAGGHH!!!!!!” It flung over the edge of the waterfall with a terrible high pitched roar and disappeared into the mist way below. Every bone in John’s body shuddered when he heard a terrible crash somewhere in the spray. Tangira stomped over to the edge and looked down. When he tilted his soaking, matted face up again, he bristled his whiskers and: “GRRAAAAGHH!!!” It was a roar of triumph, which echoed around the jungle and off the surrounding cliffs. The immense cat slammed his front paws down and created a tremendous splash which was sent over the edge. John stared at Tangira in sheer awe through the great spray of water. A great, huge dinosaur, dead. It was amazing to think that Tangira could be so strong. As Tangira climbed out of the raging rapids and stood proudly on the steep, muddy bank. Al backed off slightly. “No” John whispered, “We’re perfectly safe” Al stared at him in confusion for a moment and then realized. This beast was tolerant of man. Tangira shared a glance with John and then lumbered off into the forest, breaking down any tree that stood in his way. John stared on long after he’d gone with Al open mouthed. “Thanks” John whispered quietly

Gunfight

John and Al, the last two remaining survivors, slogged up a large hill in the thick tangle of jungle. They had been tracking Tangira for ages. “Its twenty past three” John noted. “How are we gonna explain this?” Al asked. “What d’ you mean?” John asked back. “I can’t believe what’s happened” Al started, “And without the others no one else will either” “What’s more” John added “Cornell will never believe it either” Al breathed a heavily depressed sigh. “Speaking of Cornell, where the heck is he?” he suddenly remembered. They’d thought he’d have come looking for them by now. John turned his attention up the hill that they were traipsing. He noticed that the trees were becoming much smaller and the leaves less dense. The amount of light coming through the trees had increased, much to John and Al’s good fortune. The sheer humidity that John had experienced was now starting to cool slightly. He looked up through the trees and caught sight of the vertical sun. They must have been on a somewhat higher altitude than before. They looked back down to the muddy ground beneath their feet. There were plenty of Tangira’s footprints about, but that’s not what caught John’s attention. “What’s up there?” Al inquired. John took some time to absorb what he was seeing, as it could only be described as unbelievable, impossible even. He saw a large wooden frame, and a creaky, hole ridden old door attached to it, which could have only been made by the hand of man! It couldn’t have been made by the natives, as they were far too primitive to create such a residence. For a minute, John wondered if it had been made by the crew of the missing ship, the one Al had told him about. “Hello?” John called. No one replied. John and Al crept slowly forward with a great deal of caution. There were windows on this house, but they had been smashed open. The wooden framework was outstandingly vulgar, with some planks missing altogether. It left John with an extremely ghostly, haunted feeling. He could feel the presence of things from somewhere behind him. But it would have to do for now. “This is about as good as anything for a campfire” John muttered. “I’ll see if I can find some wood” Al recommended. “Take your gun” John reminded. “I don’t have one” Al explained. He had lost it in the rapids near the city. “Take mine” John finished. He tossed Al his gun and he slumped back down the hill, eventually disappearing from sight. John took one stare back at the house and took a look around him. No Tangira, no dinosaurs, no nothing. He then preceded to slump of his bag, which had been giving him an incredibly aching back for hours. He opened it and started to rummage through it for any blankets which he might have brought with him. “BAM!!” John ducked in fright as the sound passed overhead and then silence. The silence was terrible. John peered through the trees, trying to catch a sight of who might have fired that shot. Maybe it was Al. If it was Al, he’d come back with the breech hung open. John stared around as he heard the sound of cracking twigs. It was Al, carrying about seventeen sticks of splintered wood. He breech was still latched shut. “I’m back” he called, “Safe as anything” “We’re not as safe as you might expect” John called, “Somebody’s shooting” Al paused for a moment, remembering that sound he had heard back on that outcrop with the others. “Get that wood down” John ordered. Al carefully bunched the wood up in a pointed stack. John then stared up at the house for a moment. “I say we check that out” he suggested. He grabbed hold of his M1 Garand and walked up to the dangling door, Al following behind. When they reached the ailing building, John raised the tip of his rifle and gently pushed the door open. He was shocked by what he saw. The inside was just as rotten as the outside. It was dark and a wind whistled through the cavity. John and Al carefully crept inside. Altogether, he saw much more of the same. But there were some things he noticed that intrigued him. Up on one of the walls, he saw an old picture frame which had since been covered in moss. Inside a small room, he caught a glimpse of some furniture which had been torn apart. When he looked up, he spotted birds roosting in the large, wooden beams. John looked back down at the floor and saw small slithers of blood. Al and John stared at it intently, unaware that something else, besides the birds, was in the rafters above them. “G-R-R-R-R!!!” John quickly glanced upwards, that sound made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. It was glaring at them through the rafters and leapt down to the floor. It looked like a lion, in fact it was. But it was somehow different. It was standing half on its hind legs. It had a mane and a scar, but it was also mysteriously white, like a ghost, which made it seem incandescent in the bleak shadows. John gasped when he saw that the lion had a blade clasped tightly in its strong paw. It snarled at the humans as they backed really slowly to the door, their only chance of escape. But it flung itself at John, with machete raised. John simply raised the butt of his rifle and whacked the lion over the head with it. He was about to aim to kill the creature when, “BAM!!! BAM!!! BAM!!!!” Then, John heard Al scream, he wasn’t behind him! John turned his gun behind him and rushed out side. “SHIT!!” he thought. More of those strange lions were coming, and they had guns!! These lions were far cleverer than John had realized. Al was crouched in terror behind a tree. “JOHN!!!” he shouted. John aimed his rifle at a lion and fired. It dropped dead in an instant. One large lion with a huge, double barrelled gun, fired at John but he dodged. As he turned behind him, he saw the lion he’d just knocked flat sprinting towards him! John immediately fired his gun off, but the brave cat dodged the shot. It snarled in furry. John challenged him and drew his machete as well. Registering the threat, the lion flung itself at John and the two blades clashed in a terrifying sound of clangs. Meanwhile, Al continued to duck from the overhead gunfire. But he had to do something! He looked around for a weapon, any kind of weapon! Then he saw it. He lunged towards the firewood and grabbed a branch that seemed like an ideal beater. As more bullets from the supernatural cats came hurtling at him, he swung the branch like a cricket bat. Al swatted the bullets left and right. The lead lion growled in frustration and fired two more shots, but Al growled back and flung the bullets away. John was now fighting the white lion, on the rickety old roof of the wrecked house. Their blades spared as they tried to twist each other off their feet. It was man versus beast! Eventually, the two blades were hung even; each was trying to twist the other’s weapon. John growled as the lion grinned and slowly shot the machete out of the human’s hands. John looked down below him and saw two more lions waiting, two more blades at the ready to make mince meat out of him. Then he turned his attention back to the facing beast. He now raised his fists as the lion prepared to stab him in his side. “TOUGH LUCK!” John smiled. As the lion swung the blade down, John immediately struck his fist hard in the lion’s stomach. The lion first crashed to his knees on the slates. Then, John grabbed hold of his mane and sent him tumbling to the ground beneath. “HA SUCKER!!!!” John laughed. But Al was still in danger, the terrible lions were now closing in with their guns and John was powerless to save him. The two lions waiting at the bottom were now looking for a way to reach the trapped human. The bloodthirsty felines would kill them both, right here, right now. “BAM!!! BAM!!! BAM!!!!!!” The lions started to drop dead as the sub machine gun fire came hurtling on them, but how? John found his answer when he looked to his right. He came sprinting out of the forest with his sub machine gun blasting away. It was Captain Cornell!!! He shot the lions down as quickly as they appeared. Sailors flanked him as they fired round after round down on the strange lions. The lead lion realized that he was now totally outnumbered and outgunned. “TRAMME!!!!” he shouted. John’s mouth now dropped open. THESE THINGS COULD TALK AS WELL!!!! Cornell continued to fire round after round until the lions finally vanished among the shadowy trees. John slowly climbed down from the creaky roof. Al made his way over to the captain. “Thank Christ!” he exclaimed. “Don’t” Cornell smiled, “Thank Dr. Scruff” The incredibly wounded Scruff shared a friendly glance with Al. Cornell stepped over to him. “That’s enough” he started, “Now we’ve just gotta leave before more people die” Al stared back at John, who was now heading off into the jungle. “Mr. Mackey!” Cornell called, “Where the heck are you going?” “TO FIND TANGIRA!!” John shouted back. “FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!” Cornell hollered. “He’s right” Al whispered. The captain stared in confusion at him and Al gave the captain a cunning grin back. “John’s gonna find the beast” Al began, “And I’ll follow. Now hand me a crossbow and some sedative darts” “You want to catch the tiger?” Cornell asked mockingly, “HA!” “Yeah, I do” Al answered menacingly, “And you’ll have your pay I promised by the time its done” Cornell stared at the floor for a moment, considering the offer. Al could tell he had the man interested. “Fine, here’s the bow” Cornell muttered. He handed Al a nice looking, polished crossbow and three darts. Al quietly slipped it into his bag. “Look after Scruff” he told two sailors. “Yes sir” they replied. Then, Al turned to look at the captain. “Don’t move the ship” he reminded, “See you on the rich side” And with that settled, he followed after John, continuing the hunt for the almighty Tangira through the legendary Claw Island.

Tangira’s Lair

John tore his way through the harsh jungle, with Al following close behind. As yet, he was unaware of Al’s secret plan and was just wanted to find out more about Claw Island than he knew at present. This was a fantastic new land, but it was in many ways like a hell on earth. Al kept quiet, hardly saying anything at all as they slogged on through the sticky muck as they continued looking for Tangira’s massive tracks. “Where the heck are we?” Al asked. “Must be on the edge of a swamp” John concluded. This jungle was darker than back on that hill. The trees were immense, towering way above them and the vines, instead of light green, were a rather disturbing black. The leaves were now blocking out the rays of light, so John and Al were completely in the dark. The ground around them was equally treacherous. It was like a large piece of glutting paper, the mud sucking at anything that walked into it. The smell was absolutely disgusting. Eventually, Al managed to pull his foot out of it and continue to follow John. “AL!!” John called, “LOOK AT THIS!!!” Thinking he’d found the tiger, Al quickly rushed over, ready to draw out the crossbow. But when he reached John, he saw something just as spectacular. John was peering through a gap in the dark forest. Al saw a vast spiny grass plain stretching for about half a mile, and rising above it, like the roof of Claw Island, was a vast and immense mountain. John grabbed a pair of binoculars and started to scan the mountain’s base. Suddenly, he caught sight of something climbing up the vast spire. It was orangey tawny in colour and had a big, catlike body. “There he is!” John informed. “One problem” Al began, “How the hell d’ we get up there?!” John and Al exchanged a glance, it was clear they would have to improvise.

John slashed away at the surrounding vegetation with his now almost crooked machete blade. This was incredibly frustrating. Every time John hacked at a leave, he seemed to become even hotter and sweated a lot more. It was almost as if these leaves themselves were sweating; pouring out moister, bloody jungle! As he turned away a large, round leave, he realized that, at last, they had reached the base of the towering mountain face. The top was shrouded in a huge blanket of thick fog and John guessed that the top was more than five thousand feet up. “Did we bring any rope?” he asked. Al quickly rummaged through the new pack that Cornell had given him. “Yep” he answered. “Then let’s go!” John ordered.

About two hours later and it was really windy up on the high, jagged cliff, Al and John were attached to a mile of thick nylon rope. The wind whistled painfully around John’s ears, but that didn’t stop him climbing up. He looked down to the bottom of the mountain and gulped when he realized that they had ascended over a thousand and a quarter feet up the steep, rocky flanks of the colossus. “DON’T LOOK DOWN!!!” he tried to warn Al. But then again he doubted if Al could even hear him. The fog always seemed to rise even further as the climbers traversed and negotiated the cliff. The incredibly hostile wind bit into John’s clothes as he climbed up the almost insurmountable cliff face. The fog made him sweat with the moisture as he climbed. John realized in sheer dread that the time was round about ten to five and the journey to the top of this colossus would take them at least five hours or more…

John finally pulled Al up on the rope, up onto a large ledge. The sun was now just starting to go down and they had been climbing the immense mountain for over six hours. As Al, full of exhaustion, pulled himself up, John took the opportunity to look around. Ad he looked up just above him, he noticed a gap in the crude, grey rock. It was big enough for them both to squeeze through. Better than letting the wind freeze them to death. “Mr. Harris” John ordered, “Up you go” Al took one look at the small fissure in the cliff face. He slowly pulled himself up to the edge and peered through the opening. “There’s a cave in there!” he exclaimed. He slowly started to squeeze through the tight hole. John pushed him in from behind, being careful not to slip and fall thousands of feet to his death. Eventually, with one pop, Al crawled into the cave. “John!” he called, “You should see this, its awesome!” Then, John himself prepared to climb through. The pressure on his diaphragm was incredibly unbearable and it squeezed his lungs. John gritted in pain and thrust himself through. But then, he found himself tumbling to the ground and landed next to Al who was standing still, mesmerized. John picked himself up and then staggered back, really stunned. This cave was magical! The suns dazzling light shone through, illuminating the ground on which they were standing. It was covered in cracked bronze tiles, which must have been centuries old. John hushed Al as he saw Tangira himself staring out to sea, sat back on his immense haunches. But as John continued to look further round the massive cavern, he began to see more of the place, careful to avoid the attention of the giant tiger on the cliff ledge outside. He saw shades of white standing out against the gloom of darkness, whiteness of bone. Giant curved ribs sprung out from the spine and a skull, which was gaping as if it was screaming, with vile cobwebs hung all around, in between its massive teeth and eye sockets. John shuddered as he looked at it. These were the remains of a giant tiger, maybe Tangira’s mother or father, brother or maybe even sister. It was clear that Claw Island had once been the abode to two, three or maybe more of these magnificent, glorious beasts but they were gone. Was Tangira the last of his kind? A haunted felling came over John as he stared into the lifeless eye sockets of the giant skull. As he looked round, the glorious evening light shone through more and more giant bones. Al pressed on closer to the mighty tiger who was still sat on the ledge outside. Then a brainwave flashed into Al’s mind. This was the perfect opportunity to capture the monster! No, not now. John edged slowly forward to Tangira. A small stone overturned with a crash and Tangira’s giant green eyes snapped around. When he saw John and Al, he simply grunted and then turned back round. He rose up on all for legs and roared. “GGGRRAAAAAAGGH!!!” He was proclaiming his dominance as king of Claw Island. In a way, it was really fitting. John edged forward to the front to look out over the island as the sun closed down on it. He suddenly noticed that there was no sign of the Falcon anywhere. John realized that they were probably on the other side of the island. The sun shed its last rays as it disappeared over the dazzling horizon. Claw Island was now becoming more of across between hell on earth and Garden of Eden. Tangira slumped back into the depths of the cave, ignoring John and Al and then collapsed in exhaustion. He was trying to sleep. “What now?” Al asked. “Better not go back down” John began, “I suggest we wait till daylight” Al didn’t argue. Sleeping up here, in amongst those giant skeletons?! It would have to do, better than risking that hell of a jungle.

Terror in the Sky

The cold night air swept over the giant mountain top. While Tangira might have retreated into the black depths of the cave, Al and John were sleeping out on the mountain ledge, gazing up at the sparkling stars that dotted the black emptiness of the sky. They were unlike any stars that John had ever seen before. Instead of the normal shining silver that any other stars emitted, these were dazzling in a brilliant indigo radiance. They gave the sky a really mystical quality. The shining full moon cast its spell down on the giant rippling sheet of water, the Pacific Ocean. It made John wonder, would they ever return to civilisation? They were stuck on this little world within itself. The place of mysteries, the land that the world must have forgot a long time ago. Al had long gone to sleep and all John could hear was the giant snores of the colossal cat in the high chamber. John decided not to completely indulge himself in the twilight wonders of Claw Island. He tried to become comfortable, but it was useless on the hard, jagged, crude black rocks that made up the mountain. The wind whistled through his hazel hair and it wasn’t nice to be close to the edge of a five thousand feet drop. As John tried to pull himself upwards, he heard a gentle rumble as a rock was sent flying down the mountain side. What the hell was that? John snapped his eyes up to the top of the summit, but nothing was there. “Al?” he whispered. Al was still asleep, how could he sleep at a time like this?! John continued to stare around. Then a shrill cry filled the black of the night air. Now that John had learnt the significance of vigilance, he snapped his head downwards and almost threw up when he realized, he’d forgotten how tall this colossus was!! “AL! FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!!!” John whispered urgently. Only a small shuffle from the dormant figure. This was really frustrating! Finally, Al began to stir. “What?” he groaned. “I swear to God I heard something!!” John whispered. “Probably Tangira” Al murmured. John groaned and then turned to look at the indigo stars. But suddenly he saw a huge black shadow with a massive swooping down onto the mountain. “JESUS CHRIST!!!” John cried. He quickly shone his small torch up into the blackness and was stunned by what he saw. The shadow was a giant eagle!! It was dark black in colour with a huge yellow head and a sharp, curved beak. From its feet protruded three curved talons, which flung out, ready to snatch either Al or John from the ledge. John’s shout had disturbed the mighty Tangira’s slumber. He came thundering out onto the ledge that John and Al were scrambling over. The mammoth eagle tried to turn direction when it caught sight of the giant tiger, but Tangira pulled out his claws and reeled the screeching bird in. “IIIIRRRRAAAAGGHH!!!!” John grabbed his rifle and fired two cartridges, but then why should he bother? Why didn’t he let Tangira handle this? Buying them just enough time to slip away? As the two tyrants clashed, with the eagle losing, John failed to realize that his shot had attracted something else. They came swarming out of the cave on massive, eleven foot wingspans. Their feet were equipped with razor sharp claws. They had light brown skins with incredibly ugly heads. They had small sabre like fangs that protruded from the maws. They seemed like a cross between a stoat and a bat. They spilled out of the chamber in their hundreds, swooping down on John, trying to rake him to shreds. But he relentlessly fired round after round into the flyers from hell. Meanwhile, the eagle was trying to peck at Tangira’s leg, but the almighty beast grabbed its beak slammed the massive bird down to the rocks and with one earth shattering blow, finally silenced it. Tangira casually tossed the carcass over the edge. “GGGRRRAAAAGGHH!!!” As the bats spilled on him, John killed them off. In the flurry of fur and claws, Al had managed to pull himself up onto the ledge with the crossbow. Tangira ripped the oncoming bats to shreds as they scraped at his body. The gargantuan cat shook them off like they were flies. As the bats began to fly back into the cave, John suddenly noticed Al with a crossbow, loaded with a dart, raised, ready to fire. It was then, John realized, Al wanted to capture Tangira. “AL, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!!!” he shrieked. Al wasn’t listening; he had a mad, feverish obsession in his eyes. He peered through the sight, pulled the trigger and the sedative dart whistled into Tangira’s leg. The needle was thick and sharp, but only a tiny amount of the drug went into the tiger’s system. “RRRAAAAAAAGGHH!!” Al quickly loaded another dart, ready to fire. But John tackled him from behind before he had a chance to use it. Tangira was mad in furry. He thundered over in anger. John didn’t want to, but he raised his gun. As he stepped back to the edge, he felt some sharp talons pierce his shirt and lift him into the air! “SHIT!!!” he cried. It was another one of those giant eagles. John’s legs flailed in the air and he cried out in shock as he was carried away from the giant mountain, from Al and Tangira. The wind whistled around his body in fury. As the eagle swooped down low over the grassland and then over the jungle, about twenty feet above the tree line, John realized that he had his M1 Garand strapped to his back. He quickly grabbed it aimed up, and shot at the eagle. “IIIIIRRRRRAAAGGGH!!” It finally let go of John who was sent tumbling towards the trees. He was struck by a sharp pain as he was caught in amongst the tangling braches of a massive tree. He just about managed to raise himself up on the branch and quickly shone his torch into the darkness. Nothing moving, no sign of the eagle, yet. The canopy seemed devoid of life. John checked his watch; it was almost five o’clock in the morning. The sun would be rising for dawn soon. But as he abseiled down on a vine, forty feet below, he suddenly realized. HOLY SHIT!! AL!!! He raced through the jungle, thinking as he went, was Al dead already?

Al half slid, half tumbled down the flanks of the mountain. “AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” he screamed. He had been falling for about fifteen minutes. He’d thrown himself off the ledge to escape Tangira, but his troubles on Claw Island were far from over. Al guessed that he was falling at about eight meters a minute, so he had covered a hundred and twenty feet already. He still had the crossbow and sedative darts intact, so he still had a chance to capture Tangira. “YEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he shouted as he was shot of the cliff face and fell into the forest below. He landed with a bone cracking thud on hard ground. As he looked up, he heard the mighty tiger roar from the mountain in fury. “RRRRRAAAAGGGHH!!!” Al gritted his teeth and shot off a signal with a rusty flare gun. “RRRRAAAAAAAGHH!!” Then, he dashed through the jungle, crossbow loaded, ready to try again. Al had to catch Tangira, this was his last chance to make a name for himself back at home, and he was going to take it with both hands.

Tangira’s Capture

John tore through the sweltering night forest, ignoring the stink and the bowl sized leaves. Where the heck was Al? Was he insane?! Discovering the legendary Claw Island was one thing, but trying to capture Tangira was just pure psychosis. John just had to stop Al before he killed himself. He blasted through the jungle, desperate to reach the man and the animal.

Not that far away, Al was also running through the entanglement of vines and creepers. Tangira was tearing down the trees, hot on the human’s trail. Al stared round the shadowy forest and slowly but surly, began to hear a sound…the ocean!! At last! With the crossbow still mounted, Al ran flat out through the jungle, to freedom, free from this hellish island. But suddenly, he heard boughs breaking from somewhere to his side. Al was stunned when John burst out and grabbed him by the arms. “ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!!!!?” John shouted. “GGGRRRAAAAAGGH!!!” Both men stared up as Tangira roared in extreme anger. Both Al and John had the same thought, RUN!!! They both exploded into panic and raced through the immense flurry of green towards the noise of the waves crashing on the coastline somewhere nearby. As they raced for their lives, the trees became smaller, turning into shrubs. The leaves became narrower and the soft muddy ground became as hard as a rock. As they approached the shore, the light from the sky shone through and John could just see the crude, gray rocks, engraved with all kinds of strange, oblong, gaping skull-type faces that made up a quarter of a mile of the forbidding coastline and it stretched out on either side of him. It sloped down like a cliff, plummeting fifteen feet, into the dark water below, which was illuminated by the fading stars. The sun was almost in the sky, ending the night and making the water radiant in a glorious orange colour. “The ship!!” Al cried. John looked out to the dark blue sea and saw the shape of the Falcon moving steadily towards them. John scrambled over the harsh rocks, desperate to reach the safety of the ship. He turned around abruptly when he heard the sound of splintering wood. He shone his torch around to spot whatever had made that noise. Then, the rocks thundered as the mighty form of Tangira came slamming down on the rocks. “RRRRAAAAAAGGGH!!!” As the giant tiger roared in dignity in the sun’s morning rays, Al stumbled back a little and let out a cry of shock as he fell down a narrow crevasse and landed with a loud splash into the salty water. He disappeared into the gloom and then resurfaced with the crossbow and darts still intact. John backed off as the powerful beast came thundering towards him. Once again, he pulled out his rifle. But as he looked back at the Falcon, he was alarmed to see that twelve crewmen were standing at the bow with their submachine guns ready. “FIRE!!!” Cornell shouted from the wheelhouse. “NO!!” Al cried. He’d managed to pull himself up onto the rocks and was in the perfect position to fire the crossbow. The crew fired and this made Tangira all the more enraged. “RRRRAAAAAAGGHH!!!” John desperately tried to stop the hail of bullets coming from the ship, but it was utterly impossible. Al, now on a high ledge, had a good aim. The adventure of his life was about to meet its conclusion. This was his final chance to make a life for himself. And he was seizing it by the scruff. He pulled the trigger and the dart flew into Tangira’s shoulder. “GGGRRRAAAAAGHH!!” Tangira growled as the dart hit him. John stepped back a little and watched the mighty tiger slowly start to lose it. The mighty beast started to rub his eyes and gasp for air. Then he slowly collapsed to the ground. His eyes turned milky as the sedative started to take full effect. His eyes faded and he slumped to the ground, finally out cold. John stared in shock at the beast. Then he looked up at Al who was struck by a sense of pride. This was the final moment on Claw Island. The almighty Tangira finally brought down. Al could now picture it. The world would be rocking with the excitement of the discovery of the century. Al slowly stepped up to the unconscious beast and then delivered a small speech: “This is it. This is the new beginning for all of us. We’re rich, guys, we’ll own the world. Soon, his name will be dominating the street on the West End: TANGIRA!”

Breakout for Freedom

A few months later and the tremendous gossip and rumours were spreading through the streets of the capital city of London like wildfire. They had heard that a man called Al Harris had recently returned from a mysterious island bearing an unusual trophy. All they knew was a name: “The Supreme Wonder” No one knew what exactly to expect, they all wanted to see what Al Harris had captured half way around the world.

In a massive, dark, underground room, John stared longingly and almost lifelessly at the exhausted Tangira. He had been transported to Al’s special institute. No one was allowed in without special permission. No one knew that this beast was right under their feet, under a busy London road. The big show was in a couple of days. John was hurt by it, this magnificent creature, trembling in chains. WHAT WAS THIS GODDAMN WORLD COMING TO?!!! Tangira was bound in steel, behind towering black bars, presumably strong enough to hold a thirty foot tiger. The lights were out and both John and Tangira were in complete darkness. The room was huge and featureless. It was like that awful beach back on the island. The walls were dark grey in colour and the cage didn’t do the room much good either. Tangira was healthy, but sad and alone, with only John for company in the bleak darkness. This was depression of the highest order. All of a sudden, the lights flickered on and the extremely pleased figure of Al stood in the doorway. “John?” he asked. “I’m not speaking to you Al” John replied. “Listen” Al ordered, “The Royal Society is on its way and they’ll want to ask you a few questions” “WELL TELL THEM TO SOD OFF!!!!” John bellowed. Al sighed and made his way off from the door.

A few hours later, that seemed like a few years later, John was still hanging around the giant cage which had incarcerated Tangira. It was now almost four o’clock in the afternoon. John hadn’t eaten or drunk for ages, he was too busy feeling pity for the mighty tiger. He was lying down with his massive head resting on his paws. He had been transported, thousands of miles away from home, to this sterile world of concrete and glass. John was disgusted by Al’s actions. Suddenly, Al appeared, trudging proudly down the steps. “John?” he inquired, “D’ you want something to eat?” “Go away Al!” John growled. “Mr. Harris?” Scruff asked. He had spent the last few weeks in hospital, recovering from the wounds he sustained on the island. Now, he was a right as rain. “Yes?” Al answered. “The Royal Society is here to see you” the man explained. “Great!” Al exclaimed, “Send them in!” John simply snorted. “Not that long ago” he heard Al beginning, “I stood amongst you all and announced that there was a new world to be found. I was pigeonholed insane. But today, my friends, you will discover, what we, my partners and I, found. Brace yourselves. My friends….I give you TANGIRA!!!” John stood back as the lights shone down on Tangira and he growled in irritancy. The men were all stunned with awe and shock when they saw the giant tiger. “ITS IMPOSSIBLE!!” one man cried. “AN ABOMINATION!!!” another shouted. “ITS GIGANTIC!!” another shrieked. Al hushed the learned men with one wave of his hand. “We shall show him to the world in two days” he announced. “Actually sir, this discovery belongs to us” the lead man proclaimed. “Now just a minute!” Al began. “How can you put this majestic beast into a cheap show” a man snorted, “He belongs to the welfare of the science community!” Al was now becoming angry with these warped men, but Tangira was becoming angrier. The light and the heat from the large burning flashlights were now annoying the gargantuan cat. He started to slam against the black bars and the men stepped back in fear. “Don’t worry” Al tired to calm. “We need to get these people out of here” John urged. But Tangira was becoming madder and madder by the second. “RRRRAAAAAGGGH!!!!!” The men started to run in panic for the door. “NO! DON’T PANIC, DON’T PANIC!!!!!” Al cried. John stepped back as Tangira drew out his yellow claws and slashed at the black bars. With three tremendous whacks, they burst in half and Tangira bent them right back. “RUN!!!!” John shouted. The men all stampeded in a hectic line up the steps to the exit, screaming in terror. Tangira broke free from the giant cage and stomped up to the stairway which John was traversing. He slashed extremely madly at him, but John slammed the large metal door shut. He ran for the warehouse door as the almighty Tangira roared in severe anger from inside the room. He slammed at the door twice with a bone cracking wallop. The giant tiger saw a large, wide, glass window near the room. He climbed over to it and with one loud slam, smashed it to absolute smithereens. He jumped out into the wide world beyond, liberated, leaving Al standing stock still and silent in the wrecked dark room, absolutely perplexed. “AAOOOOOMM!!!” “GGRRAAAAGH!!”

In the streets of London

John flung the broad, black warehouse door wide open with a slam and sprinted like a flash of lightening out into the busy and swelling crowds of people on the street. CHRIST!! Then, he realized, Al was still in there, SHIT!!! He heard Tangira crashing about and in the blink of eye, he witnessed the big glass window behind him shatter as Tangira blasted out it and landed in the street. “AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!” People screamed as the tyrant stood in the street. Cars swerved to avoid him and one that just happened to be speeding crashed into Tangira’s thick, stripy leg. “GGGRRRAAAAAGGH!!” He grabbed the front of the car with his gigantic, lustrous claws and sent it hurtling overhead. With that, Tangira started to wreak havoc on the street. People screamed and ran for cover, car’s drivers drove like maniacs, but Tangira picked them up as if they were tiny stones and tossed them through the air. They slammed into buildings and shattered windows. Tangira casually plucked people off the street and threw them away, to their deaths; he shattered bus stops and threw them down on sprinting pedestrians. In all the agonizing screaming of the Londoners, the painful screeching of car’s breaks, devastating, ravaging fire, John just heard an extremely terrified and shocked policeman shout into a telephone booth: “CALL THE AMBULANCES!!! TANGIRA HAS ESCAPED!!!!!!” A terrified man was running for his life. He sprinted but before he could scream, he was swatted away by the enraged Tangira. John stood, utterly dazzled, as the giant pulled his huge figure up onto a nearby building and thundered away. John snapped out of his state as Scruff came rushing up. “What d’ we do?!” he asked. John stared up for a minute in a short moment of vital thought. “TAXI!!” he shouted.

Meanwhile, Al stood at the shattered warehouse window, gazing upon the immense damage left in Tangira’s destructive wake. Cars jammed in windows, the streets were ravaged by fire. Dead bodies killed by the beast littered the roads. Al was the man responsible for all of this. Al began to think back through his actions. He was the man who brought Tangira to London; he was to blame if London was destroyed by the greatest force of nature.

In the meantime, Tangira traipsed along the flat rooftops of yellow coloured buildings which shuddered with his tremendous weight. He grunted in disgust and took one long stare out to the different buildings and through all the concrete and glass. This was not the familiar environment Claw Island. Where was he? What was this strange place? Tangira could see the shine reflecting off the Thames River. The giant cat stared in more detail at the river and in the distance he could see the great yellow tower that Londoners called, “Big Ben” That giant yellow clock tower. Tangira sat on the rooftop and gazed at it in deep thought. Then, a slow whir filled the air, the whir of a helicopter. The immense feline glanced sharply up and saw five fighter choppers all closing in on him. They were all painted black in colour, had lasers and sidewinders on their wing flanks. The first swooped low on Tangira. “BAM!! BAM!!! BAM!!!” It unleashed a relentless hail of fiery, red lasers. Tangira raced, thundering across the flat rooftops, the choppers still chasing him. From below, two trucks with built in machine guns fired on, but all they hit was tonnes of brick. People looked up and screamed as they saw this colossal beast being chased by a hoard of violent, attacking helicopters.

Showdown

The London cabby screeched to a halt along the edge of the river. Inside John frantically shot out like a rocket and Scruff followed suit. They hysterically looked around. “THERE HE IS!!” Scruff shouted. John looked up and saw Tangira jumping from building to building, being hunted by a squad of helicopters. “Did you remember the crossbow?” John asked urgently. Scruff held up the crossbow and the darts. “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, LET’S GO!!!!!!!!” John hollered. With every second like the last in life, he and Scruff sprinted towards a rotten pier on the Thames. An old man was resting on a deckchair. And in the water in front of him was a single hull seaplane. John knew that what he was going to do would require all the bravery and cunning that he could master. He was going to fly this plane up to Tangira in the seaplane, dart him with the crossbow and save him, before the choppers killed him. And they had to reach Tangira, FAST!! As Scruff and John sprinted towards the plane, John skilfully swiped the keys to it from the ageing man. “HEY!!!!!” he shouted. John ignored the angry bellows of the old wreck behind him and raced over to the seaplane. “GET IN THE BACK!!” he ordered to Scruff. Scruff grasped the crossbow tightly and half climbed, half collapsed into the small, cramped seat behind the pilot’s cockpit. John took a deep breath as he faced up to the ultimate reality…He was going to fly the plane. John blew over his moment when he heard the old man racing furiously towards them. “GET BACK HERE YOU THEIVES!!” he yelled. John frantically leapt into the pilots cockpits and thrust the keys into the ignition. He hadn’t flown a plane before, but he knew enough to find the basic just of it. The plane roared into life and the front propellers stared to spin. The engines on the wings came alive too. John strapped a pair of black goggles to his eyes and slipped some black leather gloves onto his hands. Scruff raised the crossbow as John gunned it full throttle. The plane’s large hull bounced along on the water, sending white, foul spray everywhere as the aircraft bounced along the muddy water of the River Thames, away from the pier, out into the boat lanes. The plane roared and John desperately turned the hand wheel up, trying to make the plane fly upwards. He floored the speed even harder. Eventually, the plane started climbing from the river surface. Scruff let out a whoop, and so did John. A fierce look of sheer determination steeled on his face as he set of for the great Big Ben. This was the crucial, decisive moment. The supreme ultimate in sheer bravado. They were on a mission to save the almighty Tangira.

Meanwhile, Tangira himself was too busy avoiding the fighting choppers, which hailed the lasers down on him. The giant tiger was now only a road away from the towering Big Ben tower. His huge eyes looked down at the bustling roads. “BAM!!! BAM!! BAM!!” “RRRRRAAAAAGGHH!!” Tangira swept down the wall of the building. People looked up and saw this terrifying beast climbing down the wall. They screamed in horror and ran for cover. The roar of the chopper’s blades came overhead. There was no choice. Tangira glanced up the tower and dashed across the road. Then, unbelievably, he thrust his gleaming claws into the sides of the clock tower…and started to climb it.

The seaplane’s engine roared like thunder as it soared up in glory and dignity over the fabulous, golden Westminster Bridge. John smiled as he gunned the propellers and engines to maximum capacity. Scruff peered around with equipment at the ready. “READY?” John called. “READY!” Scruff answered. The wind made John’s hair flow backwards. The wind also deafened him and pressed his goggles into his eyes, making him cringe in pain. He took a moment to look down at the ground and river below. People were watching as he flew straight up. Then John looked back up. He was shocked at what he saw. Tangira was climbing Big Ben with choppers in pursuit! Because John was flying so high and at such an incredibly fast speed, one of the choppers sent a message to the seaplane’s radio. “This is Flyer one to unidentified aircraft, please state your objectives please” John gritted through his teeth as he pulled the plane through the sky. “OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO CAPTURE TANGIRA!” he shouted, the wind drumming out his ears. “Your intention is denied” the voice reported, “Please return to the ground” “BULLSHIT!!!” John hollered. He gunned the twin engines, switched some dials on and Scruff slipped a dart into the crossbow and took aim as they neared the towering yellow colossus, Big Ben.

The wind whistled around his body as Tangira steadily climbed to the summit of Big Ben. The height was unbearable for most humans, but the height, fifty two feet from the ground, was not even near the giant tiger’s endurance limit. The helicopters were at his level, ready to fire. Tangira growled in anger when the front chopper geared up to unleash the lasers. “BAM!! BAM!! BAM!!!!” “GGGRRRAAAAAGGH!!!” The hail of orange lasers followed Tangira as he climbed, or swayed sideways around the dim yellow building, smashing the ancient brazing brickwork. As he turned the corner, Tangira almost slipped, but his massive claws, which acted like high Tec climbing gear, held him firm in place, avoiding death by falling. “R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R” The gargantuan feline tilted his head sideways to stare out across the river. He could see a strange thing with wings and spinning metal bars, making an incredibly loud ear-splitting, drumming, roaring sound…and coming straight for him. “GGGRRRAAAAAGGH!!”

“GET READY SCRUFF!!” John shouted through the rushing air. “OKAY!!” Scruff called back. Scruff slightly leaned out of the side edge of the plane, and took careful aim with the crossbow. They swooped down low on the grand tower with a gigantic roar on both of the twin engines. John’s eyes narrowed to literally slits as he made the plane take a really sharp nosedive down at Tangira, clinging for dear life to Big Ben’s walls, like a man on a metal bar in his local gym, only much, much higher. If he didn’t hang on, he’d fall to the streets below, to his death. Thousands of people watched in apprehension from the ground beneath. The pilots of the choppers were stunned when they caught sight of the plane flying towards Big Ben. As they were almost on top of the beast, it was time. John raised his head and looked through his dark goggles. They were pressing into his eyes, but he still gave the vital order “FIRE!!!” Scruff peered down the sight and pulled the trigger. The dart went whistling through the air towards Big Ben and Tangira. “RRRRRAAAAAGGHH!!” That roar that came from the beast was not because of the thick needled sedative dart. It was then John realized, the wind had taken it. The bloody wind had bloody taken it!!!! John pulled the plane upwards and onwards into the empty sky.

Tangira took one longing stare at the plane as it swung in low on him with another roar from the propellers. “GGGRRAAAAAAGGH!!” He then proceeded to pull himself further up the spiralling, yellow, tower to the vast clock face and huge handles. The choppers followed him around, their blades whirring. “BAM!! BAM!! BAM!!!” “RRRAAAAAAAGGHH!!” Tangira immediately swung around and dug his sharp, hook like claws into the frail clock face. The area around where his claws had sunk was cracking out to the edges. Tangira swung his other set of claws up and just managed to grab one of the black handles on the quarter mark.

John was stunned as he watched the tiger battling it out on the clock. “What the bloody hell is he doing?!” he wondered. As he looked up, he noticed that one of the choppers was flying towards them, with sidewinders raised. “SHIT!!!!” John cried. The sidewinders had been permanently locked onto them; the government was trying to kill them to cover all of their involvement up. John slammed the plane’s engines down, which made their raging rhythms blaze. As the helicopter lined up to fire, John purposefully grabbed one of the thick, sharp darts. He lined the plane up to the chopper and swooped down. “EAT THIS YOU SON OF A…” he shouted. He sent the dart hurtling into the prepared sidewinder. Three, two, one… “BAAAAAAAAAMMM!!!” The chopper exploded into a thousand pieces in a ball of burning fire. John swung the seaplane down to avoid the heat and devastation of the blast. “SCREWBALL, HA!! YA BIG FAT OLD SUCKER!!” John shouted in triumph. He swayed the plane back towards the clock face, ready to take another shot at Tangira, but the giant tiger had other ideas. While John had been busy with the chopper, he had moved to the right side of the enormous dark, unmoving handles of the Big Ben clock. John had a really good idea of what the mighty animal was doing. HE WAS GONNA JUMP OFF BIG BLOODY BEN!!!! But suddenly, as they flew back towards the giant yellow, ancient clock tower John heard an exceptionally choppy whir coming from the plane’s engine itself. He shuddered when it realized what the worrying sound was. “SHIT!! THE PROPELLERS!!!!!!” The propellers were starting to give out and they began to drop. John desperately tried to turn the engine dials on, but they wouldn’t start! “OH MY GOD, START!!!!!!!!!!” he shrieked. The plane continued to drop and in the back Scruff started to cringe. “COME ON YA BITCH!!!!!!!” John screamed. He jammed the plane’s wheel straight upwards and his teeth snarled in extreme anxiety that they were going to die! He let out a breath of relief as the plane hummed and then started to climb. Now he swooped in low on Tangira’s leap off. “AIM FOR CHIST’S SAKE!!!!!!!” he hollered to Scruff. But before Scruff even had time to take aim, Tangira leapt majestically off the edge. John’s mouth hung open in utter disbelief. “TANGIRA!!!!” he shouted. “GGGRRRAAAAAGGH!!!” The tiger nosedived over seventy feet to seemingly, the ground. In fact, he had leapt so far out, that he landed with a thud as loud as a German nuclear bomb, shattering eardrums to smithereens, to break his unbelievable fall from Big Ben. John hurriedly swung the plane close to the building to check if the mighty Tangira was still alive. He hovered around the building twice and slowly, but surly, Tangira steadily rose to his feet. Once he was up on his paws, he roared with all the might that he could summon. “RRAAAAAGH!!!!!” Then, he leapt off that building as well! Tangira must have defied the laws on gravity a long time ago! He landed with a crash on the road below, where a convoy of trucks was waiting for him. “BAM!! BAM!! BAM!!” They released their hail of bullets down on the mighty Tangira, who sprinted off down the street, every footfall sounding like thunder. He overturned cars if they slammed into him and threw them away. Up in the emptiness of sky, John swung the plane down in line with the ancient buildings and was now flying just behind the beast and the manic convoy of firing, attacking battalion of trucks and jeeps. “GGGRRRAAAAAGGH!!!” “R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R” Tangira’s roar combined with the whir of the seaplane formed a fearsome duet. Tangira was thundering along the road at over seventy five miles an hour. John took his eye off the ball for a split second and sighted the Tower Bridge in the not so far distance. “OH MY GOD!!!” he shouted. “BAM!! BAM!!! BAM!!!!” The trucks followed in hot pursuit. They fired their big, nasty machine guns relentlessly, like a storm of deadly hailstones. Tangira had the Tower Bridge in his ultimate sights. He skidded to a swerve along the road coming up to the raising bridge, sending oncoming cars flying. John pulled the plane up with a giant roar and soared above the buildings and out onto the river for one last charge at Tangira. The giant thirty five foot beast himself was thundering like an Olympic sprinter onto the rickety, ancient Tower Bridge. “BAM!! BAM!! BAM!!!” Tangira reached the exact middle of the now swaying bridge, which buckled under his weight and without a care at all, turned his back on the oncoming plane and trucks. More armoured Lorries were heading towards him firing their sleet of large bullets as they went. There was nothing for it. As Scruff and John were lining up for their next shot with the crossbow, Tangira let out another magnificent roar for the whole of London to hear with all its might. “RRAAAAAAGH!!” “GGRRAAAAGH!!!” He shot off the opposite side of the immense Tower Bridge and dove head first into the waters below. With a gigantic splash that sent the water sideways, he slid into the river and then disappeared from sight. John immediately pulled the seaplane upwards, onwards and flew straight over the bridge and out to long winding the river beyond.

From one of the columns high up on the Tower Bridge, a familiar face watched as John’s plane soared over the Thames in the distance. Al had watched Tangira disappear into the Thames. This was now Al’s reputation secured, but the greatest discovery of the century had now been lost forever. The young graduate from university, Al Harris, had now just become a legend. As he looked to the sun setting majestically over the city of London, Al uttered some quiet words: “It’s lost, and it’s free at last” And with that, Al Harris traipsed in a slumber off down the walkway.

Free at Last!

The rough waves slammed against the horrid coast of Claw Island. There were huge engravings of strange, oblong, elongated faces engraved into the grey crags of rock that spiralled out of the water like grabbing claws. Beyond the crumbling coast was the lush green in the shadows of a hellish jungle where death was always immanent. In the waves lied many mysteries, but what was about to land on the shore was absolutely not a mystery. Two hundreds yards from the grey crag of the jagged shoreline, a wake started to develop and head straight towards the cragged rocks. As he grew larger, a pair of rounded rocks rose up out of the sea. No, not rocks... ears. The fronts of them were white, the back was orange and they were lined with black stripes and had a black lining to them. They rose up further and more followed. A face…eyes, mouth fur, giant yellow teeth and whiskers. IT WAS TANGIRA!! He had survived the dive from the Tower Bridge. Over the past two months, he had been swimming the oceans of the globe. He had only one destination, his home, Claw Island. Eventually, the waves became rougher and soon, it became shallow enough for Tangira to simply walk across the sea bed. He rose majestically up from the waves and lumbered onto the grey beach. Tangira opened his eyes, glowing with pride, to the legendary Claw Island; he was home… and free. The gargantuan tiger rose up in majesty and stared out across his vast and wondrous kingdom and made it extremely, severely and spectacularly clear, he was TANGIRA, THE KING!! “GGRRAAAAGH!!”

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