Or "Pandora's Other Box"

© 1997 Rogue

Lutrai and Khatrai species created by Ollie Canal

Nex awoke sick and sore, his head throbbing so badly that he was sure it had been split open. Only after feeling every inch of his scalp was the young khatrai finally convinced that it was intact. But oh, what pain!

Where was he? His memory tilted and washed about like a leaf caught on a flooded river. He recalled his escape from Tamara - ah, why would that ordeal have to be the first image to come back to him? Then there was the long flight, the fear-filled nights, cowering in the trader's wagon...

And the box! Where was it? He sat up and looked around frantically. If he'd lost it, after having come so far, he swore he'd kill the first living thing he saw. Turning, he staggered to his feet, tripped over his own tail, and fell. The branches of a bush caught him, poking into his thick fur, the sudden sting shocking his senses into cooperating. The box. Yes. Not only had he escaped Tamara, but he'd managed to take their priceless little treasure. Whatever it was, it was worth a mountain of gold to the Decider, and he was determined to have it for himself. He remembered finally reaching a safe distance, and opening the box - a flash, fiery pain, and then darkness.

And now more pain. His head pounded, and worse, for all his trouble, he'd lost the box. Scrambling to his feet again he loosed a bellow of rage that echoed and re-echoed all around him.

It surprised him, in fact. Where had that come from? And where was he? The woods around him had given way to a broad terrain of low, green brush, like a field long fallow. The shape of the landscape certainly made for an eerie echo, he thought.

Ah, there! The dawning sun glimmered off of a tiny jewel next to his foot, and he snatched it up. It was obvious that it had come from the box he'd stolen, one of the yellow and red gems that encrusted its lid. Khatrai care little for riches, but still these, he thought, would make fine adornments after he'd spirited the box away and discovered its secret contents.

Nex felt a sudden chill. All of his fur stood on end. Slowly, slowly he brought the tiny jewel up to his face. He squinted, peering at the little piece of the lost box that now glittered between his fingers. Only he saw now that it was not just a piece of the box.

It was the box.

Nex blinked at it and then growled. "I don't like tricks," he said aloud, should whatever jokester had started this game still be crouching in the bushes. But moments passed, and the chill deepend, as Nex realized with growing dread that this was indeed the same box he'd taken, though tiny now, barely the size of his finger-claw.

That was not all that was wrong, either . The land was wrong, too. Dropping to all fours, Nex lowered his head and peered at the stems of the bushes around him. He did not want to admit that they were trees, the same trees he had hidden himself under in order to crack open the mysterious box. Nor could he convince himself that the tiny footprints he saw in the mudhole nearby were his own. The idea was impossible. Lunacy! And yet, he could not deny it. Slowly, his breathing shallow, Nex rose up to his feet and looked around at the treetops. They had not been huge trees, he recalled - five, perhaps six times his height, yet now they barely reached his mid-thigh. He turned around in a circle, and then brought the little box to his face again.

The box. Yes, this was the treasure that the Decider had held so dear. There could be no other explanation. This box was to be Tamara's prize, to be opened by one of her nobles, perhaps the Decider herself. Only it had been a young khatrai who had opened the box, and had thus claimed the treasure for his own.

Smiling now, Nex stood up taller, and peered down along his body. Strong muscles flexed beneath the fur, and he felt power coursing through them. Raw power. Unbridled. The sheer overwhelming might that comes with overwhelming size.

He voiced his thoughts without realizing it. "Let's see what it can do."

Smiling eagerly, Nex turned and strode off through the trees. They were not close together here, and his legs easily brushed their branches aside. It made him feel stronger still. That, and the feel of the ground beneath his feet, the hard earth yielding like peat to his weight. Why, he was like a mountain come to life! He could --...

From down below there was a sudden squeak. Even before his ears had registered it, before he could check his step, his foot came down, and instead of the earth he felt fur, soft and wet, and frantic movement. Staggering, he stepped off of it, nearly falling into the trees to his left, and then he turned and caught his balance, and peered down at what had tripped him.

It scrambled at the ground, writhing in agony, its eyes wide as pitiful squeals came from its throat. It could have been a smaller version of himself, or rather, his old self. Its sides heaved. Its tail and one leg were broken and bent, and blood trickled from where the flesh had burst.

Nex snorted and poked at it with a rough finger as it struggled to crawl away. "Stupid lutrai," he growled. "Not enough brains to get out of my way!" Shaking his head, he turned his back and moved on. After just a few more steps, though, he slowed his pace and then stopped, considering. He had just stepped on someone. Just a lutrai, yes, but a being nonetheless, like himself. He had stepped on it, as though it had been an insect, and simply walked on, leaving it to die. Had he been in more of a hurry, he may not even have noticed it.

Now that, he thought, is power.

A grin broke onto his muzzle, and Nex turned in his tracks and hurried back to where he had left the lutrai. It had not gotten far. He stood over it and sneered. "Bug," he said, slowly, as if tasting the word. "You are, aren't you? Just ... a little ... bug ..."

The lutrai whimpered and began to struggle harder on the ground, trying to drag itself away from him. Nex found its efforts amusing, and laughed. Slowly he shifted his weight and lifted one great foot, and swung it through the air until it was looming over the tiny creature. "Just a bug," he said again, and his voice dropped down to a low snarl. "I could just crush you. Just like that."

The lutrai began to sputter and squeak. Perhaps it was forming words, but from where Nex was he couldn't hear what it was saying, although he didn't really care. It was, after all, nothing more than an insignificant insect to him now. He could snuff out its life, with no more effort than a single casual step. Its entire existence was his, its fate a slave to his whim. Whether it lived or died now was subject solely to his mood.

He began to realize that he liked that feeling.

The lutrai had begun to pull itself away, and with a growl, Nex lowered his foot down so that the sole rested squarely on the lutrai's body. It squealed louder and began to squirm. Nex could feel its fur rubbing over the bottom of his foot, something he found almost as enjoyable as the desperation his prisoner felt in the face of his unstoppable might. Smiling, he began to press down, shifting his weight gradually onto that foot. He felt the lutrai's struggles grow more desperate, its screams more piercing, the more weight he applied. It thrilled him, his breathing intensifying, the rush of such utter control making the blood roar in his ears. "Die..!" he growled, and pressed down hard.

Beneath his foot he felt a crack, and then moisture, and then a soft crunch as his foot finally sank down into the earth. His smile nearly ached, and he realized he was shivering, his body drinking in the nectar of unfettered power. For a time he simply stood there, staring down at the red stain that was slowly seeping up between his toes, and then at last he lifted his foot away and squatted down to survey the results.

The lutrai was flat, its body misshapen, the pelt stained with redness. Its guts had burst out through its mouth and lay in a pressed tangle beside the body. Surrounding the corpse and framing it nicely was the print of his foot. It looked almost like an overripe fruit that some careless khatrai had trampled in passing.

Oh, yes, Nex thought. Trampled in passing. Dust beneath my feet.

With a laugh, the khatrai reached down and swirled a finger in the mess, and with that finger he painted a crimson stripe upon the side of his chest. "At least you have some use," he muttered, and stood, snickering to himself. Then he turned and walked on, his tail flicking over the remains and smearing them further, much to the dismay of the crows who had gathered in his wake to feast.

Nex had little idea where he was going, but since he had no idea at all where he was, it really did not matter, and if he felt the slightest regret over having murdered the poor lutrai, he did not let it bother him. What was a single insignificant creature like that compared to the likes of him? The entire world was his now, he felt, and he was eager to demonstrate that fact, now that he had tasted what it meant to be omnipotent.

The trees grew larger and thicker the further he walked, and he was having an increasingly difficult time pushing between them. That fact irritated him, somehow stealing the thunder of his creation. He had to search harder for gaps in the canopy, and then simply began to smash the trees aside with great swats. Even that grew tiring, and when he finally saw the gleam of a river through the branches he made his way toward it as quickly as he could.

The water was cold and sweet as Nex plunged his muzzle into it. He drank for a long time, not realizing until then just how thirsty he had become, and then he stretched out along the bank of the river to rest for a few moments. Just as he did so, his eye caught a movement across the water. On the far bank, barely an arm's length away to him, was a clearing, and from the trees surrounding it he saw four lutrai appear. They were males -- no doubt hunters. They were chittering merrily to one another, their gait light, their posture carefree. This struck Nex as terribly odd. How could they fail to see a giant khatrai lying so close by on the opposite bank? He knew that lutrai were stupid creatures, but this was ridiculous. Maybe it was just that the sight of him was so far out of the ordinary that their feeble minds had not yet caught on. Whatever the reason, the important thing was that they were here now, and drawing closer, and Nex was feeling the urge to display his might again.

The lutrai stopped in their tracks as a shadow loomed, and a khatrai taller than the tallest tree rose into the air and fixed them with its grinning gaze. They stood petrified, able only to gape in awe as the monster crossed the river in a single mighty step. Their necks craned upward as it stood over them.

"Look here ... more bugs," Nex sneered, and slowly lifted his foot.

The lutrai panicked. With terrified barks they broke and ran, darting in all directions. At least, three of them did. One stayed, a tiny figure, a youngster by the look of it. All Nex could see was its upturned face, its eyes bulging with terror. He laughed and pivoted slightly, letting his foot overshadow the little one. With painful care he began to lower it, letting the lutrai's vision overflow with the sight of his vast sole. "That's it. Just stand still," he rumbled, and then ...

A bark and a coppery streak distracted him. One of the older lutrai had circled back, and darted now under his foot. He watched it bolt out from underneath on the other side, propelling the smaller lutrai ahead of it.

The young one went tumbling while the adult sprawled on his face. He lifted his head just long enough to see that his charge was safe, and then the khatrai's thunderous voice shattered his ears. "Very well! You first, then!"

Nex raised his foot up higher and then brought his heel crashing down on the scrambling adult. The little body popped like a berry, juice and meat squirting out in all directions, splashing over the small one and soaking it. The khatrai howled mirthfully and pivoted, heel grinding the shattered corpse deep into the ground, and then he leaped ahead and bore down upon the two who were fleeing.

They never had a chance. The giant overran them, stamping his feet with wild ferocity. One died quickly, a huge foot smashing it to jelly in a single swift blow. The other, more nimble, dodged left and right and managed to avoid the stamping feet for several moments before its tail was caught and pinned. Nex laughed merrily as the lutrai continued to run in place, kicking up little clods of earth and flinging them furiously backward. He let it continue so for a short time, until the amusement wore thin. Raising his other foot, he carefully lowered his toes down onto the struggling lutrai and began to curl them, forming something of a fist with his toes within which the little creature squirmed and shrieked. The sound and the struggles began to excite him, awakening deep lusts, bringing forth the predator that was so great a part of the khatrai soul. He felt himself growing aroused, just as he would at the peak of a hunt, when the prey would lay helpless before him, when he would bend and tear and feed.

His teeth flashed in a savage grin as he peered down into the face of the terrified creature pinned beneath his toes. Prey! And why not? It was the right size, and had he not eaten nothing today? And what possible use could this contemptible little creature have, if not as fresh meat?

Nex began to drool. Some of it dripped from his jaws and fell with a splash upon the lutrai's face. It stopped moving then, blinking, staring up at the khatrai as if unable to comprehend what was about to happen. It lay motionless for a second, and then squeaked and resumed its thrashing as Nex's hand swooped down toward it. Nex caught its arm between two fingers and, lifting his foot, dragged it out and up into the air to dangle helplessly before his eyes. He studied it casually for a few seconds, as though momentarily undecided, and then he opened his mouth.

The lutrai let out a despairing wail as mammoth fingers fed its upper half into the gaping maw, and then a huge tongue licked out, sweeping around the flailing legs and dragging them inside. Nex held the lutrai for a moment in his mouth, feeling its desperate kicking against his tongue, and then he bit down. Bones cracked noisily; salt trickled over his tongue and the thrashing limbs stiffened and quivered. He bit once again, and all movement stopped. He tasted meat. Throwing his head back, Nex began to chew slowly, savoring the taste, the meat grinding down softer each time his teeth came together, and then he swallowed.

Never before had he enjoyed such a meal! It made his whole body seem to blaze with energy, his belly digesting for the first time not just the flesh, but the entire being of another.

But then, it was hardly a meal all by itself.

Nex looked around, and was delighted to see that the little one was still nearby. It had not moved from the spot where its elder had thrown it, and now sat staring at him, its body quivering, still soaked with gore. It still did not budge as Nex strode toward it, nor did it utter more than a feeble squeak as he plucked it from the ground between two fingers. Holding it before his eyes, he snarled, "Where is your village?"

The lutrai was silent. Nex repeated, a little louder, "Where is your village?" and this time he punctuated the question with a painful jab from a claw. The lutrai yelped and raised a shaky hand, pointing over the treetops to a place where the river vanished behind a hill.

Nex smiled. "Thank you," he said. Turning his hand over, he curled his hand around the little one and squeezed tightly, chuckling as blood squirted from between his fingers. Opening his hand once more, he painted four new crimson blazes across his chest, and then made his way in the direction the lutrai had pointed.

The village was boiling with activity as he rounded the hill. They must have heard him coming - not a difficult thing, of course. Lutrai were scrambling everywhere, leaping into the water, darting amongst the flimsy houses. Nex gave them little time to escape as he crashed with huge steps through the shin-deep water and into the village. It was disappointingly small, he thought as he began to crush the huts like anthills underfoot., but there should be enough to make a decent meal. Within seconds he had demolished the village, and then he turned his attention to its shocked and fleeing inhabitants.

The lutrai, being water creatures, had turned to the river for their escape. Nex found that from his vantage point he could easily spot their brown pelts swimming against the sandy soil of the riverbed. Once more his loins stirred as he squatted down and plunged his hands into the water, each one seizing a squirming body which he stuffed greedily into his mouth. He chewed hastily, bolting the meat down in great chunks to make room for the next screaming victim. One by one he plucked them from the water and ate them, jaws crunching a relentless rhythm, ears deaf to their pleading, following their futile flight downstream with easy strides.

A sudden pain in the heel of his hand interrupted his feeding, and he jerked his hand from the water to find a spear embedded in his palm. Growling, he scanned the river, and caught sight of a lutrai warrior scrambling out onto the bank. His hand swept down and scooped the little creature up in a tight fist, bearing it to his snarling face, where it could easily see the pieces of fur and whole limbs packed between the giant khatrai's teeth. Its bravery abandoned it, and it began to yelp and squeal like the rest.

Nex was enraged! How dare this insolent meat try to wound him? He raised his hand up to dash its feeble brains out on the ground, but then an evil notion occurred to him. A much more suitable means of disposing of impudent prey was at hand, and it was an experiment he found he was eager to test. After checking to be certain the creature had no other weapons, he raised it up and shoved it head-first between his lips.

He did not chew, though. Instead, he reared his head back and then snapped it forward, bolting the lutrai back into his throat. It began to writhe furiously, and for a second Nex feared he would choke upon it. He swallowed hard, feeling the squirming bulk sliding into his gullet, stretching it. Tiny heels beat upon his palate, toes scrabbling vainly at his tongue. He gasped, and then gulped again, as hard as he could, dragging the lutrai further down. A third gulp, and he was relieved as the kicking legs finally slid down his throat.

The lutrai struggled all the way down, and continued to thrash even inside his stomach. Nex swayed and nearly fell, surprised at the sudden rush it gave him. The feeling was intoxicating, the thrill of the kicking inside his belly like nothing he had ever imagined. This was far, far better than simply eating them. Swallowing them whole, whole and alive, was the ultimate in his domination over them, over the world! Not just their flesh, but their very lives were now his food, and the energy of their dying struggles within him would fuel his massive body far beyond the ability of mere meat.

The frenzied squirming inside of him was beginning to grow weaker, and the euphoria it had brought was fading with it. Looking down, he caught sight of a female lutrai standing, trembling, on the bank near where he had caught the warrior. She was staring at him, eyes brimming, and he noted that her belly was quite swollen with young. Better still, he thought with a cruel smirk.

She offered no resistance as his hand descended and caught her, and he gazed at her with mock pity. "Oh, was that yours?" he said, his teeth gleaming close to her. "Then you had better join him before it's too late!" And without another word he threw her into his mouth, and without hesitating this time he swallowed her. Two gulps, and she was wriggling her way down to join her mate in his stomach.

Nex stood up and moaned, pressing a hand to his belly, drinking in the sensation and trying to make it last. But soon he realized that while he had been enjoying these two, the remainder of the village had left the river and fled into the woods. No matter. Licking his whiskers, he stepped dripping from the water and pushed his way into the trees, searching for them.

Their panicked flight made it impossible for them to cover their trails effectively, and it was little trouble for the khatrai to hunt them down. He found one stumbling blindly through a bog, caught it, and wolfed it down, savoring the renewed thrashing within him. Another he found cowering in the hollow at the base of a tree; he had great fun pressing his muzzle against the hole and licking the whimpering lutrai out. Two more were flushed out of a cattail marsh and raced off in the same direction. Nex followed on all fours, laughing as he easily overtook them. Lowering his head, he simply snapped them up off the ground in mid-flight; they were swallowed, still running.

Yet another was plucked from the branches of a tree, and the giant's belly began to fill. He stopped a moment and patted it, and gazed with idle amusement at the mammoth erection that stood out now from his groin, so stiff and warm it seemed it would never go away. Khatrai took such pleasure in the hunt and in the kill; there are, after all, many kinds of hunger, and all must be fed. The thought brought a gleam to Nex's mind, and his hand, with which he had begun to relieve that other hunger, fell to his side. The lutrai started this, he thought, chuckling, and they can finish it. He turned his back then on the few survivors in their hiding places, and made his way back to the river, to search for fresher prey.

He found it soon enough. Lutrai are never far from water, and crawling carefully upstream, he was able to find another village and pounce on it even before the alarm could be given. Hurriedly he gathered as many of the wriggling bodies into his hands as he could hold; a few managed to squirm free and tumble down into the water, but he paid no attention to them. He could always catch them later. "Stop your wiggling, bugs," he rumbled as he bore his prisoners closer to his aching erection. "Please me, and I'll be merciful." He expected instant obedience, but instead the captives only began to howl and thrash harder. Another slipped free and landed with a splash between his legs. "Listen to me!" he barked. "Please me, or I will kill every one of you!"

Still they did not obey. Irritated, Nex pressed his hands firmly together and drove his firm member into the lutrai's midst. Instantly a dozen little hands began to caress his length, but the khatrai had lost his patience. Growling deeply, he clenched his hands tighter and began to stroke his captives viciously along his length. His hips rocked, thrusting into the tangle of furry bodies as he would into a mate. The screams dwindled down to soft gurgles. Bones began to crackle, and limbs grew softer, more pliable. The mass compressed further, growing wet and slick as his erection drove into it, and by the time he threw his head back and roared and spurted his pleasure into the tangled bodies, they no longer moved.

Nex caught his breath after a long time and dropped his gaze to the pulp that oozed from between his fingers, mingling with the white of his seed. "Thank you," he sneered. "You can go now." He raised his hands and licked the shredded meat from them, even though it was not as pleasing as the living prey he had come to enjoy. With both hungers sated now, he yawned a great yawn, and stretched his body out along the shattered remains of the second village to nap, and digest.

The shadows were long when Nex finally awoke. He rolled to his back and stretched. A lutrai hut collapsed under his leg, the shifting wreckage a grim reminder that the carnage he'd wrought had not been a dream. Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes and licked his whiskers. There was a metallic taste in his mouth, a taste much like blood, but somehow... sweeter. Fear, he thought with a smile. The fear of those who fed me.

He began to paw through the shattered remains of the village, and here and there, trapped beneath their collapsed homes, he found a few lutrai who had survived the attack. He gulped them eagerly, letting their puny struggles invigorate him once more. It occurred to him as he fed that if he continued to eat as heartily as this, he would eventually consume every lutrai on the continent. Then again, they were prolific little vermin. There would always be enough for him to eat, even if he fed on lutrai alone.

That idea was intriguing, moreso the further he thought about it. Lutrai, as he'd found, made excellent food, and since all things have a purpose, maybe this was theirs. With that thought in mind, he started off along the river again, his eyes scanning both the water and the surrounding woods for more prey.

He walked a long way without seeing any further signs of life, save for the occasional wild animal as it fled before his approaching footfalls. He cursed his decision to take a nap when he did. The lutrai were stupid creatures, but loyal to one another, and it was possible that the ones who had escaped his rampage might have gone ahead to warn their brethren of his approach. As the sun sank closer to the horizon, Nex chose to turn away from the river and move inland, in hopes of finding better pickings.

It was not long before his decision paid off. Pushing aside two pine trees, he noticed two lutrai entwined upon the ground - they were mating. Nex snickered loudly at the sight, and the sound alerted the two. They sat up and gaped incredulously up at him for a brief second, and in that short time, with just three steps, Nex was upon them. His hand swept down, snatching them up together before they could jump to their feet. Lifting them to his face, Nex was amused to see that they were both males. Apparently the females from their little village were not quite ready to begin their mating rituals, and these two obviously felt that some practice was in order. He sneered at them, watching as they clung to one another in terror, mouths open silently. "Did I interrupt?" he rumbled as he slowly opened his hand to cup them in his palm. "Sorry. Go on and finish what you started."

The captives stared at him and then looked at each other. Nex lifted them closer to his mouth, letting them see his smile with all its teeth so very close to them. "I said to finish," he said again, his voice lowering, "or else."

Whimpering in terror, and never taking its eyes from the giant khatrai's looming face, one of the little males nudged the other onto its side and pressed himself against it, hips snugging up to the other's rump. Nex watched closely and hummed, feigning interest, as the lithe little body began to a sinuous flexing. Both lutrai began to pant softly. Their sides heaved. There was a smear upon the rear one's muzzle, a glistening line of what was obviously not saliva. Its partner whimpered and squeezed its eyes shut, trying to shut out the terrible gaze as it was taken, though its own arousal was still apparent.

The one behind finally looked away and grunted. Its body grew shaky and its thrusts frantic, and then it relaxed with a whine. "Finished?" Nex growled, and when the lutrai weakly nodded he smiled at them. "Good. Now me."

Nex pushed aside a few more trees and sat down in the rough clearing he'd made, and lowered his hand to his groin. He released the two trembling prisoners between his legs and stared at them expectantly. They hesitated for just a moment before shuffling forward to comply.

The feeling of tiny hands caressing him and the smell of their fear combined to bring Nex very quickly erect. He lay back in the clearing and scooped them up onto his belly with one hand. "Don't try to run off," he snarled at the two, who stood helplessly beside a penis that was larger than either of their bodies. They had probably been considering making a break for the woods, but the giant's threatening tone was enough to quell their ideas of escape for the moment. Resignedly, they crawled forward and pressed their soft bodies against his flesh. It leaped at their touch, knocking them backward, and Nex laughed. "You'll have to do better than that." He relaxed and watched the sun setting behind the clouds, as the hesitant petting gave way to nuzzles and soft licking. The sensations relaxed him, his heartbeat quickening. He breathed more deeply, licking his lips. A drop of fluid seeped from him, and he felt a minuscule tongue lap it away, its touch jolting him delightfully. "More," he growled, and his captives obeyed. He felt silky fur stroking his full length now, the two working in tandem, surrounding his erection with their bodies, rubbing against it, lapping fearfully. He began to thrust into the air; they rode with him, maintaining their delightful touch, their muzzles now exploring his tip.

Nex felt heat rush through him. His loins tensed and he roared, sending a wave of his seed crashing over his belly, his erection leaping and knocking aside its two attendants. The rush went on and on, his pleasure pouring forth into a widening pool, until at last the breath caught in his throat and his body sagged against the ground. He lay panting a short time, and then chuckled and raised his head.

Only one lutrai was present. It was lying near the thick pool on his belly, blinking around in a daze. Nex scanned the area, and then scowled. "Where is the other one?" he demanded. There was no reply, and he bared his teeth angrily. "Where is he? Where did he go?"

The remaining captive whimpered and began to beg, its squeaky voice babbling and incomprehensible. Nex sighed in exasperation. "Very well, then," he said, and reached for the terrified creature.

The other lutrai stumbled and clawed its way through the woods, its mind reeling when once again it felt the rhythmic pounding of the giant's footfalls. In its panic it did not even realize that its body was dripping with the monstrous khatrai's seed, and that in its desperate flight it had left a painfully obvious trail. It fought its way through a heavy undergrowth of vines, and staggering out on the opposite side, it ran headlong into a massive leg and fell back. Looking up, dazed, the fugitive saw the giant towering over it. Its huge hands were red and covered here and there with tufts of fur from where it had torn the other lutrai to pieces. Around its neck it wore a new trinket: the other lutrai's head, speared through the ears, and slung upon a vine.

Nex smiled down at the trembling creature and shook his head. "I told you not to run," he said, almost sadly. "Your friend stayed, and look at the honor I granted him." He stooped and caught the lutrai as it bolted toward the underbrush again. "Ah-ah ... no more running. I told you to finish. And since you've lost your friend, you'll have finish with me."

The lutrai squealed piercingly, its eyes nearly bulging from its head, its legs kicking madly and flinging strings of semen down onto the forest floor. Nex squatted on his heels and lowered the thrashing creature behind his back, then bore it beneath his tail. "Ahhh...something like this, wasn't it?" With a finger on the back of its head he pressed the lutrai's muzzle against his vent, and slowly began to push it inside. He was surprised by how easily it slid in, and at how pleasant the sensation. Once, long ago, he had been entered this way by an older and larger cub, and though he had later torn out that one's heart, he could never say that the experience had been fully unpleasant. His grip shifted lower; the lutrai's squirming only helped to work it into the tight orifice. His spent penis began to stir once more as the little creature was swallowed up to its waist. A finger between its legs helped to shove it in to its knees, and he left it there to kick, as he grew to erection once again. "You've found your purpose in life, tiny one," he crooned as he began to stroke himself, the squirming and kicking beneath his tail enrapturing him. His hand pumped feverishly, slicked by the remains of the other captive, until at last his pleasure poured forth once again, his ecstatic roar shattering the dusk and sending birds fleeing from their roosts.

Nex shivered a bit, catching his breath with effort, and soon realized that his plaything was still kicking. Lutrai, of course, being water creatures, could hold their breath for a long time. Nex reached behind and shoved the thrashing legs all the way inside, groaning as he felt the muscle close behind them, and then he stood and began to push his way through the woods, in the direction the lutrai had been fleeing. He would simply keep the creature inside of him and enjoy its wriggling for as long as it took it to suffocate. Perhaps by then he would have located its village.

Darkness fell, the night moonless, but Nex continued on. Khatrai were creatures of the night and could see well enough in the dark, so there was no reason for him to stop, at least not yet. He had come to what he thought was familiar territory, and strode more purposefully now. If he had guessed correctly, a lutrai settlement lay somewhere in his path.

He found it, and as he had suspected, it was nearly deserted.

Nex smiled widely and gave the village a wide berth downwind. His tread still shook the earth, despite his efforts to be stealthy, yet if the lutrai left behind in the village took any notice, they gave no sign. Perhaps they attributed the stirring to the activity that Nex knew would be taking place inland. The two rutting males had no doubt been anticipating a Kitseve, a cross between a fertility ritual and a mating frenzy that lutrai held whenever they could find an excuse. All the better, Nex thought with a cruel smile. Let them mate. Let them reproduce. There would be all the more food for him.

The village vanished behind him as he crept through the forest. His towering form was nearly invisible against the moonless sky, and the night winds muffled the sound of his passing. Before long he saw the flicker of torchlight through the foliage. Closer still, and he could see figures dancing about, their shadows cavorting on a rocky cliff-face above them. These lutrai were uncommonly clever, Nex thought. They had chosen for their festival a sheltered hollow under the cliff, and around it they had planted a thick and tangled wall of thorny creepers. The prickly barrier had only one entrance, and was high enough to keep out any intruder.

Almostany intruder.

Nex backed away carefully, and searched through the woods for a suitable pine tree. Finding one to his liking, he knelt and bit through the trunk, his powerful jaws shearing it off with a minimum of sound, and then he took it back with him to the enclosure. He laid it carefully across the entrance - there were no guards, all of the lutrai being quite occupied with the activity within. Sneering at the ease with which he'd trapped them, he stood up tall and looked down upon the Kitseve.

If Nex had come thundering up to them at full force, it is possible that the lutrai would still not have known he was there. A dozen or more couples were sprawled about the rough amphitheater, a few more in threes, entangled in various intimate postures. Others danced frenziedly in ecstatic trances. Glazed, happy eyes peered skyward, blind to the looming shadow that blotted out the starlight, and the twin orbs that reflected with malicious contempt the light from the torches.

Nex spread his stance, planting his feet carefully, and watched the carnal spectacle below him, taking particular interest in a large male who was sprawled in a pit in the very center of the enclosure. A shaman, perhaps - no, it was the leader. Its fur was painted with bright and complex patterns. A female knelt astride its waist, her body rocking to and fro, little shoulders heaving. A second female was nestled against the male's side, her mouth hanging open in exhaustion. A third lay sprawled just outside the pit, fingering herself delicately, waiting her turn.

Impressive, Nex thought. That must be why that one's the chief.

The light that glittered off the dead eyes of his jewelry was slowly eclipsed as the khatrai's enormous malehood began to rise and swell below it. Nex licked his chops, stirred by the sights and scents of the furious celebration at his feet. His hand gripped about his erection and began to stroke, matching the rhythm of the chieftain's little female. The fires seem to blaze more brightly. The dancers had collapsed and crawled into one another's arms and were now coupled, their squeaks and groans of pleasure singing in Nex's ears. He stroked harder, drinking in the scene, the lutrai entwined in jubilation, celebrating their own lust, their cubs, their future, his future, his food source ...

The female atop the chieftain whimpered as she felt his release, and then gasped in surprise as something warm and wet splashed onto her back. She sat up a little, turning her head curiously, and was struck again. Her startled bark drew some attention from the others, and then from the night sky came crashing a deluge of thick whiteness. It splashed down heavily on the chieftain and his two mates, leaving them sputtering. The waiting female scrambled away as the burst was followed by another, and yet another, the heavy fluid miring those in the pit as they struggled to rise. The other revelers, interrupted in their mating, could only stare, bewildered, as the specter of an immense foot descended from the starry sky into the ring of torchlight. It came down slowly, deliberately, clawed toes flexing as if in anticipation; situating itself over the chieftain and his two mates, it settled upon them and pressed them down into the heavy cream that filled the pit. Their arms thrust up between the huge toes and waved about wildly, vainly, as the huge foot sat firmly atop them, holding them until at last the thick fluid filled their lungs and drowned them.

Meanwhile, the other lutrai had broken in panic and had piled up against the exit, where they found obstructing pine boughs. Some threw themselves at the thicket, yelping as thorns bit into their flesh and drove them back. Some with clearer heads pulled down a canopy made from skins that had been erected near the wall and tried to throw it over the thicket as a cushion. Giant hands swept down and battered them back, and then began to herd the entire assemblage away from the thicket, scooping them toward the cliff-face like fallen leaves. There they cowered, whimpering, watching as the flailing arms of their chieftain finally shuddered between the monstrous toes and fell limp.

A second foot then plunged from the sky and thudded down in the clearing. The shadow crouched down into the light, the torches revealing the features of a giant khatrai. Its toothy grin broadened savagely as the lutrai shrieked and pressed back more tightly against the cliff. An erection as large as a young tree stood out from the monster's groin and seemed to gaze mockingly at them, the remnants of its pleasure still trickling from the tip. Nex slowly licked his whiskers. "I've come to join your Kitseve," he boomed. Slowly he sat back and stretched his legs out, one heavy foot pressing against the cliff on either side of the terrified lutrai, corralling them between his legs. He smiled coldly and reached for them. The first to fall into his grip was a strong male who leaped in front of the rest, snarling, thinking perhaps to occupy the giant long enough for the others to escape; they were too frightened, though, or still too dazed to move. Nex gripped the male firmly and gave him a little squeeze. "Let the feast begin," he said, laughing, and before his captive could utter a sound he bore it to his muzzle and sank his sharp teeth into its belly. With one hand he gripped its legs and with the other its arms; he then pulled back, tearing the lutrai's guts from its body. He held them, dripping, in his jaws for a moment while the body twitched, and then threw his head back and swallowed them. Then he began to tear the limbs off one by one, chewing them noisily, savoring the salty meat. He left behind only the head.

Some of the other lutrai lost their senses and began to tear, screaming, at his legs, trying to climb over them. He caught them easily, flinging females back into the trap, throwing the males into his jaws and swallowing them alive. When all that were left were those too frightened to attempt escape, he bent forward and seized only the males, ripping them from the arms of the shrieking females and devouring them eagerly. The first had been just for show, to flaunt his power over his prisoners; now was the time for proper feasting.

Before long his belly was full and comfortably squirming, and all that cowered before him were the village's females. He gazed coldly at them, then plucked them one at a time from between his legs and sniffed them closely. He found two that had not been mated in the Kitseve, and kept them aside. The fallen canopy made a crude but effective bag for them, which he lashed closed with some of the lutrai's own rope and hung from his waist. He would use them himself later, perhaps even find out if his own young would be tiny creatures, or giants like himself. Standing once more, Nex turned his back on the cringing females and kicked the pine tree from the entrance. "Go," he barked. "Bear your young." For me. Ignoring them now as they dragged themselves off, he stopped long enough to collect the fallen head of the first male and spear it along with the other on his necklace, then he stepped over the thicket wall and vanished into the darkness of the woods.

As dawn approached, Nex finally caught the scent of khatrai, his own kind, and followed it upwind to its source. Most of the village had bedded down for the day, and only one watcher saw the giant approach. It had time for only a startled yelp before a huge foot squashed it flat. Nex walked on, barely noticing the guard he had killed, and strode purposefully to the longhouse where he knew the clan chief would be sleeping. With a single blow of his fist, he punched through the thatched roof and groped about, finally hauling the startled and bleary-eyed chief through the hole. As the other khatrai stumbled from their huts to stare in astonishment, Nex gripped their leader in both hands and tore him in half, then with the gushing torso he carefully painted a row of stripes across his belly, and a single vertical stripe along the center of his chest. It was a sign of power, the symbol for a god, and when he was finished, he popped both halves of the slain leader into his mouth, chewed them thoroughly, and swallowed. Licking the blood from his lips, he peered down, smiling, at the shocked and upturned faces of those who would build his temple.

"I am Nex," he thundered. "Worship me!"

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