The Morelli Bros. (Chapter II, Part VI)

From some distance away, two glowing eyes shrewdly gauged the brothers from with-in the surrounding foliage. They narrowed with hatred as they focused on the two humans, both of whom were now crushing the last of the Goombas. At that moment, the creature wanted nothing more than to chew upon their limbs, while they watched, helpless, with their dying breath. A bead of drool formed on the edge of his reptilian mouth and slowly ran down his chin.

“Yeeeesss,” he hissed in anticipation. “Sssooon.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

“I- I am sorry, Mario,” the younger of the two blurted. He covered his face with his hands, ashamed. Mario only chuckled and slapped his brother on the back. “Don’t beat yourself up Luigi. This is pretty messed up.”

Luigi slowly lowered his hands, afraid that his brother might be teasing him, but when he saw that the other was no longer facing him, he become curious. Mario slowly held up his right hand, shushing any forthcoming questions, as he stared into overgrowth before them.

The clearing had grown nearly completely silent, with the exception of the death rattles of their freshly slain enemies, and the thudding of his heart in his chest.

He gulped, swallowing a large pocket of air that only made his stomach rumble as it sought a place to quickly exit.

“Shh,” Mario whispered, while taking a step backwards.

…what is it…” he squeaked fearfully.

His brother only shook his head back and forth before turning and grabbing him by the sleeve, pulling him in the opposite direction as they now fled from the clearing. The silence was suddenly broken as a shriek of outrage chased after them. Monstrous, and full of hatred, they both felt it shake them to their very core.

Their eyes widened, and for once, no words came from either as they ran from something neither of their imaginations could fathom. They ran through the brush, each being pummeled by the thorny branches of plants, the likes of which they had never seen. They leapt over fallen trees, and when the other began to fall behind, they would grab onto them and pull them forward.

Behind them, the monster arose to his full height, towering over the two by twice their own. He thundered through the brush, obliterating it in his path. Trees crumbled beneath him, and what wildlife came between he and his prey either fled or was trampled.

They only looked behind them in brief glances, desperately trying to make sense of the horror that was nearly upon them. A monstrous dragon, with a shock of red hair upon its head, spiked shell upon its back, and murder in its eyes, a demon born from their darkest nightmares. Tendrils of smoke snaked out from its nostrils, and it reached for them with eager claws.

“Luigi! Here,” Mario screamed as he yanked his brother toward a large ravine.

“No,” Luigi screamed as the two leapt into the air. It was, as if for a moment, they had sprung from a trampoline, and there was the brief feeling of hope as the other side came with-in reach.

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