Chapter 6: The Rise of Reptiles

As time passed there was another break in the evolutionary cycle that would cause changes in the sheltered area. Small fringes of the population of the primitive amphibians would adapt to living in drier conditions and gradually become more reptilian in appearance. Their skin would thicken and develop scales to help reduce water loss through their skin. Over time, they would become entirely terrestrial with well-developed muscular hind legs.

More creatures began to make their way out of the water. Some were much bigger in size now with physical features like hard shells and tough skin that enabled them to survive solely on land now. There were a few others who developed abilities to survive both on land and in water. The air was tense with a considerable amount of  chaotic behavior in the sheltered area. It felt like the waters were rioting and spewing out most of its life forms. It could no longer hold them anymore.

The predator that arose that had tough, leathery skin with bony armor plating. An intense yellow in color as the result of a genetic mutation gave the dinosaur its unique pattern resembled that of a banana and was known as the Bananasauros. Unique to its kind, it had a prehensile tail  that it could use to help grab and subdue its prey, or temporarily stun it with a sharp blow before moving in to finish it off.   Aside from its well developed muscular hind legs to run down prey, it developed strong forearms with sharp claws that it could sink deep into whatever it caught piercing skin, muscle, blood vessels, and depending on what it caught, vital organs. As part of its adaptation to a cooler climate, the tough leathery skin had a layer of fat underneath as an adaptation to the cooler climate. Its distribution was uncertain but from the marshland of the former Tropical Garden, remains of the Bananasauros were found in scattered caves in the form of fossilized eggs. These changes were also taking place simultaneously with other changes.

Deep inside the woods, depressions in the ground started developing. Some of the inhabitants were dying out in their numbers as their fetid carcasses perfumed the air and bones littered the floor. Some of these depressions became stink ditches of putrefaction with a layer of sulfurous gas floating on top of the fetid pools.

It was in some of these stink ditches that a predator known as a Hellion arose. Hellions were dry, hideous maggot-like creatures with multiple eyes crawled out from beneath the rotting flesh with a retractable proboscis and razor sharp jaws that were well suited for tearing apart the rotten meat off the carcasses or catching prey for that matter. They had powerful spiked feet that they could drive deep into whatever they caught in order to disable it and then tear it apart and drain the body of its juices.

The rise of the Hellions (both flying and non-flying) gave added meaning to “Age of Reptiles”.  Their nests and freshly laid eggs showed similarities to those of the older established migrants that were already living in this area.  They numbered over a hundred with a tough leathery skin (an adaptation in this new environment) in addition to their thicker shells and their colors varied from light blue to blue-green and covered with black and grey dots. But what hatched out of these eggs was like nothing else up to now. The eggs hatched after an incubation period of about 4 weeks.

Newly Helloions were small creatures though relatively larger and taller than any predecessor.  They had long bodies, two well-built muscular hind legs greatly designed and improved from their ancestors for running and two small fore-limbs with sharp hook fingers, thick enough to tear through any hard surface. They head were much longer with thick hard jaw capable of shattering any bone it closes on. The tip of their tail was hard and retained the ability to grow whenever the animal wishes.

From the time they hatched out of their shell, they were all business.  They would be ready to pounce on whatever they felt they could tackle and proceed to tear them to pieces feasting on their flesh. Nothing was spared that either walked or crawled that crossed their sight. They didn’t just kill strictly for food but sometimes for the fun of it as well. They also had a taste for unhatched eggs in other nests as well and would sometimes go on expeditions to raid other nests. 

However there were other eggs hatching which yielded something more sinister.  It took a few minutes but a large fingered wing burst open one of the shells as a large blue creature gradually made its way out stumbling over the broken shell. It struggled to stand on its hind legs supported by the fingers on the mid-region joint of the feathers which were actually modified scales. As it came into contact with the outside environment, it struggled and gasped for air while visible spots began appearing all over its body. As it continued struggling with breathing, the spots on its body began to glow yellow. The creature struggled to move but fell repeatedly then it suddenly threw up a slimy green-yellow liquid mixture. As it rested to regain its strength, it spread out its large wings of soft rubbery flesh that was somewhat similiar to the rubbery texture of a balloon. 

It raised its long beak in the air and bellowed a loud deafening sound before attempting first flight. It lasted barely a few seconds before hitting the hard floor. It was certainly never going to give up. Not this moment. It waved its beak, all its body parts moved with the motion. It looked up into the bright skies as if though it was trying to remind itself of the need to kiss the skies. It took flight again, this time lasted much longer before landing – not so hard like the first, it was basically a controlled landing. It repeated this sequence a couple of times before taking the final leap that steadied it in the skies. It kept on bellowing seemingly sounds of victory as it flew in midair. It was more like gliding through the air than flying. Hunting within the canopy of the trees was too risky for the flying Hellions but the non-flyers were better suited for tree climbing as well as being able to ambush prey in the thick vegetation. The evolution of these creatures was a game changer and made survival a very grim affair. From below, some of the other creatures looked up with alarm as the wingspan cast a moving shadow. Nothing like this had ever been seen before.

A week flew by, the flying creatures were seen perching at the top of tall trees and the surrounding hills. The whole area was now growing into a thick forest with lots of trees and plant species springing out from place to place. A long strip of land ran across the forest characterized by dwarf trees, thick-bladed grasses, and brown leaved herbs.