If their situation could have been worse, Ian certainly couldn't imagine how. Not that he had any time to imagine a worse situation. There seemed to be but a split second between his noticing the carnivores that surrounded him, and the proceeding, swift attack.
He had not even reacted before he felt a force strike him that he could never describe. The wind was knocked from his chest as he fell backwards, the weight of the dinosaur on top of him. He was frozen in fear as he stared up helplessly at the velociraptor, which, in turn cocked its head at him curiously. There was a coldness behind those eyes, which, coupled with the ever-permanent 'grin' the dinosaur wore, chilled Malcolm to the bone. Everything was a game to this creature, he realised, like a cat with a mouse. He really didn't have much more of a chance to continue this line of thought before the creature brought that powerful, heavy jaw to his shoulder. Ian screamed as teeth ripped through flesh. His body jerked in response to the pain – he brought his feet up at kicked rather helplessly at the raptor. His attempts were quite feeble, but he managed to get in a lucky shot. The raptor squealed a little, and jumped off. Ian moved immediately, turning onto his side, trying to drag himself away. He knew he was being toyed with. If the raptor had wanted to kill him straight away, it would certainly have done so. It would take very little effort for the thing to gut him with that claw, right now.
The rest of the prehistoric beasts watched him as he moved. He wondered what he was even doing. He didn't stand a chance. He was completely outnumbered, and even if he hadn't been, he didn't reckon he could fare well against a singular raptor let alone the group which now surrounded him.
He didn't know what had happened to Grant. Likely it wasn't good. Malcolm closed his eyes in despair, trying to push down the waves of pain and nausea. He stopped moving now, leaning on his right side – his good shoulder. He could feel the raptors closing in further around him.
Ian knew he could do one of two things - sit back and accept death, or continue to crawl feebly. They were both going to end the same way, apparently. He gritted his teeth and leaned all of his weight onto his good arm, bringing his torso up. His feet found the ground and he rose, unsteadily, only to be knocked back down again by one of the dinosaurs. He cried out as he fell, face first into the dirt. Undeterred, he tried again. Again, the raptors watched him, with morbid curiosity, before knocking him back down. They didn't attack when he hit the floor, just watched him get back up again. He repeated this process a few times. He couldn't know for sure how many – he was already beginning to feel light-headed. He inched a little further from the dinosaurs before attempting to stand again. He had managed to grasp a thin but sturdy tree branch that had been resting on the floor. The raptors continued to watch him and he got up once again. He anticipated the attack from behind – that was where he had been knocked back down from the previous times. This time, he spun quickly, catching the dinosaur off-guard with the branch. It made a strange screaming noise as it fell backwards. The others stared on, momentarily stunned. Ian knew this was the only shot he had. He ran.
It was stupid, really. He was on unsteady legs, feeling as if he were about to pass out. His arm was bad, his leg was bad, and was trying to outrun a pack of velociraptors. It wasn't his brightest idea.
Of course, they were on him in seconds. He fell forwards, and tucked his body up, falling into a roll. The raptors jumped away for a moment. Ian pulled himself up as he reached a stop. He was at the edge of a hill. It wasn't a very steep hill, but it was quite a long way down. Breathing heavily, he turned back to the approaching pack of carnivores, and it didn't take him long to reach a decision. He threw himself down the hill.
It hurt, of course. He felt every bump, every impact; his brain rattled in his skull. The nausea he had been fighting down returned ten-fold. He reached the bottom of the rise, his body a tangled mass of limbs. Already, darkness crept into his vision, but he fought it off. He couldn't pass out right now. He leaned up, the dizziness in his head now unbearable, and lent forwards, heaving. It was a dry heave, as he had very little in his system to actually throw up, but it still paralyzed his body for a moment as the muscles in his stomach painfully tightened. He could barely support his weight on his arm, and he peered up the hill. It wasn't too steep for the raptors. They could come after him easily. He couldn't see them, but that didn't mean they weren't approaching.
The river was a few feet away. Malcolm felt a minute's indecision. There was no way he could swim across it. It would never happen anyway, but especially not in his current state. He could take refuge there for a while, until the raptors left, but he also didn't know what was in there – he could be leaping out of the frying pan, into the fire, so to speak. And he didn't know for sure that raptors couldn't swim. It seemed highly unlikely, given their huge, clawed feet and tiny arms, but there was just too little anybody knew about these beasts for him to rule it out completely. Finally, and most importantly, Ian didn't honestly know if he could do it. If he lost consciousness before he got out of the water, that was it – he'd drown.
But, he thought bitterly, as he saw one approaching raptor reach the bottom of the hill, if I stay here, I'm dino-chow either way. He picked himself up and ran for it, diving inelegantly into the water.
It was a complete shock to his system. The water was very cold –during the day, the sun heated the surface considerably – during the night, as the temperature dropped significantly, so too, did the temperature of the river. It was also completely dark – although by the moonlight Ian could make things out on the surface, under the water was a completely different story. He hadn't been able to resist the urge to gasp as he hit the water, which resulted in his inhaling some. He rose to the surface and spluttered, feeling the darkness edge around his sight again. No! He couldn't pass out. Not here. He thought he could still see the raptors – although they certainly weren't going in after him. He slipped from the surface without even realising it, falling deeper underwater. He felt himself succumbing to unconsciousness, and snapped his eyes back open immediately. He thrashed out, falling deeper still until he managed to calm his panic, and kick his back legs in rhythm. He swam closer to the surface again, gasping in air as he broke through.
The raptors had gone. Malcolm summoned all his willpower not to black out as he swam towards the bank. A few minutes later, he had reached the edge, and shakily pulled himself up out of the water with his good arm. It took longer than he would have thought necessary. He coughed up water as he lay by the bank, shaking and shivering as the coldness clung to his clothes which in turn, stuck to his skin, heavy from the moisture. He barely even noticed this before he finally passed out.
It was daylight by the time he came to, and the heat had dried his clothes. He moaned heavily and he spun onto his back, holding out his good arm to block the sun from his eyes. His throat was sore, his head thumped loudly against his temples and his shoulder hurt like the devil, but otherwise he was alright. He considered himself lucky at any rate, and feared that Alan had not gotten off so lightly. After long minutes of contemplation, he eased himself upwards until he was sitting. All things considered, he wasn't in too bad a state and felt well enough to walk. But what for? He was completely lost. He did not know if the raptors were still close, and he feared the worst for Alan. That bastard Roy had taken the only means of communication off the island and truly, Ian did not know where to start looking for it again. At this point it seemed like a pointless endeavour anyway, and had he perhaps been a little clearer of mind, he might have decided to give it all up there and then and plunge himself back into the river to end it once and for all. But be it optimistic determination or just concussion, Malcolm felt the need to journey on despite it all. If he was going to die, it would be gratifying at least to take Roy with him.
He climbed back up the hill without thought. He barely felt anything and in some small manner was thankful for this, although it worried him a little to consider that he should really be in a lot more pain. Either he had gotten a lot better at dealing with it, or something was wrong with him, and he knew it could not be the former. Ian did not deal well with anything, and he kind of liked it that way.
Upon reaching the top of the hill, he found himself back that the forest-like area he had been the night previous. Refreshingly, it was dinosaur-free and Ian stepped on steadily. In the light it was like a completely different place, and it almost felt silly to have been as afraid as he had been only a few hours ago. But the time of day was irrelevant, the danger was very real at any hour, and Malcolm knew this too well. Still, he stomped through the growths with a directionless determination that might have been admirable, if it weren't so stupid. His long strides caused the leaves beneath his feet to rustle and the twigs to snap and he found he did not care. He had faced death too many times as of late and he thought he might even be getting used to it. A hollow smile played across his lips – indeed what did it matter if he were to be eaten right now? Survival, that innate instinct which had kept him going thus far seemed to have abandoned him now and all he wanted to do was to find Roy and hurt him, never mind about the phone. For being so damned unlikable. For getting him into this mess in the first place. And for Grant.
Ian's forceful strides halted suddenly when, inexplicably, he found himself to be on the ground, face first amongst the leaves. This was most curious as Ian had not processed the fall. Something had hold of his ankle – he tried to shake it off irritably, feeling smugly satisfied when he felt his foot connect with something.
"Ow!" This something groaned. Ian frowned.
"Ow?" he questioned.
"Yes, 'ow'!" The something retorted angrily through clenched teeth.
Ian was almost furious. "Give me my foot back," he snapped. The hold was released, and he picked himself up. "You." He accused, standing over the body lying almost motionless on the ground. He clenched his fists. "You're supposed to be dead."
"Sorry to disappoint you," Grant said without looking at Malcolm. He had his arm over his eyes and made no attempt to stand. "I'm not having the time of my life, if it makes you feel any better."
"It doesn't," Ian sulked. "I thought you'd been eaten or ripped apart or something equally horrific when I lost you at those raptors."
"Yeah, I thought the same for you. It was you they jumped, remember?"
"Like I would forget. What happened to you?"
"Well apparently they weren't very interested in me, you seemed to have them occupied. I crawled away – I don't know for how long or how far I got. I don't remember anything really, I just woke up here."
"And you're just laying here because…?"
"I can't get up." Alan still had not moved, or taken his arm from over his eyes.
Ian sighed. "You know next time I might just pass them on to you," he said as he bent to help Grant up. "I wouldn't want to appear greedy."
"I think I liked it better when you were dead," Alan muttered.
Ian smiled a genuine smile. "Thank you." Then he let go of his friend, and Alan fell back to the ground with a thump. "Sorry," Malcolm murmured unconvincingly.
"No you're not," Grant accused. He finally lifted his arm and glared at Ian with bleary, bloodshot eyes.
"Yeah, you're right," Ian admitted with a grin. He held out a hand to help Grant up again, and this time he did not let go. Alan stood unsteadily, swaying on the spot for a moment before he held onto a tree for support. He was pale and uncharacteristically shaky, breathing heavily as he rested against the thick trunk, his head down.
"Are you okay?" Ian asked after a moment's thought. It seemed a rather silly question to ask, if he were honest, but he wasn't sure what else to say.
Alan looked up and nodded feebly. "Well, I've been better," he admitted. "How about you?"
"I'm good." Ian said, to which Grant cast a sceptical eye.
"You have a chunk of shoulder missing," he pointed out dispassionately.
Ian looked down at himself. He had almost forgotten, it was but a slight buzzing of dulled pain across his chest. In truth, it was not too bad a wound at all – he had not lost much blood and as long as it did not get infected, it could be treated easily enough and would heal eventually. "It's fine," he said. "I feel okay." And he wasn't lying.
"Ian, please. This overt display of masculinity really doesn't suit you."
Malcolm frowned at him. "I mean it, really. I've just reached this point where this doesn't matter anymore. Think about it, Alan. We've been almost-dead so many times in only so many hours, you see? Yet we're still here – both of us! At this point, Dr. Grant, I feel almost indestructible." He paused. "And what do you mean masculinity doesn't suit me?"