Permian by ~Rolandi
Heat pushed on the desert, pressed it under heavy hands like a baker kneading dough. Its children—reptiles and reptile-like things—basked and galloped, crawled over hot white stones that clattered underfoot. Their leathery hides allowed water to only escape as waste, tears, and breath.
The predator huffed after the ungainly herbivores. It made no sounds, but held its mouth wide, gaping, waiting to clamp down on the closest prey. Scrambling in the chalky dust, one dicynodont broke the flocking pattern and ensured itself as a target. The predator lunged, the saber-teeth slashed, the herbivore fell. With the seal of skin broken, the dicynodont’s blood flowed from the wound and puddled on the parched ground. It seeped into the cracked earth—fluids cheated of the chance to be breathed gracefully as vapors or prosaically eliminated as urine—forming a patch of bloody clay to be licked up by the heat and left as a dry stain under bones.