The hyenas snarled with ravenous desire, only for the man to bare his teeth at them and rise ready to fight the seemingly endless battle of survival.
The light above the man distorted as a shape swung down from the ceiling pipes crushing a hyena in a howl of pain. It was the woman.
The other hyena pounced on her, only to be skewered by her shank. She pushed its dead body off, the death throes lasting a while, then scrambled to her man’s aide.
The woman supported her man and guided them up through the rig as the fire engulfed the flora and fauna below.
They witnessed the organic light pods swelling, their liquid contents boiling and blooming in the heat, only to burst with lethal acidic results. A cassowary had all but made it to the surface when an exploding green pod splashed it, eating into its meat and causing a horrendous demise. Such wounds retained a green radiance.
A multi-species stampede caused as much death and destruction as the fire and smoke.
The man revealed he had not reached the ocean floor and could not say if there even was one, invisible or otherwise. The water pressure and rising so fast had broken something inside.
By the time the humans reached the top deck the fire had ravaged deck one and two and the highest sub-deck, burning the wood away to expose the twisted metal frame. Black smoke swirled through containment and billowed into the sky to the sound of haunting screams from the hollows.
Dozens still scrambled out of embrasures to escape the nightmare while most were blackened by the smoke.
The top deck was strewn with animals foregoing each other to reach apparent safety. Some were on fire, choking, exhausted and dying, while others jumped into the water, exposing them to other dangers and injuries.
Time was burning fast, so the woman helped her man up to their nest which, despite finding it ransacked, felt like the safest place to be. Even the nest roof was a gathering of creatures including spiders, scorpions, snakes, beetles and the puffins.
As the woman scanned the smoky top deck she spotted the facially scarred female gorilla barging through the crowd carrying the female chimpanzee. The chimp’s left arm was a melted stump laced with vibrant yellow streaks, which suggested a glow pod was to blame. Despite the grave injury the chimp wielded a fire torch in its good hand.
The woman hoped that the mayhem would deter the apes from scaling the tower.
As half of deck three succumbed to the fire, the robust wooden panels became ash and the iron framework was on the verge of melting into the ocean.
The man coughed up more blood and grasped the woman in distress, wanting to protect her and survive together. Afraid to leave her, he insisted that the only escape was into the sky with the smoke and birds, beyond the clouds.
Even over the hysteria and destruction, the wrath of the apes was unmistakeable, as they scaled the tower determinedly.
After all that had passed, could humans and apes co-habit the nest with all the other creatures for the sake of mutual preservation?
Although he could barely stand, she pressed a shank into his hand and readied one herself.
The chimpanzee scrambled into the nest and lunged at the women with the burning torch set for her face. Dazzled by fire, the woman wildly slashed the chimp’s neck, spraying the man with blood.
The chimp and woman crashed into the corner together. Despite the gushing neck wound the chimp fiercely kicked the woman who dazedly defended.
The man hurled his blade at the chimp, distracting it enough for the woman to wrap her legs around the chimp’s arm and neck and squeeze. The chimp shrieked and thrashed until its neck snapped.
The tower appeared to shift and the stairs creaked as the man, facing the door, saw the burnt female gorilla arrive. Pained and distraught at its dead friend, it reared up and roared mightily, exposing its bone breaking teeth.
Mustering all his strength, the man charged and tackled the gorilla back off the stairs, which collapsed and dropped them off the tower.
The woman crawled to the broken stairs and looked down at madness, but her distorted sight made it physically painful to look. The gorilla was mangled on the deck as fire and smoke licked up through the disintegrating wooden surfaces to parts of the top deck.
There was no sound of her man and the damaged vision gave no secret to his whereabouts. Gone.
She screamed into the corrupted world, only for rising smoke to make her splutter and collapse on the edge. The physical and emotional trauma had sapped the last of her will.