- Available in: Ebook, print
- Published: October 2, 2015
Excerpt from Volume III
“Can you see that?” the first boy whispered.
“Duh, I got the phone pointed right at it. How dumb you think I am?”
“Shut up!” the second boy hissed.
The camera jerked, but the image was unmistakable: a mound of dirt pushing and surging upwards, and beneath it hints of periwinkle stretching up and out. It was easily two feet across. To the left, thirty feet from the giant mole mound, a slim man in hunter’s orange crept forwards and set his twelve gauge wedged into his shoulder.
“Dad—” the first boy said, and the other shushed him. It wasn’t possible to see either of them, but the fear was clear in their voices.
The man turned toward them and held up a finger to his lips, like ‘Shh, I’m hunting wabbits.’ Then he nodded toward the thing emerging.
“Oh, oh my lord!”
“Would you use two of your brain cells and shut your mouth?”
More dirt pushed up and out, followed by a salad-bowl sized head, the color of old rocks. You couldn’t be sure it was a head at first, until the first couple of claws twitched and wriggled at the edge of the hole the thing was making, and then when the first eye could be seen.
It was the shape of a jelly bean, almost football-sized, and reddish orange. It shone like a film of glass overtop some kind of spiky carpeting beneath. They moved, and then the whole thing emerged. It was covered in a thin film of blue slime, some of which stretched bubblegum strings down to whatever was down in the ground.
“I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Have you ever seen anything like that? How big is that?”
It was easily eight feet tall, and now that it had turned toward them you could make out the wriggling froth where its mouth ought to have been.
“What is that smell? Oh… oh, what is that?”
“You never smelled dead fish before? You still need to shut up. Now shut up.”
“Joey, shut your stupid mouth!”
“Shoot that thing, Daddy!”
Ahead of them, the thin hunter pulled the shotgun up towards the monster, which looked to be some kind of armored person with double length arms and only four fingers instead of five. Only these weren’t fingers, they were definitely claws, which were flexing and clicking against one another.
“Keep it down, hear me?” their father said. “Hey! This here’s private property, understand? I got legal rights ta shoot you. I don’t wanna have to to nothin like that, so you march your kiester—”
It grumbled, sort of like a lion sitting down in the savannah and just bored with life. A low, rumbling sort of purr, a pair of big rocks mating.
“Shoot that thing, Dad, kill it!”
The forest, at this point, was silent. There were no birds, no assorted annoying bugs that normally filled these woods with life, duh, because it was winter. Chittering squirrels were absent. Crashing mammals, also missing. Instead you could hear some squishing from the thing getting out of its gooey underground egg.
“You hear that?” the second boy asked.
“There’s nothin.” The camera began shaking more.
“Ya gots to get off my property. I’ll give you to the count of ten and I’ll—”
The roar which split the silence then was too much for the camera phone to deal with. The phone fell to the ground, where it lay face up and staring into a bright, slightly gray winter sky.
Joey, the first kid, was screaming and crying, and the second kid was off screen, silent. After a moment the camera was lifted up and pointed back at the armored man monster thing, and their father.
“Shoot it, Daddy, shoot it!” Joey sobbed.
“Dad?” the second boy asked.
There was some kind of sound coming from the mouth of the thing, which was filled with wriggly little tentacles. It was the kind of sound you could only hear in science fiction movies, a burbling, oily sound that was maybe some kind of language, the jellified version of Wookiee.
Their father looked back at them, his gun lowered. His face was a blank. Nothing showed there. And then his eyes flashed bright purple.