It wasn’t until the beast was fully out that Nigel looked up at it and gasped. It was nine feet tall, had three webbed claws on each hand, and a long, thin tail with flippers at each end of its tip. It’s legs were just below the surface of the lake, and although he couldn’t see them, Nigel was sure they were webbed claws. The beast had a wide grinning mouth, one devoid of lips and teeth jutting out of every space in the gums, which were as black as decay.
It had yellow eyes with black slits that blinked sideways and regularly, like the dragons Nigel saw on television. Its scales were dark and slimy. The moonlight made each detail eerily noticeable. The water sloshed as it wallowed through it. Gills opened and closed on it’s neck, and it was heading for Nigel. Nigel couldn’t believe his eyes as the beast approached him. It couldn’t be real! Lake monsters were myths, stories to tell children so they would exercise caution. He knew. He knew this thing wasn’t real.
But I am, a voice in his head said. It was a foreign voice.
It sounded like it was speaking through a lungful of liquid.
And I am hungry.
The beast before him drooled as it lumbered out of the lake towards the bank, already imagining ways it would cut the little boy open with it’s large claws. Nigel shot to his feet and bolted away from the bank as the beast set foot on the lake bank.
Come back! It screamed in his head. Damn it come back! I just want to eat you!
Nigel sprinted down the path before him, wanting to put as much distance as he could between him and the monster. The path suddenly began rising; he was climbing the hill that led to Winter’s Street. The hill was high and a bitch to climb, especially for a boy of eight. Behind him, the beast stopped at the foot of the hill and snarled. It dropped on all fours and began to climb, ascending faster than poor Nigel who was breathless and sweaty after a few feet.
Nigel glanced back and screamed,. The beast was within reach. Adrenaline pumped into his blood and he pushed himself faster. Meanwhile, the beast had a firm grasp on the hillside and was pulling itself up faster than Nigel could run.
Run little child, the beast yelled in his head, run but you cannot escape me. Hear? YOU CANNOT ESCAPE ME!
Nigel tried and tried. He could see the street before him now, and it was close. It was so close. . . It was a meter away. . . He could do it. . . He could do it. . . He could—
A claw grabbed his foot, digging into his sneakers, his skin, and his ankle. Nigel stopped abruptly. He glanced down. It was the beast. Up close it was uglier than ever. He could see scars on the beast’s face. He could see its slit nose narrowing and widening. The mouth, hooked in an endless grin, grinned all the more.
Got ya, the beast said in his head.
Nigel screamed again. He tried to keep running, to pull free, but the beast’s grip was deadly. The beast pulled down and Nigel fell hard to the ground, smashing his glasses and busting his lip. The beast tightened its grip and lept off the hill, back down to the valley were its home was. The jump was at least twenty feet. It landed on its feet, knees bent, and felt nothing but the screaming child it held. It tossed Nigel to the ground in front of it. Nigel stopped yelping as his head smacked the ground. He quieted, but he was still conscious. The pain had merely silenced stunned for a moment.
The beast grabbed Nigel by the shoulders, opened it’s mouth wide, pulled Nigel’s head into it – which was small compared to the mouth – and bit it off. Blood sprayed all over the place. After that, it began feasting on the body of Nigel Gerth.