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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

Blogtober 2023, Day 23: Breathless

They say I looked back out of curiosity

But I could have had other reasons

Wislawa Szymborska, Lot’s Wife

The creature stood in front of the trio, leaving them breathless. The man in the cardigan remained still and careful and aimed his light right on the thing. Its scaly, pond scum green skin glistened in the glow. Menacing yellow eyes stared back at him and the beast bared its sharp teeth. Behind the man, Spencer whimpered and struggled to ask a single question.

“What the hell is that?”

“That, my boy,” the man replied, “is a Herpezoid.”

“A what-a-what?”

“It’s a monster,” Glen added. “Exactly like the janitor. Exactly like the one in the window that night.”

“The monster has a name,” the man said. “Herpezoid.”

“How do you know that?” Spencer asked and dropped his taser from his trembling hand. It clacked on the tile floor.

“It’s my job to know that,” the man said. “Now be a sport and pick up that wand. You’ll need it.”

“Screw that.” Spencer stumbled backward before disappearing down the stairs.

“Well, that was hardly a surprising development.” The man locked the sights of his strange weapon on the creature as it turned to face him head on. It released yet another of those awful hisses before charging. The man didn’t flinch while squeezing the trigger on his gun. A powder blue ball of energy about the size of a golf ball flew from the barrel and hit the Herpezoid in the chest.

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