The Creature

Sentinel

I could sense something moving about silently in the darkness – something stealthy and sly, something sneaky and snide. But then again I couldn’t be quite sure. I couldn’t be sure that I wasn’t imagining it.

 

I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t hear it, or smell it, but despite this I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that there was something out there. Some kind of a creature, moving about the place very, very carefully, very, very quietly.

 

I wondered what type of creature it might be. Would it be the timid, furtive kind or the aggressive, dangerous kind? I just couldn’t tell. I could just feel its presence close by – a brooding, wary, almost human presence.

 

This was no good at all! I had to know – I had to find out if there was anything there, or if it were perhaps just my own omnipresent paranoia haunting me. I couldn’t leave the matter hanging there in the air, unsolved, all spooky and uncertain. How could I rest, knowing – or at least suspecting – that there was some thing out there?

 

I made myself very, very still – so still that you wouldn’t know that I was there. So still that I didn’t even know I was there. I made myself very still and I listened extremely carefully. I tuned into the dark. I sent my senses out into the dark, searching, searching, searching…

 

For a long while I couldn’t find anything. Strangely, I couldn’t tell whether I was listening, or watching, smelling or feeling – all my senses seemed to be rolled into one. All I knew was that I was sensing.

 

For a long time there was nothing at all. Just the darkness, all around me. Then things started to take shape. I could tell that I was in some sort of large room – more than a room, it was like an attic or perhaps a warehouse. It was inky black, but somehow – uncannily – I could still, in some fashion, see the outlines of my surroundings. My senses were supernaturally acute.

 

I could feel the presence of the creature now. It was quite unmistakeable. It wasn’t a pleasant sort of a presence, either. As my enhanced senses tuned in I became aware that whatever it was had an unpleasantly furtive nature. It was a creature of the dark – a creature that preferred the shadows to the light. A creature that preferred to stay out of sight. A creature that needed to stay out of sight in case it was spotted and persecuted..
I didn’t like the feeling I was getting from it – as if whatever it was wasn’t just furtive but actively sinister. A creature of darkness in more ways than one. It harboured bad intent. It brooded malevolently in the shadows, lurking, slyly hiding itself, waiting for its chance to ambush some other weaker creature. To kill and eat it. Or maybe something worse, for all I knew. Simple predation seemed too clean, somehow. Too honest.

 

I kept getting glimpses of its thoughts and they were sneaky thoughts, furtive thoughts, unpleasant thoughts. Whatever this thing was, it was not wholesome, I decided. It was malignant, afflicted, twisted in some way. It was hungry but not for food. It wanted something but I didn’t know what. It was needy in some perverse way. It was an unclean thing, a perverted and pestilential thing…

 

And then I could see it! I could see the dark shape of it, I could hear its breathing, I could smell the rank odour of it – like something that ought to be dead and buried, but wasn’t. It had the shape of a mongoose or stoat, only larger – more like the size of a biggish dog. It had a long scaly tail. It had little red eyes and a pink little tongue that kept darting in and out over its sharp little teeth. But the really freaky thing was that despite all these animal attributes it was still unmistakebly a man – albeit a hideously deformed one. It was a theriomorph, it occured to me. Somehow the theriomorphic creature reminded me of something. of someone, even – though I couldn’t say what (or who, if that was the case).

 

What type of a creature was this thing, I wondered. I had never seen the like of it before. There was something deeply unnatural about it, as if it was a freak or a sport of nature. An abomination. A thing that had never been meant to exist. A thing that never should have existed.

 

I found myself experiencing intense aversion to it. I wanted to harm it. I wanted to hurt it, make it feel pain. I wanted to kill it. I was outraged by the fact that it existed, enraged by the fact that it existed…

 

I fought this impulse and tried to stay calm, struggling against my own intense aggression. Struggling with the unreasoning hatred. Not wanting to give way to it.

 

And then the awareness came. This vile filthy unspeakable creature – it was me…

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