Through the slits of the fence, he could see the thing shambling out of the darkness, illuminated by the streetlamps’ pools of sickly light. It stumbled about on digitigrade paws, leaving definite footprints in the softer asphalt it trod across in an acrid cloud of vapors. There were no arms, at least none that he could see, only a long beck with a ruff of bristly black hair that stood out against the velvety brown hue that made up the rest of the creature.

But it was the end of its neck that truly made his stomach turn, even from his hidden vantage point. No face, no eyes, nothing recognizable as an analog of any terrestrial life. Just a gaping black hole, brimming with milky fluid and undulating with a cruel parody of respiration. Every few steps, a tendril of whatever roiled within that lipless maw would trickle down in mucous strands, with the same effect that the being’s path had on soft and exposed asphalt: any surface, even hardened concrete or the cast iron bases of streetlamps, began to liquify and slough away wherever the horror’s noisome secretions touched it.

Each streetlamp would subtly change its hue as the thing passed beneath it, loudly snuffling and pacing as if looking for something. The spectrum would dim, grow strange, almost like a blacklight, before gradually returning to normal once the creature had passed.

He looked up. The streetlamp closest to him, the one that showed his shadow clearly to anything with eyes that might seek it, was beginning to grow ever more pallid and uncanny with each passing moment.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!