A Haunted Memory

     It was dark inside the old building. The ghouls were taking their toll on the populace. Screams could be heard all through the three floors of the old mansion. Ghouls, ghosts, vampires, psychotic murders, and deranged scientists with headless women had been let loose inside this dreary, dark, ominous place.

     In the wet stalactite-laden caverns it lived. From deep down beneath the dark catacombs, out of the depths of the swamps below, raising up on its two legs was a creature, half man, and half amphibian. Its gills are green and luminous, gurgling with each breath it takes. This creature's skin glistening like and eel. The hands are webbed between its fingers, tipped with razor sharp claws. Seaweed is seen hanging from its slimy arms. This was a creature only heard about, a creature that one only speaks of in fireside stories. Its slimy body covered with the stagnant slime of a swamp. The creature appears angry and its visage dreadful. The stench of dead sea life surrounds the foul beast. The odor repulses those too close to spare their n nostrils the torture. Those unfortunate enough to catch the smell begin to gag uncontrollably instantly.

      Two very brave human guards, their faces hidden by breathing masks, have managed to chain the creature at the waist and keep it taut between them for safety. The monster tugs and pulls violently at its restraints. The captivity only increases its anger. But its captors are strong and vigilant. They know the danger of its escape as they struggle to keep the malignant creature contained.

      As the two brave guards yank, pull, hold, and retract their steel leash, the abhorrent mismatch of beings fights in vain to gain its freedom. The everyday public is waiting outside for their chance to see such a malevolent freak of nature. They are not aware of the possible danger from such a devil, abhorrent creature. If it were to get loose, the carnage would be devastating, the bloodshed unfathomable. What would be the limits of its blood lust? What would happen if it ripped away at people with the razor like claws on its hands? The hope is that they will never find out.

      How long would this creature be able to remain outside of its environment? No one really knows. This will be a scientific experiment as the guards proceed toward the heavy steel reinforced door. As a fish out of water struggles to breathe, so too this foul beast of the waters struggles to gain its freedom. The monster inches forward as the guards fight to prevent its escape, all the while concerned about maintaining their own safe distance.

      As the captive monster and its keepers exit the building, the people outside scream in terror, recoiling back in fear. Faces of shock and horror are seen as the three forms pass by. Some offer up the smallest among them, as if in a pre-civilization sacrifice to a deity. The monster lunges forward, reaching out wildly, slashing and flailing its arms about. Crazed, it is trying madly to grab at people as it led past with great difficulty by the guards. At one point, a guard loses his balance, and the creature nearly gets his revenge on what would be a hapless victim. The unwitting human stumbles back in fright, tripping over his own feet as he barely escapes the clutches of the ~Creature~.

      Moving down the long concrete walkway, spectators’ gape, and gasp as they see such a creature for the first time. What was once an unknown is seen in the open. All their nightmares proven true. They are witnessing evidence of what was once believed a phobia or a bad dream. Police form a line as the crowd of onlookers is kept back. The highly trained officers have their weapons at the ready. Ready for what they hopefully will never come to know. No one is even sure that their weapons will have any effect on the monster.

      Cameras, some held above heads as those brave enough dare to keep a remembrance of this experience, something to show their children and grandchildren. Who would believe their bedtime stories without such proof? The mere thought of the existence of such a being causes skeptics to laugh aloud. At least it is in the daylight. If so many cameras had flashes going off in the darkness, the monster would be completely uncontrollable.

      Never before has such a creature been brought out amongst the public where it could cause so much death and destruction. The pain on what should or would be its face is obvious. Its skin is drying like that of a fish out of water, causing the wretched beast to wince in pain. This makes it even more dangerous than anyone could believe. The chains are taut as it struggles to be free. The guards proceed up a set of concrete stairs. The crowd yells and jeers at the ugly slime covered visitor from their worst nightmares.

     

      Spotting a body of water with streams cascading down a hill to a pool at the bottom, the creature longs to slip below the surface. It longs for the blue, clean, cool wetness on its skin. Breaking loose, it hurls itself into one of the streams, its slime covered skin letting it slide away and down the stream at an amazing speed. Before any of the guards can react, it is free of its bonds and gone in an instant. The crowd flees in terror, running in all directions for safety. Their fear that it will rise again out of the water and come after them is not without merit. It has not eaten in days; the constant longing for raw flesh has gone insatiate.

      As it glides under the surface of the water, it moves quickly towards those still near the shore. Panic now sets in as its thirst for human flesh and blood reaches an almost frenzied level. The creature begins reaching and clutching at the legs and ankles of those still brave enough to remain by the shoreline. The remaining crowd, realizing the danger of their location, also begin to run in terror.

      Arching backwards like a seal, the creature dives beneath the rippling surface of the pool and is out of sight. The guards wonder how they will ever retrieve the beast. Dozens will be required for such a dangerous task. All involved trying to avoid being sacrificed to its hunger as they attempt to subdue it again. Then comes the prolonged battle of returning it to its lair beneath the old mansion on the shore. What would be the death toll to accomplish it all?

      Feeding voraciously on the life that once inhabited the pool, its hunger only delayed, it becomes dormant for a moment. Suddenly, guards rush in from all directions. Dicing into the pool they quickly reattach the chains and drag it out of the pond, thus awakening the beast. Reawakening its anger. Again, it begins to pull and lurch at its restraints, fighting and struggling ferociously at the human captors. They now know it was foolhardy to bring such a thing out of its dark stagnant home. Unable to be subdued or broken like a horse, it must be returned to its habitat. Will this creature from the depths be forgiving of the humans, forgetting what these dry land bipeds have subjected it to. For one day, out of its anger and hunger, it may on its own rise up from its dark, wet, slimy stagnant lair and take its revenge on the human population it has now come to detest.

      (An actor from the Haunted Mansion of Long Branch, dressed as the "Creature of the Black Lagoon", went down the water slide today as a publicity stunt to help raise money for the American Red Cross. The "Creature" was accompanied by two security guards for its protection from the thousands of people attending the resort area on the New Jersey Shore. The “Creature” was played by Donald B. Evans)