Something that goes Bump in the Night

Something moved briefly through the rain, emerging out from being the cover of a large tree trunk before skittering across the muddy ground on all fours to a new hiding spot. It appeared as little more than a shadow as it made its way, in short bursts, towards the bank of the river. Each of its arms ended in a long fingered hand, the tips of which were hooked like claws. Its knees bent the wrong way and every few steps it would leap into the air and flutter onwards. The whole of its body was black, broken only by the glowing yellow orbs of its eyes.

As the thing neared the river bank the rain began to die down and light from the moon reached down through a gap in the clouds. The water ran fast, swollen by steady rainfall, but the shadow creature didn’t seem to mind, stepping up to its ankles in the frigid waters. It stood there, staring across the water towards the cluster of lights on the far shore, completely still. Neither rain nor the current tugging around its feet seemed to bother the creature. The thing stood still in the water, snuffling at the air with a snout that continued to stretch out, longer and longer. Eventually the beast seemed to find the scent it was looking for. It tilted its head back and screamed, a long cry that warbled at the very high end of human perception. It leapt back into the trees and scrambled up an old oak, climbing deftly around a knot, then scrambling along a branch. Clawed fingers, now shorter and jointed in more places than they should have been, were able to find and pick at every handhold in the tree’s bark, sending little chips flying as the thing neared the top branches. It reached the very top of the tree in mere moments, considerably smaller than when it started up the trunk.

The top of the tree swayed against the clouded sky. The creature turned its head back towards the lights on the far side of the river. It opened its mouth and screamed again. Rows of teeth filled its jaw, like those of a shark. As the creature’s scream faded into the night, it launched itself from the top off the tree, clawed arms outstretched, and plummeted towards the earth below. Its body shifted, its arms grew longer and its skin seemed to stretch out until its arms had completely reformed into wings. The thing flapped once, twice to arrest its fall before stretching its wings wide and gliding towards the far shore. The entire time, its yellow eyes never left the lights across the water.

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