Thursday, September 1, 2016
The Creature from the Blechh Lagoon
“I’m telling you,” Kim said, “there’s somebody living in the swamp.”
Ever skeptical—and already regretting her decision to follow Kim around some yucky-smelling marsh at night, when she could be warm and dry and tonsil-boxing with Jonas Tarnover and his Olympic gold medal lips in the back booth at the Grease ‘n’ Grill—Lissy said, “How do you know?”
“Because my sister was up here just two days ago and they saw some guy wading around in the water.” Kim dropped her voice to a dramatic whisper. “She said he was naked.”
“Who was she there with?”
“Rhonette? Colt Gannon—no, wait, he was last week. I think she’s seeing Udo Gernsbach now.”
“Udo?” Lissy made a face that had only a little to do with the stink of the stagnant marsh water. “What a douche. I don’t care if he’s on the football team or not. He’s only, what, a running back? Unless he’s a tackle or the quarterback, it doesn’t count.”
Kim shrugged. “He has other good qualities.”
“He knows this guy who makes fake IDs. He got Rhonni and me into Haven.”
“The BDSM club?” All of a sudden the stench of the marsh water faded into the background. “Did you see anything?”
“Well … wait, you hear something?”
“No.” Lissy grabbed her arm. “Now tell me about the club.”
Kim glanced around but saw nothing. “Well, we really didn’t get off the dance floor. We got drinks, though.” She giggled. “Really fruity stuff. Not like beer or that crap Andy got us that time. Expensive, though. Then we got this appetizer platter—”
Behind them, something rose out of the swamp water. Something only vaguely human in shape.
“You were never in Haven,” Lissy said.
“Well …” Kim leaned in close. So did the thing in the water. It and Lissy listened with bated breath. Maybe "baited" in the creature's case. “When Rhonni and I went to the ladies’ room, we kind of made a detour into the back. Where they do the kinky stuff, y’know? We had to be careful, ‘cause the bouncer is this Russian guy and he’s huuuuuge. If he ever cracked a smile I think his face would break. Anyway, we could hear these sounds—”
Clearly neither girl heard the soft sounds of the creature wading toward them through the water. It stepped from the swamp onto more solid ground with hardly even a squish.
“—like people getting whipped. Somebody watching the door said we couldn’t go in because they were giving a class on flogging and nobody can interrupt once it starts. But then the door opened and I could see inside and there was this girl tied up and some guy in a mask was—”
She paused for breath, or to gather her thoughts. Lissy pressed in closer. “Was what?”
“Yeah. Was what?”
Both girls jumped and screamed. They’d completely forgotten the reason for their being out here in the first place.
The “reason” loomed before them. He had finished his shift and returned to a fully-human appearance. He smiled down at them with flat, white teeth.
The girls sized him up. They were schoolgirls, deadly cute, and knew how to handle themselves so men, even naked shifter men sporting the reek of swamp water and a thin patina of algae, posed no real threat to them. This one was just old enough—college age, Lissy figured—and different enough to be interesting. Kind of on the cute side himself. Besides, they could always switch to their animal forms if he tried anything.
They flicked a quick glance at each other. Message received: We got this.
Oblivious to the fact he’d just become prey, the “swamp monster” spoke again, in a voice as deep as the South. “Ladies,” he said.
The girls smiled. Silly putz had no idea what he was in for.