Another Terribleminds challenge! I took this photo and used it to inspire a story.
Peter squinted into the fog. He clutched his dad’s pocket knife in one hand, and a butterfly net in the other. A pair of binoculars hung around his neck. He knew the monster was real; he’d seen it slinking through the still morning waters. Nobody believed him, yet.
His boots slipped along the algae-covered, cement pier. Wisping trails of fog clung like tiny hands begging him to go home. Maybe the fog didn’t believe him either.
There were no birds or crickets out this morning. No boats or people passing. The whole world was holding its breath. Peter silently walked to the edge of the pier, and scanned the lake for the beast.
The view through the binoculars was nothing but dull, gray fog over dull, green water. Peter stood there for as long as his legs allowed. Where was it? The fog thinned only a little as the sun rose. It danced on the glassy surface of the lake.
Peter sat down, and took off his boots and socks. He dipped a cautious toe in the water. He had seen it, hadn’t he? Eely dark with a menacing growl? Tiny ripples surrounded his foot. Maybe it had been a dream, like his parents insisted. They would be missing him soon; they would find his bed empty when he didn’t come down for breakfast. He couldn’t go back empty handed after that.
He kicked the water in frustration. The little waves lapped at the pier. His sister would call him a liar. He would never hear the end of it. He dried off and started putting his socks back on, pausing to wipe a tear from his discouraged eye.
Small waves smacked against the pier. Peter looked up from his socks. It wasn’t him this time. He lifted the binoculars to see a black shape bobbing in the water. Every time, it surfaced closer to the pier. A low growl rumbled up through the fog.
Peter reached for the knife just as the monster erupted from the lake. It towered over him, with matted fur and scales so black they ate up the morning light. It smiled down at him with dingy dagger teeth and hissed.
Peter dropped the knife. The monster could speak? Maybe he could get it to follow him back. Then everyone would believe because they saw it too! He touched a hand to his cheek. He held out the tiny droplet. A raspy gray tongue stretched out to grab the tear. The beast closed its pale yellow eyes. When it opened them again, they were blue like Peter’s.
“I.. That was all. I was only a little sad.”
The monster shook from side to side, growing taller. It screamed into the air. Peter staggered back. The creature slammed its bony fists into the pier, cracking the cement. It snapped, and growled, and roared in Peter’s face.
Peter scrambled away. His half-socked feet slid on the slimy algae. He fell hard on the cement. His eyes welled up as he desperately tried to escape.
The monster caught him with one clawed hand. It held him upside down near its gruesome face. Tears streamed down his forehead. He tried to call for help, but there was nobody there to hear him. He wished he were wrong. He wished he’d never seen the thing in the lake. As he sobbed, that dry, gray tongue took every last tear.
The more Peter cried, the more the monster took. And with each tear, it looked more and more like him. When the monster’s long and bony arm turned pink and fleshy, Peter wriggled free. The monster pounced, tackling him to the ground. He rolled and punched as the monster licked away his tears.
As his tears dried up, Peter felt drained. It was his exact copy now. All but its teeth. Those long fangs grinned greedily at him. The more he struggled, the wider it smiled. Within minutes, he could barely move. The monster stood up. Peter lay helplessly on the pier, watching as the beast picked up his knife, net, and binoculars. The beast grinned one last time at him, before walking away down the long road to Peter’s home.