It was a typical day in Ardglass. I had finished my chores and mom said I could go to the market with Jeffery to pick-up some treats for being so good these past few days. It was a chance to “prove” ourselves, and boy did we need it. Jeffery always has these wild ideas that seem fun at first, but wind up getting us in trouble. Mom had really scolded me last time Jeffery’s prank on Ginny had brought her to tears. “If you two don’t shape up, I’m going to send you to work the stables for a month!”
As we neared the tall building by the markets, we saw more of those weird monkey things flying around. Last week, Jeffery said he wanted to try to trap one because they look like they’re completely covered in some metal armor. He figured a pile of bananas would be enough to trick one, but luckily the market hasn’t had any of those for the past few weeks.
“Hey, look! Over there!” Jeffery exclaimed.
“Across the street from the monkey building. Is that a giant slug?!”
“Holy flying monkey?!” Jeffery couldn’t help laughing as our new curse word slipped from my mouth.
“We should go check it out!”
“I don’t know ‘Frey, our moms told us to stay out of trouble. Mine told me she was going to send me to the stables for a month if I messed up again.”
“I just want to see it. I’ve never seen a slug that big?! Maybe it can actually talk.”
“I don’t know…” I said, following Jeffery as he started to walk on over there. As we got closer, the slug thing grew still, its skin darkening in color.
“Check it out! I thought I saw its guts earlier, but now the skin is brownish like the wood there.”
“I don’t know ‘Frey, maybe its scared. I don’t think I want to be around that thing.”
Jeffery grabbed me around the shoulders, pulling me forward. “I just want to touch it… It IS like a slug. Hi Mister Slug. Can you talk?”
“I don’t think you should keep poking it like that…”
“Mr. Slug? Mrs. Slug? Hellooooo? Come on ‘Lex, touch it. It isn’t slimy like a real slug.”
“Well, I guess…” I slowly reached out my hand.
“Come on sluggy, say something, do something!!”
Jeffry was really laying it on, as I touched its cool, soft skin.
Fear flooded me, I was frozen. I couldn’t look away from those dead black eyes. A thin line… a mouth… appeared and started to open, but not wide. Long, like it was going to howl. A howl of fear or a howl of attack, I couldn’t tell. The mouth grew and grew, long and slender, dropping toward the ground. It was so big now that it could bite off my head, and then it was large enough to swallow me whole. I stared in horror, thinking I had seen the worst, until I realized what was inside the thing. I saw the guts churning… and even that wasn’t the worst. Suddenly, I was inside! I could see myself churning around with the stomach and stuff!! A deep moan brought tears to my eyes. I was trapped, watching myself in that horrid, slug-bodied prison.
Suddenly, there was screaming… it was ‘Frey, it was me… it was both of us. I was not in the creature’s gaping mouth, after all. I could move again! We ran and ran. All the way home, the vision of floating inside that thing haunted my every step.