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Come See the Monstrosity!

Octo-squid villain captured, now on display!

By Ellen StedfeldPublished 7 months ago 4 min read
Tremble at its terrifying tentacles!

There was a new attraction at the city's Aquarium, and the crowds were lining up for it. "Superhero Volt captures a Squid Villain terrorizing town! See the monstrosity here!" the sign declared. Even before entering, visitors shared their excitement with one other. Some remembered seeing this story on the daily news, or hearing about it from first-hand, second-hand or third-hand witnesses.

"Neighbor's dog was barking, so they looked out the window, and would you believe it -- there was a sea monster outside! Right on the sidewalk!"

"My car still has the imprint of its round suckers, big as frisbees!"

As they shuffled in, the exhibit was accompanied by full-length photos of the dramatic encounter, where a giant squid-like creature had emerged from the harbor, been savagely crushing its way down a city street with civilians fleeing its path, until a young up-and-coming hero bravely stepped in to battle it. There was even video footage of the event, where the scrappy youth strategically punched it with electric blasts, while its slimy tentacles tried to snatch him, until it fell unconscious to the pavement and was finally contained by Creature Control. The aquarium visitors cheered at that moment, but one flinched and gritted his teeth.

Then there was the villainous monster itself. It swam the tank behind a wall of glass. As the spectators oohed and ahhed, it wiggled its tentacles menacingly, stared back at them with eerie calm, then startled them with sudden threatening movements. They pointed, chattered, and laughed in fright and delight, knowing the vile creature was safely secured away. The masses came and went, but one stayed. He watched, and when the crowds finally thinned, he approached.

A boy in a hoodie pressed his hands against the glass. They appeared blue, in the glow of the tank. "I'm sorry," he murmured, seemingly to himself. "This is all my fault." He leaned his forehead against its cold, damp surface. His brow knotted in worry. "You were only trying to visit me, and instead it almost got you killed."

A tentacle rested upon the opposite side of the glass, suction cups sticking to its surface. Unseen by anyone else, except the monster on the other side, the fingers and palms of the boy's hand grew tiny suckers as well. Though they could not quite touch, they were close enough for a signal to get through. A familiar, kindly voice spoke into his mind:

"Do not worry, nephew. I am perfectly fine. A bit bruised, but no real damage. It looks worse in the pictures, but us squid-types are a resilient bunch. Feeling fit as a fiddle." He playfully flexed a tentacle to prove it.

"They are calling you a villain, but you never hurt anyone! Now they are humiliating you here, keeping you in an oversized fish bowl!"

"It makes sense, based on what they thought they saw. Even though it was unintentional, I certainly caused a ruckus. Lots of damage, unfortunately. Besides, they are taking good care of me here too. It's like... a spa vacation."

"But you are not free." He hung his head sadly. "If only I hadn't asked you to attend my birthday party-"

"Don't worry yourself, it's not your fault at all. It's mine - I should have been more careful, or practiced taking on a human form. Rather tough at this old age, but perhaps I could have managed."

The boy's fists balled up. "No, you shouldn't have to change for them. You're entitled to walk down the street like anyone else, without being ambushed. Then... it's his fault! The hero who battled you, captured you. He could have listened, and helped, that's his responsibility. But instead, he jumped straight into a fight. Now he gets the glory, while you have to suffer. How is that fair?"

"Please, little guppy, there's no need to get yourself mixed up in this. Honestly, I won't mind staying here awhile. I get to live the city life. Feasting on fish three times a day, a fresh cushion of seaweed, no ships to dodge around. And look, here you are! Truly, what more could I ask for? It's all ok."

"Uncle, this is not ok. I swear, I will avenge you!"

"Really, don't bother my boy. You mustn't become a villain on my account. 'Aquarium hotel' is a comfy spot for old barnacles like myself, but I'd hate to see you stuck in this tank with me."

But it was too late. Balled fists were knotting into tentacled arms, his teeth were becoming sharper and pointier, there was a dangerous yellow glint in his eye. "That super-powered thug thinks he can just walk away from this? I will become that hero's nemesis, and he won't even see it coming."

As the boy stormed off, his uncle sighed. "Ah, kids these days. So quick to dive into trouble. Hope he doesn't get himself hurt, or in a pickle."

Uncle wiggled his tentacles in goodbye. Then seeing a family of visitors watching, he turned and gave them a friendly wave, as they shrieked in terror. "Must say, it's as entertaining for me here as it is for them!" he mused with a jolly smile, that everyone took to be an evil grin, and went for another invigorating swim around the tank.

ExcerptSci FiYoung AdultHumor

About the Creator

Ellen Stedfeld

Visual artist & writer immersed in drawing, illustration, and creative experiments

Community arts in NYC/LIC Queens and online, NaNoWriMo "The Ellesaur"

Love participating in challenges to motivate new work!

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