It feasted upon every beautiful thing.
Monsters often do.
Ridding the world of its niceties, stealing the good away from the light.
The creature moved like running water; black ink dripped from its body, clinging to loose branches, leaves, and dirt.
It left a trail of rot in its wake.
Between bouts of snarling and hissing, it lapped up a bird’s nest full of eggs, an eager sapling, and a young rabbit, snatched from the ground before it could burrow into a hole.
It couldn’t prevent itself from the hunt. The faster it moved, faster and faster and faster, the faster creatures were devoured. Flowers, deer, birds, and rainbow trout, swimming in the stream until they were in its mouth, down its throat, and beginning to rot away in its stomach.
Still, the rumbling and longing were not satisfied. A mere slew of animals would not suffice. The beast continued on through the woods, grabbing hold of whatever piqued its interest-- whatever caught its eye.
And suddenly, it stopped.
For there she sat.
Surrounded by a field of marigolds, which she plucked one by one from the sun-soaked dirt. She gathered the flowers in a basket beside her, neatly, gently, with each bud facing the same way. And her hair. Golden like the flowers she collected. Curled around itself in ringlets, moving ever-so-slightly as the wind fluttered past.
The beast felt the weight shift from its feet to its haunches, as it rolled backward, building momentum. Its stare narrowed in on her positioning, making sure the attack would be accurate.
Accurate, and worthwhile.
Darkness splattered across every surface in proximity. The girl jumped backward, but not before the beast was on top of her.
She was down its throat in a matter of seconds.
It swallowed her without a single chew, allowing a cacophony of screams to burst from its mouth. It forced saliva and gunk to roll down its throat, forcing her further and further down.
But only so far.
Suddenly, it could not swallow anymore. Something blocked its airway. An entire network of mane lodged itself between acid and air. It began to hack and heave violently, choking on the young girl’s hair. The more it choked, the more entangled each strand of hair became, knotting itself around the creature’s throat in a spider web of follicles.
It gasped for air, something to bury her once and for all, but it found nothing in return.
Its final moments consisted of a swelling of the chest, a burst of bile, and melting into a pile of tar and bones. There, in the midst of the gunk, sat the small girl, black liquid dripping from the top of her skull, down each arm, pooling around her feet.
She blinked, the tar leaking into each eye.
Somewhere deep in her stomach, a dull, aching emptiness took hold.
She arose silently, carefully, making her way toward her basket and plucking it from the dirt. Each step became heavier and heavier, her feet pulling her closer and closer to the earth.
Something felt… horrifying.
She let out a guttural moan, hunching over in discomfort.
Bones protruded from her back, catching hold of the trees, tearing down branches and blanketing themselves in leaves. Soon enough, black tar oozed from her hand and into the basket, covering the marigolds in a thick layer of hot, melted ink.
She plucked a bird from the sky, gnawing on its ligaments and allowing them to crack one by one. For a moment, the hunger subsided. It allowed for a brief interim before coming back in full-fledge, demanding more, and more, and more, and more.
Beasties and creatures ran rampant through the woods, feasting upon every beautiful thing.