• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 02

Forget About Monkeys

They didn’t notice at first. They’d always said polite things about their friend’s indistinct pictures, the vaguely embarrassing announcement of body parts inside someone else’s womb.

They thought suggestions of a dainty nose or long fingers amongst the random swirls of moony white were good for beer-laughs, the kind of crap that signalled the onset of middle age.

So the shape in the darkness meant little to them for whole seconds, minutes maybe, as the jellied plastic was pressed over and over her pliant stomach while they held damp hands. But the head, when it was found, was a shining, all-jaw structure that made the technician narrow her eyes to cracks and press some kind of alarm.

A doctor came from nowhere, and then another, too stark in their clean coats for the little sweat-smelling room, for the roving presence on the screen.

She thought of Sunday pursuits with her father, the endless dangle of the rod, the paint can that squirmed with life as forbidden as her parent’s bedroom. One hour the bored surface was shattered by a single great mouth, a prehistoric gape, all skull and no brain, a slithering victory.

He thought of other dark waters, unfathomable pressures, wildlife documentaries that reveal an alien world beneath us, under the place where we swim and kick, nearly naked, trying for fun when all that reality is lurking.

They let go of each other’s hands at the same moment. The full creature was all there, the stubborn pursed mouth flowing into scale after scale, the cold blood visible in webs as unfamiliar as leaves, the body a split strip, a waving torso yet to grow legs.