When Mr. Franks disappeared, I was sure I was in trouble. If the creatures didn’t look so human, maybe it would be possible to fight them before becoming ensnared in their traps. Your best friend could be one of them, and you would not be able to tell until it was too late. Those who encountered them have never lived.
Where was he? Should I try to run? Would it matter if I did?
I decided I wouldn’t run. I would wait in silence until he did whatever he planned to do. When I got my breathing under control I overheard him slithering nearby.
He was close.
“I know you’re going to kill me, so why don’t you just get it over with?” I told my former teacher.
“You are so much braver than the others,” Mr. Franks whispered in my ear as his stony fingertips brushed my shoulder.
Somehow I resisted the urge to scream, but I couldn’t stop myself from recoiling from his touch.
“Perhaps I should end your agony, but observing your last human moments is truly enjoyable. What is it like to know your life is at end?”
The sudden distance of his voice disoriented me.
“I have been trying not to think about it, to be honest.”
“Pity,” he said.
In the next moment three things happened: An ear-splitting screech penetrated my eardrums; I began falling toward the floor; and something coiled around my body like an oversized boa constrictor squeezing the life out of me.
So this was how I would die. I’d be crushed to death by this monster. I hoped he would end it soon, but he seemed to enjoy seeing me suffer. When I thought the pain would not get any worse, something razor sharp pierced my neck.
“Welcome to your new life,” he said.