Writing Group: The Bestiary

Hello, field researchers and druids!

How many strange and fantastical creatures are there out there, living out their lives, completely unbeknownst to us? More than you’d expect, if this writing community has anything to say about it. That’s why…

This week’s prompt is:

 

The Bestiary

 

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Old, weathered, leather-back journal, filled with loose sheets of parchment and scraps of hide. Inside, you find sketches, and diagrams, painstakingly-collected notes. It’s a two-dimensional menagerie of things the world has yet to see.

This is what I, and probably most of you, think of when we think “bestiary”. A concrete item, full of material.

But you know, I don’t think it’s the journal itself that excites our curiosity. I think it’s what the journal represents.

Think of it. A whole, secret world, full of new life, just waiting for someone with the passion or the tenacity to get to know it. There’s magic in opening a book and feeling a connection to a larger unknown scheme out there—an entirely new arc in the circle of life. A bestiary is more than a compendium of information about creatures; a bestiary is the promise that, as far as life itself goes, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Harness this promise. Channel into fear; the promise that there are things more dangerous than we can imagine. Channel it into hope; the promise that there are things more beautiful. Channel it into whatever emotion you’d like, so long as, in some capacity, you’re engaging in the business of marveling at life unknown.

 

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

 

Rules and Guidelines

We read six stories during each stream, three of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected from among the top ten most-liked of each post, so be sure to share your submissions on social media and with your friends!

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • Submissions close at 4:00pm CST each Friday.
  • Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
  • Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Write something brand new (no re-submitting past entries or stories written for other purposes).
  • Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
  • Please format your submission as “Submission Title” by Author Name and be sure to separate paragraphs. (Example Submission)
  • No fan fiction without explicit permission from the source’s owner, and no spoilers for the source material if you are writing a fan fic.
  • Original art may be included in your submission, but is not guaranteed to be shown on stream. Only .jpeg format images shared via a direct link will be accepted. (Example Submission) (Information on “Direct Links”)
  • No additional formatting (such as italics or bold text) will be applied to the text of submissions. Symbols or instruction indicating such formatting may render your submission ineligible.
  • You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

 

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Sspectre
Sspectre
2 months ago

Title: The Caretaker
by Sspectre

The Caretaker pulled a lever from a wheeled machine that was attached to glass and dark metal cage far larger than him. He heard the sounds of gears turning and pipes humming both near and far away.

Through the hatch first appeared a translucent pale green membrane slowly wove and fluttered inside the strange contraption. For a moment he waited and hesitated before pressing another button which forcefully flushed out the contents into the cage.

The Caretaker marbled at the green and purple jellyfish-like being. It stretched and waved 2 flaps on its sides and slowly started ‘swimming’ around.

He read a short description engraved on a metallic panel nearby:

This specimen is known as a medusa. Unlike its waterborne cousins, the Medusa dwells in the helium-rich atmosphere in some areas of the easter subcontinent…

He kept reading and took a step back when he found out that it is extremely venomous. His breathing quickened as he found one of its tentacles reaching in his direction.

Someone called out “Haven’t seen you around here before.”

The Caretaker jumped and turned at the source of the voice behind a slightly scorched glass panel. He walked up to the cage and saw a black and pale orange dragon sitting against the sidewall.

It greeted him “Servus, a caretaker right? Can tell by the scent of sweat and animal feed.”

He said “Y- you can talk. Why are you here? You’re sentient, this is illegal!”

“Seems to me that I’m the exception and not the last one. I also saw a few names while I was dragged here. Fake drakes, Cinerinos; your boss is going after hybrids too.” The dragon burped a bit of smoke which got sucked towards the ceiling.

He hesitated for a moment before jumping and pulling a lever near the ceiling. A trapdoor opened and he said “You can crawl through the air vent to freedom. Go.”

“Me God thanks you.” He said before making its escape.

The Caretaker read a nearby panel, his eyes widened and a shiver went down his spine.

He had just freed a Pilgrim.

(A drawing of the medusa is found here)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B-77XA3n1Yn/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

refreshing firecum
refreshing firecum
2 months ago

“Account of Another World” By refreshing firecum

“Hello. This is my personal diary documenting my days and encounters in the forest.

“If you’re reading this, you’re probably here in this hell as well, and it means that I’ve more than likely died. One day, I just ended up here while going through my daily drill in boot camp. I don’t know how it happened, but apparently this place is some sort of alternate reality. I fear there is no way out, but if you haven’t gathered yet from the environment, you aren’t alone.

“The creatures that inhabit this place are unearthly and hostile. I can’t tell if they’re indigenous or alien, but that doesn’t matter when one knows where you are. I’ve made a list here of my findings in the vain hope that it helps whoever’s reading this survive.”

‘Surgeon Wire – A large mass of mobile wire that restrains and dissects any living creature it comes in contact with. Movements are random, just keep your distance and you’ll be fine.’

‘Earworm – Formless audial hazard that induces sleep. I’m not too eager to find out if I’ll wake up from it. … Screaming is enough to counteract it, but be weary of listeners.’

‘Dreamweavers – Physical manifestations of creatures, objects or environments from one’s dreams. These are chaotic in nature, and will take forms causing comfort or harm to the victim. … Manipulatable through lucid dreaming.’

‘Murderhogs – Giant hog-like animals that hunt in packs. I’ve seen some as big as 23 feet high. … Good ears. … Strong enough to smash through trees to catch prey. But not smart; Hiding in grass is enough to confuse it. Just try not to get crushed.’

‘Forest Mimics – Large groups of tentacles with the appearance of the trees, and can rapidly pierce through the ground and resubmerge. I don’t like thinking about what’s underneath.’

‘The Helpless – Violent creatures that take the form of small children, avoid them if possible.’

The last entry is bloody and partially ripped…

‘It – Pile of human bodies melted together. … It won’t stop screaming. I can feel it in my head screaming

‘…

‘Don’t get taken alive’

Nomadic_Djinn
Nomadic_Djinn
2 months ago

Siberian Worm
by A. T. Rainier

Ricky lit a cigarette in the biting winter night, the hibernating embers providing the only visual sign that he existed in the absolute blackness. Jeremy shot him a look but Ricky couldn’t see.
“Could you put that out?”
“Why? Littler fucker is blind, right?”
Jeremy’s nasally north British accent felt like audio feedback to Ricky’s east Texas ears, and vice versa.
“It’s not for it. It’s gross.”
Ricky took an extra long puff and exhaled with a exaggerated “Ahhh!” Jeremy rolled his eyes.
“Speaking of, why can’t we have a fire goin’? I can’t see anything.”
“It’s incredibly sensitive to heat. It’ll disappear as soon as it pops up.”
“Thought it liked warmth.”
“Exactly. Warmth. But it’s prone to overheat, and so emerges to cool down, not heat back up. Now shut up so I can–“
The earth began to tremble slightly, growing more and more in magnitude within seconds. Twenty feet away the ground erupted, sending snow and rocks arching in all directions and narrowly missing the hunting duo. Ricky’s profane exasperation was drowned out by the crunch of hundreds of square feet of snow.
“Alright, move,” Jeremy commanded.
The two slunk up to the gargantuan worm. Steam rolled off it’s slimy, beige body. The curved mandibles that dotted the perimeter of it’s circular mouth waved in ecstasy. Ricky and Jeremy stopped just before the beast, the slime slopping down the wrinkled body audibly. The smell reminded Jeremy of vomit and dog food. He struggled to keep down his dinner as he scrapped some of the viscus fluid into various vials and shove them into his satchel.
“We’re good,” he said as he struggled to breath in the putrid smell. “You got some?”
“All my vials. Smells like shit.”
“Better than your cigarettes.”
“Speaking of, since we’re done.”
Ricky lit up within a second and Jeremy’s cry was drowned out by the roar of the worm as it rose like an ax at the chopping block and came back down just inches away from the two.

Tibber the Fibber
2 months ago

A World of Mist, by Tibber the Fibber

A man sat against a hill, facing a dying sun. The world he lived in was not his own. The trees flowed with a misty green, incorporeal and vague. Blue smoke passed through everything, swirling and yet untouchable. It was a world of liquid light.

This man did not belong here. He was a stone in a land of clouds and water. He stared into the sky of the dying sun. A tiny wolf sat by his side. The man felt the wolf nuzzling him in the side. He smiled and scratched the wolf behind the ears. It groaned and rolled over onto its back, ruffling its feathers.

“I ran too far this time.” He said to the wolf “This—isn’t the way it was supposed to happen.”

The wolf didn’t respond. The man sighed, then reached into his pocket. He was rewarded with the crinkle from a bag of chips. He pulled out the bag and squeezed lightly with his hand. The wolf perked up with interest at the sound. The man squeezed a little harder until—

The bag popped open and chips exploded out. The wolf jumped up and, with a flap of its wings, snatched one of the wafers. It fluttered around the man’s head, then landed on his shoulders. It scrambled on the fabric, talons sunk into the shirt, steadied itself, and perched, gnawing on its prize.

The man eyed the wolf, then took a bite from his own chip. They sat like that, crunching on potatoes wafer thin and fried in oil, remembering other times with soda and chips. Dreaming of running through tumble grass, and fireflies that burned with a secret fire.

After a time, the man leaned forward and pushed himself up; a bit tricky on this world. The little wolf, flapped its wings and tottered on its perch. The man reached a hand up to steady it. The wolf liked the hand, then barked.

The man let himself look once at the sky of blue and green, gave a final salute, then turned his back on the world of mist.

Turn_page
Turn_page
2 months ago

Fire
Author: Turn_page

It was a perfectly clear doggedly hot summer day, in December. Johana Preston the Third squinted in the downright unnatural light, while two feet away clearly marked by a ring of grass , a snow storm was raging. Johana could see the blanket of snow covering her car, the howling wind ripping through the trees. She knew what caused this.

A Firebird.

In her hands she held a crudely bound leather book, the cover a rough piece of tanned leather as she turned frantically through it, trying to find the right page. If the bird got spooked and flew away, there’s no telling what the damage could be.
Finally she came to the right page, as the heat came in waves, making everything shimmer with heat. Her face and breath, all of the moisture there was starting to evaporate.

‘Firebirds are manifestations of the sun, said to have come with fire for humanity through many different cultures….’ Johana huffed, as she paged through the history section. She would read all of that later. The heat was almost unbearable now.

‘To capture a Firebird, one must get close and grasp a talon. If the left talon is held, the bird will become docile for up to 3 days. However, if the bird senses danger, it will fly and not be seen until the sun swallows the moon.”

Okay, this should be easy, she thought. Just grab onto a bird that directly wants to kill you. Johana squared her shoulders as a cry sounded through the clearing, and an oak burst into flame.

Well, I definitely have my work cut out for me. she thought, as she walked to the fire.

Eliza Grey
Eliza Grey
2 months ago

The Mermaid
By Eliza Grey
It swanned towards me through the deeps. It had a glow to it, turning the water around it a greenish grey, with just a hint of gold. The scales were smoothly hitched together, and had the glint every color in them. The skin was phosphorescent white. It could have been a child, with its black crown of long gills, and its frail chin thrust out proudly. Yet, it was clearly a monster, and I scratched down a picture, watching it through the distant lense of a camera.

Deviacon
Deviacon
2 months ago

Hunters and Hunted
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

I would be training under Colonel Thatcher. He’s been in this line of work for over fifty years, undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best. As I entered his quarters he was buried in a large leather book. I wasn’t sure he had noticed me until he suddenly began reading loudly from it.

“The Scarecrow Killer. Killed twenty three people, over the span of thirteen months. Would pose the bodies of his victims as scarecrows near where they were killed. Status: deceased, executed upon apprehension.

The Antlered Man. Confirmed to have killed sixty four people over the span of around five and a half years. Claims to have killed over three hundred in twenty years. Long standing myths and urban legends match up, but unconfirmed. Many victims would report seeing a tall thin figure adorned with a large set of antlers watching them several weeks before they were found dead. Status: In holding, set for execution.”

“Sir I’m sorry I think I get the idea – ”

“Oh do you?” He contemptuously turned the page and began reciting the next entry.

“The Dollmaker. Confirmed to have sexually assaulted and killed thirty nine women. Now he liked young girls –”

“Sir, I don’t think –”

“The Bayou Chef, The Forest Child, The Rat King –” He swiped through the pages quickly and haphazardly, not staying long enough to have possibly been reading them. Then he slammed the book shut. “I know all of them, because I hunted each and every one of them myself.”

I took a deep breath trying to find my resolve. This man had tracked and fought some of the most depraved things this world has seen. I had to respect that. I glanced at the tattered leather-bound cover he still rested a grizzled scarred hand on.

“The Bestiary? Why that title, sir?”

“Because, they were animals! More obsessed with pursuing their own sick primal urges than of ascending the stairway of order and reason we humans chose to.” I repressed a shiver and swallowed my racing heart. “Tell me rookie, you’re no animal, are you?”

LilyWolf
LilyWolf
2 months ago

Beth by LilyWolf

Beth was the only one who had believed Aunt Igraine was a witch.

Not the kind with green faces, or an old crone with a bad attitude, or even the kind that hang out in candy houses deep in the woods. Aunt Igraine was a real witch, the kind with sparks in her soul and knowledge most people passed off as hokum and twaddle.

Aunt Igraine believed that Beth had The Gift too. It was why she got invited to stay in the little stone house with the purple door more often than her cousins.

“Am I your favorite, Auntie?” Beth had asked once.

Igraine’s eyes had sparkled and her smile had been sly. “I can’t say ‘favorite’, that would be wildly unfair to your cousins.”

“Oh, right, that makes sense.” Beth had tried to hide her disappointment.

The smile grew. “But I can say, with zero malice toward your cousins, that you and I… speak the same language.”

Beth crunched down the gravel pathway to the back of the garden, Aunt Igraine’s gift under her arm. She was trying to avoid Aunt Mary’s thirty-two-or-so kids. They had only come to Beth’s birthday party because Mom was the oldest sister. That, and they liked to play ‘Bug the Freak’ with Beth. This involved gathering around and pushing her back and forth between them while shouting insults.

Aunt Igraine was the only one who ever believed it when Beth tried to tell on her cousins.

Beth seated herself in the shade of an oak tree and opened the silver-wrapped parcel. Her heart stopped. Inside was a stained spiral-bound notebook.

For anyone else, this wouldn’t have been much of a gift.

But Beth knew what it was. A Bestiary. More importantly, an active, Bestiary.

She rifled through the pages until she found the one, she wanted. Written in Aunt Igraine’s cramped print. ‘A quick-spell to call The Gentle Dragon’.

“Ohhhh Beth-thyyy” Mike, the eldest cousin called. “Time for a Birthday gaa-ame!”

Beth smiled, touched the moonstone on her necklace, and Called.

Inside, Aunt Igraine smiled too.

Pilotfish
Pilotfish
2 months ago

Discovery of a Silverlin
by Pilotfish

In my teens, I liked to track the silverlin.

When I went freediving, I watched for them. When seas were foul and I couldn’t, I spent my time at my computer, searching. Sightings appeared on fora. Theories abounded that they were the source of mermaid legends or whatnot. Pictures of the mystical fish were uncovered. No matter if it was all cryptozoology. I’d discover one.

Then I grew up, got a job, and moved on. So much time I’d wasted in those years. All I did was long for the sea and its mysteries. It had ruined friendships and grades, but I was better now. My feet and life were firmly on the ground.

Then again, fascination with silverlin doesn’t go easily.

Without warning, I lost my job. It was the unmooring I needed to lead me back to sea. My livelihood was gone… but my wetsuit still fit.

I soon found myself in my old watery haunt. I explored places I hadn’t even known existed. Wreathed by schools of fish, at times seeing something flashier in the periphery, I wasn’t alone anymore. In fact, I was emboldened, and I probed further than I ever thought I could—only for rogue fishing line to entangle my ankle, preventing me from getting air. Time slowed…

I looked up. There were a pair of inquisitive eyes inches from my mask, affixed to a lithe, marlin-like, shockingly silver body. It was the sight I’d so longed for.

The silverlin had a curious look. It wanted to tell me something, if only I could hear.

Then it tugged at the line with its mouth, freeing me. I rushed for shore, though I never took a breath…

Since then, I have done much more exploring. The life and mystery of the ocean is infinite. There’s so much to tell, but I’ve had to wait for someone who wants to listen. Now that you’ve arrived, though, I could reveal to you all this and more—if only you were able to hear.

Karrot Flowers
Karrot Flowers
2 months ago

Cryotey (cryogast latrans)
By Karrot Flowers

July 14th, 1970
I knew there was something strange going on when I found ice patches on the road in the middle of summer. The patches slithered on the road like the dotted line on a treasure map. By the time I was following the trail, the sun melted my clues away. I knew I didn’t have much to work with but I believed I was on the way to discovering a new species of cryptid.

With this understanding, I grabbed my supplies and headed into the town late at night to record this creature. I hid behind a bench across the street where the original trail was and waited. It was around 3 am and I had become so tired I was forcing my eyelids to open. Then, I noticed that the temperature steadily became colder, and that’s when I saw the creature come around the corner. My eyes immediately recharged with excitement and I began to observe.

The creature was very dog-like: medium sized with four legs, a tail, and a snout. It’s pointed ears may suggest it’s somehow related to coyotes. One of their abnormal features was how its coat was of an ashy blue which appeared transparent. Their breath released a heavy mist due to the temperature dropping around the creature. Something that was as interesting as the creature’s appearances was its demeanor. Its walk seemed to be melancholic, looking around not for food or shelter, but seeing if there is any residue of their past. Weeping from it’s icy blue eyes were cold tears falling down its snout, creating the patches of ice where it was walking. And just like that, it walked off to who knows where, leaving behind a trail of sadness.

Vesania
Vesania
2 months ago

“Read Me” by Vesania

First of all, I bid you the best of luck. As you find this note, you have uncovered an aged tome of wonder. As such, a tradition of adventurers, explorers, and scribes has been passed on to you. Unfortunately, this entails leaving your past behind, as your life will never be the same again.

You see, I was once like you, naive and ignorant. That all changed when, in a dark and musty corner of my apartment, I found this very book. Inside are fantastical creatures, wondrous beyond one’s imagination. With gleaming eyes, I stared in awe, thinking to myself the creativity it must have taken to think up such fascinating beings! Each entry was quite detailed, describing their behavior, eating habits, down to their strengths and weaknesses, with some even illustrated.

After a few more hours of excited scanning, I felt something was off. As I stepped outside of the decrepit apartment building, I saw them. Stone lion ornaments purring as they slept, street lamps flickering as metallic appendages wipe their bulbs clean, bugs and small animals I once thought to be cockroaches and squirrels scurrying about, and above, aquatic-looking creatures swimming across in the night sky. They’re all real.

You must be wondering, “Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but what do I do now?” To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t know. By the time you’ve read this, the landscape of the world must have changed in some way or another. I wouldn’t know the best course of action for your time. Know this, I trust your judgement in what must be done with this knowledge, just as my predecessor trusted in mine, and their predecessor trusted them, and so on and so forth.

Once again, I bid you the best of luck, new Overseer.

P.S. Do NOT wake the Statue of Liberty. I learned that the hard way.

Sandeen
2 months ago

The Creature Time Forgot, Sandeen

A low light back-lit the water from below. It wasn’t dark and murky, as any abandoned enclosure should be, but look more teal and light compared to the darkness surrounding us.

We had heard the whispers about what had been under the bestiary, such a harsh word for how well cared for the animals were. Besides, all of them were sweet, in their own ways. But, the older caretakers talked about the building and the hidden and forgotten creatures below. Tonight, being left alone, and with everything quiet, we all kept hearing an odd noise from a wall back where the food was kept. With a lock-pick and a snoop between the two of us, and nothing else to do, it wasn’t hard to find the latch on the ceiling. As soon as the latch clicked, the noise stopped.

What we didn’t expect was an old stone stairwell leading down into the dark. Good thing for cell phones, and heavy food bags to keep the door open.

Looking at the water, the enclosure now, I almost whispered to my companions about the other stories. That some people, when this place was first started, were eaten. Or, at least, never left. But they had to have heard those as well.

The… beast inside looked like if a horse, a wolf, and some kind of water creature had a child. And it was huge. As big as the horses I rode in the daytime, if the shadow from the light was right. Eyes that looked terribly pale in our flashlights, that didn’t reflect back at us. Hands down, the best news of the night was that it was at least twenty feet below the wall we were leaning against.

A hand over the wall had the creature leaping and, as the others stepped back, I saw the dark blue and green of it and the shaggy covering all over it.

I’m still certain the creature watched us, as we heard the noise again as the passage sealed shut.

The 5th Horseman
The 5th Horseman
2 months ago

The Endless
By The 5th Horseman

Many have seen it with their own eyes. Many have written on their own findings. But none of them truely understood it. It is the shadow that follows you at night and it is the light that shines from the empty void that is space. It is everything, and nothing.

It has no true form. Some believe it is the all mighty. Others belive that it is a ancient terror hiding in the ocean until the end times. It tells some of its existence. That is how we have discovered it, and it is how future generations will.

We have, however, discovered why it wants to let us know of its existence. Because it was bored. Eternal existence, and it’s bored. As soon as it realized it wasn’t alone, it wanted to let people know. We don’t know if it wants to help us or destroy us, all we know is that it wants us.

The rest of the guild have already moved on to different monsters of the ather. But I can’t let it be forgotten, I can’t let it be forgotten. I can’t let it be forgotten. I can’t let it be forgor…

*the rest of the notes are frantic scribblings of warning and acceptance of the infinity*

Speckled
Speckled
2 months ago

Monsters Inside Us
By Speckled

My name is Lora Mclain, and I battle monsters. Rarely manifesting physically, the monsters I study possess people and live inside their minds, attempting to overwhelm them.

My first patient of the day sits across from me in my comfortable office. He’s young, only just out of high school, and he comes to me possessed. I’ve read his basic file, but if I am to diagnose his monster, I need to know more. I begin to ask him questions as I reach for my large white binder.

I unwind his story out of him. A car crash, him and his best friend, now only him. I flip through my bestiary. This book contains many monsters, but I know his by heart. Remorse, a formidable beast indeed. Though healthy and normal in small amounts, it can become very dangerous if left to grow. The same is true for most emotions, I suppose.

All there is truly for me to do is to listen and respond with empathy. Though every beast requires a slight nuance to defeat, the process always starts the same. Through my years of experience I’ve learned that a kind ear and the occasional comforting hand on the knee can work wonders. The only time sternness is required is when the monster already has taken full control of the host. That’s when the fight happens, but if you break through and get the host on your side, the monster has lost.

My second patient was a girl who was developing multiple personalities. As I question her, I become lost in my bestiary, unsure of what ails her. Disgust? Maybe Anger? I don’t think so. Something that shared its genus with both, to be sure. Shame. A Shame so strong the girl had split off the pieces of herself she didn’t like and had hidden them away. I can tell it will take a harrowing battle both on my and my patient’s part to defeat.

Not everyone can always be helped quickly, but all can eventually. We all have bestiaries, so let’s use them.

Jen (bookwolf)
Jen (bookwolf)
2 months ago

Page 29
By Jen (bookwolf)

“Excuse me,” Runa said, her tone slightly irritated. She had coughed politely several times and cleared her throat once or twice in an attempt to draw the attention of the clerk behind the counter. His eyes flicked to her before going back to his phone screen.

“The Plum books are two shelves down. The newest King books aren’t coming for another week,” he said without looking at her.

“Actually, I’m looking for your rare book section. Is it possible you could direct –”

“Yeah. Down the stairs. Go left at the bottom.” He waved a hand in the general direction of the stairs.

Runa clenched a fist by her side, but managed a sunny “Thank you,” before searching for the stairs.

It took some time, but she found the worn spine, right where Old Alwin said it should be. Runa slid it from the shelf and opened it slowly, heart pounding as the book’s binding creaked in protest. Some of the pages were missing their numbers; the corners of the stiff papers broken off here and there. She counted where she had to until she reached page 29, where Old Alwin had told her to look.

There it was. Somehow the illustrator had managed to capture the live coals the creature had for eyes. Her skin tingled as her flight or flight response recognized the lupine form which had been sitting in her yard, staring at her bedroom window. Rona’s fingers brushed the page as she read the words around the picture.

She checked the front and back cover for a written price but found none. A quick search of the shelves revealed no posted signs of a pricing system. Tucking the thick book under her arm, she bounded up the stairs before she changed her mind.

“How much?” she asked, setting the book on the counter.

“Agiluf’s Compendium of Werefolk,” the clerk read aloud. For the first time, he met her eyes. “I wouldn’t waste my money, if I were you. He got some of the important bits wrong.”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
2 months ago

Preliminary analysis of the Pale Meteor (Translated from original Italian, additional notes in brackets)
By Calliope Rannis

Name: WQ01 (“White Queen”)

Date of Fall: 23/9/20XX at approximately 2200 hours. (During an irregular meteorite shower in the West Antarctic Region.)

Location: A little over a mile north of the Concordia Research Station, which located and retrieved the meteor intact from its initial landing site. (It is believed that a number of other meteorites also fell to ground from the same shower, but those fell closer to the Antarctic Centre and out of easy retrieval range.)

Size: 7ft by 5.5ft. (One of the largest intact examples in all records!)
Shape: A round oval form. (Not common for meteors.)
Colour: Entirely off-white. (Completely unprecedented! At first we thought this was just from snowfall on the rock, but testing quickly showed otherwise.)

Weight: Approx 380 pounds. (Incredibly light for a meteor of this size, though still quite the effort to transport back to base.)

Surface: Analysis reveals the smooth surface to be almost entirely composed of a dense layer of calcium carbonate. Notable features include circular patches of a sticky, gelatinous substance at regular points across the surface area, and a small cluster of microscopic holes on each of the narrow ends of the oval. (This is utterly unlike any meteor specimen I have encountered in my life…this mineral composition, colour and shape, as well as the surface features all suggest something entirely different from a naturally occurring geological structure. I must examine the interior at once!)

Interior:

How do I even write this down? The inside of this thing is hollow – beyond what must be about a full foot thick shell of calcium carbonate in the outer layer, scans show a mess of tangled solids and liquids – primarily organic matter. It is difficult to fully comprehend such a entity with equipment designed to examine the innards of rocks, but so far I have seen long claw-tipped tendrils, a segmented exoskeleton, mandibles riddled with thin spines like teeth…this is not a lump of space rock, but an egg! An egg which after so long in the freezing nothingness, is finally starting to warm up…

ClockworkPigeonz
ClockworkPigeonz
2 months ago

“A Chance Encounter”
By: ClockworkPigeonz

Phoenix hunters were known to kill buyers the second they’d payed a fortune for some half-dead specimen. Sebastian hated to perpetuate in the illegal trade- but rumors, a passible disguise, and plenty of coin had lead him to an alleyway reeking of rot and decay. Rain pattered against the slimy cobblestones- worsening the stench rather than washing it away.

Though that hardly mattered so much as the ball of dirty, white feathers glaring at him with cerulean eyes. Sebastian hurriedly scanned over the rough pages of his bestiary- comparing its contents to the creature before him. Wincing as the bird bashed its wings against the crystalline cage. He’d amassed information on most of the known varieties of phoenix, but he’d never seen one like this.

“Do ya want the bird or not- I ain’t got all night!” snapped, the hustler- ‘Harold’.

There was a great tearing noise as a gash carved itself upon the air before them. A woman stepped through the Rift. Flame-wreathed wings rising from her shoulders.

“Unfortunately he’s not for sale.”

Harold screamed.

Sebastian drew back, book clutched to his chest reverently.

She paid them a scalding glance, before pulling a dagger from her belt that cut easily through the flame-proof container. With gentle hands she pulled the creature from its cramped prison and sat it on the cobblestones.

Immediately white-hot flames flickered down its body- swirling, coiling, rising. Until it reached a similar height to its companion. Flames solidifying into the haggard shape of a white-winged man, his face badly bruised.

With a sneer the newly-freed Phoenix lunged forwards

Harold screeched and fled

“You’re never going to let me live this one down, are you- Ember?” He asked warily, watching his captor escape.

“Not a chance you stupid, owl!” Ember growled.

“He clocked me over the head!”

“You are perfectly capable of bending reality, Alistair!”

“Well, I’m sorry.” He snapped.

She sighed, calming herself before pressing a kiss to Alistair’s cheek apologetically. “I as well, love.”

“Now, who are you?” She snarled, gaze falling upon Sebastian.

“Doctor Whitaker, Phoenix Rehabilitator- could I ask a few questions?”

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
2 months ago

“Snow Cats”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane (aka WolfsbaneX/GhoulishMisfit)

Danach Sliv trudged through the thick snow as cold wind whipped around him. To him, this was another expedition into the Hoarweld. However, he knew it was his companion’s first time away from the Primary World and civilization. He stopped and waited as the seven foot tall Fae woman caught up.

“We’ve only been out here five minutes, an’ you’re already tired, Rangi?” he asked with a smirk. “I thought trolls were s’posed to be sturdier.”

“I can’t help it; it’s bloody cold,” she snapped. “And this coat stinks.”

“Yeah, it’s wolf fur,” the sylph said calmly. “Anyway, we better get a move on. It’ll be dark soon.”

Danach pulled his coat together and marched onward. Rangi, not wanting to be outdone, followed. Then, small shapes appeared in the pair’s periphery; three little round creatures with four legs waddled among the conifers, keeping low. Their wide paws left prints in the snow that looked like hands. The explorer motioned for Rangi to crouch down, keep quiet, and watch. Nodding, Rangi produced a leather book from her pack.

“What are they?” she whispered with awe.

Danach smiled. “I call ‘em snow cats. They’re not like house cats; they just look like ‘em.”

Rangi smiled as she sketched. “They’re cute.”

One of the snow cats climbed a pine, chittering to itself.

“Looks like it’s on the hunt,” Danach said, pointing to a cluster of milky pink berries on a branch.

Rangi watched as the snow cat ate some, smacking its lips.

“Are they herbivorous?” the troll asked.

Silence.

“What?” Danach asked.

“Do they eat plants?”

Danach shrugged. “Sometimes. Sometimes they go to the frozen creeks and fish.”

“Omnivorous. Interesting.” Rangi scribbled in the book. “Does anything eat snow cats?”

As if on cue, a white and gray raptor swooped down and grasped the snow cat in its talons. The other two creatures ran away, frightened. Danach pointed up towards the bird as it soared away.

“Rime eagles, mostly,” he said. “Come on. Let’s get camp set up.”

With one final note, Rangi closed the book and followed the sylph into the haze.

JoshRR00
JoshRR00
2 months ago

Note: This piece well exceeded the limit for the competition. I really only just posting it for public feedback and because I find spending time in this group fun. “A Whole New World” By JoshRR00 Evan didn’t remember purchasing the black leather book. He had just returned from a rather bountiful trip to his local Barnes & Noble, a large catalogue stacked within a store brand bag. It was mostly the usual that was expected of one possessing geekly interests: Sci-fi, some space opera, a noticeably sizable amount of fantasy, and more than a few graphic novels. There were also a handful of the newest books in his dad’s favorite thriller series…well, “thriller” wasn’t really accurate. They were more akin to D-list power fantasies meant to appeal to older men going through a midlife crisis. But hey, it was his dad’s life, not his, so who was he to judge? But even with that exception, there was nothing in that bag that nobody wouldn’t expect to find from a typical weekend book run. All except for one. It was the color of the pages that stuck out like a sore thumb. All of his books were new entries in series he had been following for years, freshly published, their pages white as fresh linens. In comparison, the tome’s yellowed sheets crinkled with age. The leather’s lack of the fine shine of a fresh cut indicating a publication decades, maybe even centuries old. As he ran his hands over it, he wondered: Where did this come from? He didn’t remember picking up such a book on his perusal, he didn’t even remember seeing such an aged specimen on the shelves. It was a bookstore, after all, it was expected that the products on sale would be freshly printed. Older pieces were purely exclusive to the realms of collectors and antique shops. So where did it-? Suddenly, his hands rolled over slight indentations in the cover. Curious, he focused upon them. It had faded considerably since its original run, lending more credence to the “centuries” part of the scale, but he could still read the title: A Compendium of All Known Creatures of the Unnatural World”. His heart leapt. Could it be? All of his dreams that for so long he had accepted to be nothing more than the crazed imaginings of a sad man, who found only disappointment in the world around him. Of course, his mind immediately turned to the possibility of this all just being a prank done by some little brat for no other reason than he was bored, and found entertainment in crushing random passersby hopes and dreams. But upon a second lookover, he couldn’t find any signs of forgery. The summers spent working in his uncle’s local bookshop had given him the experience needed to suss out all the tricks of the trade, but he found no such illusions here. For all intents and purposes, this book was the truly, one hundred percent, verifiably authentic article.… Read more »

Blindseer
Blindseer
2 months ago

Letter to a Gifted Student

Dear Melfisiadoc,

Once again I am writing to express my conviction that of all the young wizards I have trained you are by far one of the most naturally gifted. You have, however, one bad habit, which I have often lamented to you. As I am entrusted with your education, a responsibility I do not take lightly, I have prepared an exercise to address this most unfortunate fault – impatience.

I have often remarked to you that the central virtue for any wizard is patience. Taking the time to gather facts before taking action is vital to any magical career. This is never truer than when dealing with mythical beasts.

Included with this letter is a small, locked chest with a gold key. Inside you will find the following articles: 1 silver mirror, 1 small gold wire cage, 2 tinctures of silver, and 1 box of wiffle mites to use as bait. Given all that, you have doubtless already surmised that your assignment is to trap the deadly miniature cockatrice. You set the trap placing the gold cage on the floor, door open. Use the tincture of silver to draw a circle around the cage (this is to keep the wiffle mites from escaping, as they abhor silver and will not cross it). Release the wiffle mites into the cage. Keep the mirror handy as it is your sole defense against the cockatrice, which can only be killed by seeing its own reflection. If you glance over your notes, you will be reminded that they are capable of taking down prey several times their size, and so lightening quick as to be nearly invisible.

Of course, the mirror and the trap will only become necessary, if you are foolish enough to open the box before reading the end of this letter. This is because included with the above items I have also sent 1 very hungry miniature cockatrice. Like I said, this lesson is designed to teach you the importance of patient preparedness at all times. I trust it is one you will never forget.

Cheers,
Antharedosa, Mistress of Magic

LaribHaven
LaribHaven
2 months ago

A late request.
by Larissa (LaribHaven)

Alexandria was tired of flying carrying the heavy leather book so late at night. This was no job for the postal service couriers, but she couldn’t deny the delivery, it was the last of the day and since the old professor asked in such short notice, it must be something important.

She landed on the front door, her mechanical wings cooling down and letting steam go. Then she steps on an exposed nail, tripping on her heels and letting the book fall on the ground.

“Oh, good lord!” -She says while collecting the scattered pages on the ground.
Alexandria didn’t understand immediately, the pages were just an agglomeration of drawings of imaginary beasts… Why would the professor ask for this book?

“Nonsense!” a man screams “We have to act quickly! Two more died last night!”
That voice was from Mister Anderson from the Hunters league. Why was he in the professor’s house?

“We need to be sure our weapons will work on that thing!” -another man from the league shouts.

“Forget about weapons! If that monster attacks the ball tomorrow night, everyone will be slaughtered! ” A third exclaims.

“Fellow gentleman, I already request the book from the private library. It will be here soon…”

Alexandria quickly dusted the book in her hands, tenser than ever now. She knocked on the door and forced a smile.

“Oh! Ms. Alexandria, you came! And in such a timely fashion”. He tries to close the door, but Alexandria puts her feet on it.

“Professor Wilfred, I need the bill, so the delivery can be considered finished…”

The professor drops the book on the table and tries to find the bill. She peeks inside, distressed by what she heard.

Mr. Anderson opens the book and runs through the pages frantically, with the photo of something in his hands and then suddenly stops.

“Are you certain that this is the creature in your photograph?”

The professor hands her the bill before she could witness the answer. She had no option but to leave, afraid of the night that was growing.

Mary V
Mary V
2 months ago

The Book With Glass Pages
By Mary V

It is bound with iron and leather, but the pages are…glass, shining in the light from the window in the library’s dome.

I look up at the Professor.

“Open to Chapter One. On Monsters.”

I do as he commands. The glass pages are impossibly thin, as delicate and fine as spun sugar but seemingly unbreakable in my trembling fingers.

I turn the page and gasp. A soft, mossy green arm rises up out of the glass, holding a single lily. I read. “Should the passerby take the blossom of the Folly’s Trap, it sticks to them. The more they struggle, the more they are gradually pulled in as the creature–very slowly–feeds on them.”

I shudder and turn the page. A gaping maw snaps at me from the smooth surface, all jagged teeth and tongue, thick blood dripping down its chin to a grey, skeletal body. “The Ravenger knows only appetite, consuming without discretion. It eats its own limbs when food is scarce, but due to its undiscerning palate, this is rare.”

The pages begin clattering more quickly. Long-haired sirens leer at me, their backs bending open to reveal spines of rippling scales and spikes. A grappling, milky-eyed creature drags me down a river into its dark cave, another slashes at my face with sharpened claws, black with venom, another bristles and swipes at my ankles, I am being pulled, torn, scratched, the clattering of the pages is deafening, pounding, rippling up to the vaulted ceiling of the library-

The Professor’s voice startles me back to reality.

“Learn. Before we send you out, you must learn to recognize these monsters. This knowledge will be your greatest weapon and your greatest shield. Read and study.”

He turns, making his way across the marble floor toward the library’s gilded doors.

“Professor?”

He turns.

“These images, these creatures, how…Are there many of them out there? Is the book true?”

“Strange thing about this book,” he says. “The pages aren’t just glass. They’re mirrors.”

The gilded door booms behind him, leaving me alone in the single shaft of light from the library dome.

Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
2 months ago

Title: Dutiful Debonair Detective
By: Twangyflame0

Mrs. Narion sat silently as the young man comb through his vast library. The penthouse was filled with lavish furniture, stocked with world-class ingredients, and staffed with top-notch servants. She was just a widow from the poorest ward, she had borrowed these nice clothes from a friend. She had no business here.

“Alrighty, here we are,” Yet this young man had greeted her sweetly, made the best tea she had ever drunk, had personally addressed anything she asked, and now was sitting down, prepared to find whatever killed her husband. She really didn’t have the right to complain.

Smiling, the young man pushed his overgrown white hair out of his face, “So, given all the evidence I have and your account, I would say that your husband was killed by a lycanthrope or some other were-creature.”

“Is that going to be a problem?” From reason, all Mrs. Narion could think of is how this would influence the price. Could she even afford this?

“Well,” The young man tapped his chin, “I’ll have to go get some silver weaponry, a map of the sewers and the alleyways will be necessary, and-”

He stopped as he saw her begin to go through her very empty wallet, crying, “I-I don’t have m-much, b-but I can pay in installments. Once I find a steady j-job, I-I can-”

“That won’t be necessary,” the young man put a hand on her’s and pushed his glasses up, “all I need from you is help to find this.”

Mrs. Narion looked at the picture, “A comic?”

“Not just any comic,” the young man planted his foot the table, “this is Volume Zero, Collector’s Edition of Bartholomew’s Fabulous Adventures! No curator’s collection is fit without this.”

“So do you want me to buy it…”

“No no no, this one is super rare, so any hint would be appreciated.”

Mrs. Narion felt the tears coming again, “Thank you so much, Detective Vandermeer.”

As she left, Private Detective Valik von Vandermeer looked down at his book of fiends and abominations and somewhat regretting lying to the widow about the true threat.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
2 months ago

“The AutumnFlower Library” by Carrie (Glaceon373)

The AutumnFlower Library looked, to some, like a decorated wooden box with a glass dome. But to others, it was a masterpiece.

“Hurry,” Roselyn tugged on Sam’s arm. “We don’t want to be inside after closing.”

“What happens—right. Libraries.” Sam sighed.

“What?” Jidz hesitated, then followed, his hooves clicking on the stone.

The doors opened into a magnificent room. Sam gasped at the shelves and carpets. Jidz noticed the visitors: children, businessmen, and scholars alike.

Roselyn led them up the stairs. Sam got a glimpse of the second floor before being pulled into a small alcove.

One book rested in the room, wider than a dinner plate and five inches thick, with “Bestiary” on the cover. Roselyn darted to it and flipped to the table of contents.

“There! Vampires, page 1258.”

“We don’t need vampires,” Sam placed her clawed hand on Roselyn’s shoulder. “They’re extinct.”

“Hold up.” Jidz stepped closer and reached over their heads to the book, then flipped back a page.

The publishing date was 300 years ago.

“My species only goes back 250 years, guys.” Sam stepped away from the book. “Sorry.”

“Sam, cut it.” Roselyn flipped to the back of the book. “We could always find something, you never know.” She flipped to the back. “There. Bats. Wall climbing. Riding on moonbeams. Hypnosis—”

Sam’s ears perked up. “Moonbeams?”

“That’s it!” Roselyn jumped. “Under moonlight, maybe you can float or glide or whatever that was!”

Sam smiled. “Thanks, Roselyn—”

Chimes echoed through the building.

Roselyn gasped. “We have to get out of here.”

They ran for the stairs.

As the dome’s light left the shelves, they began to glow. The books began to rustle. One by one, they flew into the air, then turned toward Sam, Jidz, and Roselyn.

Everyone else had left the building five minutes ago at the warning, which hadn’t reached the second floor.

Jidz charged, reared, and kicked the doors open. Sam and Roselyn leapt outside and collapsed onto the ground as the doors slammed shut.

The three of them looked at each other, panting.

They’d made it.

Alex
Alex
2 months ago

The Name is: Beast
By Alex Nightingale

Begin final diary entry.

I am the last, the last of our team. We shouldn’t have stayed. We should have just defied our orders and left. But we didn’t. And why would we? This vast, cavernous library was one of the most comfortable places, we had ever been in. Stocked kitchen, comfortable chairs and a warm atmosphere.

That should have made us suspicious. So should have the letter, we had received.

‘Open after five days.’

The first person to disappear was Anna. One day, we saw her enter a previously unexplored corridor and not return.

Next was Sean. His disappearance was slightly more unnerving. He had just turned to face one of the tall shelves. He exclaimed that he found a book called ‘The Beast’ and decided to show it to us. His last words had been: ‘hey, come look at this’.

I had not found ‘The Beast’ again, until recently.

I am alone now. Seven people had been here, but over the course of four days, they had disappeared.

I don’t know, what it was. Maybe in the food? Or the air? On some level, I knew that I should feel uneasy, but I didn’t. Against all logic, I was still as relaxed, as if I were at home in bed.

Finally, it was the fifth day. My attention was drawn to that letter. I was the only person to make it this far. I unfolded it.

‘Thank you, for your service. Your sacrifices will be acknowledged.’

Something snapped behind me. I whirled around and saw ‘The Beast’. It must have fallen from a shelf. Weird. It hadn’t been in there, I would surely have seen it. Curious, I picked it up and saw a sketch of Anna’s face stare back at me, her eyes wide, and her mouth open in a silent scream. I turned the page and there was Sean. More members of my team, all sketched on the pages of ‘The Beast’; their faces all contorted in silent panic.

All I feel, is calm in my body.

Retire diary.

Joseph Kharms
Joseph Kharms
2 months ago

The Creature That Steals by Joe Kharms

“I’m here to report a robbery!” I proclaimed dramatically as I burst into the Police Barracks. A Policeman behind the counter jumped with surprise at my sudden entrance. I carefully walked up to the counter towards the Officer.

-“I have been extorted; by a vicious beast”.

-“A beast?”

-“Yes it was of the most savage nature”

– “Alright I’ll get the Bestiary.” Said the Officer, crouching down to a cabinet door behind the counter. From this cabinet he pulled out a large book. He slapped it onto the counter and asked: “Alright, could you slowly give me some features of this beast so I can find it in the book.”

-“It walked on two legs.”

The Officer flicked through pages to what I presume was the “two-legged section”.

-“And it could speak”

The officer started flicking through pages once more but paused suddenly. “Are you sure it wasn’t a parrot that robbed you?”

-“A parrot!?”

-” Indeed, they are quite pesky Parrots are. We have our own parrot department, here at the Barracks. They are always in for copyright offences, they aren’t very creative or original creatures.”

– “It wasn’t a parrot, the creature had arms.”

The officer began flicking through pages again; he then stopped on a page. He looked at the page in fear.

-“The creature also had thick hair on it’s head and was practically bare everywhere else.” I added.

-“Oh dear.” said the Officer slamming the book closed. “What did this creature steal?”

-“Are you alright?” The Officer seemed very alarmed by whatever he had seen in the book. “The creature stole bits of my flesh.”

-“What is your name?” enquired the Officer.

– “I don’t have one. But the Beast called me ‘Earth’ while it robbed me.” It was at this point I looked down at my polluted body, I was struggling to breath because of the chunks of lung they had taken. Terrible cuts ran deep all over my skin leaving vicious scars, which would possibly never heal.

-“Well” Said the Officer “you better hope Humanity returns your property, because there is no one who polices them”.

Zachary Gordon
2 months ago

Note: I got a little too into this while writing it; apologies for probably making it too long to qualify but nevertheless I hope you enjoyed reading it like I had fun making this Guess my Great Grandpa was one Hell of a Naturalist by Zachary It had only been a few hours since both my flight had landed at the airport, and a tad later that my brother and I had departed from it. Apparently my great grandpa had a private estate up in our home state of New York; I never really knew the guy so I was curious to see if I could learn anything about him by coming here. My brother ordinarily wouldn’t wanna join me, but I’m a bit of a persuasive person to say the least. Looking at the place itself, the exterior definitely looked pretty old. The walls and roof seemed kinda weathered; guess that’s to be expected of a house this old ain’t it? “Do you really think anything here is gonna be worth finding?” My older brother asked me sounding quite bored. I simply shrugged in response saying “Honestly I don’t know. But, it looks like curiosity’s gotten the better of me.” The two of us finally decided to enter the building, oddly the door was unlocked but we didn’t think much of it. Despite the outside of the estate looking kind of beat up due to age, the inside seemed to be in almost pristine condition. The only real thing that said otherwise was the dust on several spots. “Didn’t know our great grandad had such a..unique taste in terms of interior design.” I commented as my brother and I looked around the first floor. The living room had one of those big fire places, several chairs and a couch placed in a sort of ring around the fireplace. Though, aside from said living room and a rather interesting looking bedroom the first floor had little that caught our attention. “I’ll go check upstairs.” My brother shouted to me before he walked up the stairs to the second floor. I was about to go follow him, but, something unexpectedly caught my eye. Needless to say I was pretty confused because I could’ve sworn there wasn’t a door where I was now looking. Was I just somehow oblivious to it? But how’d my brother miss it then; surely he would’ve noticed it before, right? Whatever the case my curiosity reached an all-time high as I stepped towards the door, my steps making some old loose wooden floorboards creak upon making contact with my feet. I reached out for the handle and slowly opened the door. To my surprise there was what looked to be a massive library; and when I say massive I mean it looked almost too big to have been part of the estate once I stepped inside. Instantly I shot my brother a text to tell him he should come see this as I walked further into the… Read more »

Michael Collins
2 months ago

The Most Invasive Species,
By Lakemoron

Young Iris slipped into her grandfather’s office and pulled out his bestiary; he spent his life cataloging rare endangered species. This was her favorite part of coming to her grandparent’s home. The book was his original sketchbook done while he secretly watched his subjects. The Species Chronicle has the official three-dimensional representations of the rare and, in some cases, extinct species, but her grandfather sketches had their character. Iris stopped on a drawing of a two-headed snake with one head filled with razor-sharp teeth and the other toothless. The Huaster (who-as-tier) was deadly and now extinct. The next page was her favorite.

Her grandfather slowly walked up behind her, seeing she had his book out again. He knew he didn’t have too many times like this left where he could teach her. His time was coming to an end; soon, he would be with his wife in the big whatever that was next after death. He saw Iris was once again on the most dangerous of all the extinct animals.

Her grandfather said, “My lovely little thing, there are so many interesting beasts within the book, why do you focus on those things?”

Iris looked up to her grandfather, “I don’t know? There’s just something so sad about it all. I mean, they don’t look dangerous.”

Her grandfather turned to another page. On the page was a furry, almost teddy bear-like creature with a wide grin.

“You see this creature; it was called an Igus. When we first found it, we didn’t know just how deadly a one-meter beast could be until it killed half of our expedition.”

Iris turned the page back.

Her grandfather said, “Make no mistake, when they were still around, humanity was the most invasive species alive and a danger to us all. They killed each other while destroying their habitat. We’re better off without them.”

On the page was the drawing of a young girl in a flowered dress swinging on a swing seemingly oblivious to the alien sketching her while another took her picture.

Madelyn
Madelyn
2 months ago

“Faust’s Warning”
By Madelyn

Faust here. I know, I know. “You can’t be using this audio recorder. You have a known reputation of telling people knowledge that can drive them insane.”

I heard it before, but I want to try my hand at being serious. I’m gonna add something to the growing bestiary. Both a creature and a warning.

Time to learn the difference between reapers and my goth brother.

Reapers are actually good. They grab souls, guide them to the afterlife, kick ass when they gotta help with unfinished business—yada yada yada. They also have venom in their claws. Don’t worry, they can retract. People would know about them more if they couldn’t.

Then there’s the Black Veil Brides reject that I call a brother. He’s had a lot of names in his time—probably the most fitting is Thanatos, so I’ll use that name so this recording isn’t completely discarded. Like me, he can be summoned by anyone who finds out what his ritual is. There’s the obvious difference that he deals in death and I deal in knowledge.

He’s usually summoned when you want someone truly dead—more on that in a moment. When you summon Thanatos, he gives you two options for your payment—your life, or your servitude. The latter has a thirty percent chance of turning you into a reaper.

…This is where the warning comes in.

Thanatos doesn’t guide souls to the afterlife. He eats them. That also goes for the seventy percent of the servants that don’t become reapers. Eating souls wipes the memory of the soul from the world— save for me. There are nasty people in this world, but no one deserves a true death like this. Having your memory lost to the world is far more horrifying than it sounds.

You don’t gain anything from summoning my brother.

But I won’t stop you if you try. I might be nicer than the others, but that doesn’t mean I’m a good guy.

In fact, try calling me up when you summon Thanatos. I would love to see that meal.

William Keating
William Keating
2 months ago

Somethings are best left alone.
By William Keating

Teresa followed the footprints down to the vaulted library, the family store of collective knowledge, carefully preserved and added to for several centuries. The footprints were unusual, as in how could there be footprints in solid stone? No mud neither. These prints were merely marking in the floor, and they were not human.
At the bottom of the stairs Teresa check the logbook, only a set number of peoples are allowed into the vault per day, and usually only to dust the shelves and change the candles. No new entries since yesterday, so it could not be someone who knew the policy, she stopped herself, of course, it wouldn’t, it is an it, not a person. Yet this opened further questions, how could this, thing, have gotten past the guards for starters.
Teresa wrote her name and the entry time into the log and walked further in.
The trail ended at a shelf with one book sticking out, having been placed on its spine. Teresa rolled her eyes. Bohemian, she thought taking out the book, no doubt the thing the assailant came for. Whatever information this individual looked for, she wanted to know too.
Opening the title page, it read, The Bestiary no author, and no additional title. Teresa filled through the book creature after creature stared at her. Could they exist? How could they? Many made no sense.
On the next page in the image of an indistinct figure moved. Teresa’s blood ran cold.
“Oh, you want to have all this make sense,” the image said. “Well, then, what’s your human saying, be careful what you wish for?”
An inky hand shot onto her face, and Teresa felt as though her very soul was being stretch thin.
Next thing she knew, she looked at her own reflection in a pool of water, an inhuman hand mark now painted across her.
Suddenly she heard something drinking directly in front of her. Teresa slowly glanced upwards; her eyes shivered at the mere thought of what this might be.

Blazekarver
Blazekarver
2 months ago

The First Encounter
by Roy (Blazekarver)

“You sure this is it?” Asger spits, rubbing his arms in the cold mountain wind. Not many were happy when I suggested looking for Erling in the mountain forest.
“Of course, you don’t trust the Vegvisir?”
I try to set myself straight and feel my lips chapping at the thought of even trying so. I cover my mouth. The sky had gone completely black. Only our torches guide us in the dark. But now we’ve found shelter. Yet no sign of Erling.

The company reaches the shed, yet none dares to enter it’s chambers. Their muscles seem to stiffen in the cold of the outside. Holding onto their coats tighter than they had before. Even I feel the compulsion to stay out of the shed. There’s something about it. I can’t quite place it yet. It’s cold. If dark was a feeling, I feel it radiating off of the inner sanctum of the shed.
I shake my head and against my gut feeling, push myself forward, opening the shed’s front door. And like snow in the summer, the feeling was gone.

“Come inside, light the torches. We camp here for tonight and look for Erling tomorrow morning. Asger! You’ve got the rations with you, right?” Barking orders didn’t come natural to me. But one has to adapt.
Asger nods. After seeing me inside the shed, the others slowly started to push themselves into the shed. First trying to light the torches before doing anything. The dim light coming from the torches showed me a tome on the floor. I pick up the tome and notice it’s got log entries written in it. With Erling’s handwriting. Most of the pages were animals we’ve seen on our way here. But the last pages are… covered in ink. The great Erling can’t keep his own bestiary clean?
And like a winter blizzard, the dark feeling returned. Emanating from the walls. Dizziness overwhelms me. Shadows slicing off feet where they reach. Eyes form in the dark. A voice resonates.
“Ek Owlthuthewaz Hateka Harja.”

The sky turns blood red, the moon lapis lazuli blue.

Matthew Cameron
Matthew Cameron
2 months ago

The Bestiary log:the tree devil
By Matt the bloodsoaked bastard

The tree devil is creature of unknown origins living out in the backwoods of (redacted).Its stands at 8 feet tall with human like hands and lizard like claws has horns around 4 inches protruding from its head.Its legs are goat like, and it’s eyes have been described as a void full of fire by survivors of encounters it’s teeth are yellow and serrated.It’s been show to reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour for short periods.

The behavior of the creature depends on factory such as weather hunger and human involvement.if the creature requires food it will begin hunting.its hunting style shows high intelligence laying traps and tracking foot steps of prey.prey includes anything animal based and non poisonous.it kills it’s prey by ambushing and snapping its neck (note will use more violent means if angered or if necessary to subdue the prey).

Incident report:#1-hunter reported seeing a large creature in the woods described as large with horns.he says he came across a creature feeding on a grizzly .He said it ate by tearing chunks off the bear with either its teeth or hands hunter reported snapping a branch and the creature spotted him the hunter reports the eyes I’ll never forget the eyes it was as if I was starring into hell itself.the hunter ran back to there vehicle.hunter reports not hearing sounds of being chased but did feel the presence of being watched-end of report

Incident report:#2-campsite found destroyed 4 casualties all from the same family bodies found heavily damaged dental records required to id grizzly were blamed but bite patterns and wounds do not match a grizzly hoof prints were also found in the area 2 sets from 2 different creatures-end of report

T.E.
T.E.
2 months ago

A Small Discovery
by T.E.

My eccentric old grandfather passed away last spring. He was the black sheep of the family, and many of his descendants – myself included – blamed him for wasting away the large family fortune on fruitless endeavors. It was with mixed feelings of sorrow and greed that I traveled to his estate in search of anything valuable.

The estate was in heavy decline, it smelled of mold, and was infested by all manners of pests. I was the last to make the trip, and most valuables had already been taken by scavenging siblings and cousins. What remained were to be mine alone. I knew them all to be largely illiterate and immediately steered my course towards the dusty old library. There was no great diversity among the books. Most of them zoological in nature, some scientific and others mythological.

I flipped through one of the old tomes. It contained odd notes and scribbles next to many of the entries. One entry on dragons had a note in sloppy handwriting beside it. “All nonsense, dragons are tiny.” What could have influenced an old man to write something so bizarre? I read through multiple entries in the book and went on to others when my investigation no longer yielded results.

After several hours among the books, I gleaned new insight into my grandfather’s beliefs. There was a common theme of him noting that the fictional creatures were tiny, or microscopic even. He had also written notes clarifying whether the creatures were living in the estate or not. It would seem most of them could be found in this very house.

I decided to research further. Armed with tweezers and a loupe I began exploring. For hours I scoured the house, leaving behind footprints in the heavy dust as I did so. Still, I found not a living thing besides the usual vermin native to decaying old houses. I was about to give up when I saw something strange. Odd little footprints trailed behind my own. It would seem I was the one being observed.

Will
Will
2 months ago

The Bestiary
by Will

It’s finished, but I flip through it again to be sure of it’s quality. Page 132: “Scuttling horrors are amorphous creatures roughly the size of a common dog that feed on everything they touch. They have an acute fear of flame and dislike of sunlight. If approached, do not touch it.” Page 451: “Sparkers are small lizards that live within the lower reaches of mountains, feeding on sulfur deposits and any small animals that they find. They are characterized primarily by their iron coated lower jaws which can be dislocated and quickly struck against their upper jaws teeth to create a spark in a similar manner to a flint and steel. They breathe a viscous and highly flammable gas that sticks like tar. Do not provoke unless necessary.”

All seemed well. I spent many years traveling the world with whoever I could find, occasionally living in the dingiest of hovels simply to find a new beast to discover. This book, the worlds first authoritative and complete bestiary will mean so much to both the scholars of this age and of those yet to come but I am glad I wrote it for reasons that run deeper than that. I was able to travel the world, to meet people of the greatest kind: generous and caring. Though my goal was in search of the myriad of monsters that inhabited our world I found myself enamored with the humanity displayed by my kinsmen who I wholeheartedly dedicate this book to.

I hope that this book aids those very same people in their daily lives, to keep them safe from Vermil Lions and Drakinids, to return their kindness with prosperity blessed by Golden Fools and Harvest Worms. This book stands as a testament to human ability as I couldn’t have done this without them. The grandfather clock strikes the hour as I close the finalized book and the sun’s light graces its cover, just barely squeezing through the crowds of curtains and glass that have eagerly watched me write this as I leave to have it published, closing this chapter of my life.