This is no fit bedtime story. More a tale of caution to the doubting and unwary. For there is a sound that you never want to hear… a roar.

In the early days of the world, after light and color but before the giants roamed freely, there was a creature who couldn’t decide on what shape to take. It mimicked each being it encountered with perfect attention to detail, and at the end of each day, found that it had enjoyed different aspects of each experience.

“Having a tail was fun,” it would decide. “But so was running on many legs.”

Even after all of the other creatures had chosen their shapes this one remained ever changing.

“What do I do?” it lamented. “There is nothing about me that makes me, well, me.”

“If I may,” offered a creature overhearing this cry. “You are the most frightening predator there is. No prey can outrun, or outswim or outfly you. We call you ‘Chlotka,’ which means ‘no escape.’ It is your perfect mimicry that makes you singular.”

The chlotka thought these words through over a snack, and decided it was true. It could run on a thousand legs. It could fly on ten wings. It could dive deep into the ocean and breathe through gills if it wished.

“I am chlotka,” it roared to the world.

The tales they tell at night, to keep the children in bed, of the creature no one has ever seen… take heed. For a chlotka can lurk in plain sight. No one has seen a chlotka and lived to tell of it, but don’t let that fool you into believing that they don’t exist. It could be anything, anywhere. It can outrun you, and outsmart you to be sure.

And a chlotka is always up for a snack.

Written by W. C. McClure  This short story may be shared (and please do); just please be sure to share it in its entirety, unaltered (and including this fine print), with credit given to W. C. McClure.  Comments are welcome at Oh, and if you want to show your support, tell your friends about this short story blog – and pick up a copy of “The Statues of Azminan” by W. C. McClure.  Thanks!


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