Our creature had begun making this awful moaning, keening noise around ten that night. Mom and I had stroked its fur and whispered to it, trying to sooth it. We tried to read to it, but soon the noise became so loud that our voices couldn’t be heard. I tried to school my face, look calm and composed, but inside I was panicking. I felt sick with terror.
When it hit midnight, the creature went into a frenzy. Its legs scrabbled desperately on the floor, trying to lift its body and turn itself over. I found its behavior very strange – exposing your belly can be such a vulnerable position. And this was not a creature that liked to be vulnerable.
Its struggles were so pathetic, it was heartbreaking. My mother and I reached out to it at the same time and turned it on its side, allowing its belly to breathe freely. Its great maw was gasping violently, its teeth on display like knives. I had forgotten about how terrifying its abdomen was, especially when it was aimed right at you. My mother moved to sit by me, holding my hand as we continued to stroke the creature’s fur.
All of a sudden, my mother stopped and turned to me, her eyes bright as though alighting on something important.
“You don’t think…” she began, but before she finished the question, it happened.