Read Something (Darkly)Funny!

November Reading

Muzzle  Men

Patricia A. Leslie ©2020

 

     “I saw another one today.”

     “Oh. Good. And good for you.”

     “Don’t you want to know what kind?”

     “I know you’re going to tell me.”

     “One of the muzzle-men.”

     “Oh. Anubis heads?”

     “No. No! I’ve told you this. They’re not like that. Not jackal heads. They look like ordinary humans. Except for having a muzzle. A pointy muzzle that sticks out. Oh, four to eight inches. They vary.”

     “Uh-huh.”

     “Well, what do you think? Why are they showing up? What are they doing here?”

     “Why are you asking me? Seeing muzzle-men is your thing. So, you should have the answers. More than me, you know.”

     The worried female glared at her sister, curling her lips back, showing all her teeth. “I can’t handle this alone. I think they’re dangerous. I’m sure of it. We need to alert the community. I thought you’d want to help.”

     “I didn’t want to bring this up, but you’re forcing me. You’ll be ridiculed. Ostracized. Everybody knows humans are extinct.”

     “But what if they aren’t? What if they just, you know, survived in a few small isolated places, but had some genetic thing happen? Not even all of them. Just one little group.”

     “Oh. Sure. Could happen. Didn’t.”

     “I’ve seen them! Four of them, now.”

     “Yeah? So. Why are you the only one?”

     “I’m not. There were six other people there today. When this one went past. Everybody noticed. Everybody stared.”

     “What did everybody say?”

     “Nothing.”

     “See?”

     “See what?”

     “You’re the only one who actually saw this creature.”

     “No, everybody saw it. We all stayed quiet because we were all too fright-“

     A pink-bodied, mostly hairless creature sprang from the bushes that grew all the way to the water’s edge. Long, prehensile, taloned toes clenched the sister’s hair, bent the head back. A wolfish muzzle, wide open as it leapt, clamped yellow teeth on the skeptic’s windpipe. Her eyes stared, unbelieving, but it was already too late.

     The one who had not doubted the reality of these creatures shrank back, screeching, to clamber swiftly up the nearest puzzle-tree. Staring down, she saw that the hunter was relishing her sibling’s entrails. There was a lot of wet-sounding snarling; it was already sharing the bounty with two half-grown ones of its kind. She sighed; glanced all around, anxiously.

     Only a small lizard; it clung to a nearby branch. Since there was no-one else to inform at the moment, she whispered, “Well. Guess I was right all along.”

     The lizard gazed up at the chimp. “Yeah. Three years ago they were just eating us guys. But they learn damn fast. Best of luck. You’ll need it.”

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