's 2019 Horror Write-off:

A is for Alligator

Submitted by Centipedal

Parents are always telling you bullshit. Things like a slimy old man slipping down the chimney, horrible bunny-men squeezing eggs filled with candy through their cloacae, and that they were “just wrestling” that one time when you were six. And then there’s those feelings when they tell you the truth. Disappointment, confusion, a tinge of disgust when you look at your seven-year younger brother, and above all else, a growing sense of mistrust in what they say and do. 

So, really, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found out the most recent of their lies. I had just moved to a big city, can’t remember which one, from my life in the slightly-smaller, although rather modern due to the advent of the internet, nearby town. My hometown had gone through a boom about two years before I was born, and people were still scrambling to get in twenty-five years later. Me, though? I wanted out. So I moved about an hour up the interstate, landing myself in the big city. 

My parents, of course, were worried for me. “Bring bear spray, sweetie!” they said. “Bring a dust mask!” they said. “Bring your coat!” they said. The aforementioned mistrust lead me to bring none of those things. Which lead to me having to run back home and grab my jacket after our first big snowstorm. But I digress. 

It was the beginning of May, my first summer in the city, when I discovered another lie. I was walking along with a warm bagel when it just kinda slipped out of my hands and fell on the ground. I instinctively bent down to grab it, but this small critter vanished it away before I could even touch the treat. It was kinda like a red, rat-sized crocodile with a vastly larger head than the rest of its minuscule body. 

My eyes followed the creature as it ran away and down into the nearby storm sewer. The one right near my apartment. The sewer let out not too far from my house, and I was really curious about this weirdo-dile. Plus, my roommate probably had someone over. For like, the fifth time this month. A real smooth operator, that one. 

Anyways, I walked on down to the sewer entrance, crouched down, and, thanks to my small size, managed to squeeze my way through. After a minute or two of that weird little shuffling crouch-walk, I ended up running into the little critter again. With my phone flashlight, I got a closer look at it. The only new things I was really able to discern were its long people-legs and its short and stubby little arms, tipped with pincers that resembled its head. 

The little fella scurried off, and against my better judgement, I followed. As I managed to squish my way down the sewer, I found it slightly easier to move. And slightly easier, a little later. And even easier after another few minutes. As it turned out, the tunnel was widening. Pretty soon, I was able to actually walk. After about five minutes of walking- and another three feet of sewer space- I saw the little guy. 

The critter disappeared from my sight again, but as I went a closer to where it once was, I saw why. It wasn’t because it was fast. Oh no, it was because it has just dropped off a ledge. I was prepared to follow, until I saw what I was about to get into. 

It took me a whole minute to even glance at the second- and third-most noteworthy aspects of the room (namely, the several-inches-deep pool of raw sewage on the floor and the fact that the room was MASSIVE- as in, football-field-massive) because I was just too darn entranced by the most noteworthy item. The first thing I noticed about it was the fact that it was huge- it took up the whole room. The second thing was that it was covered with more of those red fellas, most of whom were splashing around and playing in the water. The third was the mouth. 

This thing was shaped kind of like a flattened barrel- (relatively) thin height-wise, but very wide. It was colored a dark green, and had several million bumps along its back. The body tapered off at the back, becoming a very long, very big tail. It had four legs. I think. I couldn’t exactly tell if those wiggling things on it were more limbs or the critters. Its head, though, was where things got really weird. 

It had a massive, A-shaped head, like an eyeless version of the smaller creatures. The whole thing was taken up by the giant jaws that stretched a good ten feet. Its mouth yawned open, revealing nothing. Like, literally nothing. Well, I guess there were gums. But the throat was just a void, and I know this thing was big, but it seemed like the throat was bigger. It was like I could see everything inside of it, and a whole lot more. Infinity more. And all I could think of was what would happen if it ate me. I still don’t know. 

I have only one clue to what was in that monster. I made some sound, some squeak or something. The big thing took a break from the littles and “looked” at me, as much as something without eyes can look. Then, its mouth opened even wider, folding back flat upon its head. And I swear to god, I saw something in that void. Some floating teeth, and, uh, something else. A big, round, white orb, drifting in the darkness. As it turned towards me, I saw a large black line in the center, stretching from top to bottom. And then the eye blinked. 

I hightailed it out of there, of course. And now, whenever I see one those critters running across the street, or stealing a ring, I’m reminded of it. At first, all I could’ve thought of was that thing in the darkness, nursing its children, watching them splash and play. But that fear grew cold, it went away. The odd nightmare still gets me, but I’m really more concerned about my bills, y’know? Honestly, the only “dreadful realization” I got out of this was the same one I got when my parents talked to me about the birds and the bees. 

Yeah, all that about no alligators in the sewers? That was another fucking lie. Thanks, mom and dad.