T’Were Many Years Ago Now...
Afta the biggest drought we ever had. The rain come in that night like mother’s milk to a parched babe. A precious gift thrown to the ungrateful red earth, which supped it mercilessly and begged for more. We set out buckets to collect it, Janey and me, so’s we had a little cleaner drinkin’ water than what was spluttered out by the rusty rain-tank.
- I take it yur’v heard of the burrowin’ toads that live here ’bouts, and pop up afta a rain? There was some talk they was pois’nous after old Tombo got sick from a stew he made outa one of ‘em, he was hallucinatin som'n fierce, tellin’ ever’n he come ’cross how the “Frogmen” were comin to rule over us. How they’d bilt an entire civilisation unda-ground, and one day theyd dig 'emselves up afta the rains come, to eats up all tha children and livestock.
Well that’s Tombo for you, all they all thort was he must’ve ate sumthin mighty ’musing.
Anyway that was years before, so we didn’t pay’t no mind. We was still kids then, Janey was nine and I was about 'leven or so, and we couldn’t think of nothin better than to go frolicin' in the rainy dark, seein' if we’s could find one'a them burrowin’ toads to keep for a day-pet.
So there we was, digging 'round in the little puddles which was formin’ on the dried up ol' river bed. B’n dry as a bone for years... Anyway, that's when I noticed a few bubbles comin’ up in the mud under a rock. So I turned 't over, and somethin was squirmin' underneath. I called to Janey to bring a bucket ’coz I’d found one I thort, a big one too. Big as a football almost. I couldn’t see too well though ’coz my flashlight started flickerin', so I just went by feel. I tried to pick him up - it was definitely a toad I thort, judging from the slimy bumpy skin - but it was stuck in the mud somehow and wouldn't come up for nuthin'. I carefully tried to dig ’round it, loosen it up, but I couldn’t get my hands underneath it's belly.
That’s when it opened it’s eyes.
Two big orbs the size of golf-balls, glowing reddish yellah in the pitch black.
I screamed like an iddy biddy girl and I ain’t ’shamed to admit it. The thing I’d been touching that I thort was a whole toad was only it’s head. I backed up, fallin over Janey in the mud, and we froze thar shiv’rin in terror as it dug itsulf out.
Our eyes made out what they could in the little bit of flickering light. It was tall as I was, and twice as fat. Stood up on it’s hind legs, with a sickeningly 'telligent smile on it’s huge flat face. All at once it was free of the mud and it came t'wards us with a startling leap. Sunk it’s teeth down into my leg right here. Surprizin'y sharp teeth, like a shark almost. Still have the scar, see? Ripped right through my jeans and tore out a big chuck a' flesh. I’ve b’n limping ever since.
But I guess it didn’t like the taste a me too much because it sort of choked and spat 't out and then all t'once tha blaggard was gone, bounded off to go et Lord-knows-what for puddin'.
They all think I’m gone loopy whenever I tell 'em that, but Janey saw it too. Only she can’t corroborate to nobody coz the sight of the thing scared her voice right outta her and she han’t spoke a word since.