I've missed a couple of weeks due to real life interfering with important things like books. I warned that there wouldn't be any more Impcatcher for a while - instead, I present Sorrel Swordless. This is a complete short story (in snippets) set in Sorrel's world. For those who have already read the Sorrel novels (and if you haven't, you should - they're good books!) this is set after the end of Sorrel in Silver - but you don't need to have read the novels for it to make sense, and it doesn't contain too many spoilers for the main trilogy.
So with no more ado...
'Why not pick on someone your own size, you volging lafquas?'
Usually when I say that, I'm goading someone to take a swing at yours truly. Not this time - fear and anger were churning in my stomach and making my mouth sound off without me thinking about it, but for a change, I didn't want my target to go for me. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything else the horror could pick on. It was over nine feet high, with a dozen spindly legs supporting a violet, snake-like body.
If it had been blue, and a bit smaller, I'd have called it a ruzdrool, but this looked like a ruzdrool's angry big sister. Just like a ruzdrool, where a mouth ought to be on any sensibly-designed monster, there were a cluster of long, writhing tentacles, each tipped with a vicious spike. But this had two extra tentacles, each ending in a white globe the size of a large apple, each twisted towards me – a black dot was in the middle of each globe. Normal ruzdrool don't seem to have eyes, though this doesn't stop them. This brute? I suspected the white globes were eyes, which meant as well as sensing me with whatever freakish senses an ordinary ruzdrool had, this one could see me as well. Great.
As always, comments welcomed! The picture, by the way, is actually a fendahleen, from a very old Doctor Who episode, which has been doctored (sorry!) to be a little more like my own horror. The tentacles aren't long enough, and lack spikes, and it is a little too like a slug rather than a snake, but it's at least close. I'll try and produce a better picture of one before next time.