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The sleepy town of Greensville is attacked by a giant praying mantis. This story was actually published in my high school literary magazine during my Senior year.

Scifi / Horror
Scaley Randy
Age Rating:

A Short Stroy

Within the void of space there lied the mysterious and undiscovered 13th planet, floating just beyond the reach of human or telescopic sight. It would’ve quietly drifted until the sun finally ceased; until a colossal asteroid slammed into it with such force that it threw up a huge chunk of it into space, and causing it to be thrown in the direction of Earth.

General Alan Smithee sat on the chair in his study, looking upon his medals, his pictures, and his old uniform which was neatly folded within a glass case. He was drinking a glass of Scotch on the rocks while remembering his youth. Alan was a tired and single old man who had seen much action in the Pacific Theater of World War II. He commanded troops as they stormed one island after another and took enemy base after enemy base, watched his men cheer when victory was achieved and mourn those that were lost. But near the end of the war he had been severely injured by a rogue grenade, which got him sent home and crippled his left hand, taking his right pinky and middle fingers. Luckily the doctors managed to save his legs, although he was still in rehabilitation by the time the Korean War rolled around. And by Vietnam, he was already getting too old to fight. Alan stood up and sipped his Scotch as he looked out the window and into the starry night sky. His house was just on the outskirts of the city of Greensville and it faced away from the city so the lights didn’t block out the stars and moon at night. Upon gazing into the night sky, Alan saw a bright green meteorite shoot across the sky and smash into the forest just a few miles outside of town. Awestruck by this phenomenon, he quickly rushed to the phone and called the police.

In the morning, Alan told the police what he saw the previous night, and the police said they would investigate it since other people had also seen the meteorite that night. After having breakfast, Alan got dressed and decided to drive up to the where the meteor had crashed so as to get a better look at it. It took him at least five hours to get there due to bad traffic. Once he arrived at the edge of the forest, he noticed several vans parked nearby, some looked like news vans, while others looked as though they were used for carrying some more scientific equipment. He entered the forest with an air of caution and managed to see the crater in the distance before he was stopped by a man in a hazmat suit.

“I’m sorry, sir, you can’t go any further,” the man said as he pressed his hand against Alan’s chest.

“Why not? I want to see what’s up with this meteor,” Alan said with a hint of confusion and annoyance.

“This area is quarantined due to the nature of this meteor. It contains an as-of-yet unknown substance that is highly radioactive and would more than likely cause you harm,” the man explained and Alan nodded.

“Find any space men in there?” Alan joked while the man shook his head and chuckled.

“No, but we’ll tell you if we do,” the man said before Alan turned and went home, noticing a faint, eerie green glow in the distance as he left.

At his house, Alan sat down and turned on the local news to see if there was any development on the meteor. The newswoman was standing in front of the forest. “Officials say that the meteor is off limits to the public and that it is advised that people stay as far away as possible, due to its high levels of radiation. Authorities are being called out to guard the forest in order to steer away trespassers while scientists study the meteor and its properties, hoping to find out more about. Scientists have also ordered the construction of a lead-lined truck so as to transport the meteor away from the area.” She said and Alan sighed a little. He would’ve at least liked to see it up close just to marvel at it, but he didn’t want to get into any trouble nor get hurt. He turned off the television and read a book before making dinner, thinking that today was just mildly unusual day and that everything would fall back into routine after the meteor was taken away.

That night, as the scientists stayed within their tent and studied the meteor from a safe distance while a praying mantis flew past them unseen in the night. The mantis was an unassuming creature, simply going about its business when it saw the huge glowing meteor and became completely mesmerized by it. The mantis flew onto the glowing rock and began carefully walking around it, examining every inch of it for any sort of morsel, while bathing in its green glow. Upon entering one of its holes it found a strange green substance, which it consumed out of curiosity. The mantis then quickly retreated, feeling ill as it fell to the ground. It trembled and cowered at the strange feeling, its entire body in pain from the mysterious substance it consumed. But, as the pain seemed to grow more intense, the mantis itself also began to grow in size. Within a minute, it was the size of a cat, by an hour, it was the size of a car, and finally, by at least three hours, it was about 50 feet tall. The mantis then noticed a small tent nearby and tore it open, revealing tiny screaming morsels within. One by one it snatched them up with its raptorial legs and devoured them, its mandibles ripping through their flesh and crushing their bones as they were consumed. Once it had finished consuming all that were in the tent, it noticed a huge glowing light in the distance and began crawling towards it, ripping up the earth and leaving huge footprints in its wake as it made its way to what it thought to be a new food source.

Alan looked out his window once more, sipping his Scotch, when he saw a towering figure emerge from the forest. At first, he thought he was just seeing things, but upon rubbing his eyes, he saw that the tall figure in the night was indeed real, and it was moving towards the city. He dropped his glass and rushed to the phone, calling up the police again and trying to warn them of the figure he had seen. They, of course, told him, in an almost condescending tone, that they would look into and that he should go to bed. Upon hanging up, Alan rushed to the window and saw the towering figure a bit more clearly in the moonlight. It seemed insectoid but he wasn’t sure what kind it was. He then saw it reach the road before it started picking up cars and trying to eat them. Alan watched, not wanting to think about what was happening to the people inside as his heart throbbed with fear. He didn’t know what to do or where to turn to; it probably wouldn’t be long before it reached the city and people would notice. But at the same time, he couldn’t just stand by and watch whatever that thing was devour those people as it made its way to the city. Making a quick decision, Alan went into his basement and picked up his old rifle, which he had always cleaned and maintained, before he got in his car and drove towards the looming monstrosity.

This was probably the dumbest thing Alan thought he would ever do. Alan knew that what he was doing would probably have little impact, but he knew he had to try something- anything- that might help in the slightest. He stopped 30 feet from the colossal insect before he got out and loaded up his gun. People were either driving or running past him while the monster snapped up some and ate them. Alan aimed at what he could see to be the creature’s head and fired five bullets at it. This got the monster’s attention as it dropped the half-eaten corpse of one of its victims and began making its way towards him, seemingly unaffected by the shots. Realizing that he more than likely only made the creature mad, or at least annoyed, Alan quickly got in his car and started to drive off, but he didn’t get far before it grabbed his car. Now that he was up close and personal with the monster, he could see that it was a giant praying mantis before it took a bite out of a section of the roof of the car. The mantis devoured the roof like it was nothing, but before it could consume Alan, he picked up his rifle and shot the creature right in its eye. This caused the mantis to shriek in pain and drop the car, totaling it and knocking Alan unconscious.

When Alan awoke, he found himself inside a large green tent with his legs stitched up and his neck in a brace. There were soldiers here and there with many other people in beds similar to his own, all with varying degrees of injury. Alan called over one of the doctors, who looked amazed that he was awake. “Where am I? What happened?” Alan asked in dazed confusion

“You’re in a medical tent several miles outside the city; you’ve been out for three days,” the doctor explained.

“Three days? What happened to the monster?” he asked with surprise.

“It’s continued to destroy the city and eat people. The military has been trying to fight it, but with no luck,” the doctor replied.

“I see… Well, can I at least get a view of the fight?” Alan asked, and the doctor shook his head.

“I’m sorry, but your condition has just stabilized and we don’t want to-”

Alan cut him off. “Please, just let me see it,” he said. The doctor sighed and got a wheelchair, then helped Alan into it, wheeling him outside to see the military fight the monster in the distance.

The mantis’ hunger seemed almost ceaseless, as it had been picking off and eating people for three days straight. When the military arrived on the second day, they seemed little more than a little annoyed. Many soldiers were consumed as it picked up the writhing, screaming bodies and ate them. Their bullets bounced off its exoskeleton and seemed to do little damage to it. When tanks were brought in, it merely dodged and crushed them swiftly, as if it knew what kind of threat they posed. Things were getting more and more desperate as they called in fighter planes, which were picked out of the sky and either crushed or eaten. The commanders and generals leading the operation considered dropping an atomic bomb on the creature since most of their conventional weaponry had failed. After a long and difficult discussion, they made the call to the President.

Alan watched the vague shape of the monster fight off the soldiers that came its way; reminding him of his days during the War. He wished he could take command and even go to the frontlines to fight alongside them. Although, his nostalgia faded as he started to hear sirens in the distance, a sign that the military vehicles were pulling out. Many of the people at the camp were disassembling the base as the civilians and the injured were taken to various vehicles that would transport them away. A nurse ran up and started wheeling Alan away in the panic. “What’s going on?” Alan asked.

“They’re going to drop a nuke on Greensville. We have to get out of here,” she replied as Alan could only sit in silence while she wheeled him away.

It took at least two hours before everyone was evacuated to a safe distance, the mantis seeming content with staying within the city to look for more food. Once everyone was at the safe distance, a bomber plane flew past them and dropped the huge bomb right on top of the mantis. There was a bright flash, which everyone looked away from, before they heard a near-dephening explosion and felt a powerful shockwave. Upon looking back, they saw a large mushroom cloud over the blasted city that was Greensville, the buildings were now nothing but hollow monoliths of the once thriving city and most of the houses were blown out or ashen. But at the center of the explosion, the mantis still stood like a defiant behemoth. The mantis the writhed and shrieked as it once again began to grow, it’s green color darkening to a brownish while its exoskeleton began to crack in various area. It grew to 200 feet tall now and the spikes on its forearm lengthened while its eyes began to glow a bright green and started spewing green bile which melted through one of the buildings. The people then watched in horror as the creature spread its gigantic wings and fly off into the distance, searching for its next meal.

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