A Glow in the Dark
“Behold, Florida, the land of mysterious and spooky happenings! Will our heroes catch the elusive Florida Man? Will they live to tell the tale? Watch now, on Gator Hunters!”
“What does this have to do with the mission?” Justin asked.
“Oh, and where the hell are the others?!” Lillian growled.
Xavier sighed, turning off the projector. Across him, in the briefing room, were only Justin and Lillian.
There was a mission… but it was in Florida.
“Ah yes, since I’m not going to use our main team for I’m sure is nothing, I’m sending you two,” Xavier explained.
“Because it is… Florida?” Lillian inquired.
“Yeah, probably nothing. We always get weird readings for Florida.”
“Okay...” Justin mumbled.
“Anyway, as I’ve been saying, a mission in Florida! You will be investigating sightings and perhaps disappearances caused by a large crocodile that as witnesses say, is as tall as a man and was… glowing. You two will be exploring some abandoned theme park, and the abandoned sewers of the area.”
“Really? Just us?” Lillian questioned. “Don’t you think you should send say, a paleontologist like Stacy to assist us?”
“Right, the others- away on a mission. Taking down some Sinoceratops or something.”
“I’ll accept,” Justin said.
“Me too,” Lillian added.
“Brilliant, you two will be going to the Florida Man abandoned theme park, which is next to the town of Florwan. Do remember to check the abandoned sewers.”
The two nodded.
Xavier smiled and waved them goodbye as he left the plane. Justin and Lillian headed to the cockpit and flew off. Soon, they put the plane into autopilot, then decided to plan.
“Alright,” Lillian began, tying her hair while speaking. According to protocol, long hair wouldn’t be able to be pulled or used, “we have the electro-batons, fire-sword, plasma-cutters… oh, and an infinite collection of guns.”
“Hmm, let’s use the plasma cutters, batons, and probably a pistol. It’s probably nothing, just a routine time portal. Probably nothing got through.”
“Giant glowing gator?”
“Nah, it’s Florida, we’ll probably encounter the elusive Florida Man.”
“Well then, now that we’ve got our gear… what now?” Lillian wondered.
“No idea. Let’s do something fun. Like say, going through everyone’s rooms?”
“That’s what I was going to say!”
And so the two, having all the plane to themselves, went through everyone’s room.
Meanwhile, in Florida, a child, Cody, and his dog, Sandy, decided to go and explore the abandoned Florida Man park.
The park was supposed to have many attractions about the crimes and things the Florida Man had done. Unfortunately, the Florida Man theme park had been abandoned when one such elusive Florida Man decided to throw a few molotov cocktails, ruining progress.
Floran had already been built, so they focused on bettering the town instead. Children played on the abandoned theme park nearby.
And so Cody and his dog were walking to the theme park for some fun. Except that it was night-time, and the clouds seemed especially dark. In the far distance, thunder boomed.
“Sandy, wait up!” the boy called. The dog did not respond, running off, straining at the leash. The dog barked, trying to scare off something in the dark unknown. “Sandy!”
With the final tug, the dog leapt up and broke free, running away from the park and into a marsh area.
Cody ran after the pet, yelling its name.
The marsh glew a light blue, lit by the algae.
Due to the loud splashing of the running dog, something awakened.
An alligator awakened and began to swim from a deeper zone to stalk the dog. The dog kept swimming, trying to run away from something.
The gator seemed to smile and continued swimming when-
The water whooshed as the jaws of a far greater animal snapped around the gator’s midsection, threatening to snap it in two.
The gator thrashed as the new creature shook it, ramming the poor gator into the ground, branches, and whatever else was in the marsh.
At last, crimson blood dimmed the glowing algae.
By now, the boy had ran back to his town, scared.
The dog was not so lucky.
In a single snap, the jaws of the creature seemed to swallow the pet. The glowing water turned a sickly crimson, darkening around a half eaten dog head floating about. Something dangerous was in Florida, and it was not the Florida Man.
Justin and Lillian finally arrived in the town of Floran, having driven a rented car from the airport and being stopped many times, they were late, and their hotel room had been destroyed due to a rampaging lizard.
“Oh come on!” Lillian growled, pointing a finger at the manager. “What do you mean we can’t stay here now?! It’s eleven at night!”
“Sorry, but you’ll have to go to the next town over.”
“That’s thirty minutes away!” Justin grumbled. “You can’t expect us to drive there!”
Justin and Lillian groaned as they left the hotel, and back into their car, where they began the drive to the next town over, which was thirty minutes away.
But at last, they arrived, they slept, they paid, and the day was over.
“These are really good waffles,” Justin commented, stuffing a slice of waffle into his mouth.
“Yes, but we’ve got to look into this case,” Lillian reminded.
“Right, so according to the news, several pets and two children have gone missing,” Justin began, reading off a newspaper. “Other people report a glowing shape in the water going into the sewers near the Florida Man theme park.”
“Intriguing. Let us start there first.”
And with that, the dynamic duo headed off to investigate the mysterious events surrounding Florida Man Park.
In about an hour, the two arrived at the abandoned park. The first thing they noticed was some bored kids playing around the ruins. Surprisingly, the air was fresh, and the sun was bright, bringing good luck to all.
“Hey!” Lillian called. “You kids can’t be here! We are from the FBI!”
The kids dispersed, running back to the town of Floran.
“Guns?” Justin offered, handing Lillian a TSC pistol.
“Let’s split up, then meet back in two hours,” Justin suggested, “after that, we’ll… check out the abandoned sewers.”
“No, I believe the creature is in the sewers,” Lillian returned. “It won’t go out in daylight much.”
“Fine...” Justin moaned, secretly wanting to learn more about the mysterious Florida Man.
The duo passed a large statue of a Florida Man riding on a crocodile, because that totally happened. Next to the statue, was an incomplete ride that would detail the events of one night where Florida Man robbed a gluten factory by throwing an alligator through the window. Another was where Florida Man tried to steal a peacock with a donut, then got killed by an ostrich. Many more stories of the incarnations of Florida Man were told, as well as a conspiracy theory about them all.
It was truly a shame the park had been stopped half-way.
Back to the dynamic duo, who, by now, were in front of a large hole that marked an entrance to the sewers.
“Gross,” Justin groaned.
“Masks?” Lillian asked, pulling out a mask from her backpack.
“Sure- wait, what?”
“Let’s move in.”
The duo rushed in, pointing their flashlights and weapon around, searching for any sort of monster. Nothing, so far.
The two nodded to each other and walked on the metal walkway.
A river of swampy water awaited them below, if they fell. The swamp was clean, as the actual sewer system was never used, due to when a Florida Man threw a grenade on the swamp, and it flooded the sewers.
“Shush,” Lillian ordered. “Hear that?”
“Nothing, I thought I heard a growl.”
Soon, they were far in the sewers that the light of day could not reach them. Only the flashlight showed them the way, and a map. But like a miracle, soon, the two entered an area where the swampy water glowed blue.
“Amazing… algae,” marvelled Justin. “We never get to see these.”
“I’m going to take a picture.”
“As will I!”
Nearby, the sound of the two awakened the creature, who swam, causing a sizable wave. “There!”
“What?! The monster- fire!”
Justin and Lillian shot at the large, roughly crocodilian shape in the water, but it swam away into the depths of the labyrinth. By the size alone, they knew this was what they were here to find.
“Damn it! We lost it!” Justin growled.
“No worries,” Lillian smiled, “one of my tracker shots hit.”
Lillian took out her tablet, switched to radar mode, and sure enough, a small red blip was on the screen, running away from them.
“What are you waiting for? Let’s get this monster!” Lillian shouted, handing Justin the tablet and running, having memorized the location.
Justin sighed and ran behind.
Soon enough, the two saw a glowing crocodilian shape moving in the water, and they fired.
But the animal was smart, and it charged at a metal support half-way in the water, which was keeping part of the walkway up.
The crocodilian slammed the support, and behind Lillian, Justin let out a yelp as his part of the walkway collapsed.
Lillian dropped her backpack and rushed, finding Justin safe, holding on to the path. His legs dangled down, and it was clear that the monster would be working to get them. The tablet had fallen into the water, distracting the monster for a while.
The monster swam… and leapt, revealing a gigantic blue-glowing crocodilian whose jaws snapped dangerously close to Justin.
Just as the creature jumped again, Lillian managed to help Justin up, but the creature had other plans.
“Watch out!” was all Justin could yell as the creature slammed into the next support beam, causing the platform they rested on to begin to collapse. The platform turned and twisted, causing a pack of mice to squeak and fall, as well as Lillian’s bag.
But this time, they were lucky, and managed to leap onto the next platform.
Two quick shots by Lillian, and the creature had enough, retreating into the darkness of the swamp-sewer.
“Come on, we’ve almost got it,” Lillian said.
“Fine...” Justin groaned.
In the distance, the soft golden light of day shone, revealing the place where the sewers and swamp met. No doubt, the creature was outside, as shown by the dimming traces of algae left behind.
Lillian handed Justin her spare gun, and the two chased after the creature.
A ladder let them get topside, rather than swimming. Now, they were in the swamp, a rather large one, and the murky waters reached up to their waist.
The creature swam towards the wounded Justin, leaping up and...getting shot by an array of needles, throwing the crocodilian off balance, missing Justin.
The creature gave a final groan as it fell into unconsciousness.
“Now, let’s find out what you really are,” Justin sighed, taking out his animal-scanner, which had miraculously survived.
“Sarcosuchus imperator,” a monotonic voice read.
A call to Xavier later, the day was over.