Excerpt from Chapter One

“Yep! This one's a striper…and a big one!" He jerked the pole back hard to set the hook, then held it in one hand. He leered at Hunley and boomed, “Hey, look mom! One hand!” 

Hunley stood there blank-faced, purposely avoiding the man's gaze. The lunatic glared at him with stiletto-like eyes while his pole shook with the struggling fish. Time stopped. The foghorn howled.

“Boy, I sure love to eat striped bass,” the angler from hell suddenly roared as time resumed, and he began cranking in his line. “But they're definitely cowards when it comes to fightin’."   

Cowards? Hunley thought blankly as he looked at the wild tangle of fishing line at his feet.

He realized that his hands were shaking, and something urged him to just drop the pole and run. But before he could flee, the maniac easily landed the fish—a thirty-pound striped bass, dripping wet and flapping on the rocks. The man picked up the gaff, and Hunley groaned. But the fisherman smiled, set the gaff down and gently worked the hook out of the striper's mouth.

“He looks so good, I think I'll eat him right here!” he burbled.

The man tilted his head back as he lifted the struggling fish over his mouth. His jaws opened. His eyes rolled backward and white inner eyelids slid over them.

Hunley froze in horror as he watched the fisherman's mouth open as wide as humanly possible, only to continue to open wider and wider, until both jaws literally disconnected from their joints. His maw gaped wider and wider, his eyes blank white, and Hunley knew that he was in a waking nightmare.

“No...!” Hunley choked as the thing’s sharp, inhumanly triangular teeth glistened and its jaws yawned still wider, its face a grisly distortion.

“I’m not seeing this...” Hunley groaned in utter shock as the head of the struggling fish disappeared into the giant’s now cavernous mouth. The creature's neck, then its entire body, began lurching in spasms as it worked the massive fish into its gullet.

“Oh, God!" Hunley moaned as the intruder’s entire body heaved violently. The thirty-pound fish was squeezed down and down into its stomach until only the tail was sticking out of its chops. Then the monster’s eyes cleared and looked Hunley straight in the eye. It bit off the fish’s tail with a loud chomp!

 With one last heave of the creature’s gullet, the fish disappeared inside its now

swollen bulk.

“All gone!” it gurgled, spreading its arms while holding the fish's tail in its hand, its voice wet and distorted as the jaws slid back into their joints. “But I can't stand this part!” It tossed the tail at Hunley's feet.  

Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!

The boy's mind raced insanely, and every instinct in him screamed.

Your life is in danger! Your life is in danger! Danger!

Standing between Hunley and land, with its engorged midsection heaving and bulging as the huge fish continued to squirm inside its stomach, the monster watched Hunley like a cat eying a bird with a broken wing.

Gotta deal with it! Oh God.... Deal with it!

“I know what you're thinking!" the creature ululated. “You're thinking, ‘Wow! How did he do that? Boy, he sure is talented!’”

Hunley’s lips quivered. Tears streamed down his face.

“Aw, you’re upset," mocked the intruder. “Is it because I didn't eat the tail?”

It waited for an answer, staring Hunley down.

“You think that I'm bein’ wasteful. Is that it? You're thinkin’ of all those poor children in the world who won’t ever get the chance to eat a fishie's tail, aren't you?” the monster uttered in a sickening, inhuman purr.

“Well, since you feel that way, asshole, you eat it!" it suddenly roared.