Thanks to some great feedback, I’ve made several changes.
- I “jump started” the story rather than talk about Jackie hiding behind the couch. That would be explained from the pictures.
- I fixed the parenthetical comments so they are more consistent
- I pulled back Michael’s character from the ending
- I did a pretty big rework of the ending so Jackie does find/catch her monster (YAY JACKIE!)
- Grammar got cleaned up a little bit more
- And probably other things I’m forgetting to mention here.
That said, I’m okay with the final two lines, but still want something a bitter stronger. Feel free to toss out some ideas!
So without further ado–a new version of Monster Hunter!
by Anthony Pearson
The hairy foot. The long curling toe-nails. The scraping sound on the floor as it shuffled through the house. Jackie checked The Beast Menagerie. (Fast fact: it was her favorite book. Times read: like a million)
It had to be the Ancient Gray-Footed Troll. (Favorite food: goldfish. Sleeping habits: nocturnal).
“Jackie, what are you doing back there?” It was mom. With breakfast.
“GAH! You let him get away! Can’t you see when I’m trying to catch an Ancient Gray-Footed Troll?”
“Sorry, dear. I made you toast.”
Jackie could barely eat because she was so excited. Today was THE DAY. The day she would, FINALLY, catch her first monster. She would be the youngest monster hunter in the history of history. They’d probably even put her picture in the back of The Beast Menagerie, right next to all the other famous monster hunters. (Jackie’s favorite hunter: Artimus Finkle. Claim to fame: He had caught 9 monsters in one year!)
The basement was a great place to catch a monster. The Squid-Tooth Crunchbone (Likes: shiny sharp things. Favorite food: metal) was known to lurk in dark corners near musty old clothes. There were no clothes mustier dad’s yard clothes.
Jackie heard the Crunchbone eating. The chunkachunkachnunka of it chewing through old power tools and the sewing machine.
“This is it,” She whispered to herself.
It was Michael. He was home from college. Washing clothes.
“Hey squirt. Whatcha doing?”
“You aren’t the Squid-Tooth Crunchbone! You scared it off! Thanks for nothing!”
She moped her way to her room. This wasn’t going to be easy. The life of a monster hunter was not easy. Jackie couldn’t give up. That’s not what the next great monster hunter would do.
Where to go next? Where would a monster build it’s lair? She flipped through The Beast Menagerie.
“There! That’s it!” Jackie dashed out of her room.
She pulled the cord on the attic door. Thump. She pulled down the ladder. Clomp. Dust trickled and must stenched its way down the ladder.
Jackie smiled as she stared up into that dark space. Of course! Why hadn’t she thought of the attic before? It would be a perfect place for the twitchy-legged, bug-eyed, Marmalark (Sleep habits: never. Favorite drink: coffee).
The Marmalark was quick. It was twitchy. She knew it was no time for lurking. Sneaking was out of the question.
[art note: next pages in total darkness except for the small light from the attic entrance]
“I GOT YOU!”
No! It was getting away! She crashed around in the dark.
The light flipped on. Jackie had not caught the Marmalark.
Dad said, “Jackie, please tell me you have a good reason for destroying the attic in the dark.”
Jackie let go of the coat tree.
She explained it the best she could. “The only way to catch the Marmalark is to move fast. I’m sorry. I’ll clean it up.”
A million hours later, Jackie moped in her tree house. What a terrible day.
Then a sound drifted in…”Ma-Scree! Ma-Sckaw!”
Ma-Scree? Ma-Sckaw? Could it be? [art note: consulting her Beast Menagerie]
She called back, “Ma-Scree! MA-SCKAW!”
And there, nesting in her mother’s prized rose bushes, was a Flying Wombus (Habitat: Prickly places. Favorite Food: Petals).
Jackie slowly walked out of her tree house. She slowly got the butterfly net. She slowly stepped through the garden.
All the while calling to the Flying Wombus.
“Ma-Scree! Ma-Sckaw,” She said.
“Ma-Scree! Ma-Sckaw,” It said back.
This was her chance.
(An explosion of petals and a few feathers. Image of her leaping, lunging at the Flying Wombus’ wing, but then it spins and flies away. Jackie gets tangled up in the thorns)
Her mom and dad had many words for her. (image of dad and mom fussing and yelling at her, Jackie is dangling in the bush, scratched and disheveled)
She was in trouble for a billion years.
But worst of all was the fact that she never caught her monster.
That night after dinner she went to bed. An awful day. A terrible day. She was the worst monster hunter ever.
And on top of all that, she was going to have to spend all day tomorrow raking petals and picking up thorny branches.
“Some big time hunter I turned out to be,” Jackie said to herself as she closed her light.
(image of Jackie in the morning in the backyard; rake slung over her shoulder. She’s looking at the destroyed rose bush and sees a nest there. Inside the nest is a cracking egg, little Flying Wombus beak sticking out)
Of course…some big time hunters have to start small. They just have to keep looking.