Specimen number: 0001 – The Screaming Squadger (Quiritatio Spumatis)
Provisional taxonomical classification: Animalia/Chordata
Date of classification: 16th March 1961
Discovered by: Dr. Leornard Bortrose
Submitted by: Veronica Merrynether
Finding the Screaming Squadger was one of those life-defining moments. It was shocking enough to discover that Myron’s spontaneously appearing island was real, but to then be witness to literally hundreds of beasts that defy classification too, well, that’s enough to knock the wind out of anyone’s sails! And indeed, that was literally what had happened to Leonard Bortrose, our junior geologist, when we encountered our very first specimen.
Camp had only been set up for little over an hour before we saw poor Leonard racing toward us from the forest. With his arms flailing wildly and his mouth wide enough to swallow a small pigeon, nobody was surprised by the terrified high-pitched screaming as he dove for cover. What did surprise us was that we could still hear the scream in perfect pitch even while his face was buried in the wet sand of the beach, but as it grew louder and higher in pitch the realization dawned on us that it wasn’t his scream. Leonard scrambled up again, sporting a beard of sand, and with frantic hand signals that made him look like a madman practicing semaphore, he had us looking back at the forest.
Something the size of a large dog was... squadging toward us. That’s the only way I can describe it. A mass, like giant, green spaghetti flounced and flumbered underneath its globular body, and amongst the confusion of tentacles, large sucking orifices puffed and spat as they contended with the gritty sand. Whatever it was, it was clearly not liking the beach, but seemed grimly determined to drive sinister intruders like our geologist away from its habitat. Its sincerity was reinforced by the largest of its tentacles that stretched out from its rear and arched overhead like a slimy trunk: at its tip was a fleshy object splayed out like an open hand, and at its centre was a wide and screaming mouth.
It was only when the thing closed to within a dozen yards of our camp and our sizeable team had roused themselves from dumbfounded gawking to full-blown panic, that the creature stopped and fell silent. As if it had suddenly become distracted by a stray and fascinating thought, it squadged to a stop and simply stared vacantly upward in contemplation with oddly humanoid eyes. Many trumpet-like sneezes followed through another suckered tentacle where its nose might have been (one sneeze even managed to reach Leonard and add a snotty moustache to his distinguished beach beard), and it was only later, much later, after considerable study, that we came to understand that this species is pacified by sand. When the grit enters its tentacles, the Screaming Squadger (or Tubulous Squadgulii as our taxonomist has defined it) enters a trance-like state in which a cleansing process is initiated. Over the course of an hour, the sand particles are gradually snorted up through the tentacles and expelled through the primary blow hole. Our hypothesis is that these creatures regularly return to the beach in large numbers, probably twice a year, to flush out their systems. Though it was an unfortunate fright for young Leonard, I am grateful that he provoked this particular squadger into its routine earlier than expected.
There is still so much more to learn about this creature, but the Squadger is but one astounding discovery among so many more. I can at last imagine what it must have been like for Darwin when he first laid eyes upon the Galapagos islands, and although I sought out these islands with a very different and desperate agenda, I am determined not to squander this opportunity. Adventure awaits!
YOU ARE READING
The Merrynether CryptofilesFantasy
The Merrynether Cryptofiles is a serialised prequel to the forthcoming release of the young adult fantasy novel, The Beasts of Upton Puddle. Lilly the (often inebriated) cluricaun has pilfered Veronica Merrynether’s private journal about her discove...