Nana's Pet Demon

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"I'm ready to lie down and just let it get us." Doubled over, Arlo sucked for air. Each syllable wheezed through his gaping mouth. One hand firm on the cracked leather of his grandmother's recipe book, his other tossed back sweat-laden hair.

Panicked screams and emergency sirens drowned out the ambient sounds of the city.

His sister also caught her breath. "I just wish I knew what it was." In the alley where they had taken a brief refuge, she leaned against one of the buildings. "And what does it want with Nana's family recipes?"

"What me to ask?" Arlo risked a peak around the corner and into the street.

"Enough with the sarcasm! How far is it?"

Arlo was already working that out before she asked. The lumbering, horned monstrosity of teeth, sinewy muscle, and all around pure evil stood four blocks away. Seven stories tall, its tentacle-like arms swept up random victims unable to avoid its rampage.

Bricks and mortar from the towering city landscape put up little resistance, shattering under its thrashing appendages. It splattered those in its clutches across the buildings before devouring them.

"Fourth Street and Winston," he informed her. "Snacking on a rather unfortunate portly fellow."

"Ew. That's disgusting!"

"Hey! Remember, no need to be the fastest, just not the fattest!" Arlo smirked.

"Have some sympathy!"

Unlike his sister, Arlo welcomed the distraction. "I'll worry about surviving first, thank you." Finished munching, the Hellspawn began hauling itself towards them. As if it knew exactly where they were. "Let's go. It's done with its appetizer."

Arlo ushered his sister down the alley, a firm hold on her arm silencing any further complaints. The beast's thundering roar drew closer.

"I just wanted to go to the movies today." Arlo used the opportunity to recap how messed up his day had become. "Hang with friends. But no, you had to see Nana. And dad made me take you. This is the thanks I get? I wish you had your license."

Emily stumbled, but kept stride. "I think Nana wasn't just cooking up a pot of her Double Vegetable Soup."

"What makes you say that?" Arlo forced a sharp left-hand turn. Both slipped. He caught himself, but Emily tore a gaping hole in the knee of her jeans before recovering. "Was it the fact that hideous-looking thing was standing where her apartment building should have been? And Nana was hurling fireballs at it from her hands?" Another turn, this one to the right.

Emerging from the alley, possibly on to Baker Street, Arlo wasn't sure, a long tentacle crashed into the building beside them. Emily squealed.

As debris rained down, Arlo pushed her aside. "Wrong way. My bad!" He ushered her back how they had come.

"Your sense of direction sucks!" his sister chided. "I'm too young to become an hors d'oeuvre!"

Its maw at the alleyway entrance, snaking arms chasing behind them, the demon howled.

Arlo wanted to get as far away as possible. Unfortunately, the rust bucket of a car he bought a scant three months ago was now flatter than a pancake and utterly useless to that cause.

After one more turn to avoid the creature's grasp, the pair emerged onto yet another street where a surging throng of humanity greeted them. Together, they pushed against the flow while most of the crowd headed unknowingly towards the demon.

"Remember what Nana said?" Emily blurted out.

Jostled by panicked fools he couldn't care less about, Arlo pressed onward. "What? 'I didn't think it would be this big?' Or 'Arrrrrrrggggghhh' as it swallowed her whole?" For dramatic effect, he added a gurgling sound along with the word.

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