Given the lack or street lamps in the park, the whole area should have been in darkness. The flashlight had gone out or rolled under something. But Hendry didn’t need the light, for there, bathed in an eerie green aura that surrounded the creature, was the cryptid. On the ground now, its immense leathery wings, easily thirty five feet from one tip to the other, splayed out, jerking spasmodically. Its long jagged beak, easily eight feet long and ending in a wickedly sharp point, tore noisily at the immobile shape of what must have been one of the men it had slaughtered.
He’d been correct about the bio-luminescence, despite COBRA’s scorn. Something in the reptile’s diet coupled, perhaps to static electricity generated by the movement of the huge wings, was causing it to glow.
A great domed head, grey now in its own generated light, bobbed backwards and forwards as the long jagged bill tore and rent the man. Its body, all skin save for what might have been a light feathery down, was easily ten feet long from head to wickedly clawed feet. And now that the creature was looking down as it continued its grisly feeding, Hendry could see that the immense wings in their long vein-filled immensity, were themselves almost transparent.
It stopped wrenching at the man for a moment to stretch its mighty head back and screech triumphantly into the night sky, the sound reverberating several seconds later as it echoed from the north bank less than five hundred feet away. There was only one creature and for that Hendry was glad for it was almost impossible to tear his eyes away from the grizzly scene - that and the justification for a decade of study and work. It did exist. But more importantly where was the other one, here, in London?
Perspiration coursed down his face and yet he felt cold at the same time. He checked the instinctive impulse to wipe his hands on his trousers as he thought furiously which he could only do after carefully averting his eyes from the cryptid. There was no way he could think clearly with that monster in sight.
Some deeply cultivated mental process, the result of years being taught to analyse everything, still continued in a portion of his orderly mind. There could be no proof without proper analysis. There was another thing to do. It was something he would happily have parted with all his worldly goods to avoid. With hands shaking almost as much as that old wino who lived near his flat and with whom he had sometimes joked, he dragged the cell phone from his pocket. His fingers seemed to have grown to immense proportions and his feeble attempts to push the correct buttons merely resulted in a series of unmusical squeaks.
Now the giant reptile stopped tearing at the dead body; its massive head cocked to one side, then looked left then right and even up towards the sky perhaps sensing a threat looming from above. Hendry sank onto badly cramped legs, somehow resisting the incredible desire to grovel in terror. Miraculously the monster did not look behind itself but sniffed, an incredibly normal sound given the circumstances. If it could sense fear then Hendry knew he was done for. But after apparently assuming that all was well as Hendry cowered, hardly daring to breath, it sank back to its grizzly meal.
Finally Hendry found the correct combination and snapped off three shots in the general direction of the reptile and its supernatural glow. Whether it was any good, or indeed if it would do any good, was a different matter.
He was given no more time to think for with a shudder the reptile stretched its wings and with a revolting gurgle from its stomach, sank his claws into the destroyed body of the man. Once again with that strange lumbering sound, it flapped its massive wings and solemnly clambered into the sky, giving one more hideous scream before heading down river. Within seconds its uncanny green glow had disappeared into the darkness.