New Zealand was rocked when live footage of the monster aired on television. It emerged from a hot spring at Rotokawa north of Lake Taupo. Hundreds of tentacles, each as big around as a man, propelled an eel-like body out of the hot water. Its forty-foot diameter ball of tentacles created a mosaic-like footprint as it dragged itself across the ground. Within hours it ceased to move.
News stories covering the monster flooded the airwaves and the internet. One scientist said this during an interview, “Obviously, the creature is an extremophile, able to live in intense heat. After it emerged from the hot springs, the biology that kept it alive there, worked against it. It couldn’t possibly survive in our environment. Add to this, the creature has no observed method of reproduction. Very bizarre! Clearly, it’s a dumb monster. One of nature’s failures.”
News quickly spread of the “Dumb Monster” and the “Taupo Mistake.” The two policemen left to guard the corpse were ill-prepared for the monster’s fame, and even less prepared for the thousands swarming over the beast, slicing off souvenirs.
Months later Sam Wilson, one of the scientists who studied the creature, received a phone call. “Greg!” he smiled. “How’s that dog of yours? The one that ate your sample of the Dumb Monster?”
Sam turned pale as he listened. “How does a dog explode?”
Sam rang off and ran into the entryway where he kept his own sample. The jar was broken. Mosaic-like footprints led to the shattered front door.
Mavis, his wife, stood beside him. “What does this mean?”
Sam stared at his wife. “Seems we’ve discovered how the beast reproduces after all.”
Mavis winced. “Thousands of people gathered souvenirs from it.”
Sam scowled. “That monster wasn’t so dumb. We were!”
Written for Matthew Wright’s weekly Mega Short-Story writing challenge. Look here for the original prompt: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/this-weeks-mega-short-story-challenge-15/