“Step right up, folks! Come one come and all and see the amazing MANIMAL!” The dramatic cries of the announcer rang out over the grassy fields outside the tent.
The One, The Only Manimal. The Terrifying Man-Beast. The Crazed Halfbreed.
Over the years I’d watched the vicious creature channel its rage against us, its captors, into horrifying acts of carnage almost beyond description. I’d watched The Manimal tear a live hog apart and devour its innards, awash in its blood. I’d witnessed in horror as it went tooth to tooth against a pack of wild dogs and send them away licking their wounds. I’d seen it fight off fifteen strong men armed to the teeth with knives and clubs. One had his eyes gouged out before we could intervene; that was the last time we ever tried anything like that in the ring.
The crowd in the bleachers watched with hushed trepidation as The Manimal was lead into the center of the ring by its handler. And then suddenly something was wrong. I saw a look of horror in the Handler’s eyes and heard a snap followed by a metallic ping. The chains of the Manimal had broken.
I turned to run but it came after me first. It pinned me to the cold sand of the arena with its powerful arms.
Before I died, I heard it growl one word, the word which to it must have been the only thing that ever mattered, the word which must have dominated every second of its anguished existence, ever since we had abducted that orphan child so many years ago and made him our prisoner.