Okay. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no. A mantis is not what you think. Well, maybe it’s similar. A mantis is a creature that is dark green with long arms that bend the wrong way and is ugly as sin. They bite the head off their victims and eat the bodies. Yeah, that’s like a praying mantis where the female bites the head off the males. But they’re not praying mantis, they are just similar, henceforth the name. They have little beady eyes and a round mouth fully of tiny, sharp teeth. They usually live in caves.
Roy and I looked at each other with an “oh crap” look plastered on both of our faces. Mantises are nasty creatures and a pain in the butt to deal with. I think you’ve probably learned by now that all monsters are difficult to deal with.
“Pretty messed up,” said Harry. “I hope you guys know what you’re getting into. Whoever you’re after is one crazy psycho.”
“You have no idea,” I muttered under my breath.
“I said yeah.”
Harry just grunted.
“We should really get going,” Roy suggested. “We have a lot of ground to cover.”
“Yeah,” I agreed.
“How long do you think you’ll be in town?” Harry asked us.
“I have no idea,” Roy told him.
“Let me know.”
Everyone shook hands and then Roy and I were outside. We started walking down the street.
“A mantis,” said Roy.
“No crap,” I replied. “Although the way things have been going there will probably be 10 of them.”
He laughed but I knew that he was worried about it, just as much as I was. Dealing with one mantis would be difficult enough but there were probably a number of them that we were going after. Every monster that I’ve run into lately has been in groups larger than what there normally was.
Harry had told us that most of the heads had been found in the same area so we decided to start our search there.
There was a sewage drain in the heart of the city down a dark, sketchy alley. If I weren’t a paladin I would probably not go down there. When we were about halfway to the end a man came stumbling out from behind a dumpster.
“What are you doing in my yard?” he asked us.
“I don’t think we’re in a yard,” I pointed out.
“This is my yard.”
“Okay, but we need to get down there.”
“If you don’t get out of my yard I’m going to call the cops, ya little hooligans.” We were both taller than him, so I wouldn’t say we were little.
“Look, sir, we really don’t have time for this.”
“I’ve warned you.”
All of a sudden Roy ran up and punched the guy right in the face, knocking him out cold.
“Really?” I said.
“He wasn’t going to just go away,” he pointed out.
“Did you have to knock him out like that, though?”
“He’ll live. Not all of us can wipe people’s memories.”
We reached the end of the alley and the sewer grate was there, buried in the ground and surrounded by grass. The mantis was waiting for us, hungry for more. I’ve been fighting monsters for a long time—it’s a long time to me—but they still made me nervous. And I don’t care who you are going into a sewer to fight something that chopped off heads was daunting.
Without any words I opened the drain, which was already broken open, and we both jumped in…