By Dave Kissling
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Cocker’s words brought fearful murmurs from the town meeting, behind a large squarish boulder. "There’s not a lot we can do," said the mayor sadly. "The Ogre is bigger than us. We can outrun him, except when that foul Deathmist appears."
"There can’t be any connection between the Ogre and Deathmist," said Cora, folding her thin arms. "They don’t always come together. Sometimes Deathmist comes like a fog when he’s nowhere around."
"But we had no fear of Deathmist before the Ogre invaded," said another member, his beady eyes piercing. "He erected new buildings in our land. Took over in a matter of days."
"New buildings mean new places to hide," said Nestic.
"If we can run there fast enough. Or if we can stay in hiding."
"But we have to come out to hunt for food," said Cocker. "And who wants to stay inside all day? Many a hunting party has been wiped out by this monster."
"Some say that Deathmist is the Ogre’s breath," Nestic recalled, his tall brown body trembling.
"I can’t believe that," said Cora. "How can something so deadly come from the Ogre without killing him?"
"So what can we do about it?" cried Cocker insistently, his antennae twitching. "My entire family was wiped out. One minute my children were playing together, climbing the cliffs. The next minute they were dead. Surely we can do something to preserve our society!"
A noise outside brought delight to Cora’s eyes. "Horac is back with his hunting party." And she rushed out of the meeting.
The mayor said, "We all know how you feel, Cocker. Not one of us has gone without the loss of loved ones. What we have to consider is …"
Terrified screams came from outside. Several cried "Deathmist!" before their voices fell silent. Cora returned, her beady eyes in terror, her walk staggered.
"The Ogre … he was out there …" she said, panting. "Deathmist … all over." She looked down at both pairs of arms. "Got me …"
She collapsed onto her back, her arms and legs folded in death.
In the next instant, the metal squarish boulder scraped away from the wall. The Ogre’s ugly giant face glared down at them.
"So, you’re hiding behind the microwave," his voice thundered. "Die, filthy cockroaches. Die!"
Deathmist fell. The meeting adjourned in scattering and screaming.
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