The shadows seemed to spring from a spot at the base of the wall, although none of the three could see any particular source, especially since the lights should have illuminated the wall. Instead, the shadows wound their way up the wall, twisting and twining with something that could only be called intent.

What is that?

I don't know, dolt. Why are you asking me?

"Hush," a slightly shakey voice managed as Josua slowly stepped just a little closer. He was thinking, considering what he saw. To be honest, it reminded him of something.

One of the tendrils of shadow, much more like a tentacle now that the three considered it, slowly moved away from the wall. It seemed to thicken, gaining substance as it moved like smoke through the air. Another tip flicked away from the wall as though testing the air. Seeking.

What's it doing? It looks like it is...

...reaching for something.

"Or someone." That thought got them all stumbling back as the tentacles moved closer. Reaching again for the book.

"Wait! Don't let it touch the book!"

We aren't idiots. We know that much.

The girls pulled the book in closer against their bodies as the young boy's face screwed up in concentration. He wracked his twelve-year-old brain, trying to remember his trip to the aquarium.

"It's like a squid. Or... an octopus. Those things. You know, cepha-... cepho..."

Cephalopod. It says right on the page.


But... wasn't the page empty?

The closest tentacle snapped towards Josua's face in what appeared to be anger, the tip of it lashing his cheek and leaving a stinging line before it returned to the wall, slowly sinking down into the floor.

At the same moment the word "Cephalopod" melted into a pool of ink that sank into the paper, leaving it once more blank. Kate and Lynne jumped, nearly dropping the book.

This grim-

-oire has some tricks.

The shadows flickered again, and the pale faces were once more turned outward as the three huddled closer in the center of the room.

The End

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