The Last Stand Of The Creeperoos

It slithered powerfully over the cool, moist earth. The reptile then wriggled under a huge rotting log. The moss disguised the hiding place almost to perfection.

The fifteen foot Creeperoo wasn't the largest to ever stalk what used to be the Everglades, but it was certainly one of the largest left.

"I tell you Hank, I really need to find a better job. I'm too old to be hunting down mutant, man-eating, alligator-python hybrids," sighed a man of perhaps sixty.

"When you find that job, don't forget to save me a slot. I don't mind this, but there aren't many of these things left, Steve. Soon we're going to put ourselves out of work. Then they'll put a factory out here," sighed Hank.

"I know you enjoy being out here, but you can't stop progress, Hank. Things are always changing. It's ironic that the only thing keeping this place wild was accidentally created by people. Change stopping change," he said.

"I'm not trying to stop progress, Steve. It's just a shame that soon we won't be able to come out here, it'll be just like every other spot as far as the eye can see," mourned Hank.

"We don't know that. They don't have any concrete plans for the land yet, they just ordered the Creeperoos cleared out for public safety," replied Steve reasonably.

Hearing the unwelcome sounds of human beings, the intelligent reptile slid further back into her hiding place, being careful not to harm the clutch of eggs.

With the bulk and mouth of an alligator, and the constrictor build of a python, a Creeperoo was an apex predator. Some retained the powerful, stubby alligator legs, and others were more like their python ancestors in build, only having token remnants of the appendages. Regardless of their outward appearance, all were masters of the water, trees, and land.

Curling around the eggs, the protective mother opened her mouth and silently bared her many sharp teeth. Satisfied that she had done everything possible, she waited like a steel bear trap, silent and deadly.

"They're not going to turn it into a park, Steve. They just built the new Struffer factory over Greenleaf Park, and it was one of the best left. Playgrounds, manicured ball fields, ponds, the works," Hank said bitterly.

"Maybe you're right. I'd like to see this place stay green too, but what can we do?" Steve asked.

Hank grabbed the older man, and roughly jerked him off of a rotting log.

"What -" exclaimed Steve, as he struggled to regain his balance.

A split second later, the log exploded, and the mother Creeperoo stood before them, the sun shining on her sleek, powerful body.

"Thanks, Hank..." Steve said shakily, as he withdrew his pistol.

"She's got eggs, and they look like they are ready to hatch," whispered Hank as he drew his own pistol.

"A lot of eggs... Let's just leave her here, if she doesn't charge," Steve replied thoughtfully.

"Great idea," Hank agreed, grinning broadly.

Slowly the two men backed away, one careful step at a time. They didn't turn their backs until they were over three hundred yards away.

"I thought you didn't believe in stopping progress?" Hank asked, still grinning.

"I don't! And that mama Creeperoo looks like she's about to make some progress for her species, doesn't she?" Steve asked, a grin spreading on his face.

"That she does. And if we can leave the best of each generation, just maybe this place won't become a factory, at least not while we are here," replied Hank.

Five years later:

A thirty foot Creeperoo swims silently through the dense vegetation of the last remaining wetlands within a thousand miles. As it stalks a majestic whitetail buck, a man, well hidden, wipes a bead of sweat from his forehead. Then he double checks the settings on his camera.

As luck would have it, he clicked at the exact moment that the predator's teeth missed the deer by a hair. "Yes!!!" he thought to himself, controlling the urge to shout.

"Uncle Hank will love this shot. I'm so glad they listened to him, and finally agreed to deed this place to the Wetlands Trust," he thought happily.

Describe what you see:
I see a beautiful natural place. But in the background is a huge city. There is pollution everywhere, and perhaps no green places to help clean up the mess.

Describe what you feel:
I feel like this natural area is very important. Maybe it's the last one in the area. If it's destroyed, it will be a tragedy. Not only for the creatures who live there, but also for those who are in the nearby city. Can anyone truly enjoy living in such a place?

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