Doc Tempest: Killer Surf

…from the May, 1964 issue


365 DAYS, 365 POSTS #19

The Doclopedia # 1,227

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part Two: Octocobragator

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

As we have come to find out via several thankfully non-lethal encounters, Potawango Island can be as deadly as it is wonderful. Today, we saw just how deadly it could be when we went looking for, and found, the Octocobragator.

As the name implies, this creature has aspects of an octopus (4 tentacles and the ability to alter it’s coloring in the blink of an eye), cobra (serpentine body and flaring hood on the neck) and alligator (very tough hide and a long snout full of razor sharp teeth).

So deadly are these great beasts that there are never more than two or three on the entire island. The frequent coastal wetlands and never venture too far from brackish water. They will eat anything they can catch, including smaller members of their species.

Our encounter took place when our guide, Pagoona, finally relented and agreed to take us to see what the natives have many times referred to as the “Devil Beast”. Accompanied by Abner, Miss Abigail and Colonel Orpington, we spent a good three hours hiking along the southern red sand beaches before we came to the edge of a large salt marsh. Fortunately, our side of it rose up into some hills, which we decided to use so as to better survey the marsh.


Several minutes of looking through binoculars made us aware that this marsh seemed quite low on animal life. This caused Pagoona some distress because he said that the Devil Beast was eating more than usual because it would soon bear young. He also said that during these times, the creatures would venture out of the marsh to hunt.

No sooner did he say that, than Miss Abigail remarked upon a large log that lay at the bottom of our hill at the marsh’s edge, stating that it had not been there earlier. We all looked and at that moment, the Octocobragator shed it’s disguise and came up the hill at us. The speed of this 50 foot long creature was astounding. Pagoona hurled his spear at it and gave it only a glancing blow. Colonel Orpington fired his rifle, but the beast was twisting and turning so that he only got it near the tail.

It was making a beeline for Miss Abigail and myself when Abner, who has never been a model of fearlessness, leaped upon it’s neck and began bashing at it’s eye with a rock. This caused it to thrash about a bit before it grabbed him with two tentacles and hoisted him into the air. The head, now minus a working eye, turned toward him with deadly intent.


Fortunately, before it could bite him, Colonel Orpington got off another shot that removed a large part of the head from the body. The beast thrashed about violently and tossed Abner several feet into a bush. He was bruised and has a few small cuts, but was otherwise unharmed.

I was about to suggest taking some samples from it when the abdomen split open and no less than two dozen small Octocobragators poured out. Thankfully, the 2 foot long creatures headed directly toward the marsh at high speed. Pagoona assured us that within a fortnight, less that 5 would still be alive due to cannibalism.

We returned to our camp somewhat shaken, so Miss Hardapple made us all a very stiff drink before dinner. Miss Abigail insisted on Abner having a rest after she tended his wounds and comforted him. Perhaps he was more badly shaken than I thought, since it is now an hour later and she is still in his tent comforting him.


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