Carnivorous Encounters



            I want to start this off by saying that the greatest discovery of my entire scientific career just happened and the possibility of this creature still being out in the wild terrifies me.  I’m not exactly sure how I can put this, but I suppose I’ll start by saying this.  My name is Samuel Thompson, and I think I made the most deadly and terrifying discovery in biology of the decade.  I’m a biologist out of Penn State and decided to take a trip down to Costa Rica as part of my graduate study along with a few other students and researchers and had been staying at a research facility there for a few weeks.  Progress in regards to finding anything remarkable while out researching caecilians was minimal.  We came across two of the more common species and filmed their interactions the best that we could with our equipment.  The problem with caecilians is that they are the most elusive amphibians due to their secluded and underground living conditions.  This made my research very difficult, or it did at least until yesterday.

            I woke up early this morning before sunrise so I could make my way out into the jungle on foot and try to search for caecilians in the ground before the jungle came alive with other daytime animals and my fellow researchers.  This kind of research would normally be better during the day, so burrows could be found more easily with the light of daylight to shine the way.  The problem was really my patience.  I had been out here for weeks already and had only come across two cases of caecilians, and those encounters were found by another researcher in our group.  To say I was eager to make some discoveries of my own was a bit of an understatement.  While I was out in the forest, looking for caecilian burrows, I came across an absolutely massive hole nearby a stream in the ground that was a few feet wide and seemed to extend far down.  I knelt down to examine the hole.  I wanted to say that it was the burrow of some huge python, but it didn’t show any of the sort of tunneling markings that a python showed.  Weirder still, I saw large segmentations along the edges of the hole.  I saw some wriggling going on near the ground where I was stepping.  It had just rained earlier in the morning and I reached down and picked up with my gloved hands out of the ground a wriggling caecilian.  The strange thing about this caecilian was that it was positively humongous for something its size.  I could tell it was in an earlier stage of development from the look of it, but it was the size of a fully-grown caecilian and was positively huge.  This was the start of a potentially enormous discovery.  I was extremely excited to have found caecilians on my own and decided that the hole was worth investigating, but I didn’t want to do it on my own. 

I placed the caecilian in a capture box that I had brought with me in my bag and took it back with me to the facility.  I quickly made my way back, doing my best not to make the box or the caecilian bounce while I raced my way back.  I got back about twenty minutes later to see that my group was just starting to wake up.  I saw that Heather Laughlin was awake and was out of her cabin.  She was the person who had managed to find the two groups of caecilians before.  I decided to tell her about what I found. 

“Heather, I found something while I was out looking for caecilians.  I found a caecilian while I was out and wanted to bring it back so we could study it.”

Heather was a bit unimpressed by my find at first.  “Yeah, yeah.  We’ve already seen caecilians before.  They’re all over the place if you dig deep enough.  What makes this one so special?  Was it near a stream or something?”

“It was not only near a stream, but it was near an enormous hole in the ground.  It had to be at least a meter wide and had this near it.”  I pulled out the caecilian I captured and showed it to her.  I handed the box over to her and she examined it as she moved it around to look at all sides of it.  I commented on its appearance.  “See how it looks like it's in a larval stage?  It looks like a barely developed caecilian but the size of it-“

“It’s huge,” Heather said slightly taken aback.

“Yeah, it is” I replied. 

“This is a great find, Sam.  I think we should get our equipment and head out to find this hole.  It could be something big!”

“Hang on, Heather.  I haven’t had breakfast.  I’ll head out with you and the others in a bit.”

She sighed and started to walk off with the caecilian.  “Go and grab some breakfast.  I’ll put away this caecilian and we can go with the others to find that hole and the other caecilians.

 I went into the mess hall of the facility to go and grab myself some breakfast, but when I came back out, Heather and the others had left.  I was frustrated.  “Damn it.  They left without me.”  I didn’t want to accept it, but at the back of my mind, I knew that Heather and the others would leave without me.  It seemed like something Heather would do.  I went back to my cabin and grabbed my equipment and some more capture boxes and decided to hook a GoPro camera to my backpack strap and one to a mount that I wore on my head.  I turned it on right as I left the cabin and hit record.  After I made sure everyone else was gone, I went ahead and made my way back to the hole and the stream.  The further and further I made my way up to the hole though, the more and more I began to grow nervous.  The normal rainforest birds weren’t making calls and I couldn’t find any traces of the group at all.  I hastened my pace as I made my way over to the hole and started to run once I started to hear screams.  I started to sprint when I heard Heather scream for help.  A moment later, I arrived at the hole to see fresh tracks down it.  I turned on my torch and started to look around the inside of the hole.  But as soon as I started to look down the edge of the hole, something came up from behind me and shoved me into the hole. 

I gave a small scream as I fell down the hole and tumbled down the inside of the hole a good twenty feet before I stopped rolling.  I quickly reached in the dark for my torch and aimed it in the direction of the sounds I began to hear in the hole.  It sounded like hundreds of things were rolling around on the ground nearby me.  I moved my torch in all directions and saw caecilians everywhere.  They were enormous in size.  They were the size of goats.  But even more massive was the caecilian that loomed nearby me.  I shined my light along its body and was horrified by its size.  It loomed over me like an enormous snake, ready to sink its teeth into me.  But it wasn’t trained on me.  Its attention was trained on Heather.  I realized that none of the other group members were around and saw it was only her.  Heather saw me with the torch in my hand and screamed at me “Sam!  Help me, please!”  But before I could reach her, the giant caecilian grabbed Heather in its mouth and threw her into the pile of squirming caecilians.  I barely had enough time to watch Heather sink beneath the squirming babies.  They began to lash out at her clothes.  I instinctively began to run as I heard her horrific screams of agony as the caecilians ripped and teared at her flesh.  I saw some vines dangling at the edge of the hole and began to climb them.  However, the giant caecilian wasn’t done with me just yet.  It grabbed at my backpack and tried to pull it off of me.  I quickly thought to remove the backpack and let it fall into the pit.  I climbed frantically out of the hole and made a run for it back to the facility. 

I never turned my back once until I made it to the facility and told some of the workers there what had happened.  They didn’t believe me until I removed the GoPro from my forehead and showed them the footage of the caecilians in the hole.  I was doing this as a project that was in conjunction with the local Costa Rican government.  The researchers that remained at the facility immediately reported of the missing group and of the footage I captured of the dangerous giant caecilians.  They decided that killing them off was the best option.  Today, they sent in a group of experts to kill the caecilians with a special kind of poison and sent in people to investigate the den and retrieve whatever they could.  They managed to retrieve my gear and the gear of my group, along with the bones and remains of a few of them.  Most of them had their bones crushed and their skulls broken open.  Many were missing eyeballs and various parts of their bodies.  Heather’s corpse was the most gruesome.  But what terrified me the most about this whole ordeal was two things.  The first thing was that I still didn’t know what pushed me into that hole and suspect that it could have been a caecilian judging by the residue that was left on the back of my pants where I was shoved.  The second thing was that, as I looked through the footage on my GoPro and saw that it fell right next to my torch, I saw that there were some caecilians that seemed to escape through the tunnels.  I think that these were babies of the giant caecilian and decided to leave the den after they were done feeding on my group.  One thing is for certain, this group of caecilians is likely a new species and is still out there somewhere.  Like I said before though, I may have made the most terrifying discovery of the decade, and I feel that my research on these creatures is only just beginning.

Comments

Mia Mina said…
May I also do this one? I have read four tonight I'm having trouble choosing between.

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