Nobody saw where the creature came from but its first documented sighting was by Harry Marzen at four-fifteen in the afternoon. He was coaching his son’s little league team when he noticed all the kids were staring at the exact same spot. He looked up to see the thing, walking slowly down the road, in the general direction of the city.
That day, the phones at the police stations in all three counties did not stop ringing. It took the cops hours to realize it wasn’t a prank. Dozens of people called: Kids, adults, senior citizens, all saying the exact same thing. There’s a monster outside.
They lost sight of it near the Piggly Wiggly on seventy-eight. A truck driver out for a smoke saw it passing inches in front of his face. He was the first person to describe the creature’s ash-like, crumbling grey skin and the marks carved into its body. He watched it disappear between the parked cars.
It was spotted again on the highway outside the city, walking between the cars sitting bumper to bumper in end-of-workday traffic. Drivers got out of their cars and stared at the creature’s mark-covered back as it walked away from them.
Police blocked its path into the city. Four uniformed cops in their early twenties, their backs against their squad cars, raising their guns and trying to steady their trembling hands. The creature walked slowly down the road and the policemen started to shoot. First one then all, emptying their clips into its hulking body.
The thing slowed down, then staggered, then fell at the policemen’s feet. Inches away from the city line. A silence fell and with it came a feeling witnesses described as a deep, terrible sadness. An AP photographer shot the photo that was splashed all over the papers the next day: the four policemen standing, unable to move, tears streaming down their faces.
They tried to move the creature but every place they touched it crumbled into dust. The material that was left could not be identified. They studied photos of the marks on its body for weeks before they found out it was a language they could read. Three short words, carved into the creature’s flesh hundreds of times, covering every inch of its body: All Is Love.
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