[This is a short story in response to a friend’s challenge. Not my usual style but it poured out in one go, so…]
Barb & the Beast
The roar started as a vague grumble, seeping under tables and chairs before creeping higher in a sound cloud of threatening menace and pain.
“Treasurer’s Report.” Among the cluster of committee members’ video chat windows, Tim’s little image on the screen before me glowed around the edges as his flat, tinny voice stopped for a bit of self-important throat clearing. It wasn’t my computer’s speakers; he sounded that way in person too. “As you recall from our last minutes…”
I flicked a finger, turning off my camera and muting my microphone. The grumble escalated, as I knew it would, into a rumbling roar, coalescing into a monster made of thorns, held together and half-hidden within a pulsing cloud. The hazy cloud was only…
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