Aglebemu (ah-gluh-beh-moo) – the Aglebemu is a giant lake monster of Wabanaki legend. This creature is also know as Mitche-hant which means “evil creature” and Kci Cekolhs which literally means “giant frog”. Legends of the Aglebemu, while not specifically Abenaki, as are the others depicted in MATEGUAS, can be found in the folklore of the Penobscot, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy tribes.
In this passage from the 1st draft of the third full-length novel in the MATEGUAS SERIES, Karen carrying her infant son, Alex, is taking a walk in the woods near her cottage on the island……
A gap in the trees revealed a narrow path off the main trail. Curious, Karen turned down it. The path didn’t go far and she found herself at the edge of a small pond. It was lovely with the sun glistening off the water and she turned her face to the sky for a moment, luxuriating in its warmth. Then she gazed back at the water and was surprised to see a large frog sitting on a rock not far from where she stood.
It sat lazily, eyes closed, as if sleeping. But every few seconds, without warning, its tongue would dart out, traveling an impossibly long distance, to snag one of the large bottle-flies that buzzed over the water. Then it would close its eyes again, silently devouring the tiny insect.
It was not a pretty frog. Actually, Karen thought it looked more toadish, its skin brownish-green, covered with nasty warts. But its most impressive feature was its size – it was unusually large. Studying the creature, she guessed it had to weigh at least ten pounds.
A frog on steroids, she thought, chuckling to herself.
She was about to uncover, Baby Alex, and point out the frog to him, when the creature suddenly became aware it was being observed and turned its head toward her. Eyes, bulbous and red, gazed at her with ferocious intensity. Though slightly repelled by the hideousness of the creature, Karen felt strangely drawn to it and was unable to tear her eyes away.
As if sensing her fascination, the frog moved its body around so it was facing her. Its lips, bloated and dripping with spittle, moved ever so slightly, opening and closing, as it locked eyes with her. Instinctively, Karen pulled the flap of her baby sling down to cover her child, wanting now to protect him, as a shiver of fear ran down her spine.
Still oddly mesmerized by the creature, she moved one foot backwards intending to pivot and return to the trail that led back to the safety of her car. But as she began to turn, the frog’s blood red eyes, glowing hotly, began to bulge and, without preamble…
A strangled cry of fear leapt involuntarily from Karen’s throat when she saw the slimy pink projectile moving with unbelievable speed toward her. Tearing her eyes from the creature, she started to run.
But she was too late.
The tongue lashed out at her leg, wrapping itself tightly around her ankle, tripping her, causing her to fall heavily to the forest floor. Panicking, she kicked out violently trying to escape as she used her hands and arms to protect and shield her child.
As she struggled, the creature’s bulging eyes began to glow again and the tongue tightened its grip. Suddenly, dozens of tiny barbs embedded in the appendage elongated and pierced the skin around her ankle. As they sunk into her flesh, the creature’s tongue began to pulsate, moving the spiny needle-like barbs in and out, causing unbelievable pain.
Karen cried out in anguish as she struggled to free herself from the frog’s hideous embrace. But to her astonishment, her arms and legs would not move. A strange feeling of lassitude crept over her and, while her mind remained sharp, her body was no longer willing to obey her commands.
The frog was now hopping giddily around her. She tried desperately to move her arms to protect Alex, but they were now leaden and dead. She was breathing and could move her eyes, but that was all. The creature’s tongue now unwrapped itself from her leg, tearing her skin as it released its hold. Blood oozed from the wounds but still Karen remained paralyzed, unable to save herself or her child.
Helpless, she watched the frog’s antics, praying it would leave her and go back to whatever hell it had come from. It moved out of her sight for a moment and she thought that her prayers had been answered, but then she felt a heavy weight land on her back, causing her body to topple over onto her side. Again and again, the creature hopped on and off of her, moving her body slightly this way and that, its purpose a mystery.
How long this went on, Karen could only guess. Finally, the frog hopped back into the dirt and moved slowly around her, as she lay impotent on the ground. Apparently satisfied with its machinations, the frog then leapt upon her thigh and began kneading her flesh with its feet. Karen watched horrified, as a sticky, whitish substance began oozing from the creature’s toes onto her bare skin. The noxious goop burned and smelled like an odoriferous combination of stale urine and feces, causing her to gag.
The frog gazed at her again, its pink tongue snapping in and out of its brutish maw. Acknowledging the terror in her eyes, it smiled evilly, then turned its attention back to the pile of goop excreted onto her leg. With great care, it lapped at the substance; it’s cruel tongue spreading it over and around her calves and thighs. A wave of nausea passed over her as the tongue slithered over her skin, its barbs pinching and tearing her tender flesh.
The nasty creature worked on her legs for what seemed an eternity and she struggled to understand its purpose. Then, in a flash, it came to her.
Oh, my God, it’s like a spider. It’s encasing me. Keeping me alive, but immobile. Saving me for later!
WILL KAREN FIND A WAY TO ESCAPE? OR IS THIS THE END OF HER?
AND, WHAT ABOUT HER YOUNG SON?
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