Thursday, March 24, 2011

Story-A-Day #133: Burrowers


Something happened over the winter.

As recently as two weeks ago, solid mounds of snow had lined the streets. Their decrease in size was no surprise with the warmer temperatures, but an odd aspect to the melting had become apparent. As the snow banks melted, large pockets of open space were revealed. It wasn’t a random occurrence either. The gaping holes were evident within melting banks throughout the city.

What would cause a mound of snow to melt from within?

It had perplexed the team for the first week or so, but the answer had become clear over night. The banks weren’t located over storm drains, and the degree of melting could not be attributed to sand and salt from the roads. There was something else behind the enclosures and while they weren’t clear at first, things had now progressed and the picture was becoming clearer.

The slithering trails that had been appearing throughout the city seemed to indicate that something had been in the banks; the dense snow possibly serving as an incubator.

The team was now operating under the theory that unknown creatures had been growing in the snow, hidden from the prying eyes around them; and when the thaw came, they started hatching. The problem now was figuring out what type of creature had been growing in those icy enclosures, and to where they had now disappeared.

Nothing known to science could account for the strange gestation pattern. Heat was usually required for creatures, mammalian or otherwise, to incubate, hatch, or be birthed. With the exception of certain deep-sea species, no entity known to man would have such a disparate and spread out nesting pattern. There was no reason for a creature to spread its brood throughout the city.

More alarming still was the fact that none of the usual post-birth signs were evident. There were no shell fragments, no stillborns, and barely any sign of exit routes from the mounds of snow.

These creatures were an unknown quantity, and as unknown quantities, they would be hard to trace, and harder still to identify.

The one lucky break we’ve had is that there seems to be a secretion in their trails that reacts to ultraviolet light. We’ve tracked a number of the trails to sewer and storm drain accesses and are preparing a team to conduct a search below ground.

With any luck, we’ll get to the bottom of this by early next week. The worst-case scenario is that we have a hostile new breed of animal infiltrating our city, but we have had no indication that the creatures pose a threat. Still, we would be remiss to assume there is no reason for concern whatsoever. The secretions could prove toxic, or pose a threat to the area water table.

The team is in place for tomorrow. Hopefully we will find a quick solution to this mystery. Until then, we’ll just keep our eyes peeled, and hope for a favourable outcome.

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