You probably don’t believe in the Malamander.
You maybe think there’s no way a fish-man can be real.
And that’s fine.
In fact, do yourself a favour and stop reading now.
This story probably isn’t for you anyway.
What is the Malamander?
No really. Stop reading this. Forget you ever heard of Eerie-on-Sea.
Delete this email.
Now clear your deleted items.
Have I heard of Eerie-on-Sea?
You’ve probably been to Eerie-on-Sea, without ever knowing it.
When you came, it would have been summer. There would have been ice cream and deckchairs and a seagull that pinched your chips. You probably poked about in the rock pools with your mum, while your dad found that funny shell. Remember? And I bet, when you got in the car to drive home, you looked up at the words CHEERIE-on-SEA – written in light-bulb letters over the pier – and got ready to forget all about your day at the beach.
It’s that kind of place.
In the summer.
So … what happens after summer?
You should try being here when the first winter storms blow in, when the letters “C” and “H” blow off the pier. When sea mist drifts up the streets like vast ghostly tentacles, and saltwater spray rattles the windows of the Grand Nautilus Hotel.
Few people visit Eerie-on-Sea then. Even the locals keep off the beach when darkness falls and the wind howls, and – even now – some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep.
Seriously. WHAT is the Malamander?
I’ve told you too much already. Forget all about the Malamander. Go back to your normal life – grow up, get married, start a family. And when your children can walk, take them for a day at the beach too. In the summer, of course. Stroll on the sand, and find a funny shell. Reach down and pick it up. Only, it’s stuck to something …
Stuck to an old tin box.
The lock has been torn off and the chain is gone. Can the ocean do that? You open the box, and find …
… that it’s empty.
Nothing but barnacles and seaweed, and something else. Something like … slime?
You hear a sound behind you – a sound like footsteps – coming closer. Like slimy, flippery footsteps coming closer.
You turn around.
What do you see?
Well, maybe this story is for you, after all.