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The Four Digit Dancer

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The Four Digit Dancer

A child's drawing of "The Four Digit Dancer" in its most witnessed pose.

It was always fascinating, despite how relaxed things were in this place. The idea of extraterrestrial life being discovered someday has always been amazing. That’s what we all think, right? Who in their sane mind could possibly stand up and deny that what we all call “aliens” exist? Have we all considered the idea of how said term is used, in that it could also refer to a foreign person from any other country outside of the United States of America? Think about that, but that’s not what I do want to draw to your attention.

Now you see, the term alien refers to just about anything of foreign nature if used in such a way. I believe that the term extraterrestrial life is the term we’re looking for here. With the search narrowed down, you’d believe such sightings would be common in the state of Ohio, correct? Well, almost.

I live in a city known as Tallmadge, in a rather quiet, secluded neighborhood in which the lights from the Tallmadge Circle often obscure the skyline to the point no stars are ever visible in mass numbers. It’s such a shame, really, it is.

Looking back on the term in all twenty years of my life, I began to question if any significant sightings ever took place. Due to how crowded this place could be in my neighborhood, forests were not that big of a thing to occur. When my little cousins started to come over for a visit more frequently, I decided to play a little joke on them. Given how much younger they were compared to me, and given my facial hair, they often called me “Uncle Martin”, and I often had a nature of telling them stories whenever I was in charge of putting them to bed.

One day, during the middle of summer, I decided to tell them the story of a strange, vivid creature I had dubbed “The Four Digit Dancer”. I explained to them how the creature stood about four to five feet tall, standing on two legs, having four toes, two on each side of its foot, and similar details with its two arms, which also had a flipper-like feel to them. It had a snake-like head, with not one, but two sets of fangs on the top and bottom jaw, and despite the size of the fangs, the mouth closed perfectly on unsuspecting victims.

After I detailed the creature to them, I was asked to continue the story the following night as by then I had run out of time. Taking advantage of the fact they always played outside due to my aunt’s rules, I took the time to construct a suit made of various sweaters, some beds, and some plastic, to construct a suit of the creature. While working on the full suit, I had broken a few of the materials, which gave me an idea. When I told them the story later that night, I showed them the “pelt” of this creature since I suspected a few of them didn't believe me. Only my aunt seemed to not buy into my ruse, but she didn't bother interfering since she knew I was onto something.

While I showed them the fake pelt, I began detailing how this creature lived. It arrived on Earth from outer space once a year, and the specific day it appeared in moved up one day, taking into consideration only a normal year of 365 days in a year, as it never appeared on leap years. Given how the date was 2013 in the middle of the summer, I was quick with my math in stating that the creature first began appearing for a total of one hundred and ninety-seven days (excluding leap years), and given how the remainder of today is the 14th of the month, and the calculation meant that on this year, the creature would visit Earth again in three days on the 17th.

Yet again losing track of time, I told them I would tell the story again as the days went by. Taking advantage of the available time I had, I used the “skin” of the suit I had failed to make and tried again with creating an actual suit of my own creature. It seemed like an innocent enough prank to pull on them, I mean, after all, the creature more than likely would exist even outside of Earth. As night came and went yet again, it was the 15th, and there was something different about my audience of listeners as I began to tell them my tale for tonight, but I would be informed at an inopportune timing.

Ignoring that bit for now, I told them of how the creature appeared in the middle of tiny walking trails, appearing with a bright flash of light, its pose having it standing on its right foot as it moved to stand on both a few seconds later. “What did it do if I ever spotted anyone?” I was asked. The answer, I told them, was that it would arrive and cause any witnesses to suddenly “disappear”, without leaving any trace of itself nor the victim, save for a tiny spot on the ground where it once stood; a pair of footprints, the center structure being part of a boot in appearance, with the outer foot and the four toes present to the point both footprints looked like they were joined together…

That was when my aunt took me by surprise, and informed me of the news; two of my cousins had disappeared earlier today, and nobody was able to find a single trace of them. My aunt warned me that if I ever used any actual disappearances in my stories again, that she would ground me for life to my own room.

To say I was stunned about this tragic accident was an understatement. Two of my own blood relatives being kidnapped without me having known about it, especially in a neighborhood like this? It was almost unheard of! I must've been too busy working on the costume for me to have actually been paying attention to what my parents and aunt were doing with them.

When the next day arrived, I asked if there was anything I could do to help look after the kids after they were kidnapped, but that’s when my dad told me they were not kidnapped.

“Then what happened to them?” I had asked.

He responded with silence initially, and told me that he didn't know, and that for all of his years as a police officer, he told me this was one mystery he could never solve. He explained to me that for the past twenty years on the job, he told me that at very specific points in time, there would always be a disappearance each year that could not be explained; no sounds of screaming were heard no reports of identification filed. Nothing, to the point the next year all files on the victim would vanish without a trace.

I was shocked, and as I noticed my father’s chart he had dedicated to this mystery, I noticed that some years did not have disappearances. I also noticed some astonishing accuracy with my own tall tale in regards to the exact date of disappearance on some of these victims; merely a two to three days prior to when my supposed creature would've normally appeared, but aside from that, the data was consistent, to the point I realized something right away about the gaps now that I thought about my story; the years that didn't have such disappearances were all leap years.

Astonished by the records of these reports, the moment I got home I made sure to destroy both the pelt and work in progress costume of my creature, to make sure that no sick fuck would try and utilize my own story against me. This still didn't add up a few things, though, and since the story was unfinished, I decided to try telling my cousins the rest of the tale to hope that perhaps this misfortune would leave my train of thought.

When I began telling the tale, everyone was quiet, and before it was time for me to tell the story as usual, I was given a drawing by my cousin, depicting my own creature in the very pose it stood in before making people vanish if it was spotted. I was ashamed of even having the picture not burned after they went to bed that night, but I was not going to disrespect my cousin so I simply decided I would give the picture to my dad to have put on his wall, since he doesn't see the family very often while at work.

When story time came, I was given a stern look by my aunt, a look that told me “If I’m going to continue this story, then I should be the one who encounters this creature alone.” I wasn't sure if that was an option just yet, as it was only the 16th still, so I had both the remainder of the night and hopefully tomorrow morning to figure things out. I truly hope I didn't send myself to eternal damnation by telling such a harmless story and having it somehow connect to a series of disappearances. That just didn't seem like my own nature!

Continuing from where I left off the night before, I explained that the creature was only seen performing an odd dance, and that it had only caused such disappearances since it was interrupted. It grazed on local plants, before moving to a silent area to perform its so called dance. Standing one leg the entire time (or one arm), it made numerous flips and athletic stunts, all the while yelling random gibberish in a high pitched voice that would cause dogs to randomly bark out of nowhere, before tuning its own voice to into a shrill scream, that sounded like a tornado siren, before becoming harmful to listen to. If it was uninterrupted, it simply left the planet never to return again for a whole year (or two if next year was a leap year).

Taking my consciousness to bed, I wanted to get out the memories from the past few days. Who knows, I’ll probably end up walking out into the park to patrol with my dad, since he had a chance to work around my own district both tonight and tomorrow morning. I asked if I could join him, and he took notice of the picture on my wall; the very same picture of the creature I hoped never to have to speak of again. My father asked who drew it, and I told him that my cousin did, but he then went on to say “How did he not disappear like all the others?”

Either my dad was trying to bluff me or something was legitimately fishy. I had just come up with the creature only a few days ago, and now my dad recognizes it as if he was staring right in the portrait of a serial killer who had never been seen for a very long time?! Was the world coming to an end?! Was this really going to be my last memory, was for my own creature, intended as but a harmless story, somehow getting almost perfectly linked with my dad’s record of disappearances from the past 20 years, and that somehow this creature may actually exist?!

No I would not hear of it! This creature was too normal looking to actually resemble an extraterrestrial being of any kind! There had to be at least one detail about my creature that didn't add up with the actual disappearances, so I agreed to follow my dad through the park, being sure to keep check on my watch for the time, ensuring I wouldn't slip up as to what could potentially distract me. My father and I walked into the park, and for a moment I felt like some bug had flown into my train of vision, as I saw a bright flash from somewhere, and before I had the chance to reassure myself, there were two things that happened next; the clock hit 12:00 AM on my watch, and my dad ordered me to follow him quickly towards the source of the flash.

We began walking towards where he saw the flash appear from, as within mere seconds of us moving from jogging to running, dogs from every angle next to or within the park began barking like mad, and I had noticed that two other details I had made up in the story had been yet again associated with an odd disturbance. My dad informed me he saw something up ahead, and he readied his gun, as I was helpless against whatever was causing the barking so out of nowhere.

The first time it hit me I didn't even see it, as all I could hear was my dad ordering “At long last! Get on the fucking ground you weirdo!” When I looked ahead towards what I could see in the dark, my dad used his flashlight to point out the silhouette of some strange animal. It stood on only one leg, but it had four limbs, and it was waving its arms around like they didn't have bones in them. The creature’s head had its mouth open for a moment, revealing two sets of fangs bigger than what its jaws could support, but as it closed its mouth, it closed almost perfectly with no signs of the massive fangs.

Slowly moving to stand on its other foot, I was quick to realize a few other details, about it; it had exactly four digits on both its hand and feet, which were symmetrical just as I had described, it had Fly-like wings, and its eyes were very snake-like, and the whole body, minus the wings and digits, was covered in a downy layer of fur.

This was it.

This was it without reason!

Any scientist who would dream up a creature than to later discover it would be a dream come true!

In my case, however, I had made up something off of the tip of my tongue a few days ago, only to discover that tonight, on the very day I had claimed it would appear.

Stood the Four Digit Dancer as I had initially called and described it, and right behind it stood the corpses of two young children with their necks having been torn open by its fangs! They were my cousins’ corpses!

“I spent all my career looking for you ya bastard! Now drop to the ground before I shoot!!” My dad had yelled, as I realized that he was the only one here to protect me from this creature, as it seemed to ignore my father’s orders, as its gaze fixed itself on me and me alone. What was it about to do? How did my dad feel so sure he could take on this creature when even I knew I didn't stand a chance against such an organism!

My dad had taken the fact it wasn't listening to his words and curses for several minutes straight, as he fired several shots directly at the creature, bullets piercing it’s chest, as it let out a shrill shriek, one that caused both of us to collapse to the ground in pain after the sound itself became loud and painful to the ears.

From what I could barely hear, my dad’s cry of agony was heard, and I had known at then that the creature had killed him, as I could see fresh blood pouring beside me, and leaking from the base of his neck, where I was able to see the creature’s jaws clamped around, before it noticed me looking at it and moved away from my dad’s corpse, my father’s head partially ripped off due to how large it’s fangs were. The bullets, with approximately six shots fired, appeared to be taking its toll on the creature, but I had to be certain that my own imagination wasn't playing a trick on me! I wasn't sure if I could pull it off, but for my father’s death, if this sadist was going kill me, then I would take it with me to my grave if I had to!

I was quick to grab my dad’s gun, aim almost right at the creature as it had attempted to pounce me, only for a single shot into its jaw, the bullet piercing through the top of its skull, had swiftly caused the creature to perish onto the ground, as I slowly moved to stand up, taking a good, long look at the very creature I had allegedly made up. Even with this specimen now being as good as dead, was it really worth it even with the prospect that it came from space? It had caused at least the deaths of my two cousins and father, and who knows who and what else it had killed within the past twenty years of my dad tracking it. I felt horrified imagining the idea of this creature having been around for as long as I had initially claimed it to be, since the death count only increased even higher with that in mind…

A week had passed since the entire incident, and my family was in mourning of the deceased, just as I was as well… My own tall tales had gotten me into trouble without even realizing it, as my aunt had forgiven me once she had heard the full details of the encounter from a friend of my father’s. We never saw this coming, not even within my own lifetime! The fact we have living evidence of a creature unknown to science was astounding, only it wasn't.

When I was asked where I had buried the body of the creature to hide the evidence, I told them I didn't bury it at all out of sheer panic, and the fact it had disappeared without a trace. This made me question had anybody ever managed to kill this creature before? If they actually did in the past.

Did they ever anticipate on swarms of others just like it surrounding the being that killed one of its own kind…? I would never be able to get an answer out to my relatives if such a thing happened.

For that’s exactly what a swarm of individuals decided to do once they spotted me alone in my room the following night…

“SKRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!”

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