Really, how do you beat that caption?
"Picture of the monster that lays waste in Gevaudan. This beast is as big as a young bull and she attacks by preference women and children. She drinks the blood and bites off the heads and carries them away."
Yes, I'm researching again.
1,145 words so far today. And I have to pause, while I figure out exactly what the monster is* and how it got there and why it's being triggered by what's triggering it. I've done a whole bunch of reading up on maulers recently, though (for obvious reasons). They're a pretty common cryptozoological category, and as far as I know, the most recent series of reported attacks is one in Bulgaria 1993. We actually have a local example here in Connecticut--the Glastonbury Glawackus, which was spotted several times in the thirties, although I don't believe that one's credited with any deaths. [prevailing theory is that it was a displaced wolverine or fisher cat.])
Actually, a wolverine, except for size, fits the description of la bête du Gévaudan exceptionally well, right down to the pale stripe on its chest. Of course, wrong continent, and even allowing for exaggerration, as happens when people are excited, there's a world of difference between thirty-five pounds and the size of a yearling bull. Also, wolverines, mythology aside, tend to be exceedingly retiring beasts.
Maybe it was a translocated wolverine with a pituitary condition.
*hint: it's not actually la bête anthropophage du Gévaudan, though our heroes could be forgiven for thinking so.)
On a totally different topic, as long as I'm having a think break, all this talk of predators and a conversation in chat about polar bears (polar bears give me a wiggins. I've been six inches from an adult male lion (this adult male lion. there was glass! he was leaning on the glass!) and I've held a falcon on my glove and looked it in the eye, and I did not have the ice-cold skin-crawling reaction I do to being within eyeshot of a polar bear, even when the bear in question is safely on the other side of a twenty-foot trench and a glass wall. )
Polar bears have those eyes. And that snaky head. And they look at you with so much interest, as if they are considering their plan of attack.
You see, most large carnivores look at a human and see another large carnivore, which generally puts us into the category of "not worth the effort unless I'm really hungry." Polar bears look at a human, and start doing mass to energy conversions to try to figure out if it's worth the calorie expenditure to run you down.
The only thing I've experienced that came close was being scared half out of my wits by a mount of Therizinosaurus on the first of two occasions when I saw the traveling feathered dinosaur exhibit. (I saw it in San Diego and at the ROM.)
You see, in San Diego, they had it set up so you rounded the corner, came around the velociraptors, and paused to read a sign--and then looked up at the display. And some clever Joe had arranged the display so that when you looked up, you were exactly at Therizinosaurus' point of focus. Therizinosaurus is thirteen feet tall and has a long snaky neck and three foot claws. Three. Foot. Claws.
Look at your arm.
That's a claw.
If you ever want to know what a prey freeze reaction feels like from the point of view of a shrew? This is the way to learn it.***
Polar bear attention works, too.
Anyway, that scene in Carnival where [spoiler] is confronted by the [spoiler]? Yeah. That was me and Therizinosaurus.
***Therizinosaurus, entertainingly enough, was probably an herbivore. But man, that model looks hungry.