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Cyclist Snatcher

injuotoko, anime girl, pink hair, leggings, tentacles

Art by injuotoko

Chika Hanigara smiled as she rode her bicycle through the large and vibrant forest just outside Otrera Prima’s capitol of Silvia’s Landing. Her pink hair was fashioned into a ponytail and flowed gracefully as she pedaled away. She was dressed in pink leggings and a tight black long-sleeve shirt that showed off her lean, toned body. Every weekend she rode her bike through the forest, and every weekend she chose a different trail. This was her routine for the past six years, but it never got old for her, for she always found something new or interesting she could share with her friends at the office.

While cycling down one of her usual trails, weaving between mighty oaks and pines, she passed something peculiar. She stopped, turned around, and got a closer look. A long line of trees had been felled. She assumed the park management had created a new trail, but upon closer inspection, she realized the work was not done by human hands. The trees were not cut down, they were uprooted entirely. Growing more curious, she started down the new trail.

As she cautiously made her way past the fallen trees, she picked up on a syrupy smell that was unlike anything she had known before. Like a beckoning finger, it encouraged her to continue onward. Stronger and stronger the stench became until she reached a large clearing. At the opposite end was a massive oak tree. Many of its branches were devoid of leaves. On the front of it was a human-sized hollow whose splintered edges made it look like the wide open mouth of a hungering monster. Growing in front of the tree was a large orange Amaryllis, the source of the scent. Chika got off her bike, propped it up against a nearby pine, and approached the giant, half-dead oak. She got down on her hands and knees and sniffed the flower. It was the most pleasant thing she had ever smelled in her life. She leaned forward, closed her eyes, put her nose against the anthers, and breathed deeply. It was intoxicating.

Her body began to tingle. She enjoyed the wonderful sensation at first, but then she became lightheaded. She stood back up and turned around, but her limbs went numb before she could take a single step. She fell to her knees, then collapsed face-first onto the ground, her butt sticking in the air. She mumbled incoherently as she struggled to comprehend what was happening. She turned her head and darted her eyes up and down. The trees shimmered in kaleidoscopic colors and swayed like grass in the breeze. She wondered if the flower’s pollen contained some exotic paralytic compound. She noticed she could still breathe normally, so it wasn’t life-threatening, but she was still deeply worried because she had no idea how long the effects would last.

Green tentacles rose up from a pit inside the oak and out the hollow. They slowly approached her like snakes moving through the grass. She gasped as one of them caressed her butt. She tried to get up and run, but her limbs felt like they were full of lead. She began to whimper. The tentacle on her butt wrapped around her waist, then two more coiled around her thighs. Another two grabbed her wrists.

She squeaked out, “Help. Help.”

The tentacles lifted her up and slowly carried her to the tree. She tried to scream, but a tentacle entered her mouth as soon as she opened it. As she entered the pit inside the hollow against her will, she let out muffled cries for help and dreaded what would happen to her.

The next day, Chika’s employer noticed her absence and filed a missing persons report. Due to limited resources, the police were only able to assign one woman to the job: Investigator Juliet Seaberry. She drove to the forest and parked to the side of the main road. She got out, lit up a cigarette, and waited. There were dark bags under her eyes and her long black hair was a mess. Her dark blue three-piece suit was wrinkled and there were a few small holes in her dark pantyhose. She spent most of her time in an unkempt office in the city, so she was thankful to see something other than glass and steel skyscrapers.

A few minutes later, a young, cute woman with long brown hair, tight black shorts, and a pink shirt approached on her bicycle.

“Yui Kosaka?” Juliet asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Yui replied.

“Thank you for lending your aid in this investigation.” Juliet took a puff of her cigarette and looked around. “I take it you know this forest like the back of your hand?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ve been cycling since I was a child. I’ve gone down these trails so many times they’ve been burned into my brain.”

“Hopefully you can help me find Chika.”

“Say, can’t you use her phone’s GPS to find her?”

“We already tried that. It said her phone died while she was out riding.”

“I see.”

Juliet looked down the road, then back at Yui. “The road forks just up ahead. You go left and I’ll go right. Text me if you find a pink bike with a black stripe. That was what Chika was riding when she went missing.”

Yui nodded and rode off. Juliet got in her car and started driving. As the tall trees passed her by, she thought of all the ancient fairy tales her elders told her. They spoke of evil witches and the demons they served, and how they lured unsuspecting travelers to their doom. Most people in the Technocracy of Vega did not believe in the supernatural. They saw it as primitive superstition. But she knew it was very real.

Fifteen minutes later, she got a text from Yui stating she found Chika’s bike. She turned around and sped down the road, following the coordinates included in the text. She was thankful there were no other drivers around. She parked, got out, and ran down the trail of uprooted trees. When she reached the clearing, she found Yui lying face down on the ground.

The young cyclist struggled to lift up her head. “J-Juliet. The- The flower. Don’t s-sniff-”

The investigator gasped and drew her gun. “Yui! Behind you!”

Green tentacles emerged from the oak hollow, grabbed Yui, and pulled her inside with a quick yet strangely graceful motion. Juliet ran to the tree and peered down into the dark pit inside it. She lit up another cigarette to calm her nerves, then entered the tree. At the bottom of the pit was a tunnel, and at the far end was a faint orange glow. She slowly approached it and discovered it was a circular LED attached to a wooden support beam. Just beyond she found a small room measuring ten feet square. The dirt walls, floor, and ceiling were covered in thick green vines. On the floor was a black carpet with a red pentagram on it. On the far end was a dusty table, upon which was a copy of The Infernal Legions. Nearby was a rickety wooden door. The room was illuminated by several more circular LEDs which were attached to wooden beams that held up the ceiling.

Then she heard whimpers. She turned to her right and found Chika and Yui, still alive, bound to the wall by tentacles, tears in their eyes, and tentacles in their mouths. Yui lifted up her head and let out a muffled cry for help. The investigator went over to them.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll get you out of here.”

She pulled at the tentacles as hard as she could, but they would not budge. She wished she had brought a knife with her. The door behind her creaked open and a short, disheveled woman emerged from the darkness beyond. Her nose was large, her cheeks were pinkish-red, and she was dressed in tattered black robes.

“Hello, investigator,” she said.

Juliet turned to face her. As soon as she did, tentacles emerged from the wall behind her, grabbed her wrists and ankles, and secured her against the wall alongside the other two girls. She grunted as she struggled to free herself, but she stopped as soon as she realized her restraints were too strong.

The robed woman approached. “So I see you’ve found my home. You’re smart, but not smart enough to avoid an obvious trap.”

Juliet squinted at her. “Wait, aren’t you Rebecca Cohen? Didn’t you go missing five years ago?”

“I am, and I did.”

“What is the meaning of this?”

“I’m glad you asked. You see, I never had a happy childhood. My mother was very poor and was never around when I needed her the most. All the other girls at school mocked me for my physical appearance. They called me all sorts of horrible names. It kept getting worse and worse until I couldn’t take it anymore. When I turned 13, I left home and fled into the wilderness. I knew no one would miss me.”

Juliet chewed on her cigarette and interjected, “Your mother was the one who reported you missing.”

Rebecca snarled. “She only reported me missing because she didn’t want to make herself look bad.”

“She sounded pretty distraught when she made the initial report. She was worried sick about you.”

“She was just putting on an act. You have no idea just how neglectful she was. You don’t know about all the times when she would go out clubbing and leave me all alone. Luckily, I found a more caring and accepting family, for shortly after I entered this forest, I was found by the Sisters ov Pleasure, who taught me so many wondrous things.”

Juliet looked at the carpet with the pentagram, then back at Rebecca. “Let me guess. They taught you occult practices?”

“How very astute of you,” Rebecca replied condescendingly. “For the next five years, I learned the occult arts. My skills developed very quickly. I soon called upon Vinea, one of the nine Kings of Hell, and she blessed me with one of her gifts.”

“She? Isn’t king a male title?”

“Vinea assumes a female form, but she prefers the male title of king. Anyway, she taught me how to transform plants through alchemy and how to control them through the power of thought. With these powers, I crafted a flower with an irresistible smell and a paralyzing pollen. I then created a tentacled plant, perfect for snatching unsuspecting cyclists. I already captured these two beautiful maidens, and my flower’s succulent scent has brought you here.”

A bit of ash fell off Juliet’s cigarette. “Strange, I didn’t smell anything.”

“Wait, what?” Rebecca shook her head. “Never mind. What matters is that I now have three suitable offerings for the sacrifice I will perform. By doing this, Vinea will be pleased with me, and she will grant me the power I need to exact my vengeance.”

“So this is all an elaborate plot to get revenge against those who made fun of your physical appearance?”

Rebecca’s voice grew irritated. “I’m going to get revenge against society for all the injustices it inflicted upon me.”

“I know children can be cruel, but that’s no reason to burn down all of civilization.”

“I’ve heard enough out of you, investigator. It’s high time I begin the ritual and offer up you three as a sacrifice to Vinea.”

A tentacle emerged from the wall and touched Juliet’s face. It tried entering her mouth, but she resisted and kept moving her head away. The hot tip of her cigarette touched the appendage, which instantly burst into flames. As the fire quickly spread, the tentacles relinquished their captives and retreated into the walls. Juliet got up, pulled out her gun, and asked, “Now then, will you come quietly, or will we have a problem?”

Rebecca gritted her teeth and pulled at her hair. Her face turned red as the flames of rage filled her body. She couldn’t believe her plans were undone by a simple cigarette. She reached into her robes, pulled out a dagger, and charged. The investigator pulled the trigger and the young cultist fell to the ground dead. Juliet shook her head and sighed with disappointment. She went over to the two cyclists, got them back on their feet, and led them through the tunnel. They climbed out of the gaping hollow and ran towards the far end of the clearing. A few seconds later, the giant oak and several trees around it collapsed into the ground and the fire beneath was squelched. The girls breathed deeply of the fresh air and brushed the dirt and soot off their clothes.

“Thanks for getting us out of there,” Chika said.

“No problem,” Juliet said while lighting up another cigarette.

“Say,” Yui asked, “don’t the Sisters ov Pleasure sell, uh, sex toys?”

The investigator blew out a puff of smoke. “Yep.”

“Are they really involved in the occult? And is magic real?”

“I’ll have to look into that. Anyway, let’s head back to civilization.”

As they walked to Juliet’s car, Chika asked, “Is it true you’re unable to smell anything?”


“Why not?”

The investigator took another puff of her cigarette. “Long story.”


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