Croatoan
Harlan Ellison

Copyright 1975 by Harlan Ellison

This sewergator-ridden story of ridden sewergators, featured in Harlan Ellison's collection, Strange Wine (1978), first appeared in a 1975 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.


[...]The daughter, whose name I can't recall, wanted a baby alligator. Cute. We brought it back on the plane in a cardboard box with air holes. Less than a month later it had grown large enough to snap. Its teeth weren't that long, but it snapped. It was saying: this is what I'll be: direct lineal descendant of Rex. Frances flushed it down the toilet one night after we'd made love. The little girl was asleep in the next room. The next morning, Frances told her the alligator had run off.

The sewers of the city are infested with with full-grown alligators. No amount of precaution and no forays by hunting teams with rifles or crossbows or flame throwers have been able to clear the tunnels. The sewers are still infested; workers go carefully. So did I.

[...]

And the light came nearer, and the light was many lights. Torches, held aloft by the children who rode the alligators.



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