The three children stared.
“How did it get here?” asked Colton.
“I don’t know,” whispered Amy.
The creature called the Zarnet was standing in
front of them. Or—maybe standing wasn’t the right
word. A creature with 12 wrinkly legs doesn’t really
stand. The Zarnet was moving slightly, bobbing up
and down on its many legs like a tiny boat on a wavy
Even though it had 12 legs, the Zarnet wasn’t
much taller than any of the children. Padma could
look it right in the eye without lifting her chin. She
tried to smile and look friendly. But she couldn’t quite
keep her eyes from taking in the creature’s mottled
blue and purple skin, its green tentacles where arms
should be, and its two wide mouths.
“Good evening,” Padma said. Her voice squeaked
a bit. “We’re a little surprised to see you. We have
never met a Zarnet before.”
“And I have never met a human child,” the Zarnet
replied. It didn’t move either of its mouths as it spoke.
Padma wondered where its voice came from. But she
didn’t want to be rude and ask.
E. Kissner 2013