you are here [x]: Scarlet Star Studios > the Scarlet Letters > C - The Cradle Robber
<< before LSGL teaser kicks off lovecraft festival!
after >> a beautiful hoax: the lovecraft filmfest acceptance letter

October 3, 2007

C - The Cradle Robber

by sven at 8:00 am

Reprinted with permission from Professor Ichbonnsen's Monster Month blog.

[click to enlarge]

The Cradle Robber is a pale blue, four-legged, spider-like creature.

What is most remarkable, however, is that the animal's carapace is almost exactly the same shape and size as a human infant's severed head. This gruesome camouflage has been to put to good effect by the hunter in its preferred environment: mass graves.

The creature's body is covered by a bone exoskeleton, with exposed muscle groups and vein systems on the sides. Its slimy red eyes and prehensile mouth-fingers are located where the neck of the "baby head" seems to dangle. Indentations on the back of the carapace simulate the baby's mouth, nose, and closed eyes.

Cradle robber populations flourish during times of war or plague. The animals crawl into pits of dead bodies being readied for burial, and then wait patiently for their prey. Bereaved parents searching for lost children inevitably find their way to the graves... And then as the mothers and fathers kneel over piles of corpses, weeping and looking for their offspring, the predators strike.

When plagues are at their height, the animals have sometimes been emboldened to venture into the heart of human communities. Terrible tales have been told of the Cradle Robber that sneaks into a nursery, kills and consumes a child sleeping in the crib, and then waits for the parents to return -- sitting motionless there upon the bloody pillow, as if it were a wet nest.

During periods of peace and human health, the Cradle Robber population shrinks and retreats into dry underground tunnel systems. Clutches of eggs have been found secreted inside both French and Czech ossuaries.

There are large periods of history where the animal seems to be entirely absent from written record. It is possible that the Cradle Robber population collectively goes into a period of hibernation when the environmental factors that support its survival are no longer right.

If so, then we must ask: how does the species wake up again? At this point in time, the leading theory is that the Cradle Robber has a symbiotic relationship with rats -- which also prosper during times of human suffering. It is suspected that there are certain chemical markers in the urine of rats eating human flesh that serve as the wake up signal -- much like the ammonia component of smelling salts.

Evidence of Cradle Robber populations has been found throughout Europe and also the western reaches of the former Soviet Union, reaching back to Roman times. In recent years, rumors have circulated about a subspecies of black-shelled cradle robbers being sighted much farther south, in Rwanda and Darfur. Further investigation is required.

posted by sven | October 3, 2007 8:00 AM | categories: bestiary