DORA WINIFRED READ, known to us and to all merely as D.W., sits across from her chemistry teacher, MR. RATBURN. Smoking is strictly prohibited on school grounds. She knows this. She smokes a long, thin cigarette regardless, and the small classroom is growing hazy with grey fog. Mr. Ratburn fans the air beneath his long nose.
MR. RATBURN: You know, I really wish you wouldn’t smoke in here.
DW: You know, I really wish you wouldn’t cut my shipments with elephant tranquilizers, but here we are, Ratburn. Here we are.
MR. RATBURN: It was… it was a simple misunderstanding. I can assure you.
DW: Binky Barnes is dead, Ratburn. There was enough carfentanil in his system to put a six-ton African bush elephant to sleep. That’s on your head. Not mine.
MR. RATBURN: Well… surely the authorities won’t…
DW: Trace it back to Elwood City’s leading chemistry instructor? The only man in this small, small town with the scientific know-how and the laboratory access necessary to pull off a stunt like this? Please.
MR. RATBURN: I can always take you down with me, Read. Don’t you forget it. Mutually assured destruction.
DW: Oh, by all means. When the DEA comes knocking at your door, explain to them that you were only taking marching orders from a fifteen-year-old girl. See how well that goes over. Remember, Ratburn, I’ve been at this a couple years. Three billion in the bank and Interpol still doesn’t know who I am. Hell, Arthur doesn’t even know who I am, and I’ve been mining his CPU for processing power since the day he got that rinky-dink laptop. He always complains about how slow his internet is. Doesn’t suspect a thing.
MR. RATBURN: Look, what do you want from me?
DW: I want one good reason why I shouldn’t sic my Serbians on you and make it look like an accident.
MR. RATBURN: I… I have a family.
DW: Oh, please. You have a one-bedroom and a dog.
MR. RATBURN: You have a dog, too. Interesting thing about dogs - quite susceptible to rat poison.
DW: You wouldn’t dare.
MR. RATBURN: Perhaps I would.
DW: Lay a finger on Pal and you’re a dead man.
MR. RATBURN: I see. Now we’re negotiating.
DW: Oh, Mr. Ratburn.
DW stands, twisting her dwindling cigarette into Mr. Ratburn’s desk.
DW: This was never a negotiation.
A small, sinister circle of red light suddenly appears on Mr. Ratburn’s forehead. His eyes go wide. He doesn’t move. D.W. blows out a final gust of smoke. She extracts a cell phone from her pocket, presses a button, and lifts it to her ear.
The Emela-ntouka is a cryptid that supposedly lives around central Africa. In the Lingala language, its name means “killer of the elephants”. The Emela-ntouka is said to be the size of an African Bush Elephant but it looks like a rhinoceros. It has a long, powerful tail and a single horn that comes from its snout. The beast is rumored to be at lease semi-aquatic and able to swim quite well. It is seen, and said, to stay around the Congo River banks and allegedly holds a severe hatred for hippopotamuses. The creatures are generally solitary as they are hardly ever seen in groups.