Leaping back and forth, the creature kept its distance from Daniel, circling him.
And Daniel was terrified.
Not because the creature was alien.
Daniel had seen plenty of aliens. He'd lived with them, worked with them, partied with them. His best friend Trak was an alien Mek.
No, Daniel was terrified because he was certain this particular alien would do horrible things to him if it got close enough.
Then the creature shrieked again.
For the first time since the accident at Cassandra, Daniel’s fear overwhelmed him. He couldn’t turn and run. He couldn’t move.
And he knew he had been wrong: Losing his augmem was nowhere near as scary as facing this creature.
In the brief moments when it came to stop between jumps, the creature's tentacles moved like eyeless snakes, weaving back and forth in the air.
Despite it's quick movements, it seemed to be taking its time.
When Tour Guide had flitted Daniel practically on the creature’s nonexistent lap, the creature must have lashed out in fear and surprise, Daniel realized.
But this time, the creature had been waiting for him; it had baited its trap with Jeska's voice.
Still circling, it looked in no hurry to rush the hunt.
Suddenly, the creature's right tentacle snapped out, hitting Daniel across the chest, tearing into the fabric of his robe, spinning Daniel 90 degrees.
“Daniel!” the creature screamed in Jeska’s voice.
With its prey off-balance, the creature coiled its bulk and prepared to pounce.
There was a sound in the distance, as one of the taller t-shirt piles Daniel had bumped toppled with a soft crash.
The noise startled the creature, throwing off its planned leap.
Sailing through the air, it missed Daniel completely. Not by inches, but by yards.