It was hideous. It had the head of a dog, but with great teeth like a serpent, set in the maw of whale. The thick, misshapen head sat upon the twisted body clad in scales and spines, like the foul offspring of a lizard and a porcupine. Its clawed toes drummed a sick rhythm against the cave floor.
She woke up in the cave, surrounded by the foul stench of rotting carcasses, her hands sliding in the blood and muck of its recent kills. Her father would pay for setting her outside the walls, she would see to that. What was the point in being princess if you could be chosen in the lottery?
She looked at the creature. It looked at her again. She had been expecting it to pounce by now. Instead, it just looked at her with its watery eyes.
“What do you want?” she asked. “Why do you take one of us?”
She wondered why she had spoke to it. It had never been capable of speech. It was just some hell-beast, who had taken a woman from their town very week until the wall was built and the lottery founded. Now it took tribute only once a year.
But then it spoke, and she listened.
“Love me,” it croaked, in a voice like a chicken’s death rattle.
She laughed. She laughed as it sprung, she laughed as she beat it back with the great cow bone and she laughed as the brave knight rescued her.