Gambas are hilarious. This monster really did come out of the story, too. Askari has been sent off on her own, so I needed a monster that she wouldn’t be afraid of and that she could technically handle on her own, but that would ultimately prove to be a problem—and the gamba is what I came up with.
They are “masters” of disguise—or not, actually. They have a mushroom hat that they hide under, but it’s so big it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t actually mushrooms. The only people they fool are ones that haven’t encountered them before.
They have hairy bodies, sharp claws, and a sort of oily… oil on their bodies that is slippery, but also flammable.
Their main mode of hunting is to track something throughout the day, wait until it is in a vulnerable position (like sleeping) and then attack. They love land animals, but aren’t smart enough to get their claws on them very often, so tend to eat fish and ducks more often than human or deer.
Honestly though, I love this monster. I think they are cute, hilarious, and have engaging personalities—despite the fact that they only want to eat you.
And just for fun, here is a little teaser from Chapter 3 of Tentacles and Teeth, detailing a piece of Askari’s first encounter with the creature.
“She walked a few more feet towards the river and saw another mushroom. This one quivered briefly, like it had just been brushed by something moving past it. Frowning, Askari turned and looked back at the previous mushroom. It was gone.
Her frown deepened as she walked slowly past the new mushroom, keeping an eye on it over her shoulder. What exactly was it? A weird plant? A hallucination? As soon as she was past, the mushroom miraculously sprouted ugly, hairy legs and scurried behind a tree.”