The Mad Scientist
Scrumtumbler heard the scratching approach of the thing in the darkness, and the rippling echoes of more crackling noises from the direction it had come.
He knew his stun rifle was broken, but he squeezed the trigger anyway, hoping it would at least generate enough of a discharge to allow him to see where he was and what was coming towards him.
Nothing happened. He sat down, cradled the gun in his lap, and groped for the wire box. Fumblingly, he removed the clasp and ran his fingers down the wires. It felt like a mess inside. At least one vacuum tube had been shattered and several wires were dangling free of their contacts.
Scrumtumbler jerked his leg back as something touched his toe. It was no gentle tap: this was the forceful grasp of something unseen and desperate, and Scrumtumbler’s mind supplied images of a pale, clasping hand or a probing tentacle.
He scrambled backwards, crab-like on his hands and heels, until he bumped into a wall. Then he worked furiously in the dark, hissing quietly when he cut his fingers on the shards of a tube but not allowing himself to slow down. Science will be my light and my flame, he recited the membership oath of the Order of Prometheus as he worked. Knowledge will lead mankind to a brighter future.
This time when he pulled the trigger, a small arc of electricity sprang to life at the tip of his rifle, shedding just enough light for him to see his feet. He shuddered when he realized what had been pursuing him: a bulbous white grub, like the ones he had seen the molemen leading about in the caverns above. This one, however, was smaller. A hatchling, no doubt.