From the author: Gleepglop-Geep learns valuable life lessons as she begins to grow up -- lessons about sibling rivalry, defeating Mother, and taking her place in society.
Gleepglop-Geep is curled up under the dried leaves, warm and comfortable. But not sleeping! Gleepglop-Geep knows that sleeping is dangerous, and she is far too young to nap! What are her siblings doing? Are they resting under the leaves, too, or are they getting ready to attack? Gleepglop-Geep listens carefully! Her killtooth is not sharp enough. Not yet!
Is your killtooth sharp enough?
Gleepglop-Geep notices that there is light coming though the leaves. It is morning, and Mother has turned on the light! Gleepglop-Geep thrashes wildly until she is uncovered. The leaves lie in piles around her. Her siblings are uncovering themselves, too! There is Glorpgloon-Gerp, Glurg-glup-Gup, and Gleekglub-Goop. They are all waking up! They are all ready for breakfast!
Are their killteeth sharp? Maybe not!
Nearest Gleepglop-Geep is her sister, Glurg-glup-Gup. Glurg-glup-Gup is small. Glurg-glup-Gup is weak. She has never fought Gleepglop-Geep. Her killtooth is small and thin. She is sweet. Her eyes are soft. She can be a follower. Or she can die.
Don’t be like Glurg-glup-Gup!
But where is Glornglup-Goon? Is he still under the leaves? There are no big piles of leaves nearby. Is he hiding? Is his killtooth sharp?
Gleepglop-Geep turns around. Ha! Glornglup-Goon is there, creeping up behind her! His killtooth is sharp! It is ready!
“Itti-itti-itti-oot!” Gleepglop-Geep shouts. She opens her mouth wide to show Glornglup-Goon her killtooth. It is not long enough yet. It is not sharp enough yet. But Gleepglop-Geep is strong! Her mouth is wide! Her eyes are filled with hate!
Glornglup-Goon backs down. He closes his mouth. He doesn’t look at Gleepglop-Geep. His killtooth is long and sharp, but he is not ready! He is afraid! He has lost!
Will he be a follower? What do you think?
Geepglop-Geep is full with warm blood. Her mother has fed her with the blood of her dying followers. Her mother hurried away after the feeding. Mother is afraid. Her time will end soon.
Gleepglop-Geep is thinking. Is her killtooth long enough? Will Glornglup-Goon try again? But it is hard to think. Gleepglop-Geep can smell something. It is something far away. But maybe it will be closer someday.
What does Gleepglop-Geep smell? It is warm, and thin, and different from her sisters. It is different from her brothers. It bothers her. It is exciting. It makes Gleepglup-Geep angry at her killtooth. It grows too slowly!
What does Gleepglop-Geep smell? Is it her future?
Gleepglop-Geep is sleeping. It is dangerous. It is bad to sleep. But sometimes she must.
Will something bad happen tonight?
A loud noise, and light! The leaves fly away, and Gleepglop-Geep wakes up. It is Glornglup-Goon! His mouth is open! His killtooth is long and sharp! He will bite Gleepglop-Geep!
“Itti-itti-itti-oot!” Gleepglop-Geep shouts! But Glornglup-Goon doesn’t run away! He is mad with the need to kill! He jumps on Gleepglop-Geep!
Glornglup-Goon opens his mouth and attacks! But Gleepglop-Geep jumps back. She throws a foot up. Glornglup-Goon bites the foot! It hurts! But it is not her neck. The blood comes out, but Gleepglop-Geep is not dead!
Glornglup-Goon has Gleepglop-Geep’s foot in his mouth. He shakes it! Gleepglop-Geep screams. She cannot pull her foot away. Glornglup-Goon looks at her with red eyes. His victory is sure!
Do you think so?
Gleepglop-Geep pulls. Her foot will not come out of Glornglup-Goon’s mouth! She pulls, pulls, pulls – it is useless! The blood is flowing! Glornglup-Goon is winning!
Gleepglop-Geep cannot pull her foot out. So she doesn’t pull. She turns. She doesn’t turn away from Glornglup-Goon. She turns towards him!
Glornglup-Goon holds Gleepglop-Geep’s foot in his mouth. His head is down. Gleepglop-Geep turns and grabs him. His neck is there! She bites his neck! Her killtooth goes deep, deep. The blood flows!
Glornglup-Goon stops biting Gleepglop-Geep’s foot. He wants to turn, to face Gleepglop-Geep. He cannot! Her killtooth is deep in his neck, and he is powerless! He shakes his body once, and twice, and then he dies!
Blood is sweet in Gleepglop-Geep’s mouth! It brightens her killtooth! “Ooot Ooot Aaat!” Gleepglop-Geep cries. “Aaaat!”
Emit sounds of joy with Gleepglop-Geep! Ooot Ooot Aaat!
Gleepglop-Geep’s foot hurts. But the blood is not coming out now. The blood and meat of Glornglup-Goon will feed her. Her foot will become strong again. Gleepglop-Geep will not clean the blood from her mouth. Her siblings will not come near her now.
Gleepglop-Geep’s sister, Glurg-glup-Gup, comes to her in the morning. Glurg-glup-Gup is small. Glurg-glup-Gup is weak. Her mouth is closed. She smells like defeat. She opens her mouth slowly. Gleepglop-Geep watches. Glurg-glup-Gup’s killtooth is loose. Soon it will fall out. Glurg-glup-Gup will be a follower.
The others must be dominated. Some she must fight. One day Gloongrup-Gorn looks at Gleepglop-Geep. She opens her mouth. She shows her killtooth. Gloongrup-Gorn will attack soon. At night Gleepglop-Geep finds Gloongrup-Gorn in her nest. She is sleeping. She is not careful! Foolish child! Gleepglop-Geep bites her in the neck. Her killtooth is strong. Her killtooth is long. Gloongrup-Gorn dies. The blood flows! Gleepglop-Geep hops and hops.
Hop and hop with Gleepglop-Geep!
Some she does not need to fight. Gluff-Gluff-Goot comes in the morning. He opens his mouth. His killtooth is very loose. He will follow.
All of Gleepglop-Geep’s brothers and sisters are dead, or they are followers. Can she keep them? Will they stay? Before that happens, Gleepglop-Geep must face Mother!
Gleepglop-Geep hears Mother coming. Mother is bringing food. But today Mother is slow. Gleepglop-Geep hears Mother pause. Mother sees all of the children in one nest. Mother smells different. Mother knows what is going to happen.
Is she afraid? Is she relieved? Is she proud? Is she fuming?
Mother begins to move again. She is coming closer and closer to the nest. Gleepglop-Geep is awake. She listens. Her brothers and sisters are awake. Gleepglop-Geep is tense. She is ready. Her mouth is open. Her killtooth is sharp! Now is the time!
And if she loses? The followers will hurry back to their old nests. Their killteeth will anchor themselves firmly to their mouths again. Their killteeth will grow. One of her brothers or one of her sisters will collect followers. One of them will take her place.
If she loses.
Will Gleepglop-Geep lose?
Before Gleepglop-Geep loses, or wins, she must try. She must fight. She will fight!
Gleepglop-Geep waits under the dry leaves. She can hear Mother coming closer. Closer. Closer! The leaves above her part. Light comes into the nest. It is Mother! She is here! Gleepglop-Geep leaps at her!
Gleepglop-Geep is ready to tear Mother’s throat out. Her mouth is wide! But Mother is not surprised. She jumps back – Gleepglop-Geep’s killtooth misses! Her mouth closes on nothing but air!
Mother faces her. She rises onto her hindmost feet, her arms wide, her mouth open, her killtooth very, very sharp!
Mother is so big! Gleepglop-Geep is surprised. Gleepglop-Geep trembles. She is afraid! How can she defeat such a large opponent?
Gleepglop-Geep knows that when Mother was young, she fought her siblings. She was the winner. She chose her followers. She chose a mate. She is an experienced fighter. She might laugh at Gleepglop-Geep. She might despise her. Gleepglop-Geep’s mouth starts to close.
No! Gleepglop-Geep cannot accept this. She is a fighter, too! Her siblings lie beaten. They respect her! Mother must learn to respect her, too! Her mouth opens. It opens wide! If Gleepglop-Geep must die, she will die fighting!
You can, too!
Gleepglop-Geep does not leap at Mother’s throat again. Mother is so big. Mother’s arms will tear Gleepglop-Geep into pieces. No! She does not leap at the throat. She stays low to the ground. She moves quickly. She is small, but fast! Maybe faster than Mother!
Gleepglop-Geep rushes to the side, and then forward – at Mother’s left hindfoot! As she passes, her killtooth catches the foot. Mother is falling! Blood is in Gleepglop-Geep’s mouth!
Mother is angry! She is enraged! She spins to face Gleepglop-Geep, and leaps!
But Gleepglop-Geep is quick. She darts to the side, and as Mother comes down, Gleepglop-Geep bites Mother’s second left arm. She bites hard! Bones break! And then Gleepglop-Geep jumps away.
Mother whimpers. She sees her broken arm. She bleeds from her leg. Gleepglop-Geep has never seen her mother cry. Gleepglop-Geep is filled with joy.
Gleepglop-Geep leaps at her crying mother! Her mouth is open wide! Now is the time for the kill!
But Mother slaps Gleepglop-Geep out of the air. Her claws tear Gleepglop-Geep’s face. Gleepglop-Geep falls far away. Blood flies!
Gleepglop-Geep can see out of only two eyes. Her face is burning. There is blood in her mouth – her own blood! But she sees Mother coming. She jumps out of the way!
Mother’s claws rake Gleepglop-Geep’s back. Blood comes out. But it is not a deep wound. Mother’s injuries have slowed her. Now Mother struggles to rise. She will attack Gleepglop-Geep again.
Gleepglop-Geep does not wait. She turns and leaps! She is on Mother’s back! Gleepglop-Geep is clawing and biting! Mother screams, but can do nothing! Foolish Mother!
Gleepglop-Geep opens her mouth, wider and wider! She plunges her killtooth into the back of Mother’s neck. It goes deep! Mother struggles, but cannot shake her! The blood flows. Gleepglop-Geep is drowning in the blood, but she does not let go!
Mother shakes, but Gleepglop-Geep holds tight. Mother squeals, but Gleepglop-Geep narrows her ears. Mother chokes on her own blood. Mother quivers. Then Mother is dead. “Ooot Ooot Aaat!” Gleepglop-Geep screams. “Aaaat! Aaaat!” Gleepglop-Geep feeds! What a wonderful, sweet mother!
The siblings of Gleepglop-Geep gather around Mother’s carcass. Gleekglub-Goop comes first, bowing his head, and then Glurg-glup-Gup, quivering and scraping the ground. Gluff-Gluff-Goot comes, twittering, her voice high and faint. And finally Glorpgloon-Gerp comes. He looks at Gleepglop-Geep though one red eye, and then submits.
Will your siblings submit to you?
Gleepglop-Geep starts her nest. She has followers, and soon she will choose her mate. She thanks her good mother, and understands that as a motherkiller, she is the best, and that she must continue to be the best. She will have her followers watch the other clans, and prepare for wars. She will allow one of her mates to impregnate her.
But not until she is old and ready to die.
Today she hops and hops!
Hop and hop with Gleepglop-Geep!
Now, what have you learned from the story of Gleepglop-Geep?
Be patient, and wary, until it is time to attack!
Do not trust your brothers!
Do not trust your sisters!
Be unrelenting and cruel, when the time comes!
And be grateful for your mother.
Good night, children! Don’t go to sleep!
Ooot Ooot Aaat! Aaat!
This story originally appeared in Analog.