The Stranger (A Monster Poem)

The Stranger
By Rob Walker

Behind a face
Of two kind eyes
And a broad and toothy grin
Is a thing with fur
From head to toe
Wearing human skin

He's handsome and dashing
With a strong lantern jaw
His face seems incredibly kind

But there's something about the way he smiles
That gnaws at the back of your mind.

"Beware little one
These roads are harsh
With many a trap and pit
Perhaps I think it may be best
we walk together for a bit"

You never talk to a stranger
Even kindly a one
But you're grateful for his company
As you spy the setting sun.

"Take my hand and I'll do what I can
To protect you from fear and alarm
For the things that dwell within these woods would love to do you harm."

His hand looks strange, more like a paw, his nails are sharp and gray.

His grip is tight around your palm
So you can't run away

"They prowl around on all fours
When day gives way to night
Trailing paths for weary folks
Without a torch or light"

His eyes seem large with a special glint
As if they have a spark
He leads you off the well worn path
Untroubled by the dark

"I know a shortcut through the woods
Come and follow me
Soon you will be safe and warm
And in lovely company"

You have no choice
You quicken your pace to match him as he goes
Your little legs strain and step
There's a pain now in your toes

"Relax now child, my eyes are sharp
The better to see ahead
For if the night things snatch you up
You'll surely end up dead"

"They can swallow you whole in a single gulp,
with large and unhinging jaws"

"They could crunch your tiny bones to meal,
with sharp and ragged claws"

His smile seems so much wider now
He clicks his finger tips
His breath smells like a butcher shop
As he licks his crimson lips

A shiver runs up your spine
imagining such a fate
But his jaws are around your hips
Before you know that it's too late.

So beware of strangers in the woods
Whose smiles are far too wide
Their face might be a friendly mask
Hiding a beast inside