“Petsuchos,” I said. “It’s a Greek word, but the monster is Egyptian. It was like the mascot of Sobek’s temple, worshipped as a living god. ”

Percy grunted. “You sound like Annabeth. ”

“Who?”

“Nothing. Just skip the history lesson. How do we kill it?”

“I told you—”

From above came another scream, followed by a loud CRUNCH, like the sound made by a metal compactor.

We sprinted to the top of the hill, then hopped the fence of somebody’s backyard and ran into a residential cul-de-sac.

Except for the giant crocodile in the middle of the street, the neighborhood could have been Anywhere, USA. Ringing the cul-de-sac were half a dozen single-story homes with well-kept front lawns, economy cars in the driveways, mailboxes at the curb, flags hanging above the front porches.

Unfortunately, the all-American scene was kind of ruined by the monster, who was busily eating a green Prius hatchback with a bumper sticker that read MY POODLE IS SMARTER THAN YOUR HONOR STUDENT. Maybe the petsuchos thought the Toyota was another crocodile, and he was asserting his dominance. Maybe he just didn’t like poodles and/or honor students.

Whatever the case, on dry land the crocodile looked even scarier than he had in the water. He was about forty feet long, as tall as a delivery truck, with a tail so massive and powerful, it overturned cars every time it swished. His skin glistened blackish green and gushed water that pooled around his feet. I remembered Sobek once telling me that his divine sweat created the rivers of the world. Yuck. I guessed this monster had the same holy perspiration. Double yuck.

The creature’s eyes glowed with a sickly yellow light. His jagged teeth gleamed white. But the weirdest thing about him was his bling. Around his neck hung an elaborate collar of gold chains and enough precious stones to buy a private island.

The necklace was how I had realized that the monster was a petsuchos, back at the marsh. I’d read that the sacred animal of Sobek wore something just like it back in Egypt, though what the monster was doing in a Long Island subdivision, I had no idea.

As Percy and I took in the scene, the crocodile clamped down and bit the green Prius in half, spraying glass and metal and pieces of air bag across the lawns.

As soon as he dropped the wreckage, half a dozen kids appeared from nowhere—apparently they’d been hiding behind some of the other cars—and charged the monster, screaming at the top of their lungs.

I couldn’t believe it. They were just elementary-age kids, armed with nothing but water balloons and Super Soakers. I guessed that they were on summer break and had been cooling off with a water fight when the monster interrupted them.

There were no adults in sight. Maybe they were all at work. Maybe they were inside, passed out from fright.

The kids looked angry rather than scared. They ran around the crocodile, lobbing water balloons that splashed harmlessly against the monster’s hide.

Useless and stupid? Yes. But I couldn’t help admiring their bravery. They were trying their best to face down a monster that had invaded their neighborhood.

Maybe they saw the crocodile for what it was. Maybe their mortal brains made them think it was an escaped elephant from the zoo, or a crazed FedEx delivery driver with a death wish.

Whatever they saw, they were in danger.

My throat closed up. I thought about my initiates back at Brooklyn House, who were no older than these kids, and my protective “big brother” instincts kicked in. I charged into the street, yelling, “Get away from it! Run!”

Then I threw my wand straight at the crocodile’s head. “Sa-mir!”

The wand hit the croc on the snout, and blue light rippled across his body. All over the monster’s hide, the hieroglyph for pain flickered:

Everywhere it appeared, the croc’s skin smoked and sparked, causing the monster to writhe and bellow in annoyance.

The kids scattered, hiding behind ruined cars and mailboxes. The petsuchos turned his glowing yellow eyes on me.

At my side, Percy whistled under his breath. “Well, you got his attention. ”

“Yeah. ”

“You sure we can’t kill him?” he asked.

“Yeah. ”

The crocodile seemed to be following our conversation. His yellow eyes flicked back and forth between us, as if deciding which of us to eat first.


Tags: Rick Riordan Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com