We let the second-generation creatures get away with it. They stole the wings off all our butterflies so they could fly, so they could claim their share of what was left of the irradiated skies. We held our breath as they drank from the undulating pitcher plants, wishing we had long ago learned to adapt to the predatory movements of those plants.
There should be nothing in their caves that would have allowed them to grow. There was only moss, exposed bedrock, volcanic debris, and small insects. But somehow, they did grow — stronger, more disfigured as they holed deeper and deeper inside the subterranean caverns.
It started with four missing children in the village. They swore to never being near those kids, swore with their inch-long incisors and the yellowish glow in their eyes. We believed them. Weeks later, we found the four corpses in the marshes. The nails and hair were longer. The rib cages were ripped open. A bloodied portion of a butterfly wing was clutched in the hands of one of the dead children.
The first of the creatures we killed during the weeklong hunt was unrecognizable. The darkness must have transformed it to point that even its eyes, when fully opened, were just pinpricks of light. In time, we realized that the second-generation creatures would outgrow the use of their eyes. In time, they would have no need for eyesight. When they retreated away from our spears, there was nothing inferior in their gait, nothing harmless in the protrusions on their stunted wings.