Shadow’s Monster Survival Guide: Tabonga – By Timothy Martinez

Name: Tabonga (aka Tobanga or Tabanga)

Monster Genus: Juniperus Walkus Killus

Notable Appearances: From Hell It Came (1957)

Height: The walking tree known as Tabonga measures in at around eight feet in height. Usually, determining the weight and height statistics for various monsters is almost impossible – people are just too damn busy trying to stay alive to take the time to haul out a tape measure. However, in this case a team of scientists were actually able to make a close examination of Tabonga in a lab whilst the creature was unconscious and before it went on it’s rampage. To be honest, the figures arrived at by those scientists is not known at the present, but we can reasonably assume that our numbers and theirs will match. Tabonga is quite tall and easily looms over any human. He has quite the reach as well, owing to the fact that his arms are basically tree branches. This means that if you are trying to escape him by climbing something, be sure to ascend to at least twelve feet. Any lower and he may be able to grab you. There really is no chance that he will follow, as he is too large and bulky to effectively climb anything. Just make sure that in your rush to climb a tree, you don’t climb him instead!

Weight: Considering Tabonga’s height and girth, it’s easy to see why he weighs approximately five hundred pounds or so. First off, anyone that big is gonna weigh something. Second, he is made of wood! Have you tried lugging a wooden trunk up some stairs? Those suckers are heavy! Likewise, Tabonga is one heavy S.O.B. In fact, his considerable bulk is a key factor in his rather slow gait. Tabonga is not fast in any sense of the word, but rather just lumbers (HA!) around, crashing through the brush and plowing into anything that gets in his way. What this means for you is this: under no circumstances should you try to wrestle him or take him on in any type of physical confrontation. You are only going to get the squish treatment and some splinters in some truly nasty and unwanted places.

Intelligence: 3/5 Tabonga is no rocket scientist, but he is no idiot either. He has the intelligence of whatever person was used to create him. To date, the single Tabonga encountered by western science housed the mind of a south pacific native prince. Of course, that mind was somewhat twisted by the entire process of becoming a Tabonga and as a result the creature had a malevolent streak in him. Despite that, he still had the mind of a human buried in there somewhere, so do not forget that. When trying to evade the Tabonga or set a trap for it, remember that it may see through your tricks. Indeed, it is smart enough that it may be setting traps for you.

Description: A Tabonga is rather easy to spot. It is nothing more than a walking tree, albeit one with very few leaves or branches. A definite humanoid, it has two arms and two legs…with two VERY big feet. The head features a crudely shaped face with large eyes and a nose and mouth that are faintly recognizable.

Origin: A Tabonga results when a person who has met a violent or wrongful demise is placed is a wooden crate and buried upright in the earth, the need for revenge transcending the barrier between life and death; and with a little help from radiation, resurrects that person as a Tabonga. A Tabonga will grow quickly out of the ground where the person is buried and will achieve full size in a number of hours. Eventually they will uproot themselves and begin their quest for vengeance.

Habitat: This is really an unknown. While a Tabonga must originate from an area with trees, it is not known what would happen if a living Tabonga was transported to an environment that was detrimental to any sort of plant life. Since a Tabonga has not displayed the need to acquire nutrients from the ground once it has uprooted itself, it is very possible that one could thrive in a barren landscape, be it desert or icy wasteland. Fueled by revenge, it is entirely possible that a Tabonga can even forgo photosynthesis and exist without sunlight. Then again, it may not. We just do not know.

Behavior: After attaining consciousness and uprooting itself from the ground, a Tabonga has only one thing on it’s twisted mind: revenge. Well, truth be told it may have two things on it’s mind. The lone Tabonga encountered to date housed the mind of a male and it seemed to be drawn to females time and again. Unfortunately, it seems the Tabonga had evil intentions on all those occasions. While this gives new meaning to the term “sporting wood” it also means that if you are a woman, you DO NOT want to end up in the clutches of a male Tabonga (a scene from Evil Dead springs to mind). Other than that, a Tabonga will just tromp around in search of those persons it feels wronged it in life. When it finds them….SQUISH. In fact, a Tabonga is none too particular about who it kills and will gleefully throttle anyone and everyone that crosses it’s path. That is what I call branching out! (HA!)

Special Abilities: A Tabonga really has no special abilities other than those inherent in it’s nature. A Tabonga is bulky, so it has an edge in physical duels. A Tabonga is made of a dense wood, so bullets and bladed weapons do little harm and do nothing in slowing it down. Needless to say, punching a Tabonga will do nothing for you except guarantee a one way ticket to being a full sized Jobes Plant Food Stake.

Weaknesses: A Tabonga is slow. Very slow. There is no way in hell that a Tabonga will win any type of foot race. While it can work itself up to a decent speed and pace, you should have no problem outrunning it. A Tabonga is big , bulky and heavy. This means that there are plenty of places a Tabonga will never be able to access – cramped crawlspaces or the top of a ladder to name two. Escaping one should be easy. The one encountered in the South Pacific was killed by driving a knife further into it’s heart. The prince who would eventually become the Tabonga had been put to death with the dagger and still sported it embedded in his chest as a walking tree, so seek a method for dispatching it related to the way it originally died. Lastly, a Tabonga is made of wood. If you can’t figure out how to fight based on that, then you deserve what you get.

Relatives: The talking apple trees from The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Treebeard from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

What to do if you encounter: The always popular “running like hell” works just as well here as is does with other monsters. Indeed, it seemingly would work quite well as Tabonga is a slow moving critter. As noted previously, you should easily evade the beast. Guns are useless unless you have something that spits multiple rounds per second and enough ammo to reduce the Tabonga to kindling. Any sort of knife or cutting weapon is useless. Sure, you might be able to hack off some bark or small branch or two, but for the most part you will be accomplishing nothing and only putting yourself within reach of those long arms. Your best bet in the weapon department, be it offensive or defensive, is fire…and lots of it. A match or a lighter isn’t gonna help you at all… unless you have a can of gasoline to supplement them. A flamethrower works best. Enough explosives to blow the Tabonga into a thousand duraflame logs is also a good method for killing it. Using weed killer of any kind is just asking for serious pain on your part.