The Things in the Deep

Something vile stirred beneath the bitter waves, writhing and churning as it wormed its way under my meagre vessel. The sea foamed at its passing, as if it, too, was repulsed by the mass that wallowed bellow. Viscous bubbles of putrid yellow mucus burbled to the surface, each bursting with a gut-wrenching stink.

The thing’s leviathan bulk was horridly unnatural, its looming shadow long and narrow. In what land did creatures of the sea grow to such monstrous proportions? Each rolling undulation churned up sick smelling waves, threatening to capsize my boat.

As I rolled with the stirring sea, I gawked at the beast. It’s hulking outline, already ridiculously proportioned, grew ever larger. The thing was surfacing.

As the shadow lurched towards me, swarms of fish flitted around my boat, frantically trying to escape the approaching horror. Many leaped from the sea in their flight, and several landed about me. I ignored their pitiful flopping, far more concerned with the shadow that grew ever closer.

In an instant, the ocean began to bend, a great mound forming as the thing pushed to the surface. My boat slid down the ever-growing mountain of water, nearly tipping as it spun. I gripped the gunwale as hard as I could, sinking my nails into the aged timber.

As my uncontrolled retreat slowed, I scrambled to the oars. Fate had given me a chance to flee the aquatic horror, and I was not going to let the opportunity slide. Like a madman I flailed, violently slapping the water with all the coordination of a sail in a storm.

Rowing as I was, I faced the beast, and was forced to bear witness to its cacophonous breaching. In an instant a wall of water shot skyward as the thing broke the surface, cloaking its emergence. As it fell away, I was presented with a sight I long to forget.

A bloated mass of gray, putrified flesh glistened in the dying light, rippling with half-rotted muscle and seeping viscous mucus. Yellowed ribs, crusted with barnacles, tore through the tortured flesh here and there, breaking up the beast’s serpentine silhouette. Along its gargantuan flank swarms of corpse-worms wriggled in protest, receding into the stinking mass they called home.

By all rights the beast was dead, a corpse dredged up from the deep. Yet it writhed, animated by some hellish force. An elongated head, stuck at the end of a ragged neck thrashed wildly, its cavernous maw agape. Its empty eye sockets seeped a sick, black blood, staining its skull. It looked as if the thing was weeping.

I know not what happened next; perhaps my nerves gave out and I fainted. Perhaps I was driven mad, desperately rowing away from the horror that gazed at me with cold, empty eyes. In either case, I found myself thrown upon the shore, not far from the place I called home.

Leaving my boat, I immediately bolted into the forest before me. I sprinted, no destination in mind, so long as my flight took me away from that accursed sea.

I cannot go back. My boat, my home, my beloved village, all lay within sight of the ocean. Knowing now what lurks beneath the waves, I gladly abandoned them, lest that abomination should surface again.

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