Fiction Suspense

I remember when silver orbs freckled the night sky. Deep indigo blanketed our world, wrapping us in the salty air. Our lullaby played on the chilled waves bombarding the shore alongside a symphony of frogs and crickets. From balmy nights, soaking us in perpetual dew, to icy nights sucking every drop of moisture from us, the seaside brought us only comfort and safety. Even as storms raged, sudden and unpredictable, we knew we’d come out stronger than before.

The town of Gillamoor doused its lights like clockwork every night. Our only beacon shone with the stars above and the lighthouse to the east, slowly strobing overhead. Come daybreak, everyone stuck to their routine with loving familiarity. For me, it was: rise with the sun, eat my eggs and beans with an unhealthy amount of coffee, head to the docks. We are small and ships only stop at Gillamoor Mondays and Thursdays, but we always worked. Something always needed doing. 

Monday, October 17th our routine changed. No ships came to port all day. The harbormaster hid their perplexity, my boss tried to mask his shock. Calmness in the face of calamity served to settle our nerves. But our minds raced with endless questions. Nothing like this ever befell Gillamoor before. Little did we know, it was only the beginning. We kept busy, but the whole day felt off. Weirdness infiltrated the air, and it won't leave. The sky churned odd shades of sickly green and yellow as goosebumps marred our flesh for reasons unknown. The water rested smooth as glass. Something was wrong and everything from the mayor to the sand knew it. As night fell, even the insects kept silent.

Everything is too quiet now. I hear the earth hum. Electricity surrounds me, signaling a primal fear. Everyone’s lights extinguish a little earlier, and everyone crawls into bed a little sooner. We hope this passes. Tomorrow will be right. But sleep eludes me and sweat clings to me as the night air grows alarmingly warm. My feet peek out from under my quilt, and still, the heat wins. Pacing around my small room does little to ease my mind, but for the life of me, I don’t know what else to do. Candles flicker in windows around my street. Restlessness haunts more than me. 

I rose yet again with the sun. At least I think I did. Pale gray fog conceals everything outside. Icy tendrils frost my window. I must have dozed off at some point in the night despite the heat which now I wonder if I imagined. October’s bite returned and stiffened my weary limbs. If the feeling of unease still resides within me, it’s frozen solid. I go about my morning as routinely as possible: eggs and beans, coffee, docks. 

Lethargy settled into the hearts of Gillamoor’s residents. Fishers sit idly by their boats, unable to sail in the fog that even the lighthouse cannot penetrate. Stevedores shuffle like zombies. Something broke our routine and we are lost. Honestly, I don’t even know if the ocean is still out there. 

By midday, the sun’s struggle for dominance won. A brief moment of elation ran through town. Slowly, however, turmoil crept back inside us. The air stood frigid but did not prick at us. Waves rolled in softly but made no sound. Small talk ceased and the tools of our trades lay idle. I walked to the edge of a dock and stared at the water - at one time my life and my solace. She stared back and shook my soul. Feelings of anxiety and premonitions of mistrust faded from my body. Knowledge of grave disturbance and dread foreboding replaced mere feelings and took root deep in my bones. Something is coming.

Twilight reigned over Gillamoor, clouded and dull. Without warning, the water disappeared from shore. Tom worked furiously ringing the siren, warning us to prepare. Our stupor vanished as we frantically secured our boats, our homes, our families. Black clouds billowed overhead, rolling on high winds. Salt clung to raindrops as they started to fall. Sleep eluded the town another night as thick, viscous rain pounded our rooftops. Thunder resonated in wild fury, and the swell battered our coast. My house shook as the wind blasted the wood, threatening to tear it apart. 

Lightning flashed sporadically allowing me glimpses of the storm as I watched from the small table by my window. Streaks of white light illuminated the inky waves. Looming clouds blossomed to life spreading an ethereal atmosphere. Thought turbulent, I felt more at ease knowing this storm, while severe, was the culprit for our unusual start to the week. I started to relax, allowing the flashes of familiar scenery to comfort me. The petrichor, the rain cascading down the window, and the howling wind all flooded my muscles with warmth. 

My eyes ached from exhaustion, longing for rest. I felt better than I had since Monday morning. But that feeling from earlier on the dock followed me home, gnawing at my stomach. Something buried in the darkest recesses screamed at me. Something is coming. The storm landed on our shores and it came with all the fury of the sea. It explained the delayed ships and the odd feeling hanging in the air. I gazed out at the water, eyes fogged with consternation when suddenly blackness rose from the depths.

Lightening did not lull, the stars and the moon did not cease reflecting in the clouds, but the darkest darkness swallowed it all. I balled my hands, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and still, the sky disappeared. The sea still raged and the wind carried rain in sheets, but the horizon, the clouds, the stars, the light, vanished. Shocked, I looked around my room, assuring myself I did not go blind. 

I spent the whole night staring into the void.

As the sun graced the horizon, I lacked the sensation that made me feel human. My feet felt as though wet sand bogged them down when I stood, but I needed to move. I pushed through the haze cloaking my consciousness because I needed to know. And I was not alone. I made my way to the ocean. Seemingly every formerly strong body in Gillamoor shambled around the shore, and we were all looking at the same thing. Impossible though it seemed to gauge how far out the thing stood, we knew it moved closer. Lumbering effortlessly it cut through the water. A shadow of writing tendrils consuming the sky, the sound, and us, made its way toward Gillamoor.

On October 17, our routine changed forever, and soon so will our lives. As the thing nears we grow more lethargic. I’ve forced myself to record every thought for I can feel my mind slipping. I long for when silver orbs freckled the night sky and deep indigo blanketed our world, wrapping us in the salty air. I barely remember our lullaby played on the chilled waves alongside a symphony of frogs and crickets. For three silent nights, the thing in the ocean has clambered for us, devouring the sky and our humanity. Soon, it will be here.

April 08, 2022 20:30

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