Tuesday, August 3


Blind, transparent fish slither over the spiraling metal shell of a vessel now half-buried in the silt of the ocean floor. The only illumination comes from their phosphorescent lobes of their antennae. A tremor causes the fish to scatter. A layer of sand slides away, cutting the darkness with a malevolent jade glow radiating from a convex porthole.

Were one able to survive the crushing depths, one might dare to peer through into claustrophobic corridors choked with rusted devices and floating skeletons, still clad in their black uniforms and yellow armbands. The design on them is unmistakable. The black ziggurat supporting a pillar of flame, flanked by red demon wings. The corpses lurch slightly with each new tremor. The shockwaves are coming from within the vessel. In the center, where the glow is strongest. The choking darkness of the abyss cannot reach this chamber where the orb, twice the size of a man, rattles against the steel cables and copper tubes that secure it to the inoperative consoles attended by half a dozen lifeless quislings. Within the murky cloud of the orb itself, bare fists pound relentlessly against the sphere.

A face presses to the glass, his unkempt beard hinting to the length of his imprisonment and his eyes consumed with madness. He stares at the machine that sustained him. The last drop of elixir in the glass tube is drawn by pressure into the orb. No one can hear his curses. If one did, they would shrivel a man's soul. Again he pounds the orb with fists and bare feet. Each time they pierce the opaqueness of the solution within. they seem larger, more twisted. Cracks begin to spread like spiderwebs across the surface. In an instant, he is free, floating in the glittering remains of the glass sphere and reanimation fluid swirling in the water around him. The man is only recognizable as Jeremiah Mason for a moment before his features flow like wax, and he expands into something far less describable.

The ship trembles, the ocean floor's quiet is disturbed not by the throbbing of destroyed engines, but by the rhythm of a heartbeat. A massive eye fills the pace of the porthole, and rotates and blinks with opaque membranes that wrap around it like a burial shroud and quickly retreat. A cloud of dust rises about the ship as rusted tentacles spring to life, digging the rest of the ship free from debris. It is a ship designed in mimicry of a nautilus, a beast of such size that could only have roamed the seas when the world was young. With a quickening pulse setting the rhythm to the fluid motion of its manipulators, the living ship rises. Only after it has ascended so far that the green radiance of its dozens of portholes no longer trace curves across the ocean floor do the colorless fish timidly return to the spot where they had gathered, now a jagged crater in the cast of a submerged terror forgotten and now reborn.

*The author wishes to thank Torley Linden for the name by which this abomination has been christened.


Rhianon Jameson said...

You have the most interesting family, Dr. Mason!

HeadBurro Antfarm said...

Wonderful stuff, sir!