Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Part 11

Vera shot out of the murky crevasse into the wide clear water of the seafloor, spiraling upwards in an easy sweep. Swimming was as easy as flying must be for birds; it hardly seemed as though she had to move before she was skimming along the sandy bottom, her hair streaming behind her.

The leviathan rose out of the gloom, too, and they swerved and dodged through the water together, the great beast following Vera with every sign of enjoyment, tossing in its own barrel rolls and flourishes. She found herself laughing- it was such a relief to find another soul, any soul that was capable of joy! A simple game of tag felt more exhilarating in that moment than anything she remembered from her distant, land-loving life.

What was that about other souls? Oh yes, there were the terrible, sad, boring circlers and those pathetic things in the waste... Vera looked down, mid-swoop, to see how they were getting on in the world below.

They were getting on very badly. Pale figures were fleeing in all directions, and thin half-voiced screams were cutting ineffectively through the water. Long, drooping fingers were pointing at the sky and too-wide mouths were stretching wider in horror. It took a moment for Vera to follow the gaze of the milky eyes to her new friend, who was impatiently circling, waiting for the game to resume. She had to blink a few times before the memory of their meeting surfaced, and she was reminded of how very terrifying the creature was.

Chaos reigned below as the dead, fearing for their very existence, scattered before them.

Well, this would never do. She flitted down towards the terrified crowds, but the beast eagerly followed after. She turned and loudly pronounced, "NO!" The word was accompanied by a brief glimmer of a puppy- all made of pleading eyes and fluff and named Bella and living to the age of fifteen- for some inexplicable reason. The leviathan was no puppy, however, and blithely continued on.

"No!" Vera rapped the creature sharply on the nose. She had somehow forgotten that its nose was as large as she was herself. The blow seemed effective, though, and the beast slowed to a standstill. "Good monster." Vera murmured, and gave it a pat on the nose. The pat was less as a reward- what was a pat to to a green-scaled giant huge glimmering teeth?- and more to feel that pebbly skin again. It was solid, warm, finely textured. It was more real, somehow, than even Bernard's hand had been. How was that possible?

Bernard. He was down there somewhere too, wasn't he? She dragged her attention back to the chaos on the ground.

Yes. There he was, arms waving, surrounded by the jewellike glimmers of his disciples. He was trying to calm the pale horde, grabbing elbows and pulling at half-formed shirtsleeves, but he seemed to be having little success.

Vera descended and settled beside him. He turned to her, mouth open to shout something soothing, and then stopped when he recognized her. Something strange passed over his face, and then he frowned. "What is that thing?" He shook a fist at the leviathan, which was eyeing them as it hung like a bored zeppelin in the sky above them.

She shrugged. "I don't know. I think it's one of us. It's very friendly."

It was clear that Bernard wanted to argue some of those points with her. His perfectly pink lips formed the beginning of a few words while his sparkling eyes lit up with rage, but he refrained from actually saying anything. In the end, he heaved a sigh and let his pointing hand drop. "Whatever it is, please take it away. I need to try and gather these poor things up before they are lost in the waste." He gestured, and one of his brightly painted followers came running. "Timothy, please go make sure none of them run into the mire."

"Yes, Bernard." The young man wheeled and raced off in the direction of the underwater sea, his vibrant black hair shining in the darkness.

"And don't forget anything!" Bernard bellowed after the young man. Then he turned back to Vera. "Please," he said. "Please, just take your new pet away until I can calm everyone down. Please."

Vera shrugged again, and left him shouting orders. She returned to the beast, and they zagged off into the darkness together.


Wow, I'd make a terrible scout.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh dear.

Hello everyone! Friday was my birthday, and in honor of the holiday I decided to give myself food poisoning. It's the gift that just keeps on giving... and giving... and giving...

Update Monday. Scout's honor.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Part 10

At first she thought it was a whale, for its size and for the fins that stirred the water to either side. However, its fangs curved down from stiff lips, serrating the outline of its mouth in a way no whale’s teeth ever had. As it came closer, she saw the flicker of more fins and a long tail that undulated through the water. This was no whale, nor fish, nor any creature she had ever seen, in life or in death.  It was huge.

A memory stirred, terror and awe all at once. She had been very small much smaller than she was now, and there had been a horse so tall it had blocked out the sun as it galloped past. She had felt the wind on her face and the tremor of its hoofbeats in the ground, and had cried with fear at the size of it.

This monster was much larger than a horse.

For a moment she clung to the thought that it would not perceive her. The living had not reacted to her when she had crossed overland, or she could not remember if they had. Fish rarely seemed to see her, even when she passed through their schools on her long descent. Perhaps this thing, too, would ignore her and look elsewhere for the source of that thundering noise.

The pearly glow of its skin dashed that hope, moments before it angled the bulk of its head and glided towards her, its one beady eye fixed on her. This was no living creature; how could it be? It, too, was a ghost. A ghost so old that it had never seen the earth she once walked. She should have run- but no, it would only catch up to her, those huge fins churning behind her as its fangs closed in on her tender body.

What happened to a wounded soul? She remembered the cheesy flesh of the disintegrating lost, and felt sick. She shut her eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

The inevitable did not come. She opened her eyes after a moment to find the monster still before her, floating unmoving and watching her with what could only be curiosity. Carefully, Vera backed away a few steps. The creature didn’t seem concerned by her movement. She backed away a little further, a yard or two. The leviathan followed her with a nonchalant flip of its fins, coasting easily through the water and keeping pace. Vera stopped backing up and gave it a careful look.

It was rather lovely, once she stopped fixating on its huge teeth. There were a lot of those. But besides that, the creature was an expanse of pebbly blue-green skin, decorated in speckles and stripes that must have served as camouflage in warmer, greener waters. It was large enough that it could have eaten that long-ago horse in a bite or two, but it didn’t seem hungry now. Death had that effect.

The thing flicked a fin and slowly keeled over in the water, rolling along until it came to rest, still floating, but upside down. It considered her now with its other eye. She laughed. She realized that she had not yet tried swimming. How silly, to spend so long at the bottom of the sea and never consider leaving the ground. She pushed off, kicked a little, and found that she could indeed swim. Quite quickly, in fact. She couldn't remember having been much of a swimmer in life, but now she could cut through the water as nimbly as a fish.

She hovered over the belly of the monster, and it rolled onto its side to watch her. She swam a little higher, and as the murk began to fill the distance between them, the creature followed after her.


Sorry for the late post, guys! I had some serious brain problems in relation to time zones, and kinda forgot it was Friday for you. Eheh. See you next week!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Part 9

It wasn't her eyes that adjusted, of course. She wasn't using those for seeing anymore. Nonetheless, it did take a few moments for the landscape before her to settle down.

The water here was misty, a soupy mixture of something she could not name. For the first time, she realized that there was no flavor in this new world; not once had she tasted the salt of the sea, nor had she smelled the rank ocean mud. She had passed overland, once, and even those flickering recollections were as flat as film. She sniffed at the fog before her, but could discern nothing about it. To her eyes, it was nearly opaque. To her numbed skin, it was simply water.

The ground that stretched before her was rough, mostly jagged rock that dropped away into deep crevices, jutting up elsewhere in sharp spines. She could see clearly for a few yards around herself, but beyond that she could make out little more than the faint outline of one or two dark outcroppings. Treading carefully, she ventured a little further.

There were no other souls here, to her relief. She had feared another field of torpor, but here there was nothing but the scuttling of a few small creatures and the occasional pale blot of a softer, slower form of life, picking its way through the dregs of the seafloor. She had never seen anything like the animals in this deep place- she knew this, though she would be hard put to name the other animals she had seen. Here they were lacy and lumpish, spiny and soft, some of them even emitting tiny flares of light of their own making. It made some part of her easy, so see that there was life even here.

She felt something in the water, however. There was more here than little crabs and their soft and eyeless prey. She remembered the rise and fall of the surface, the rippled hints that a greater thing lay beneath. She moved deeper, her eyes- pointlessly, she knew- straining . All she saw were curling tendrils of mist, distant shadows, and the all-consuming blackness of the depths.

Her own skin was luminous in the dark, almost as if she were one of the curious glowing creatures that drifted past. She examined her hands and arms and saw that they were tinged with a little pink, a hint that blood had flowed in their veins. She didn’t actually shed light, she realized. She just stood out against the black and grey of her surroundings. She looked up from her own hand and saw, just for a moment, a flash of something else that contrasted sharply with the inky water. It faded. Vera walked toward it.

The faint glow was very distant, she realized. It was visible only for brief moments, and always slightly different in shape- a curve, an oval, a long angle, cutting briefly through the fog and then disappearing. Vera picked up her pace and trotted after it, leaping lightly over deep crevasses and skipping across fields of shale. She couldn’t remember wanting something, she noticed. She wanted that distant thing now. She wanted to know what it was, to see it with her own eyes.

She scrambled up a hillside, clinging with unfeeling fingers as she clambered across piled stone. It seemed that she might be gaining, for there was a long, formless lightness to the mist before her. Still distant, but nearer now. She could taste discovery in her flavorless mouth.
As she launched herself from the crest of the hill, her eyes fixed far ahead, she lost her footing. The loose stones shifted beneath her foot, and she fell. Lightly, softly, as though she were a feather. She could not be harmed by such an easy fall as this. Behind her, the heap of rock shuddered, and a slow cascade of stone slithered down the hillside and landed in a rising cloud of silt. The rockfall itself was not large, perhaps a few yards of hillside had shifted. The sound, however, was deafening.

Sound moves differently underwater. It is quicker. It can travel many miles without degradation or disturbance. And now, it seemed, this sound had traveled with great speed and clarity to the ears of that thing she had been chasing, for it wheeled its great bulk and turned toward her. She crouched frozen in the dust and watched the creature’s great muzzle slowly emerge from the shadows.