Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Things of the Water

Even as they unbuckled Nemo from his excursion suit, he felt the Nautilus ascending. "Secure the moon pool." Even as he leapt to the deck, Vasquez and Miko worked to swing the immense plate into place. While it wouldn't cause their progress any issues, there was a chance some creature could take advantage of the opening.

The captain flew past crew members to his bridge. Klaxons sounded throughout the ship. Soon there wouldn't be anyone in the halls. You would either be at your duty station, or in your bunks. In minutes, he stood, looking out the front view port in a robe brought to him by the steward. Around him, men and women worked at their tasks. Moving up from the depths at their current speed wasn't perilous on its own, but every set of eyes looked for any creature large enough to do them harm, if they encountered it. Given the lack of natural light, they relied on a mix of sonar and the massive lanterns on the Nautilus' prow.

There were also crew members monitoring from the aft of the ship. An observation deck there, in addition to rear facing sonar, would give them some warning if the creature followed. Weapons crews made sure all the torpedo bays were full and that the lightning canon was fully charged. The hum of people working was subdued compared to its usual volume, as though everyone knew how hard their captain was thinking.

He'd seen nothing like this thing. At least not in person. Still, some half-remembered tidbit nagged at his subconscious mind. When it began to take shape in his memory, he shook his head. "No. It's not possible." He muttered the words as though they were a prayer. He hurried to the large desk where he saw while on the bridge. It only had a few of his most used books. In addition there were some new volumes he perused in what little leisure time he had. It was there in which he found his memory in all of its horrible glory.

The treatise in question, Things of the Water, was a translation of a much older work called Cthäat Aquadingen. This particular translation was done by a Doctor Skinner. He knew little about the man, other than the rumor that he’d gone mad upon its completion. The book concerned itself with what seemed to Nemo like fantasies. He couldn't deny the similarities though between the woodcut in the book and the thing which had eaten his crewman.

No name was given nor information about its nature explained anywhere in the book he could see. Under the illustration was simply the note “tentacled horror”. According to the few entries the book did have on it, the horror had been seen by sailors off and on for centuries. Nemo imagined that anyone who read this would assume it was a misidentification of a squid or octopus.

Having seen the creature himself, he couldn’t deny it was no normal beast. The eyes, that horrid mouth, and a lack of any symmetry made up nothing less than a breathing nightmare. If the book had the right of this, then what else was it correct about? He put the book down and rested his head in his hands. Where there was one creature like this, there were no doubt more. He would devote some of his vast resources to finding out what other beings haunting Skinner’s book could also be found in his domain. He owed nothing to the men and women above the waves, but these abominations should be hunted down and killed, lest they breed.

He stood and walked over to his command chair. “”Helm, make all speed for Tabor. Keep us at periscope depth.” Once back at his base of operations he could send out word. Perhaps this Dr. Skinner wasn’t mad. It could be he was still alive. He would have that man in front of him if at all possible. There would be answers and a reckoning for his lost crew member.  

#horror, #ScottRoche, #Cthulu, #Nemo, #19thCentury, #SciFi, #Verne, #Lovecraft

Art Source: Ace of Cups by Brass And Steam at Deviant Art
Story and Characters (c)/by Scott Roche


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