Friday, January 28, 2011

Leviathan

                The waves crashed loudly against the small boat, rocking it savagely. The wind howled, and the rain pounded against the water and the boat, feeling like needles against the lone occupant’s skin whenever he peered out from under the tarp that he had managed to secure against the storm.
                It had to end soon.  Until it did, he was trapped under the blue ceiling of his cheap plastic tarp. He had just gone out for a brief little cruise. He remembered his mother warning him not to, her worried face as she peered at the horizon. “Storms coming in,” She had warned him. “Maybe you had better stay inside.”
                Of course, Dan had felt the call of the ocean. That salt heavy air that invaded his mind and drew him away from the land, even when it was dangerous. “It’s alright, mom,” He’d replied. “I’ll be back in an hour or so. There’s no way that storms gonna hit before I get back.” It did though. It hit hard and fast as soon as Dan was as far from the shore as he’d planned to go. 
                The little craft was taking in water, but not too fast. After a few hours, it reached his ankles. Dan grabbed the little bucket that his Grandfather always kept in the boat, and tried to bail out the water.  Every time he lifted the tarp to empty the bucket, however, more water came in than he was getting out. He abandoned his efforts quickly.
                Time passed. It dripped passed, slow as molasses. Dan began to nod off, the terror of the storm took a toll on his mind, and he folded over into an exhausted slump.
                He woke up after what seemed like only a few minutes. He listened to the storm outside, his heart sinking. It still wasn’t over?
                He was sure that the rain was beginning to lessen, though.  The rain didn’t sting nearly as much as it had before, when Dan stuck his hand out to test it.  And maybe it was just his imagination, but were the waves lessening? He pulled the tarp off of his head, and looked around. The rain had settled to a light patter, and the waves, though still towering, weren’t as high as they were before, now that the wind had dropped.
                Dan reached over to the motor of the boat and gave an experimental tug on the starter cable. It roared to life almost instantly. He gently turned the boat. The waves were always beating towards the shore, his grandfather had told him. He started off that way, hoping to reach land before nightfall.
                With the waves calming down, Dan was taken completely by surprise when a wall of water rose up and knocked him right out of the boat. The boat itself didn’t capsize, and with the motor still running, was still speeding away before Dan realized he wasn’t in it.  He kicked off his shoes and swam to the surface. He tried to catch up with the boat, but it was still going too fast. Before he had swum ten feet, the boat had sped out of sight.
                He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to think. He was a good swimmer. The boat would probably reach shore before he did, but it was still going the right way. And now that the storm had passed, it wouldn’t be too illogical to swim to shore. It’s not like it made any sense to give up and drown.  He took another deep breath and began swimming after the boat.
                He didn’t know long he’d been swimming before he spotted land. His arms and legs burned from the effort, and he was breathing heavily. His ribs burned. He had ditched his sweater pretty early on; the fabric had gotten too heavy and dragged him down.  It was getting dark now. It had been early morning when he had left, but Dan had no idea how long the storm itself had lasted.
                He continued his swim toward the shore, the sight of it enough to give him the energy to continue. Nevertheless, when he finally pulled himself onto the hard, rocky shore, it was full dark. He pulled himself free of the oceans chilly embrace, and collapsed into sleep.
                He woke to the sun shining in his eyes. He groaned and sat up, his whole body protesting its marathon swim from the previous day.  As he moved, his clothes cracked and shed glittering salt crystals. He barely noticed, however, as he looked around. The ground beneath him was smooth and black, already warm from the morning sun. It was almost like asphalt, which didn’t make a lot of sense. There were no trees, no houses, and no animals, not as far as he could see. The only land mark was some sort of ridge and a shape that looked suspiciously like his boat.
                He struggled to his feet , feeling the world lurch underneath him. It’s probably just me, He thought, forcing his weak legs to head towards what he hoped was his boat. The world lurched again, making Dan pitch forwards. He fell to his knees, and looked around, trying to figure out the source of the movement. It didn’t take much to figure out. The ridge at the far end of the narrow island had risen into the air.  The island twisted and moved, and, rising from the sea, turning to look at the insignificant creature on its back, was a giant snake monster.
                Dan stared, open mouthed at the creature, frozen with terror. The things red eyes locked with his, and it leaned closer, it’s forked tongue flicking out, hitting Dan in the chest, burning a hole through his salt-stained t-shirt. Dan screamed. He lurched to his feet and ran for the boat, his bare feet pounding over the creatures dark skin.  He felt it bucking and moving beneath him, and dove for the boat, heart pounding, mouth dry. He scrambled for the starter cable, but there was no need; The engine was still running from the previous night. He gunned it, speeding over the waves and away from the thing.
                The boat ran out of gas before long, but  Dan just slumped forward, his heart beating erratically.  He let the boat slowly drift where it would. He didn’t notice when the boat was deposited onto a sandy beach, didn’t notice when strong hands lifted him out of the boat, didn’t hear his mother screaming and crying, didn’t feel the shock of electricity running through him, again and again.
                When his heart started beating again, all he did was sleep. Dan’s grandfather shook his head sadly and wrapped his arm around his daughter, who has crying with relief that her son was alive. The old man didn’t cry, but sighed heavily. The boy was alive, but the burn on his chest meant only one thing. Dan had had a run in with the Leviathan.
                And he would never be the same.


Sorry about the length of it. I don't have the picture for one of the shorter ones, and I figure you might as well read this as much as one of the others. 

I hope you enjoyed reading it, comments and feedback are always appreciated!

2 comments: