Eldritch Trial Separation
Or, The Pleasant Day at the Beach Horror
Far from the comforting warmth of daylight,
in a world cloaked in shadow,
our darkest and most primal fears fester,
waiting for the chance to consume us whole
as we lay awake, forever unable to sleep,
here in the midnight hour.
A PIER ALONG A SUNNY STRETCH OF CALIFORNIA SHORE. A SMALL CROWD GATHERS, LOOKS, AND POINTS.
NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) It was a day at the beach. The sun was there. Water and sand all over the place. Cruise ships and oil rigs littering the horizon as far as the eye could weep.
MAN ON PHONE ENTERS, SITS.
And all squandered on a man sitting at the end of the pier, half-assedly pretending to listen to a very angry woman’s voice on speakerphone berate him for his part in a years-long affair that has done irreparable damage to their marriage, family, and social media following.
MAN: Look. I know I’ve been a selfish, heartless bastard who cares little for your needs, wants, hopes, and dreams. And I know I’ve consistently and utterly failed to pay my fair share of, well, anything. I get it. My bad. But, I don’t understand why you’re so upset.
NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) As the woman started to categorically, chronologically, and somethingly explain, more or less, precisely why she was so upset with this selfish, heartless bastard, the selfish, heartless bastard decided he didn’t care...
MAN SHRUGS, TURN TO...
CROWD GATHERS, LOOKS, AND POINTS, ONLY NOW WITH GROWING CONCERN.
...and turned his fleeting attention to a gathering crowd pointing and gathering and crowding about something along the horizon.
CROWDER: It’s gone!
LOOKER: What’s gone?
POINTER: The oil rig!
NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) The selfish, heartless bastard looked back out across the water, and wondered how anyone would even notice one oil rig went missing.
CROWDER: (TO MAN) Because I happened to be staring right at it. It was there one moment, gone the next.
POINTER: (PETULANT WHINE) It’s true! I saw it sink right into the water, like the bottom fell out, or somethin’!
WOMAN: (PHONE) I’m sorry. Is this conversation about our rotting corpse of a relationship too distracting?
MAN: Yeah. A little. Sorry.
WOMAN: (PHONE) No, no. It wouldn’t be time spent with you if it wasn’t wasted.
NARRATOR: (VOICE-OVER) Now. Had the man been paying any attention whatsoever, what turned out to be the woman’s last known words to anyone might have stung. But it was at this moment when something breached the water and swallowed one of the many cruise ships whole.
SOMETHING BREACHES THE WATER, SWALLOWS A CRUISE SHIP WHOLE.
And it was at that moment when the crowd lost its collective shit...
...children flipped, dogs clothed, fish strangled. Internet search histories ineffectively deleted. A man even defecated in a flower vase and nobody so much as took a photograph. Madness. Simply madness.
EVERYTHING GOES STILL, SILENT.
And then, it monstered onto the shore.
SOMETHING MONSTERS ONTO SHORE.
Suffice it to say, it was quite the sight. It was big, of course. Very large and very something, indeed. Not quite a fish, not quite a cuttlefish. Definitely something nobody had seen until they did.
SOMETHING LAYS WASTE TO ALL BEFORE IT.
And then, it just sort of made its way up the sand, as things like it do, onward to destroy humanity, or something. I’m not sure. Didn’t think to ask, which seems like quite the oversight, now that I think about it. The damnedest thing, though. I suppose you had to be there.
PANIC, DEATH, AND DESTRUCTION CONSUMES EVERYTHING.
Anyway. I forget where I was going with any of this.
The chill of night brings with it a still darkness,
brings with it an alluring promise of peace.
Till the light of day warms your cold bones,
may your eyes never rest,
and may those little slices of death never come.
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