I finally had some time to write and wasn’t feeling exhausted so I decided to get back on track by getting back to basics with a flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig’s terribleminds.com. This week the challenge was another collection of random aspects with a horror theme in honor of Halloween. As usual the story follows (currently unnamed) and I’ll tell you what the aspects were afterward.
It had been at least two minutes since Raul Soto had first seen and reported the impossible woman and he had yet to respond to any of the disembodied voices entering his cabin. Each new voice grew more insistent and concerned than the last, but none could take his attention from the beauty that floated on the other side of the Dagon’s main window. Finally, the voice of the one person with more authority than him over this mission cut into the chatter.
“Raul, I’m ordering system control to engage the automatic recall protocols. I don’t know if you can hear us, but…”
“No, Jim. Negative. I’m fine. I’m here. Everything is ok,” Raul said.
“Raul, Christ, why haven’t you been answering us? And what do you mean you’ve just spotted the most beautiful woman in the world?”
“Just that Jim. I can’t tell you how or why but the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen is floating about 10 feet in front of the Dagon. The spotlights are lighting her up like…like a goddess.”
The silence that followed that statement seemed ten times as long as the chaos of voices that had come the first time he’d reported her, but Raul suspected it probably was much, much shorter. It felt like a wonderful forever though, as he sighed and enjoyed the woman’s impish smile. He could feel his own mouth pulling up in a goofy grin probably better suited to a pothead on his sixth toke than a man trying to follow a flirtatious lead, but he couldn’t help himself.
“Raul, we’re engaging the recall, prepare for ascent,” Jim said, ruining the moment.
“Negative. Jim,” Raul said.
“You’re coming up whether you like it or not, Raul.”
“We’re engaging the…”
“Sorry Jim, I made sure those protocols were never actually brought on-line. This is my project, no matter what you and the University think.”
The woman beckoned Raul with a perfect hand and something about the mischievous twinkle in her eye made him think she didn’t want him follow her in the Dagon, but to go out and join her himself. She certainly seemed worth getting to know better, so he began unbuckling the safety harness. Unfortunately, his friends on the surface refused leave them alone.
“Fine Raul, you’re in charge. So bring the Dagon back yourself. Now. Before it’s too late.”
“Jim, could you go away for a little while. Leave us alone, ok?”
“Us? Raul you’re down 8,000 meters! There can’t be a women floating outside. Surely you know that. Something is causing you to hallucinate, so just please, set the auto-pilot to surface before it’s too late.”
Free of his harness Jim pointed backward toward the Dagon’s entrance hatch and hoped she’d understand what he meant. She smiled in a heart-soaring way, nodded, and started moving through the water to meet him at the hatch. He moved carefully through the cramped space, and with his back turned he did not see the giant curving appendage that moved through the spotlight’s beam and kicked up a murky cloud as it disturbed the ocean bottom.
“Raul! Can you still hear me? You bring that sub back right now or I swear I’m going to personally kick your ass as a friend and then as your boss I’ll sue you for breach of contract and endangering millions of dollars of equipment.”
“You don’t have it in you Jim,” Raul answered.
Jim’s voice continued to rant and rave throughout the Dagon and Raul couldn’t help but feel sorry that his friend was losing more of his composure and dignity with each new threat or plea. Jim probably needed a vacation. The stress was getting to him.
At the entrance hatch Raul looked out a small viewing window and could see the beauty waiting for him. Something seemed wrong though.
She was there, waiting, smiling, but beyond her was…nothing. The side flood lights should have illuminated the ocean well past her, but he could see nothing. Like a backdrop of darkness there was only black behind her. A blackness more complete than any he’d ever seen. It was the blackness of a shadowy alley when you’re walking home alone in a strange neighbourhood. He took a step back from the hatch and wondered what he was doing.
As he pulled away he could see concern on her face and she swam forward to push her forehead against the window. There was need in her eyes. But he still couldn’t see past her. The blackness had moved closer too.
Raul realized he could still hear Jim’s voice and suddenly he wished his friend was with him, but then the woman put her hand on the window and started to mouth something.
“I love you. I need you. I have waited so long for you.”
The longing in those words, in her eyes, in the hand that stroked the window, brought him to his knees. Raul knew he had to be with her, but how? How could he open the hatch at this depth? The pressure was overwhelming. He grabbed at his hair, pulled it even, like in a cartoon. Desperate for an idea. Perhaps the pressure controls he thought, and looked toward the main cabin. And there he saw something was looking in, back at him.
What it was he couldn’t say, for the giant eye filled the cabin window completely. One titanic cyclopean eye staring in at him like a child with a bug in a jar.
The woman was watching him too, though she did not seem beautiful now.
“Jim,” he said. “Jim I lied. The recall protocols Jim. They can be brought online with a password. Surrender Jim. Use the password. They’re watching me Jim. They’re watching me and I just want to go home. Tell me you can hear me Jim. Please bring me home. It doesn’t even blink.”
So the aspects I ended up with (chosen randomly) were: Lovecraftian, Evil Awakens!, Beneath the Sea, Succubus/Incubus. I’m not sure how well I hit “Evil Awakens!” but the “rules” stated that one category could be ignored if we wanted so I still managed to keep to the challenge’s parameters.
As always, I’d love to hear what you think (good or bad) in the comments below and you can find all of my available fiction on my fiction page here. I’d particularly appreciate it if you stopped by JukePop Serials and read (and voted for) the first three installments of my fantasy serial “Empire and Animal“.