Brandon couldn’t discern the shape coming towards him from the shore. It wrenched the water upwards as it snarled. The darkness of night had hit so quick with the drum, it was almost cartoonish how swiftly the daylight had fled. He didn’t know if the creature noticed him from the beach. It was tall, almost ten feet, with a stretched body of tendrils, limbs, and fabric. Attached to its back was a long coil of blue light, which snaked out into the shallows like a road into a glimmering, sunken city.
Brandon felt hypnotized by their glow. The phantom trails singing some song to the curiosity behind his eyes.
The lagoon stunk of salt. It mixed with the sweetness of the flowers, which had sprouted up with the apocalypse and drum. Even in the remnants of the day, the smell of those pastel bits of flora still haunted Brandon wherever he went. The air was slightly cool, enough to make Brandon feel cold, even though he was sweating profusely as he watched the monster. The hanging tentacles around her hidden head looked like hair, but they moved independently in snarls and hisses, like they had their own intentions on what to hunt tonight.
Brandon held the rifle tight to his shoulder and knelt down into the bushes just below the swaying palm trees. For a second, he looked through the red scope with his right eye. He’d dropped the gun a few days early dodging one of the living shadows behind a Starbucks. The lens was shattered like a stepped-on toy. He was too nervous to remember that’d happened. This made him feel stupid and underprepared.
The monsters had that effect on you, especially the kind that lived in the water.
Brandon could’ve focused on the bladed shadows stalking the condominium where his parents were vacationing when they were killed, or the big one at the shipyard off the highway, which had a claw so massive a trench in the ground trailed behind it wherever it wandered. For some reason, this ocean devil that appeared along this white beach at night was what he wanted to spend his few bullets on. He’d practiced firing the gun just off the road where he hid inside the condo. He wanted a place to run and hide if they appeared. During the day they were rare, but at night they seemed to occupy every corner and streetlight.
Brandon took a shallow breath and licked his lips. He had been aiming the gun at her monstrous shape for so long he felt like she could see him and was daring him to fire.
So he did.
The sound and blast seemed stronger at night than when he practiced beneath the sun. The nozzle coughed out a bubble of fire that crackled sideways. The plants around him startled to the side. His hands shook to the vibration and his shoulder pinched. He’d gotten used to firing it, but the stress of being so close to one of them had made his muscles tighten up like a stale rope. Brandon fired each shot until the chamber clicked empty and a small trail of sulfur smoke crossed his face.
None of the shots had worked against her. If Brandon could even see in the darkness, he would have watched her turn around the long and flat, mushroom-like shield attached to her back and absorb each bullet into this leathery and living green wall.
A flare suddenly burst off the shore. There was a boat sitting in the lagoon. Brandon hadn’t noticed it. The chemical illumination sizzled the dark. For one simple second she looked back at the boat.
Then, she charged at him with a hiss that drowned out that distant beat of the drum. Her shape was massive and flowing. It was almost like the night was parting to avoid her. Brandon immediately regretted his bravery, boldness, and brashness. He lamented his anger, curiosity, and ambition. Now, all he could do was run and hide.
That was the only thing that would keep him alive.
I like this one. Feel free to learn more about the Greenland Diaries universe this story takes place in. You can actually get the first book for free today on Kindle (Days 1 – 100). There are other parts to this particular story: Largo, the Marksman, the Lagoon, Awake, and Flare. You can also read the first 10 days for free on here. I love this story. The monsters are fantastic. Happy Halloween!