Holly Rae Garcia is a professional photographer on the Texas Coast. She writes thriller, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and dystopian genres.
It was the dead of winter, 1875. Pitch black as coal it was, and foggy. You couldna see your hand in front of your own face. That’s how we’d gotten off course, you see. We’d just left a small school of cod outside Lewisporte and was bringing The Deluge ‘round north by St. Anthony’s Tip, hoping for better luck. We was further out than we had any right to be ‘cause we got turned around in that fog. We was all standing on the deck, peering through that thick blanket, trying to see any kind of thing to show us where we was going, or how to get back to where we’d been. Then, I swear to you Tristan, somewhere out there we heard a screeching unlike anything we’d ever heard. Chilled us to the bone, it did. Right down to the bone. And you couldna tell where it was coming from, neither. Sound just bounces around in fog like that, until you don’t know if it’s behind you or in front of you.
But it was a ungodly like screaming. Like Satan himself had come up from the depths and was red hot mad. We got real quiet, we did. Then it came again, closer. I tell you, I looked at my men, and they was all looking at me, real wide-eyed like they seen a ghost. They was waiting on me to tell ‘em what to do, on account of I was the Captain and all. But hell if I had any idea what it was.
While we was all standing around looking at each other, not a one of us knowing what the hell to do, the shrieking came back. Then there was a great big flapping noise, sounded like it was right behind me. A gust of wind blew across me so hard I staggered back a bit, but I didna fall down. No sir, my sea legs are strong as they come. No wind has ever knocked Captain Tulley down.
When I got myself steady again, I swear I saw what looked like the sails of a boat, stretched tight and catching the wind. But it wasn’t like no boat I’d ever seen.
As the screeching and flapping got closer, so did them sails.
‘Cept they weren’t sails.
They was wings.
Coming right at us was a creature that, I swear to you, has caused many a sleepless night since. It was blue, the deepest blue you’ve ever seen. If you’d gone to the very bottom of the sea, you still wouldna seen a blue as deep as that thing was. All you could see next was a great big snout and below that, its maw was open wide and there was rows and rows of sharp teeth. Like daggers, they were. All lined up front to back, and then double lined up behind that, like a shark’s. Below its mouth was two curved tusks, both that same deep blue color, sharpened to a deadly point at the ends. They curved up and out in front of it. I tell you, you didna want to get too close ‘cause those tusks woulda reached you before the teeth did.
Before we could even figure out what we was seeing, this thing opened its mouth real wide and blew a stream of fire at us, it did. I swear it on my life. Before we even knew what was happening, the deck was on fire, Tommy was burnt all over, and Warren and Virg had jumped in the damn water to get away from it all. I wasna as close to it, you see, so I didna have to jump out of the way, so I got a real good look at the thing as it flew over us. I tell you, it was the most beautiful and the most hideous thing I’d ever seen in my life. And I know that don’t make much sense, but it’s true.
It musta been thirty feet long. Its body was covered all over with slimy scales. Its feet was webbed out like a duck, and its long tail had a great pig paddle at the end of it. All of it that same deepest blue.
All of this was flying over me and dripping sea water down onto my face. I ducked down as the tail end came towards me ‘cause I swear it was tryna swat me with that paddle thing. Then it disappeared into the fog.
He musta turned ‘round pretty quick-like, ‘cause before we could even figure out what was going on, it was back. But he didna figure on the masts sticking so high up like they was, and one of his great big tusks hooked on the top of one of ‘em, and popped right off. Oh man, when I tell you there was some hollering then! Those screeches echoed off the fog around us long after that thing dove straight down into the fathoms with a splash so big, it rocked The Deluge in its wake.
Hank had the sense enough to grab some buckets of water and throw ‘em on the fire. Weren’t much left by that time to put out, but a few flames licking ‘round the edges of a great big hole. My beautiful boat had a great big scorched crater right dab in the middle of the poop deck.
By the time the fog lifted, we had abandoned my beautiful sinking Deluge. Minus Tommy, of course. He’d been burned to a crisp and we’d had to leave him behind to be buried with The Deluge at the bottom of the Labrador Sea. The rest of us was paddling towards the bay in the lifeboat.
Laying in the bottom of the lifeboat was that tusk.
They said we musta been too much in the whiskey barrels to know what really happened. They said the tusk was a fake. But I swear to you, Tristan, it was real.
Holly Rae Garcia is a professional photographer on the Texas Coast. She writes thriller, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and dystopian genres. Her short fiction has appeared in The Bookends Review Online Journal and Sirens Call eZine. Her novel Come Join the Murder, an adult psychological thriller, will debut March 27, 2020.