The Plunge

Hey all! Owing to accumulated experience and the arrival of the spring semester, I’m going to start posting at a different frequency than normal. Starting in February, rather than 2 posts a week, I’ll post something once every 5 days. That being said, I hope you enjoy this story!

He wiggled his toes in the sand as he summoned the courage to move forward from where he stood, staring out into the horizon from the edge of the sea. The darkness nipped his bare skin, pulling his hairs as far as it dared as the full moon and the stars reflected their light off the tip of the harpoon that he held in his hand. He breathed deep, the salt of the sea scenting his sinuses, and he shivered slightly from the cold.

He looked out into the water, shining like black glass as it rose and fell on its journey to the shore. It licked the sand, the white riders reaching the tips of the man’s toes before they sounded the retreat, leaving behind a patch of ground almost as dark as the man that stood upon it. The next charge reached his heels.

The moon had nearly reached its apex, and the man knew that it was time. He stepped forward, and water folded over his foot as he pressed against into the sand. He lowered his harpoon, so that he know held it horizontally, and he took the second step. The water lapped at his ankles like dogs excited to see their master. Or perhaps like men scaling a wall – for every step he took, they got further and further up. Soon the water danced around his belly and the waves were powerful enough to force him back.

If the darkness had nipped, the water gripped. It pressed itself against him like a lover, save that it stole warmth rather than gave it. His legs screamed at the seduction, begging to return to the darkness, or better yet, the fire at their home that had gone out an hour ago when the man had risen to come to the beach. But he would not listen to his legs; he would do what he came to do.

Now he stopped. The moon had come to the top of the sky. It was time.

Some distance farther out, the water began to bubble. The man watched with furrowed brow and tensed muscles, waiting for what was coming. The bubbles seemed to deafen out the sea, so that all that the man heard was the slow pop of bubbles as the darkness crushed them in perverse entertainment.

Then there was a rumble and a great splash. The waves spread in all directions, rocking the stunned man were he stood rooted to the sandy floor. A great shape emerged out of the water. It was long and thick, and from its slithering body protruded fins and spikes, all climaxing in the thing’s monstrous head. Water cascaded down the lithe black and silver body. Or, it seemed black and silver – but if it had any more vibrant colors, they were hidden in the dark night.

Kakophis stared at the little man in the water, its great eyes bulging and its mouth agape to intimidate him. It’s teeth glistened in the moonlight, ready to plunge into flesh.

This was a monster that was used to mixed reactions when it appeared. Some were wise enough to flee before its presence; others were foolish enough to stare at its face. It cared little for the former and laughed at the latter, for it devoured the flesh of heroes with joy. It laughed now, a shrill roar that the man interpreted as a challenge and a threat.

“Kakophis,” said the man, raising his harpoon. “For many months, you have terrorized us and slain the best among us. In vain did my father seek to appease you, and you drank his blood. Those that came after sought you ought, and you slew them all one by one. But know, O great serpent, that I have found you, and I have found the way to destroy you. Look upon this shaft, monster, carved from the tree you despise, and shudder. See this blade, destroyer of lives, forged from pearl and iron, and know fear.”

The beast roared again, but this time it was in anger and in challenge. It wavered, for it knew these words that this little man spoke to be true. But it would not back down, for it’s pride would not allow it.

“Now die!” shouted the man, hurling the harpoon. It sailed through the air, whistling with the darkness as it rode the wind straight on to its target. Kakophis opened its jaws wide, receiving it like a friend before one departs forever. The serpent embraced the weapon and carried it beneath the waves, which sprang up around them in joy, before closing down with all the silence and finality of a tomb.


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