Angelica was the first to break the mental silence. An hour-long excursion into the Atherean had turned up nothing, literally; the Atherean was eerily, unnaturally silent. Not a single fish, dolphin, or even a shark had presented itself. Beyond that, even the plant life was oddly missing; no brightly-colored flora decorated the pale blue jagged formations that jutted up from the ocean floor.
Nothing was left; as though every life in the sea had been suddenly driven to extinction.
Yet, they were not alone, Reginald knew that. The ever-present tingle at the base of his spine reminded him of that. His eyes darted left and right across the expanse, his breath coming quickly, so as not to give away their position; something was watching them, waiting for them.
Angelica, behind them, pointed to something that glinted, half-buried in the Atherean’s sandy floor. Reginald followed her eyes and his heart sank; now he understood why Zeus had been so angry.
Jayden, who had taken point, landed first, followed by Reginald, then the ever-apprehensive Lihua and Angelica. “Is that…?” Angelica Reached to all of them, pointing to the long, rusting object. Reginald nodded sadly, pulling the item from the sand. “It is…” He acknowledged. “Poseidon’s trident.”
The weapon had once belonged the king of the seas, Zeus’ cousin. Now, acquiring mold with two of its trines bent out of shape, a cold fear enveloped Reginald; whatever had slain the Poseidon now controlled the Atherean.
“We need to take this back to Zeus.” Reginald Reached, tucking the ruined weapon into his belt at his back.
“Why’re you crying?” Jayden’s tone was accusatory, and aimed at Lihua. She quickly wiped her eyes and shook her head. “I’m not…” Her Reach was meek, “I just…I…”
“The sea king is dead, Jayden.” Angelica chastised, “I think we’re all a little shaken.”
“She’s right.” Reginald confirmed, “The creature that did this is beyond all of us.”
“Poseidon was one being.” Jayden replied, “And my brothers and sisters were unprepared. We’re hunting it now; it’s not going to be able to take all four of us.” His last line was aimed distrustfully at Lihua.
Angelica suddenly looked off into the distance; something had caught her mental attention. The three of them whipped to her line of sight, reaching for their weapons. A school of twenty goldfish lingered, hovering in the distance some fifty yards away. They were in a diamond formation, bobbing in the water observantly.
“Finally, some answers.” Jayden growled. He Reached out to the fish. They didn’t respond.
Reginald felt Jayden’s attempt and reinforced it with his own. Again, nothing.
The fish slowly approached.
Angelica’s Reach was more powerful than all of their combined, and the question was simple enough; “What has happened here?”
Reginald saw horror descend onto Angelica’s face. Lihua’s fists clenched.
The thought was an alarm that blared to all of them. Those are not goldfish!
The fish accelerated.
“Everyone scatter!” Reginald ordered. Jayden went his own way, lunging towards the crimson fish, knife drawn. Reginald drew his axes, darting left, as Angelica began ascending and Lihua merely stepped back, raising open hands.
The fish were quick, and all teeth. Reginald quickly dodged to the right as two fish shot past his left arm, bringing one of his axes down on one of them, cleaving it in half. He could feel Jayden’s bloodlust as the boy engaged seven of them–wiping out five with quick, violent slashes. For a brief moment, Reginald and Jayden made eye contact as the last red-bellied fish fell in two-pieces. Jayden’s smile worried him.
Angelica hovered above all of another seven of them as they approached her mindlessly, baring hundreds of fangs that fit impossibly into tiny mouths. Before they could reach her, Angelica looked to them, blinking, putting her hand at her head–the fish seized in mid-swim, and then floated lifelessly to the floor. Reginald felt a mild twinge at the front of his head, and no longer wondered why Odin and Zeus had insisted upon her coming with them.
Lihua seemed to lose herself in the fray, but her movements were neither wild, nor violent. The water didn’t even react to her. One fish went for her ankle; she merely stepped out of the way. Another tried to eviscerate her, she simply pivoted. She clutched that fish and squeezed, and it was no longer a threat. An open-palm strike to the temple of another fish ended that threat as well. She then waited, exhaling, hands open, as the remaining fish continued to circle her. The peace she exuded belied the apprehension she had shown thus far.
A wave of stale air blasted past all of them, sending Jayden and Angelica tumbling through the water before they recovered. Reginald and Lihua shielded themselves, suddenly buffeted by a water-borne hurricane that came from nowhere. When it cleared, they were no longer under attack.
Instead, Reginald, Jayden, Angelica, and Lihua found themselves looking at a monster. The few fish that remained hovered obediently at its side.
It was pale, sickly, like a well-built corpse. It was muscular, blue veins protruding at various points from its body. Its fingers were thickly webbed, and in its left hand, it carried an off-white trident that matched its skin, and looked as though it could’ve been made of rubber.
It had no eyes, only black holes where eyes should’ve been. A flat, gill-like nose and sharpened yellow teeth. Large, webbed ears completed the creature. It looked like a bastardized version of Poseidon.
And Reginald knew he was looking at the creature that had slain the king of the sea.
“Who are you?” Reginald demanded, trying to mask his fear.
For a moment, the creature said nothing, slowly lowering its head. After a moment, it snapped up, as if suddenly becoming aware of their presence. “Who, me?” He pointed to himself in mock innocence. “I’m Rahab. Welcome to my seas.”
(c) Avery K. Tingle for Akting Out LLC
Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.