Ocean Depths – Very Short Story

I swam alone in the vastness of the ocean, where there were neither reef nor island to orient me. But I didn’t need any direction for there was only one path that I chose, and it was down. The water was calm as I dove as far as I was able, struggling with the forces that pushed me back to the surface.

As I did, a wall of flesh graced my hand and I knew it was the beast I was looking for. With a hook, I cut into the creature’s skin and I was immediately pulled along with it. The creature was too massive to notice such a tiny pin, and as it reached deeper waters, it dove straight down.

I struggled to keep on from its awesome power, but I was determined to reach the bottom and I held on. For an hour I struggled until I was pulled no more and could loosen my grip on the hook. The surrounding was dark, impregnably so, and I would have seen nothing at all hadn’t a light source blessed my journey. Beside me, a small coral-like creature illuminated the depths and cover the skin of the giant creature, making it glow in a marvelous light! Indeed, the light was so strong that I saw the seabed below which I scanned with a skittering heart.

But all that I saw was muddy sand; dead and colorless; plain and flat, as far as I could see. My journey would have ended there hadn’t the creature moved once more, dragging me along the wasteland. I searched, of course, for any signs of life, but as I found none, my heart sank and I considered letting go and let the current take me wherever.

But then, the creature dove even further.

Deeper I went until it stopped suddenly. It did not move for a long while and as I lay floating thousands of miles under the sea, the water became dark. One after another, the coral was dying and I knew then the massive creature was dead. There was no way of turning back, nor was there any use to continue my search without a lightsource, and I became complacent with my fate. I slowly sank with the giant creature onto the seabed to let the creatures of the depths have their due course on my flesh.


© Christopher Stamfors

 

Tales of the Old Coot – Very Short Story

Rain drummed on the copper roof, dripping through that which was missing to hold it together. Water streamed through the cracks onto the moulded wood, soaking through the third floor, then the second, onto the first. The musky smell that had been overpowering upon entry subsided as he ascended the stairs to the top floor. The wind was fresh but chilling and howled in between the gaps where the wall had once been whole. A mist came out his breath as he looked through old books, vials and trinkets. The vials still stood neatly on their shelves with green mould which fused the glass to the wood. The vials were filled with colourful substances as wide and varied as a prism. He didn’t know what they were for and he didn’t care to find out, it wasn’t why he was here, after all.

He searched the wall until he found a shelf filled with books. They were also neatly stored, except on the lower shelves, where they had been torn out in a flurry.

He grinned hungrily at the sight.

There was always something valuable to salvage in these ancient towers, especially in old spell books. Even if only half the formula was readable he would still get a fair price from a collector or a scholar, which the city had many. But a frown touched his lips as the pages turned into a slush as he opened them. The tower was old… too old, it seemed. He should have known it was too good to be true to find such a tower so close to a village, seemingly untouched. He glanced through a gap in the wall and looked down at his vessel – it was still there.

And why shouldn’t it? He was alone, after all. Though, there were the tales…

He shook his head and continued rummaging. He’d stayed one hour too long with the old coot, her tales getting to him. Course, the forest was haunted in one way or another, they always were; stories to keep children from getting lost in the woods or adults away from treasure.

He glanced through the gap again and saw his boat still there on the shore waiting for him.

He considered leaving then.

With his eyes fixated on the vessel, the building howled louder than it had ever before and he shot to his feet. He stood frozen with his blade half drawn, listing. The howl died as the wind did and he swore beneath his breath. He swore again, louder. He stomped on the floor to create noise but stopped as he saw the mushy footprint his shoe had created. The silence; the gloomy surroundings; and the stories, they were getting to him. He kicked the pile of books on the floor and rummaged much more carelessly.

“There’s got to be something…” He murmured to himself.

“Worthless… Garbage… Disgusting,” he announced as he found them. Everything in the tower seems to be one or the other, often all three at once.

After an hour of searching, and the floor littered with items, he sat by the pile and looked at them. This was pointless after all, he thought, letting silence engulf him, once more. Then, there was a faint growl, reverberating through the wood and his body. He stood, slowly, and looked out the shore – his vessel was still there.

It was time go.

With careful steps, he made his way down the first floor and to the outside. He jerked his head around and watched the tower, seeing how it was crooked and parts of the wall littered the surroundings. He wondered why he’d dared to set foot in it and then remembered the promises it had held; it didn’t seem as bad when it held potential treasure… He pushed the vessel into the muddy water and climbed aboard. The mist went thick the further from the tower he went, surrounding him in a dark, yet luminescent, green. Another growl echoed as he went, creating waves in the water. He turned nervously and saw a faint murky light shining, spiralling up and down the tower that was now fully out of sight. Maybe there was something to those old stories, after all?


© Christopher Stamfors

Featured image by ChrisCold