This Week’s Prompt: 29. Dream of Seekonk—ebbing tide—bolt from sky—exodus from Providence—fall of Congregational dome.
The Research: Rhode Island and More!
There were less of us when I woke up. The lower part of the ship had a great gash in it when I woke up. At the end of the ship, leering out of the waters, was a misshapen man with spindly arms and legs attached to a corpulent bag of flesh. There was a white man’s captain cap atop his ball of blue flesh head. His teeth were stained with red blood and strains of gore. The midsection of a man was in his hands, like some bloated brown fruit.
I rose to run slowly, feeling the iron around my feet pulling me down ever so slightly. Following the chain with my eyes, I saw it’s end in a broken off leg near the monster’s maw. The beast, were it aware of my wakefulness, could with a twist pull me down into the oceanic depths. Slowly, I retreat. Step by step I withdraw upward. The pale demon tilts its head at the scratching of the iron on the wooden floors.
Breath flows easily as the creature resumes it’s putrid feasting. I test the links of the chain as the steps are at last in view. They are, sadly, firmly in place. I search about for something, anything to break it with. And there, against the supports, is a solution. A well worn blasting spear the men had carried, to be safe from pirates. Attached to it’s end is a long dagger that, with effort, could pry me free. With a bit of work, I figured I’d pry myself free. I flung my self down toward the support, grabbing the butt of the spear.
The cutting causes sparks and scratches. I move slow then swift as the bone crunching below overwhelms around me. Escape drives me more certainly then shock can hold me. It takes some sawing, long enough for the energy to start slowing. At last I cut through, and slip free from the first set of fetters. The clack of the chain on the floor gives me away, and the beastial thing turns to me.
It roars and I run, wet sloshing steps behind me. I run up to the deck, turning to see blue arms stretching out from below, spider fingers clawing about about for a lost fly. I stumble backward, overboard, onto a sandy shore. Chunks of blue rock shine in the sunlight. In the distance, the green starts to form on hills. The old island, from what I can see, is several hundred feet away. As I stair, there’s a sudden flash. Lighting on a clear day, dashing down from nowhere and scattering trees on the island. What could it be?
The alternative is back into the sea, where ghosts and serpents dwell. And around me feet fetters of steel still remain. So I march ahead, hoping beyond hope to find some release or at least relief on the strange island. I made out a great dome over the shore. I’d head there first, see if in the house of the gods some release could be felt. The island is like a dark green hill rising out of the desert, with a glimmering dome shining as a lighthouse for lost travelers.
I nearly collapsed after scaling the limestone walls along the shore. The trees a few feet away were dark, thickly rooted things with pale green leaves. I slouched against one to rest, the sun high in the sky as I took in deep breathes. I stare wistfully over the valley and the ebbing tide. From here, it seems almost still. Every now and again some movement disturbs the sand or sea, but it is only a flicker or ripple on a lake. My eyes grew heavy, and bit by bit I began to fall away.
When I awoke, the sky was red. The sun had finished it’s journey west, it seemed. I was dizzy as I tried to stand, pulling myself up by the branches. The stars would come soon, and I would rather not learn the ways of the wood by night. No, no, I’d make my way through now as best I could. There was a foul smell in the air, a feeling of doom rising from the earth. The wind was more like waves of water pushing at a swimmer than the cool gentle breeze I had hoped for.
The city was dimmly visible through the trees, so I again made my way towards human civilization. At least, I wanted to believe it was human. The things on the ship and shore seemed certainly strong. Perhaps some had returned, or made their way up the shore in search of prey. But that sort of thinking is what damns a man to a lonely and forgotten death.
As I mulled it over, I saw something run in the woods. Short and pale, it flickered between the trees. Then again it came, another thing rushing, scampering and small between trees in the shadows of the setting sun. Pale and white as the moon, it goes again and again. I hold still for a moment, curious and afraid. Slowly, I grab a large fallen branch by the roots of an aged tree.
“Hello?” I ask carefully, waiting with bated breathe for the invariable out cry. There is a noise, a crack of branches above me. I raise my eyes to the heavens, and a small girl looks down, dressed in all white. She is as pale as flour, and smiles showing a pair of viscous fangs. Drips of red blood drop down. Another child falls onto the branch next to here. He is dressed in the black of white men on sunday. His face is dour and grim, but red lines flow from the edges of his pale lips.
They dropped down, screeching like struck cats. I whacked the girl as hard as I could, before the boy pounced on me. He tried to bite down on my arm, but I managed to pry him off before he got anywhere. I toppled over as the girl gripped my legs, having recovered from the blow. I began to crawl back, kicking as best I could with my iron fetters. There was a crunch and the strange girl went back a bit. As the two recovered, I took my moment and started again toward the city in the dark. The sun was gone now, the stars and moon shining down.
I heard the children howling as I ran. More figures moved in the forest, pushing me onwards. But as the city roads came into view, by some Providence, they began to slow. In fact, after passing a few houses, they stopped entirely. In Providence, there was not a sign of the strange pale men and their bloody maws. At first I thought the city was abandoned, that some strange plague had swept through or some terrible rain or drought had driven out all the inhabitants. But I found them.
I found them gathered in a crowd before the church. They were a pitiful lot. Their clothes were not only ragged, but clearly had once by greater and more beautiful. Red jackets stained with mud and wear, broken banners of doubled crosses. At their front was a man dressed in black with a tall hat, holding a dimly lit torch.
He was saying something, waving his arms in wide gestures. The crowd seemed eager when he pointed east and shook his fist. I did not understand a word of it. But his face grew red, and he grew louder and louder. The man in black began to bellow, now turning his attentions to the heaven. It lasted for but a moment. And then his rage vanished and became pleeding. He collapsed to his knees, a supplicant to some unseen king, and spoke softly. I began to back away, fearing the crowd lead by a man who threatens and begs with the same breath.
As I considered where I might hide, amonst the woods or houses, there was a crack like thunder. I turned towards the source, the great shining dome of moonlight above the towns temple. The crowd stared silently as it began to buckle and break. Smoke black as basalt began to billow out, green light shining within the church. A fire must have begun within, but the noises that came rushing forth were not of crackling woods or breaking bones. No, a shrieking rage came roaring from the dome. Innumerable hands came forth, with axes and spears and guns. Out came a ghastly host, born on raven wings, with a hundred arms and a hundred faces, with women and men in equal number. The apparition towered over the crowd, it’s eyes glowing red through the miasma around it.
I knew then this was what kept the sea and forest at bay. This great unclean thing, with jaws and limbs to rend earth and sky. As it descended down onto the crowd, there was a sudden silence. All was undone in that moment. I hid on that island for years, untouched by that strange thing. The sea eventually returned, the strange woodland people went back to the earth. But the dome remained broken, and the ground before the temple was forever stained red.
This particular corpse was bloated to the point of nearly consuming another post! Still, I wanted to maintain some brevity. What did you find in Seekonk?
Next week, a new prompt:
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