On the shore
a short story
He walked along the edge of the shore. It was a place of respite, of peace. A sanctuary for him to no longer consider the confusion at school or the troubles at home. He could simply walk along the sandy shoreline at dusk, feeling the fading sun’s warmth on his skin and the waves lap at his pale feet. Most of all he liked to look out over the horizon and think about what was out there. Of what could be out there in the wider world over these waves. It was incredibly important to the boy that there was something out there, something greater. This idea was so important and he didn’t even know why. He tried not to think about it and instead simply feel the certainty of it. All of it was too big for it not to be true. Most days, that was enough for him. He felt very small. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he really did not matter much at all.
The town had been evacuated. He knew he had to be the only one left on the beachfront now. The storm raged along the horizon, he could already feel the strength of the wind all over his body. He didn’t seem to mind. He had already lost everything. At that point, his own life didn’t seem like very much to him. He strolled listlessly along the sandy shore. The same path he used to walk so often in his youth. So much had changed over the years since he used to look out over the horizon and wish for.. What did he used to wish for?
The storm was close enough now to witness its true majesty, to begin to feel its embrace. He remained sitting on a rocky outcropping at the beach front, contemplating the power of nature. He actually hoped the entire town would be destroyed. If nature willed such a thing, he applauded it. He honestly didn’t think there was anything of real value here. A bunch of wood, concrete, and steel, and plastic. The people had abandoned all of it to its own fate. Perhaps subconsciously, he hoped to join them in the joy of such destruction.
He closed his eyes and held them closed. He could feel the briny wind upon his face, and he dug his hands into the grains of sand at his sides. He thought about nothing. Helplessly he began to simultaneously consider all the numb, unconscious days of the past year, the past decade. What had it all amounted to? What did he gain in the time he had given? He could go on and on about what he had lost. But he didn’t want to think about all that right now. He just wanted desperately to exist on this shore, his sanctuary, for a little while longer while an oblivion edged in from the abyss before him.
Then, a blinding flash of lighting on his closed eyes. This intense light awoke him from his reverie. But he didn’t open his eyes until the thunderous crash that followed. He stared again out over the dark horizon, into the clouds and the raging storm from whence the light had sourced. Within the swirling chaos he witnessed something. An immense form, some massive entity, a creature, heaved among the cloudform. It’s existence was unfathomable but to sight it was awe-inspiring. He immediately stood up on his sandy perch and looked out across the waves upon its full form. In these moments, he thought nothing; he felt everything. It appeared as nothing resembling the darkest fantasies of man. From his vantage, it had to be hundreds of stories tall. It made the distant ocean and hurricane gathering look insignificant in its presence. Six, seven, eight-legged, hunched over, it was a roiling mass of appendage and furious motion. The waters at its base were spiraling and crashing with force beyond what the hurricane could cause. It had the face of a lion peaking through the darkness, like a ghost staring into a black mirror. The things’s head was surrounded by a mane of blue wraith-like flames lapping at a body made of palpable energy, as if it was a conduit of the surrounding storm formation.
Somehow this being had appeared within the approaching storm — just now. It was here when a moment before there was nothing. The emergence was impossibly instantaneous. Did it come from the sky? Had it emerged from within the ocean? Or had it been birthed somehow by the strength of this great storm? It had to be a god. It moved slowly but with incredible poise, as if it knew exactly what it could intend for this world. The storm gave way to its sweeping tail. A tsunami began. It reared up on its hind legs and smashed down into the miles of water before it. Another God-wave began. The man stumbled backwards onto the ground, and edged back a few more feet, still not even processing as the ground rumbled about him. It let out a roar which shook the stone and sand and rattled his mind into a vitalized shock. The energy within its body began to visibly brighten and pulse. The brightest stroke of lightning he’d ever seen flashed out from the beast. In this wake, the storm clouds began to quickly clear, drawing away from its form. The winds picked up and the waves rose ever higher. It faced the mainland, beginning to move its towering mass.
The man turned away from the shore, his shore no longer.