#picturefiction #flashfiction #cthulhu
Commander Hess staggered onto the beach with his handful of sailors. Less than half his men had escaped.
He would be glad to put this godforsaken island behind them. The watch officer had spotted the island three days ago. Hess and Captain Van Hort had both scratched their heads in confusion, no island showed on any chart of this part of the ocean.
The Captain brought the ship closer to investigate. The island was nothing but slime covered rocks but they could see a strangely shaped structure near the middle of the island. The Captain ordered Hess to take a trio of long boats ashore to investigate. If this was a previously unknown island it would bring notoriety to their ship to be the first to catalog it.
The island’s surface was inhospitable. Every surface beyond the slime covered beach was jagged rock. The structure at its center was somewhat pyramidal but every time Hess looked at it, it appeared to shift and change its shape. Straight lines would change to curves between bliinks of an eye. It was almost as if the building were seen through rippling waves.
The Commander led his men up a titanic set of steps, each step was carved from a black stone and over a foot tall; they had never been made with men in mind.
The men muttered over the sinuous writing carved into the stones and carvings that looked like men mated with sea creatures.
The men were half way to the irregular shaped opening when the island’s inhabitants swarmed out. They were shaped like men but their skins were covered with pustules and growths. Their hair looked like seaweed and some were covered in scales with pointed teeth in their gaping mouths like some deep sea creature.
The screamed inhuman words but several in the swarm clearly were shouting “Kill them” as they charged.
Hess and his men opened fire and felled dozens of the creatures.
The rest did not even hesitate. Hess called for retreat but the man monsters were upon them.
The monsters all chanted in unison as they attacked.
“Cthulhu f’thagn. Cthulhu f’thagn.”
The garbled sounds they chanted were maddening. Hess saw his men torn limb from limb. Monsters bit huge chunks from chests and clawed the skin from men’s faces.
The sailors fought with frantic strength as they retreated. For every sailor slain, three times that number of the fanatic monsters were killed but still they came.
Hess and ten men managed to reach the beach and dive into one of the long boats. Hess shot a final monster between its bulging yellow eyes as they pushed away from the shore. His men looked like war survivors, each was wild eyed and bloody gashes covered each of them.
“Row for your lives,” Hess commanded.
They moved away from the shore leaving the gibbering freaks behind. Hess finally felt safe as the ship came into view. They were safe.
The water boiled around the ship as the men rowed. Enormous tentacles rose from the depths and Hess felt his mind shatter as they crushed the steel hull and pulled it beneath the waves.