Collector of Souls 14 - Dreamlands - 4

This is a rough draft of a novel in progress published in participation with Tuesday Serial. If you would like to follow along, pelase see the side bar with linked chapters.

Dreamlands - 4

The crew snapped into action, and Tad was ushered clear of the main catch, the section of the boat where the cages would be hoisted on deck and the squid sorted from the by-catch, unwanted fish and animals that would be shoveled back into the sea or harvested for bait.

When the first cage was brought on board, Tad was horrified to see what the crew of The Puddle Jumper was really after. Because he had left the spell go to cover his magical tracks, he could not under stand what was being said, again. He cursed as he watched the catch drop on the deck and quickly sorted. All sorts of strange creatures of his nightmares were being pushed back into the sea. What was being kept was a strange sea creature that looked part bat with large leathery wings protruding from its back, part squid, the crew was right, with tentacles where a mouth would have been on a small human child, and part humanoid with short stubby arms with angry fists and stumpy legs that kicked.

The strange squid were being slid into the hold. The hold had a shoot in the center of the catch area that dropped into a tank of aerated seawater. Most of the squid seemed to have given up or passed out. They slid from the traps into the take with ease. However, one seemed to still have a bit of fight left in it; perhaps it had been caught only recently. It stood and the sound the came from the tentacled mouth was full of anger and hate. It sounded like a wounded elephant.

The men near the squid fell over. It was as if the creature had reached out with an invisible bat hit them all at once. As they lay there, the creature made its way to the side of the boat and fell over into the sea. Instead of swimming away, it rose up on a wave and bellowed. The sound shook the boat and caused Tad to double over and vomit up the two sandwiches. Then the way took the creature down bellow the water again.

The captain ran down on deck. He stopped next to Tad and said, “If you want to live, you will take up arms.” Then he was gone. He had rushed down among the crates and found a wicked harpoon. He set up and waited.

Tad regained his senses and flew into action. Still too weak for magic, he found a spear and made his way to the holding tank. The tank was simple enough. There were only two large buttons, one green and one red. Tad guessed and chose the red button. An emergency siren sounded and the entire ship leached as the holding tank opened and started flushing the squid back into the sea.

The captain swiveled the harpoon gun to point it at Tad. “What the hell are you doing?” He shored up his aim.

Tad did answered by throwing the harpoon at the captain. The harpoon landed short, but it allowed Tad the time to duck behind a crate and get out of the captain’s line of fire. The captain did not have time to take aim again as another wave rose out of the ocean. This time the squid that had attached the boat appeared, a small army accompanied it. When they bellowed in unison, the boat shook apart. Bits of wood, plastic, and fiberglass flew into the air.

Tad and the captain were tossed into the water near each other. The dark waters rocked with waves that pushed them both deep into the water. When they both made it to the surface, the captain reached out and took hold of Tad by the neck.

As the captain attempted to choke the life from Tad, the captain yelled over the waves, “Idiot. They’ll eat us for sure.”

Tad let go of his control and let his god work through him. His eyes popped and he glowed purple from head to toe. He started to mutter, “Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.” He sputtered and spit blood. “!! Cthulhu Fhtagn!” Un like what happened to the tree, the daemon’s spirit was ripped from the shell of his body and into Tad’s. Tad felt an energizing surge at the daemon’s spirit moved through him, and then he shorted out; losing conscience, he passed beneath the waves.

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