(Horror stories about the unknown.)
“Check this out!” Marcel called.
“What?” I asked, not looking over. I’d been trying to skip rocks, but all I could get were a few hops before the stones were swallowed by the waves.
“It’s a bottle with a note in it,” he replied. “An actual message in a god damn bottle.”
“So open it up,” I said, dropping the flat stones with annoyance. “Whatever’s inside’s gotta be more exciting than anything we’re doing.” Continue reading “A Message in a Bottle”
Growing up, it was common knowledge that my cousin, Ben, was afraid of seaweed. Naturally, we terrorized him with it. Pieces in his bed, pieces in his shoes, and my favorite: pieces in his bathing suit. Every time, we were guaranteed a scream and a scramble as he tried to get the seaweed away from his delicate self.
Nothing, though, compared to what we’d do to him at the beach.
I’ll fully admit that we were bullies back then. We didn’t know what we did was wrong; we just thought it was funny. And since Ben laughed it off at the end, even if he’d cried while it was happening, we thought it was okay to continue. Kids will be kids, right? Continue reading “Ben’s Fear”
We dredged something up from deep underwater. It turned out to still be alive. Partly alive. Something like alive.
I wanted to explain how it looked, but every time I thought about how to describe it I got the worst mental block. Everything went foggy and my head started to hurt. Even when I remembered how it spilled out onto our deck with thousands of dead fish, I was overcome with a sensation of nausea that left me gasping for air.
That’s why, once it stopped thrashing – yes, that’s how it moved – by thrashing; I remember how it knocked over a bunch of equipment – I asked one of the guys to start taking pictures. Not a single one came out right. They were all blurred beyond repair and dotted with multi-colored splotches. So all I have is my memory. While I couldn’t picture how it looked, I knew it was nothing like I’d ever seen before. Nothing like any of us had seen. Continue reading “The Trawl”
I’m a geologist working at Death Valley National Park in Nevada. Over the last few months, we’ve been studying the geological formation dubbed “Devil’s Hole.” Here’s what it looks like, for those interested.
Anyway, I’ve always found this place somewhat disconcerting. We have a vague idea of how it came to be and what makes it do what it does, but there’s something else. Something…off.
The other day, we sent a little submarine drone into the water to see if it could map out the labyrinthine cave system we know is there, but has been completely inaccessible for decades. Also, we wanted to find out how deep it goes. The fact an earthquake in China could cause the water to rise so substantially at this spot in Nevada makes us think it goes way deeper than preliminary estimates.
Continue reading “Devil’s Hole”
Recalling the sensation of my eyes bursting before they turned to ash is the only feeling of comfort I can extract from that moment last year.
I was walking my dog on the beach near my home. The beach had been closed for the season because of a toxic algae bloom. The woods in my backyard let out to the beach, though, and I knew enough to stay away from the water.
Parker and I were finishing up when I heard splashing near the shore. I glanced over and saw what appeared to be a school of fish trapped under the thick, algal sludge. I was surprised; the water was supposedly hypoxic from the algae. I assumed the fish would stay away.
The splashing persisted as we walked by. Parker growled. I was concerned, since he never showed any aggression of any sort since we’d gotten him neutered. But as the splashing grew louder and the water grew increasingly turbid, Parker’s growls became ferocious and he started to bark and pull at his leash.
Continue reading “A Short Walk on the Beach”