The monster lurks right below the surface, huge and cruel, ready to lash out with its tentacles and destroy the ship, crushing it, taking it down into the depths, feeding on the crew.
That’s the story we’ve all heard, but what does the story look like from the other side? From the “monster’s” point of view?
My latest short story “The Kraken’s Story” is out today in Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath. It takes a stab at that, exploring the world of the creature below the ocean and its view of the men above the water.
Sound interesting? Go pick up a copy of Undercurrents. Want to know a bit more? Here’s the first scene of the story:
The Kraken’s Story
Robert J. McCarter
The school of fish is close. I can feel them and taste them, and although I hunger, it is not time to feed. My mother is beside me, her mind closed to me as we wait. I hate waiting, but I am nearly a full cycle past my time as an egg, and I must learn to control my impulses.
We float, my mother and I, in deep waters, but near the boundary of the shallows. There are other beings near us—some common fish, some predators—but they all give us a wide berth. Even though I am not mature yet, I am larger than anything in the sea except for my own kind.
The dolphins visited recently, and since then my mother has been tense and quiet. She has not told me what tales they shared, but they could not have been good. I think it is why we are here.
Something is coming, I can hear it, but it is not a familiar sound. It is coming from the direction of the shallows, from the place where the rock rises out of the water. Mother tells me there are creatures there, strange creatures that live in the no-water and are somehow able to breathe.
Watch, daughter. Taste, feel. Tell me what you think it is, Mother says to me, her mind a comfort to mine.
I watch and I taste and both are foul. The thing slices though the surface of the water in a smooth, straight line. Its shape is long, narrow, and unnatural, and what I feel . . . I cannot describe it. There are beings on this thing in the no-water, and their minds are chaotic and troubled, worse than the surface of the sea when it is whipped up by the no-water when the lights stab down in bolts that shake.
And the thing is large, larger than some of my kind, larger than me. I feel something I have not felt since I became larger than the other predators. Fear.
I do not understand, I tell my mother.
They are enemy. You must destroy them. My mother is tense and worried.
How? It is large—larger than me, almost as large as you.
Follow, she tells me, diving down and swimming rapidly along the shelf of rock.
I follow, pushing water from my mantle and letting my tentacles relax and lengthen so that I move fast and catch up with Mother. We glide down into deeper, darker waters, passing several sharks and a school of large fish with yellow tails. It is still not time to feed, so I keep moving until we come to the floor of the ocean. There is something there I do not recognize. It is large, as large as my mother, covered with algae and sand. It is long, its shape unnatural, and has stiff, straight things, like tentacles that stick straight up. I can taste it; it is made of trees, which my mother has told me grow above in the no-water.
What is it? I ask.
Look at the bottom.
I swim down and look. It is shaped like the horrible thing that passed above us.
It is called ship, and this is what the Great Mother wants us to do with them. She wants us to bring them down. They are terrible; they destroy. You must learn to defeat them.
If you want to read the rest, go grab Undercurrents!
This anthology is a fundraiser for the Don Hodges Memorial Scholarship which helps writers learn the business of writing by sending them to the Superstars Writing Seminar. So your purchase goes to help writers learn this crazy business.