I literally wrote this down in the span of thirty minutes yesterday. I don't know what came over me other than this idea that needed to be written down. For now, I don't have a title for it. I really don't write horror stories so this is rare for me. It's probably too short but w/e
Voices lie within these conches. When you put your ear against a conch, you hear the sea. But sometimes if you listen long enough and hard enough, you will hear a voice.
When I first heard that voice I imagined a mermaid; a shrill womanly voice calling out. The longer I listened the more obvious it became that the woman was crying out in help. I could only stand there on the shoreline listening in awe, wondering if I was going mad hearing some dark thoughts within me.
I kept the conch and returned home. I had visited the beach on a dreary autumn evening. The beach can be as relaxing then as in the summer. There are no other sounds in the autumn except the sea itself, no callous cries from big families or screeching gulls seeking fries.
I had thought the voice in the conch was some temporary fancy of my mind. But when I put my ear to it again at home, the voice was still there.
"Save me. Save me," she said. Her voice cracked and broke into a scream. I stopped listening immediately.
Nobody else heard the voice but me; not my mother, not my father, not my friends. I even put it up against my dog's ear to see the effect he would have. They all heard the endless drone of ambient noise.
This voice was for me.
I had no idea how I would be able to save the woman. I didn't know what to do except return to the beach and stare at the endless expanse. Every now and then, I'd return to listening to the woman's cries for help in the conch.
Her constant cries and everyone else's insistence that there was no voice in the conch drove me to do the only thing I could – go out and swim.
I knew it was crazy but I wouldn't be at rest unless I tried to see what would happen. I knew that what I was doing implied something fantastic – something beyond the natural explanation of things.
The waves seemed to push harder the further I swam. I couldn't see anything below the surface. Every time I dunked my head to find someone I could only see murkiness. The further I swam from shore the more afraid I began to feel about the infinite expanse.
Before returning, I heard the woman's voice.
"Save me. Save me."
The voice was further away, but within a reasonable distance.
"I'm coming!" I cried.
Over the next wave I spotted a black tangled mass floating on the surface of the water.
I swam faster than I ever had, spewing mouthfuls of sea water in the process. I reassured her that I was closing in on her to help.
"Here, I'm here!" I gasped.
I grasped her hair. The texture was slimy and slipped right through my fingers. The black tangled mass had been nothing but seaweed.
Her cries had stopped and I was alone in the sea.
I treaded water, with my own heart beating as if ready to burst through.
Something brushed my leg. I assumed it was more seaweed. Nevertheless, I dove down to see. The water was still murky. There was indeed more seaweed but I wondered if maybe she had just drowned in this spot only mere seconds ago.
I pulled strands of seaweed away from me. There was so much of it rising from the void.
I was ready to give up until I realized I was pulling black hair. I continued pulling until a face appeared.
The face grinned at me through rotten flesh, dangling eyes and protruding cheekbones.
I stroked for the surface but the corpse actually came alive and grasped my ankle. Then another bony, sinewy hand grasped my other ankle. There is no greater terror at sea than the feeling of being yanked down and watching the sunlight fade above you. No matter how hard I tried I only felt my legs strain as if they were about to break.
The murkiness spiraled all around me. I knew at some point my air capacity broke and I swallowed a glassful of seawater. I knew then that this was the end, and an end that I would never come to understand. But shortly thereafter I awoke gagging and coughing.
The world around me was dark, but I was no longer in the water. I was in a damp, cool, and rocky place – a cave. I shivered violently feeling like I had been flung in a freezer for hours. All parts of my body were thankfully intact.
Waking there had only led me into a nightmare. I searched in the dark for a hold but instead grasped around squishy bits. I felt them – and promptly realized they were human feet and hands, and the rest that was unrecognizable must have also been human remains. I withdrew my hands immediately, but no matter where I stepped or where I touched there was flesh.
I would have fainted there and then had the urge to fight for my life not kicked in when I heard the monsters, those freakish corpses that had dragged me under the water. They were coming for me, feasting on whatever leftovers they crawled upon along the way.
I fled in the dark. I couldn't help but moan. No matter how hard I tried to keep quiet and throw off the chase, the feeling of running over broken flesh broke my calm. I swear I even heard faint groans of those still living but about to expire.
At last, I came across an alcove where no remains littered the ground. I heard rushing water, a river of sorts or a waterfall. I felt across the alcove and found a way to climb up. I heard the monsters scurrying below me, and promptly passing by me after not finding me.
I stayed there for God knows how long – hours maybe. I laid there on bare rock closing my eyes at times wishing I would wake up to sanity again.
I would not live if I stayed there. I had to move.
I followed the sound of the water. I hoped that the source could lead me a way out of the cave. I ended up having to crawl in a tight space by the ground. I had felt trickling water emerging from there, and so I knew that the path would lead me to freedom.
By the time I reached the end of the crawlspace, the rushing water was all around me. I was so happy I laughed madly.
I felt across the wall to find a way up the waterfall. There was none. The walls gave no footholds of any kind to ascend.
No matter. I followed the water to find its exit, because otherwise the cave would have been flooded.
I reached the end of the river but I was only met by more walls. The river flowed underneath, so I jumped in and dove.
The river flowed through a passage. I swam through.
Soon though, the passageway became narrower, my skin began to scrape against rock, until it was too narrow for any grown human to swim through. I scrambled back, for my breath was running out.
Upon returning to the waterfall, I clawed the walls, cursing it to hell.
Exhaustion eventually hit me. The only other way out was to return to the monsters' den, a way I knew would surely end in death.
I laid by the waterfall in mental ruin. I didn't understand any of this and never would. Over time, how long, again, I do not know, the monsters must have brought more bodies, for I later heard fresh voices like mine screaming.
The least I was able to do was drink the water, which thankfully was fresh. How the hell this was fresh water I could not guess. Maybe this wasn't even a place on Earth, but a world beyond, or hell. But even in hell, I cannot imagine what god I could have offended.
I would continue to drink and piss until the day I died alone in the cave. That's what I knew then.
But after another fruitless search in the water for a way out, I found a conch.
The conch felt as smooth all around as the one I picked up before on that cold autumn day. I cradled it in my hands and thought – I thought long and hard for the tale I would tell, the tale that you are hearing right now, whoever you are.
Know, dear listener, that I may not last long. I don't even know if my words will remain in here like that cursed woman's voice. Maybe I have really gone mad, and I am sitting in a cell in an asylum. I don't know what magic these conches run by, but they are my only hope, for I am able to push them through the passageway where the water flows. I don't know where they go, if anywhere, but the message is the same.
Save me. Save me, dear God. I have told my entire story so that you may know what you are hearing is not a trick of your mind.
Listen. Listen to the dying for I am leaning over the alcove this very moment so you can hear the monsters tear the flesh. This is what I have been hearing for hours, for days. My head aches and my stomach yearns for food.
I have been thinking of reaching down for a morsel of what was once human. Maybe that's what these things are – survivors, and I will become one of them. Please find me before that happens. Comb the entire sea. Tell everyone. Leave no island uncharted, no anomaly unchecked.
For God's sake – save me.
You pull your ear back sharply as the voice cuts off.
The conch is smooth, just as the voice had just told you. There are red marks on some spots, and you rub them a bit wondering if they are blood.
Another wave draws your attention back to the sea. The people around you revel under the summer sun. But you – you only stare off at the distance, because despite the sound of a hundred happy voices around you, you can only think about the human cries lurking within the conch.
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