Fridays were bar nights for me. While my co-workers would be with their dames, or in some cases, call-girls, I would be sitting on a stool. I ordered the usual: a Reuben sandwich with whiskey on the rocks. I had no desire to be with a broad. I was just fine with my buds at the Cuttlefish Pub.
I was a "hard-boiled honcho," according to my friends. I was losing hair, but I didn't have a chrome-dome just yet. My days were pretty much the same, except for Fridays. I would go work at the harbor, watch the propaganda on television, go to sleep, and do the same thing the next day. If I could, I would have left my job since my co-workers were a bunch of gorillas and fatheads. Since the depression, it's been tough, though.
I live in the town of Cuttlefish, Massachusetts, a neighboring town of Rowley. I've never left, though. My parents always told me to never go past Rowley, saying "there's something wrong past there." While I personally think it is just a load of shit, it was so embedded into my mind as a kid that I have just never made the effort to leave. Not that I could have afforded to go anyway. I was a swigger, after all.
As usual, I paid for my supper, wished the lads good night and headed off to the port. On a good summer night, you could catch a good salmon at the dock. However, it was winter that unfortunate night. Freezing temperatures and the dock was my only way home. I almost fell into the water as I heard a siren in the distance.
Although it was something unwanted, a siren was a good break from the usual wood creaking and waves splashing. Once you've spent twelve years of your life pulling in and loading-unloading boats, you get a bit used to the sound. Occasionally I still find beauty in the water, such as the moon reflecting off of it. These are very rare cases, though.
Many ships pull into the dock. I should know, it was my job to direct them after all. I recognized most of them, but then there was one that I did not remember. I had never pulled that one in before. It was much bigger than the other ships, and looked like those old pirate ships you see on television. I don't even know how many decks there were.
I just stared for a while, gazing at the ship. Compared to the ones I usually brought in, this was a beauty alright. I was jealous of whoever directed it in. Even the waves of water that it made sounded serene. Soon though, a voice boomed through the air.
"You're not supposed to be here!" I heard. The voice was very rough, almost as if the man was a chainsmoker. I could picture him in my head. Burly man, a couple tattoos, five o' clock shadow. I would never learn what he truly looked like, however. The ship was too big and I couldn't see the top of the deck.
Shortly after, a second voice spoke. It sounded like the man was speaking another language, possibly German. I couldn't tell, though, because he was speaking frantically. The voice was also rough, but in a different way. It was as if sand and mucus were mixing together in his throat. I couldn't distinguish a word he said.
"You know that we're not supposed to get past Rowley." The first man seemed to be towering the other to one of the sides of the ship. I followed along as they moved, though the voices got progressively quieter as I went around. One thing I remember is that every time the second man spoke, the footsteps would become....wet.
"We're not getting more people involved in this." The conversation paused for a brief moment as another siren was heard. Were these men wanted? "I mean, look at you, you knucklehead! Can't even imagine what that kid from Arkham is like." More gurgling from the second man arrived.
"We have to end this now." I remember almost slipping off of the dock and into the water. To be honest, it would have been better if I had made a splash. I heard something that was shocking from the second quote-unquote man. I don't even know why I wasn't as phased then as I am now.
It was an animalistic growl, but not like any animal you would have heard before. The best comparison that comes to mind would be a tiger mixed with that giant lizard from Japan, plus the gurgling that he had made before. Obviously, it was safe to say that this thing did not want to go back.
"Well, the only way to stop this is if we're back," I had hoped that was the end of it. "Or dead." Suddenly, the roar intensified and the ship started to rock furiously. What the fuck was on that ship? There was no way to climb up now. If I tried, I'd probably kill myself doing so. I never thought I would do what I did next, but I ran to the closest house by the dock.
Hammering on the door is common courtesy at ten at night, when most people are asleep. A geezer, who went on a tirade at me, answered the door. I got him out to show him the situation, and the phone was all mine. The man allowed me to use his address since it was required and as I continued to watch the ship...someone fell out. I made the dumbest decision of my life and ran to the port, telling the old man to stay on with the police.
I couldn't tell who had fallen, and the water was a deep red. No noises were coming from the ship. Questions like "Had they both fallen?" and "Is it safe to do this?" escape my head at the time. I took off my jacket and shoes, and preceeded to dive into the water.
The sensation of feeling algae while only seeing a deep green was surprisingly frightening. There were potentially two....things in the water, and I eventually couldn't tell how deep I was or if I was anywhere near them. I remember something strange, however.
As I got deeper and deeper, I heard voices. They were clearer than the thing on the deck, but the language sounded the same. Paranoia clouded my brain. Was it swimming around me? My sensibility leapt away and into my imagination. Was would this thing even look like?
I imagined almost a fish-like humanoid, with gills on the side of it's head and gray skin covering it. Seaweed covering it from head to toe, and eyes beady, as black as a midnight sky. Then again, it could just look perfectly normal. That wasn't the sense I was feeling though. My hand eventually felt something. Cloth. I didn't dare run my hand up or down the body. With how much blood there was already in the water, I didn't want to be victim two or three. I just grabbed the cloth and pulled the body up, bringing it to my back.
As I was heading to the surface, I was thinking about how I could go for a bender at that moment. I would be beat, but I had just witnessed an attempted knock off. Rum and coke sounded good, maybe with a steak sandwich. I turned my head to see if I could make out who I had rescued. Despite being closer to the moonlight, all I could see was a murky teal.
The trip back seemed longer than it had taken to get there. It was like my body had given out. I wouldn't have been surprised, though. The amount of stress, as well as the weight of an entire body being on my back, would have made anyone tired. Suddenly, the weight was gone and I was pulled up.
There were several black-and-whites at the scene, as well as two ambulances. I expected flatfoots, but not G-men. What was the FBI doing here? The paramedics from one ambulance came to wrap a towel around me. As the water cleared from my eyes, the salt still stinging them, I tried to look over to see who I had rescued. One of the paramedics just grabbed my head and turned it forward.
I was then approached by an FBI official, who asked me several questions. The usual "What were you doing here?" and "What is your name?" Then they asked me something that struck me as odd. "Was that the only thing you found down there?" the official asked as he wrote down the answer to the previous question. THING. He specifically said THING.
"Yes..." I glared at him. "That was the only BODY I found down there." The official looked at me. He knew. He let something slide.
"I think you should go home, Mr. Miller." The official handed me a jacket and shoes. Brand new, still shining. At this point I didn't care. "I would suggest going home the long way. And next time there's a scuffle on a boat, don't jump into the water to give yourself hypothermia."
I remember cursing that gumshoe as I walked up Sandy Street. Something was up with them. Sirens were going off all night, even at times when people were asleep. The cops and FBI knew something. Frustrated, I went to the bar to find something quite....quite odd.
It was closed, despite usually being open from 8 in the evening to 5 in the morning. As I looked around, I had realized that I had been walking in the shadow. So deep in fact, that my shadow was non-existent. I was now thoroughly creeped out. This whole night was getting under my skin. Maybe that official was right. There isn't anywhere more safe than our own homes. The next morning, all of the dock workers came to the most unfortunate and unusual sight. The port had completely disappeared. No ships were there, no docks. Just water. When we confronted our boss about it, he adamantly stated that he didn't even know who we were.
Everyone was panicking, wondering what to do next. How they would find a job, how they would afford a meal that night, and if they should riot. My one plan was to go to the police station and get some answers. When I arrived, I was immediately shown the door. I was aggravated to the point of wanting to murder someone. If everyone else was in on the mystery, why weren't the dock workers?
A few of my old co-workers and I decided to play poker that night to get our minds off of everything. It actually only served to make things worse.
"I don't know how I'll feed Laura and the kids."
"My rent ain't gonna get paid this month..."
"It's times like this I'd like to drink myself to death."
Welcome to the Table of Depression, where a bunch of dock workers complain about their miseries and mishaps. We played poker for a few weekends, but then I left once something odd started happening. I got so absorbed in it that I completely forgot to go to poker nights. They still call me, but I can't face them.
Eventually, a series of murders started to happen in Cuttlefish, mostly of dock workers and their families. It was mostly talk of the town, since they wouldn't air anything about it on television or print it. It got so bad that one of my poker buddies actually changed his name to avoid being found. I remember the night we started talking about it. I remember because I felt as sick as a dog.
"Did'ya hear 'bout them murders that been happenin'?" Olly said as he dealt the cards. I was more upset about Olly giving me shit hands every single time he dealt cards now. After what had happened that fateful night, I just didn't care anymore.
"Yeah, I heard about Greg from his wife today." Sam sighed as he looked at his hand. Sam's brow went up as he threw in some chips. "She was hysterical, talking a bunch of nonsense." I threw in a few chips next. I had nothing to say on the matter, so I looked at Eddy. He was trembling. Greg and him were best pals since the 4th grade, so it made sense that this would take a toll on him. I'm was even surprised that he showed up that night.
"Yeah...." he said, sniffling a bit. "Fucking bitch thinks it's a good time to joke." We never saw this language from Eddy. I didn't get a call so I had no idea what was going on. After the game, I stayed and asked Sam what she said. My expression was shocked, but not for the reason Sam thought it was for.
"I don't blame her." Sam said as he picked up the beer bottles we had emptied. "Her husband was viciously killed. I'd be a state of shock, too." Vicious...
I write this a year after those events transpired. Most of the dock workers are gone, and I'm about to get evicted from my house. I'm trying to find a place that will accept me. Thing is...that's hard when you're a living freak of nature.
I remember a week after that game, barnacles started growing on me. On my hands, my back, my forehead; you name it, they're there. My muscles started to atrophy, and my bones are showing through my skin now. I'm as clammy as I'll ever be and my eyes just stare into nothingness. I don't think I'm a full freak yet, since the gills have only started to come in.
I bet that you're wondering about that killer. Well, you're reading a story from him. I honestly don't even know if it's all true or not anymore. All I remember is that one night, I got bloodlust. Not for just anyone, though. It's not something I'm proud of, but the FBI leaves me alone as long as I only kill them.
I just answered a call for the first time in 10 months. It was the FBI. They want me to go after their families now. They're crazy if they think I'm going to harm children. It isn't like I want to be a cannibal, if I'm even classified as that now. I'm completely losing myself. I think it's time to go past Rowley. I hear that there's a nice town there full of people just like me. I even hear that they get unsuspecting travelers from time to time. They also have a new mayor from what I've gathered. After a year of what has felt like eternal damnation, that sounds like what could finally be a quiet, peaceful life.