Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Story-A-Day #139: Unearthed


The ground bubbled up from within, almost as though a pocket of gas was pushing its way forward. It heaved slowly upward, the surface cracking open, then settled back down with a whoosh of air.

My first instinct was that it was in fact a pocket of air, possibly some vegetation that had been buried over the winter and now that the weather was turning warm once more, it was starting to decompose. The gases released could be enough to create the rhythmic bubbling in the sand.

The ice creaked noisily on the nearby lake, and I surveyed the grey wet field that stretched off towards the distant tree-lined horizon.

A soft cooing rumble sounded, barely audible over a sudden crack of ice. It was a familiar sound, almost like the noise a scared kitten would make – half mewling, half purr.

The ground surged upwards again, a pulsating lub-dub in the wet beach sand. I grabbed a stick from the base of a nearby tree and drove it into the mound, rooting around. When I was younger, I would do the same thing when I looked for clams, drilling down into bubbling holes in the shallow waters.

I tired to maintain the same sense of youthful wonderment, but I knew that whatever was down there in that hole, was not a clam. The grumble rose up from the sand again, no fear in it this time. This was a growl of anger. I had disturbed whatever was in the hole, and it was not happy.

The stick suddenly tore from my hands leaving a trail of splinters across my palm. I took a step backwards and continued retreating as the stick thrashed wildly about then disappeared down into the sand.

The pulsating in the mound quickened, almost as though it was matching the breathing pattern of whatever might be buried within.

I could feel a vibration beneath my feet, as though a large truck was passing by. A quick glance to the nearby avenue revealed it to be empty of automobiles. A solitary man wandered along the interlocking brick walkway and I called out to him. He continued onward obliviously.

There was a sudden grumble and the mound exploded outward sending a shower of sand cascading over me. I continued my hasty retreat, unable to take my eyes off the spot. I didn’t see the log and tumbled backwards to the beach, a sharp pain shooting up my forearm as I landed in a clumsy pile.

I made it into a kneeling position and turned my attention to the pulsating area of the beach where my eyes fell upon a site unlike anything I had ever seen before. A gelatinous, algae-like mass was oozing up from the ground, its shiny surface tinted the purple-brown hue of a deep bruise.

A scream was frozen in my throat, I scrambled to my feet and ran as fast as I could.

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