Thing from Below the Bottom of the Lower Depths
Thing from Below the Bottom of the Lower Depths
The diver neared the mysterious black maw, swimming into its inky mystery. Two lights blinked on: two terrifying, bulbous eyes. The diver screamed, which turned out really really bubbly.
The boat was anchored off the coast of Powy Zowan, an idyllic tropical isle untouched by tourists. Two scientists had hired the Tipilta to investigate a recent underwater earthquake’s effects on local aquatic flora, fauna and other “f” names. The first mate and two deckhands were helping the team of three into scuba gear.
“Looks like a good day for water-swimming,” joked scientist Dr. Dabe Banibar.
Dr. Lonna Durene, the other scientist, chuckled in that good-natured way she had of chuckling.
Boat skipper, troubleshooting adventurer and sometime canner, Clain Hoake, was less jovial as he straightened his mask. “Sorry, I’ve seen too many dangerous fish incidents to take this lightly.”
No one knew they were watched from shore by Dewlana, High Priestess of the island. Specifically it was Clain who held her gaze. His image stuck on her like greasepaint on a clown.
Underwater, Clain first spotted the newly unearthed cave and pointed. He was an old hand at pointing. The cave had not been seen for tens of millennia. Its untold mysteries could make for some really neat science.
Even with the miracle of flashlights, the cave was still lousy with shadows. When it began to widen, the divers spread out. Lonna came to a break in the wall. As she peered closer, the gap was suddenly filled by a monstrous scaly face with bulging eyes. Before she could manage an underwater scream, the horrible Thing was gone.
“I’m a scientist, I know horrible faces,” declared Lonna, back on the boat. “And that was unlike any horrible face I’ve seen.”
“Lonna, people see horrible things in the water all the time,” chuckled Clain. “I know someone who saw a sofa.”
“Leave her alone, Clain,” snapped Dabe, who really didn’t care for the man. “Lonna’s a scientist. She doesn’t really believe in horrible faces.”
“Well—” began Lonna.
It wasn’t the first time the two men had almost come to blows over the female scientist.
That night, they were guests of the islanders at a wild and frenetic bonfire dance.
“Doesn’t that hurt?” asked Clain, biting into something that might have once belonged to a pig.
Dewlana listened intently to Lonna’s account of the horrible face and replied, “Our legends tell of a dweller, a deep dark demon dweller who dwells down in deep darkness. It lurks there, biding its time, waiting to emerge and do bad-bad. We tell it to the children to get them to brush.”
“We’re scientists, Dewlana,” said Dabe, “trained to deal in facts, not fairy stories, except around holidays.”
The dance and drums grew wilder and Dewlana could not take her eyes off Clain. She also saw that Clain could not take his eyes off Lonna. In fact, Dabe could not take his eyes off Lonna. And at the shore, peering above the water, the Thing from the depths also could not take its eyes off Lonna. Nothing, however, was looking at the Thing.
A short time later, the deckhand guarding the Tipilta heard a noise and rose from a stupor of his own making. Something stalked the darkened deck. The man went to investigate and walked right into the Thing from the depths. Half man, half fish was only half the story. Rough scales, jagged fins, and sharp powerful claws contrasted with long slick tentacles sprouting from various places. Glaring fish eyes goggled above its wide mouth of tiny sharp teeth. The deckhand froze as the big claw came crashing down.
Despite the missing crewman, the dive continued the next day while, elsewhere, Dewlana arrived at a hidden shrine: a small but bottomless pool and a large carving of… the Thing itself.
“Oh hear me, horrible Thing we worship. I will prepare for you a sacrifice of the science-woman. In turn, the rugged man-person shall be Dewlana’s!”
At the boat, Lonna took time out from work to enjoy a swim. She did not know that the entranced Thing was attempting to match her moves from below, eventually giving up when he proved too uncoordinated.
That night, as Lonna compared science notes with Dabe, the Thing crept over the side and watched her through a porthole. A deckhand spotted it and raised the alarm.
“Dear cod!” hollered Dabe as he and Clain grabbed up spear guns and torches. “That Thing’s unknown to science!”
“Lonna, it seems to be after you! Stay down the other end of the boat,” shouted Clain.
Unable to grab Lonna, and forced back by weapons, the Thing jumped back into the sea. But at the other end of the boat, two islanders crept over the side and absconded with the female scientist. Clain and Dabe searched everywhere for her but could find no trace, realizing she must be Dewlana’s prisoner.
The next day, the tribe gathered at the Shrine of the Thing with Lonna tied to the carving of the monster, right before the bottomless pool. Dewlana raised her hands and called on the Thing to come and accept their sacrifice. The islanders grew excited as bubbles appeared in the water. Lonna struggled with her ropes, yet still admired the carving. “Traces of East Lempootian, I’d say.”
Slowly, the Thing rose from the pool, water pouring off scales and claws and tentacles.
Suddenly, Clain and Dabe burst in. They immediately attacked the surprised islanders who attempted to seize them. The flurry of action made the Thing go berserk and people began fleeing while Dewlana pleaded, “We had a deal! Look, do not let me down, Thing!”
Finally, with something like lust in its monster heart, the Thing turned to Lonna who observed coolly, “Some form of throwback perhaps or evolutionary fluke. Interesting dorsal…”
Before it could grab her, Clain was between them, grappling with the scaly beast.
“No!” screamed Dewlana. Clain getting killed was not in her plan. She clutched at the monster, who swiped her with a mighty arm, killing her abruptly. The lethal blow provided enough time for Lonna to free herself, pull Dabe out of harm’s way, and take off with he and Clain. The Thing, with nobody left there, shrugged and jumped into the pool, planning never to return from its dark depths to such a fickle world.
HEAR MORE FROM MATTHEW DAWKINS
Not only did THEY COME FROM BENEATH THE SEA!, they also came from the dark depths of Matthew Dawkins' creative mind!
Matthew spoke with C.T. Phipps in a recent interview published on Booknest.EU, covering some of the details about this game and the inspirations behind it.
INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW DAWKINS <- click to read!
And remember to spread the word during this busy season - we've got 400 Backers to join in our mission (hooray!), but we'll need to recruit even more surface-dwellers to start unlocking some cool Stretch Goals! So, share on your social media and in your social circles! Let's see how many Stretch Goals we can bring to the surface! More fish puns!