Nightmare Fuel. Writing. October 4.

Fish was selling at it's highest market rate since Joseph had moved his family to the bustling coastal town. Floods had ruined his last crop of wheat and before savings diminished completely, they had set out toward fate unknown. A larger community promised a stronger need for trade. For advancement. For growth.
The move had also been good for his wife's failing health. The cool sea air brought color back into her cheeks. She looked more radiant now than she had when they were first introduced; a harsh contrast to the many sullen looking women in town, faces filled with scars, begging for scraps of bread in exchange for favors unfathomable to a gentleman.

He walked the docks, seeking conversation, advice, any sort of discourse. Strange looks and whispers followed every footstep. New comers were not welcomed, questions even less. Every morning the seafarers headed out and he took note as they returned before the setting sun. In the countryside, it was habit for the fishermen to cast during the late hours, when feeding was more likely to occur. Routine here was much different he saw.
Back in town and drunk, the men became far more open to his presence. They shared stories of large hauls, blinding weather and, of course, legends. "BEWARE" they shouted with rolling bouts of laughter. He smiled with them, hiding rattled nerves. They said to see Old Tom in the morning. He would lend him a small boat for a portion of his catch, to get him started.

Tom was indeed old, or as weathered as years of sea work might make a man. They talked long and easy; agreed on a fair trade. Tom spoke, "Damn them, those liars, don't listen to a word they say." He scratched a rough face with the sharp end of a bloodied knife. "The deep has always had it's stories. Just a bunch of drunks with nothing better to do than talk. You fish as you like. You fish as you know."

And he had. The calm voice of age had settled Joseph's stomach then. Reassuring words now echoed hollow as he felt the pangs of a missing arm and fractured legs. Something large had overtaken his boat this first day out. Moments from his last breath, consumed in a painfully blurry instant, nothing but the present spoke. He felt his grip on the spongy flesh of this beasts tongue weakening with every wash of water that flowed past giant teeth embedded with rotted flesh unknown. As the putrid air pockets began to disappear and the pressure in his head increased, he welcomed the taste of salt in his lungs; a far easier nightmare than flesh dissolving slowly off his skin in the belly of this monster. "I am sorry, my love," he thought as the thoughts ceased to be.

The elder sailors chuckled over drained pints of ale. One of the men began sharpening his knife at the table. "You know," he said, "too young a man to have left unattended, such a pretty wife."
"She'll no doubt be waiting up for him to come home," chimed in another.
"Poor thing is probably scared out of her mind with worry," laughed the eldest.
The small group left too late and too drunk, to deliver bad intention masked by the solemn news. Terror in the deep was only rivaled by that back on shore.

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