Seaweed

There’s a monster out here. I gasp for air that suffocates my wheezing lungs.

I’m still alive? Drifting onward, towards the part of the sky not covered in lumpy blankets of gray, to a place of grass and underbrush and orb weavers. I hated spiders and the thought of their thick bodies and hairy legs squirming into my nose and mouth when I sleep. Now I don’t mind that thought, because if I close my eyes, the water will rush in and I’ll drown and something will eat me.

The waves caress and prune my body. Salt and dirt grind against me, beating against depleted legs. Can’t kick at the sea anymore, haven’t for days. So I wait with the rain for something, anything new.

There’s a foggy outline of a cargo liner in the distance. Every now and then I shout. Save me. Help. Goddamn it. Raspy whimpers marrying the sound of wind. Mostly I shout not to be heard, but to taste the saliva against my tongue, hoping for drips right off of my mouth to lick and savor. I can cup the spadefish or the black bass with my hands, but they wriggle away to their own meaningless lives, to become something else’s dinner. The salt we take in, we share.

In the left peripheral, something is watching me. But in the outer regions of my right eye, I notice the currents waft a snotty piece of wood an arm’s length away. Remnants from my sailboat? No, there’s no way. Right? Excruciatingly, I guide my abscessed eyes over to the piece, but my neck strains as my head turns and I cough out blood, the taste of iron and iodine sticking to my mouth. Not again. Everything is graying what’s going on maybe let’s close my eyes for a moment

***

Eyes open with a snort of water, against the stillness of rain. The red drop of blood on the surface expands, further putrefying the murky depths, amidst the gentle, beating pitter-patter rain drops from above.

Something clutches my leg like a blood pressure monitor deepens into its patient’s arm.

WHOOSH

A geyser of red and muck encompasses the shadowy blob that emerges from the water.

From the gray, the outline of the beast becomes more lucid, as the mist clears.

“Water mammal,” I rasp out.

Its wide, stone-carved teeth and twin, ivory tusks belittle its childish face. It lunges forward, arms spread wide.

And it embraces me, pinning me onto its lukewarm body between its tusks.

“Human,” Walrus says.

“How…” I mutter, my head pressed against its squishy chest. “Do you…”

“Eat seaweed,” Walrus bellows, toothing a wide grin as it lets me go and recedes. “Lots and lots of seaweed!”

Vision blurs. The creature spins around, dancing like a tornado before I lose sight of it. The waves rush around my head, overcoming me. Water splashes into my eyes. Clarity. A hazy block descending upon my head. I close my eyes and move my hands to bat it away but

***

Right eye open. Modest sushine. The left eye is cushy, bleeding, and stuck. A searing pain in my forehead; think of something else. My tongue is parched, its dryness manifesting splits shaping themselves as veins would spread on a dying leaf, yet I lick the parched skin around my lips, still tasting the blood around my lips. A reminder of life. Dizziness and more blackness.

Light. The walrus leaps into the air with gobs of seaweed in its hands. Suspended in mid-air, it crosses its flabby arms before subsequently jerking them wide. Out of his hands fall massive lots of algae, a murky waterfall of algae.

“Seaweed!” Walrus shouts again, remaining frozen from its point in the sky.

The faunas creep along the water towards me, as if they have legs or minds of their own. Various kelp drag onward and lily spores march with their armies.

Food.

I pain to grab a seaweed, open my mouth to more chapping lips and my right eye diverts to the walrus.

Nothing there. Gone. Not even a splash.

Back on the water, I look toward my food. Missing. Instead, small crustaceans slink toward me; their thick, white exoskeletons skulking closer; tinny white legs paddling nearer.. nearer…

Crawling onto my clothes. Trampling upon my skin. Hunger in their tiny eyes. As they squirm up my neck, my mouth remains suspended.

 

(initially published in October 10, 2013 in ‘100 Doors to Madness‘  [Forgotten Tomb Press])

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