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Chapter Twenty-Six

I found a peculiar machine under the bed. It seemed to be a puzzle, decked out with miniscule gears. I worked with it for many hours, in a frustrating attempt to unravel its mystery.

Fitz was getting better; he lay next to me on the bed, snoring softly.

The contraption was impossible to pry open, so after a couple more attempts to reveal its contents, I tossed it in frustration across the room.

“You know, Fitz. I was thinking, if she lets us stay here, perhaps…“

A loud thump on the window had interrupted my conversation. Glancing out the window briefly I continued what I was saying.

“Perhaps we coul…“

Once more I heard the sound of something hitting the window. Rolling over on my bed I looked out the window. The sound of objects began pelting the window, and cracks formed, giving entrance to a plethora of birds. As the creatures came frantically flying through the window, they knocked me to the ground.

I hastily ran out of the room with Fitz in my arms. Setting him down I ran outside to see what was causing this influx.

Approaching the beach, it seemed to be engulfed in a thick mist, swarming with birds and fish.

“Sarah!” I called out whilst covering my head with my frock.

As I drew near to the lighthouse, I could see that the front door was standing open. Hastily, I ran through the thick fog in an attempt to reach the lighthouse.

It felt like an eternity, as I had to fight my way through the horde of birds, and fish. Blinded by the soupy fog, I at last I approached the lighthouse. Entering it I rapidly secured the door behind me.

“Sarah?” I raised my voice, whilst climbing the spiral staircase.

As I climbed to the top, I found Sarah attempting to steer the light. Her peculiar glasses were sitting on her nose at an odd angle, cracked and wrapped.

“Took you long enough! Grab hold of the other rod!” Sarah commanded.

I swiftly took hold of the rod and pulled it backwards.

“Do you see anything?” Her voice rose to be heard over the cacophony of the noise outside.

“What am I looking for?”

“Just tell me what you see!”

As Sarah uttered the words, I slowly stepped forward and looked out into the murky waters.

I could see something moving in the mist but was uncertain what it was.

“Do you see anything?” Sarah asked again.

“Yes, but I…“

Looking up, I at last noticed something excessive in size, so excessive that I could not even view it in its entirety.

“Move the light up…” I fretted.

Sarah moved the light up, bringing the monstrous shape into focus. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was round in shape, made of fish and clamshells, with tentacles dangling from its belly. My blood curdled, as the being slowly opened its mouth, revealing a spiral of jagged teeth.

“I still don’t see it!” Sarah shouted.

“Move it up, more,”

I could not tear my gaze from the monster. In vain I attempted to comprehend its identity.

“Forget it!”

Sarah left the rod and approached me, with her eyes fixed on the ground.

“Listen, you are my eyes and ears. I can’t see it, you can. Now…”

Sarah gave me a satchel containing a variety of eccentric rods.

“You take these rods and place them in the sand parallel to the beach.”

Still unsure of what Sarah needed me to accomplish I remained where I was.

“Never mind, just follow in my steps.”

Sarah and I quickly headed down the stairs, and out to the foggy black beach.

“Where is it?” Sarah inquired.

I gazed out into the waters and stuttered. “It’s close, and tall. Very tall.”

“Look at me now…”

Sarah turned to me and showed me the rods.

“Take these and put them in the sand parallel to the beach. Do you understand me?”

“Yes.” I answered, my voice quivering slightly

While Sarah and I set the rods into the sand, the waters began to rapidly recede.

“Here he comes,” Sarah shouted. “Impale the rods!”

Clumsily I inserted the last two rods into the sand; just in time to view the gigantic creature emerge from the mist. The stench of rotting fish pierced my nostrils, while I slowly returned to Sarah, dread filling my entire being.

“Count to three!” Sarah ordered.

I panted in fear, and hesitantly began to count.

“One, two-“

Sarah pressed down on a perplexing contraption which she held in her hand. Streaks of bright yellow light shot up into the sky from every rod.

Just as the colossal creature approached the beach, the streaks of light all unified as one, creating a transparent gold barrier.

The horrid sea creature screeched as it thrusted itself against the barrier, attempting to break through.

Sarah’s calm demeanor returned. Simply staring up at the barrier and quite undisturbed by this, she calmly walked back to the house.

I yelled out to her, whilst angrily approaching from behind.

“What the hell was that?”

“Hm?” She turned her head towards me.

“What is happening?” I asked, my voice trembling.

“It is nothing to be alarmed about. He does this every year,” Sarah explained, as she entered into the house.

I gazed at her; terror evident in my face.

“I usually prepare for this…” Sarah uttered as she sighed and began to clean the house.

“The birds or that- thing?”

“Both come in a package. It just seemed to have happened a lot earlier this year.”

I halted for a second, before inquiring.

“This is annual?”

“That’s why my family was sent here.” Sarah replied.

Helping Sarah clean up the mess made by the birds, Fitz came down the stairs, sliding from step to step, and finally collapsing on the floor, barking and wiggling his tail. Sarah squatted in front of him and reached out to pet his fur.

“He seems to be doing better.” I uttered.

“Yes, it always works,”

As Sarah continued to pet Fitz, I felt a tinge of childish jealousy rise to the surface.

“So, are there any villages or ports, nearby?” I asked, whilst picking Fitz up in my arms.

“If abandoned ones count then yes.”

“Is there anyone else here besides us?” I asked.

“They all went away after the spirits broke lose.” Sarah uttered, as she opened a box, containing a pair of unusual spectacles.

“The hounds?” I asked.

“Escaped anomalies look a bit different to the naked eye.” Sarah explained as she closed her eyes and took gear fluttered spectacles from the box.

“But, if there is no one else here, then why stay?”

Sarah remained quiet as she continued to fiddle with the glasses.

“I’ll take you to the nearest town. I’m sure there are a few boats left over,”

As Sarah responded, she put her glasses on, and then turning to Fitz asked.

“Will he go with you?”

“Yes.” I replied while petting Fitz.

“There’s some food left over in the stores, but you better pack some of that too. Just keep an eye out for rotten food.”

Sarah picked up a few things and went outside. Fitz and I followed as she brought us to a bizarre carriage.

The carriage was made of brass and steel, outfitted with gears and complex mechanics which I did not understand.

“Where are the horses?” I asked.

“It doesn’t need any.” Sarah flipped a switch and pushed a button causing the gears and mechanics rotate.

I simply stood gazing at the horseless carriage in awe.

“Are you coming or not?” Sarah asked.

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