Introduction: confession time, I cheated for today and tomorrow’s stories. I’m off to a wedding and it’s generally considered rude to start typing during the ceremony, so I’ve had to dive into the ‘here’s one I did earlier’ pile. In fact, today and tomorrow’s are linked, and are part of what I hope to one day make a longer series about the day the monsters came.
It had been a long weekend: too many beers, far too much sun and a weird pill that had turned one night into a hazy blur. As Daniel lay with his head against the cold window, he knew he’d look back on it with a smile. At the moment, he just wanted to go to bed.
The plane was finally beginning its descent, and that bed was tantalisingly close. He was moving in and out of sleep, watching their shadow skim across the sea below. He wondered if the boats down there noticed it, were they briefly plunged into the shade? Their light cut out by the giant metal bird making its way towards the land.
It was as he pondered this that the weirdness started. What he’d accepted as the shadow of the plane shifted, turning and heading off on a course that they weren’t following. For a second, he could not compute what he was seeing, his braining failing to understand and jolting him awake as he sat up and pressed his nose against the window.
After a few seconds, he realised his mistake. It wasn’t a shadow at all, but something under the water. Something so huge it could be seen from however high up they were. He sat up taller, looking up and down the plane, wondering if anyone else was seeing what he was. They were oblivious, though. Heads in books or leaned back against headrests in an attempt to sleep.
What was it? He returned to the window to make sure he hadn’t imagined it. Nope, it was still there. Heading diagonally away from the plane towards a boat, and going fast enough to keep up with them.
A whale? That seemed the most likely answer. Of course, that had to be it. Wow, what a sight. Daniel smiled to himself as he stared down, not quite believing what he was seeing. He couldn’t wait to text his girlfriend and tell her all about it.
Pressing his face up against the glass, he watched its progress, pondering if the people on the boat were aware of the underwater giant approaching them. Or would it pass beneath them, an unnoticed wonder of the wild that they had come to close to witnessing in person?
Daniel was lost in these dreamy thoughts when things took a turn. As the shape approached the boat, it began to darken, spreading out as it went. It took him a minute to realise that it must be approaching the surface, and he practically flattened himself against the glass, scared that he was going to miss seeing something incredible.
Then, something leapt out of the water. It was instantly clear this was no whale. The dark beast might have been hard to make out from that height, but no whale has ever attacked with arms outstretched, grasping greedily for the boat in front of it.
Before he could react, it came crashing down, landing on top of the boat and pulling it underwater. By the time Daniel had let out a yell of shock, attempting to leap to his feet only for his seatbelt to stop him, the boat was gone, and the creature with it.
Daniel stared around the cabin in panic, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open as everyone turned to look at him. Unconsciously mimicking the panic on his face as a member of the cabin crew rushed up the aisle.
‘Excuse me, sir? Is everything okay? You need to stay seated? We are going to be landing shortly?’
On another day, Daniel might have found the way every sentence came out as a question amusing, but that was not this day.
‘I just saw something attack a boat!’ He could hear the hysteria in his voice, but he couldn’t stop it.
Up and down the plane, people looked out their windows, whispering to each other about what he’d said.
‘Attacked a boat?’
‘I can’t see anything.’
‘Is he drunk?’
‘He doesn’t look the type.’
‘You can never tell.’
‘I’m not drunk!’ He didn’t mean to shout, but he did. ‘I saw a monster attacking a boat.’ Daniel’s words lost their conviction even as he said them.
‘Sir,’ the nice young lady sounded nervous as if she was afraid of setting him off. ‘Are you sure you weren’t dreaming? It’s an easy thing to do?’ She smiled as she said it, reassuring Daniel that everything was okay.
Except he hadn’t been dreaming, had he? He was sure he’d been awake. It had been a long old weekend, though. He couldn’t have actually seen what he’d thought he’d seen, could he?
‘Maybe, I don’t know’ Daniel rubbed his eyes, ‘I’m sorry.’
‘That’s quite alright, now if there are any other issues you can press this button here, but we’ll be landing very shortly.’
Daniel’s body felt heavy as he took his seat. It had all felt so real. Resting his head in his hands, he spent the short time they had left in the air trying to pretend his fellow passengers weren’t glancing at him every few seconds.
When the wheels hit the ground, Daniel let out a sigh of relief. It felt like a return to normality, an escape from the horror of this tube in the sky.
‘Em, ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to say that we’re being told that we will not be allowed to leave the plane straight away, wait, what? That makes no sense. We’re being told there has been some sort of attack? Oh, come on, you’ve got to be joking me? Creatures from the sea?’
Once again, Daniel felt the whole plane’s eyes turn towards him.