Twilight by Thom Brannan

The men gathered in the boat house were nervous, all except for one. The calm man stood at the end of the ramp, staring out to sea, his long coat and hair whipping in the wind. The other men, six of them, were gathered behind him and studiously ignoring each other. They all looked like they were cut from the same cloth; small-town men in big-town clothes, clean cut and clean shaven…and they all had the same wide mouth and squinty black eyes. Each of them gripped an unlit torch in one hand and an iron pitchfork in the other. The lone man, the calm man, he turned to speak.

“The sun dips low in the sky. They’ll be here soon.” He turned back to the sea, listening to the grumbling behind him.

“I don’t believe we’re doing this,” said one.

“Me either. I don’t even really believe this stuff,” said another.

The calm man grinned at their grunts of agreement. He had done a lot of homework to get these six men together in this one place and one specific time. They had come from all over the eastern seaboard to congregate here at the calm man’s summons.

“Believe what you will,” he said, “but the Deep Ones are coming. Two, maybe three generations back for some of you, your families knew the Deep Ones, and they knew that this time would come. It’s been passed down to you, which is why you all came when you got my letter.”

The calm man didn’t need to turn around to know that the men were glaring at him. He’d done this type of thing before, and the process was always the same. Track down the bloodlines, bring them together…then distrust. And then…

“Mr. Silver? Is your family…well, like our families?” The calm man turned away from the setting sun at the question. He looked at the man that had spoken, so far the boldest of the group.

“No,” he said. “I wasn’t born into the Esoteric Order of Dagon as you six were. I was…introduced to it by a wise man, and a good friend.” He smiled warmly at the men in the boathouse. “After your initiation tonight, you’ll go on to replace the men on the Council, take your deserved positions.” He shifted a little inside his Russian greatcoat. “And I? Well, I’ll keep on doing what I do best. Bringing the new generation of the Order together, so that they may get what’s coming to them.”

Silver’s beaming smile and enthusiasm for the task at hand put the six men at ease, and he knew it. What he said went along with the secret teachings that had been passed to them by their parents or uncles, that once again the families would meet with the Deep Ones and restore the Order to glory.

One or two of the men were slightly ill at ease with the part that was to come next…Mr. Silver had given them torches an pitchforks to “make room in the ranks” for the new generation, he had said. None of the men there remembered that part of the teachings, but Silver was very persuasive, and who really pays attention to moldy family legends, anyway?

The siren song started, and all seven men turned to face the sea in the twilight. Silver, ever the calm one, took a step to the side to allow the six men to see unobstructed.

“That’s their sound,” he said as he went from man to man, lighting torches with a match. “Twilight is here, and the new generation of the Order, the new generation of Deep Ones will make their mark on the old.”

The six men with frog-like faces watched the water eagerly. They shifted their grips on the pitchforks in anticipation…all disbelief had been swept away the moment they heard the call…home.

“Remember,” Silver said, “wait until they make landfall. The water is their natural element. It will be yours too, soon, but for now keep it on land. Remember also…pitchfork to the belly, torch to the wound, pitchfork to the head. You’re all young and strong, and each of you will cut down two of the old guard to prove your worth.”

There were nods of assent all around at Silver’s words, then gasps as the first of the Deep Ones broke the surface. More came. And finally there were twelve, as Silver had said, and they reached the shore.

“Go,” he said, and the six men tore off, howling for blood.

Silver smiled.

The froggy Deep Ones were taken completely off guard, as they expected no attack from their own offspring. The battle was more of a slaughter, as one by one they were cut down by the bloodlust fueled men.

Silver’s smile widened as he checked the six rounds in his gun.

He walked down to the beach where the men were hooting with joy at the ease of the killing and the start of their new lives, their true natures revealed by the very blood they had spilled.

The hooting stopped when Silver shot the first one.

Then another.

And another.

Two of the remaining three ran up the beach to where they had parked, and Silver picked them off carefully. Only one remained, the bold one.

“What is this Silver?” He shook his pitchfork angrily, his shout torn away by the wind. The calm man shot him in the belly.

“First off,” he said, “my name is Simon. Simon d’Argent. I’m doing this because it’s my job.” He dropped the spent shells out of his gun and reloaded, speaking.

“It was hard work, tracking you lot down. All the pseudonyms, the moves south and west…but there was two things you couldn’t hide.” The sobbing, bleeding man looked up at Simon, confused.

“Your faces. All you spawn of the Deep Ones look the same. You’ve got the Innsmouth Look.”

“But…why the torches, and the killing?”

Simon tipped his head. “That was the other thing. I had to see if you were killers.” He turned away. He turned back.

“And, I’m a big fan of irony.”

The gun spoke one last time.

5 Responses to “Twilight by Thom Brannan”

  1. Mariana Wrote:

    I am very impressed with this piece – it is like the writter is speaking from a personal note. Brillant. I want more.

  2. Saffron Wrote:

    Great work! I was pulled in from the beginning and it just got better and better.

  3. Leo Wrote:

    Well done. It definitely has a great start. Like the quick clear picture. Can’t wait for the development and pulp.

  4. Nickolaus Pacione Wrote:

    Very well excuted man. this is one clever horror story and I am waiting to see what happens from there. Keep going with it, flesh it out and build the horror to really kick the reader in the balls. Time the thing to scare the crap out of the reader from start to end.

  5. Michele Wrote:

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting that… very well written.

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