Rousing the Kraken
Kraken’s progress was silent.
Crawling across the seabed, thick curls of muscle undulating, he strategized. To evoke fear he would cloud the water with an inky burst and snake ebony arms around his victim. The puny creature might strike his chromatophoric hide with a sharp blade. It would not save him. Contracted tentacles would clamp hard-edged cups across the man and squeeze, stopping only when the final bubble of oxygen burst from the wretched body. He would disarticulate the remains, tearing the human into sloppy shreds.
Wakened from his dormant repose, cradled deep in the stygian darkness, centuries of animosity would be recompensed. The moment of consequence arrived. Today was atonement time. The world changed during his absence, modern ships were sleek and fast, more powerful than the creaking vessels of old.
He would take the men one at a time until they came below no more. Like the sailors of yore spinning wild stories of outlandish beasts, each man would learn respect for Kraken’s might. The human trail of destruction must cease, no longer befoul the clean clear water.
Shadows at the mouth of the cavern shielded his bulk. Tenebrous fingers of gloom provided cover. His target would learn too late to elude his dark embrace. Kraken readied. The indistinct shape of the miniscule boat bobbed far above on the surface.
The overhang of shell encrusted rock dredged up antique memories of aching songs filled with praise that honored his vengeful watchful gaze. Ancient men called him the protector of the seas, but no longer.
The harrowing recall of a more recent day filled his senses.
Ripples of sound carried to the trench depths where he slumbered in cold sightless dark. The pitiful cries wakened him. He smelled blood filtering through the water long before his three hearts sluggishly worked his heavy mass upward. Dim sunlight, blocked by the floating clouds, stained his world maroon. Searching the dimness, he’d collected their remnants gently rubbing over salt grass stems only inches above the pebbled floor of the surf-washed cove. They were descendants of his line, butchered into hunks of severed flesh. Tiny arms with delicate blue-tinged tentacle disks still adhered to the rocks as though clinging for protection.
His anguished scream made the ocean go silent. A glance told the story. The greed of men was unchanged. Senseless violence wreaked on the innocent for the handful of glittering stones plucked from the base of the cliff. Treasure from the wrecked galleon spilled around the reef, three centuries of water movement dispersing the shiny mass into a thin veil.
A human figure plunged into the water, began to descend.
Sentient and patient, Kraken waited.
Written for the short short-story (500 words or less) contest about that giant octopus. The winner, picked and posted on mystery writer Todd Ritter’s blog, also gets an octopus adopted in their name via The World Wildlife Fund.