The Featured Art and accompanying flash fiction below, We Found It in the Forest, are inspired in part by Jake Parker’s Inktober prompt Creepy. The image came to me when I was brainstorming, or more like brain meditating, on what my next story could be. One of the breakout horror stories of 2016 has been Stranger Things, and I wanted to try to write something in that vein. I’m also continuing to explore writing stories that aren’t necessarily set in Forsaken Stars or Spiral Legion, but somewhere in between. If you come to my site often, you may also notice that this story may take place in the same universe as last year’s short story concept Valiance. I’m not sure if the POV choices work, but the story flowed from first to second person perspective as it came to me. Enjoy and tell me what you think in the comments section!
We Found It In The Forest
A storm came tearing through here last night. The Weather Channel says it started out as a hurricane that split into a half dozen water spouts, three of which made it to shore. One of them supposedly morphed into a tornado and made its way thirty miles inland and dropped a whole trove of sea life and junk in the forest. A bunch of us kids found all sorts of stuff this morning, from tires to an old anchor to fish flopping around to a bunch of sea shells. A kid the next town over said he found a fishing boat. But I think Marina and I found the best thing. We found it tangled up in a tree. When we managed to untangle it, it sprang to life, shot off and we had to chase it a mile or so through that damned forest until we tired it out, I think, because after a while zooming around it just gave up and let us sling it over our shoulders and bring it home. It’s in our bathtub right now. I don’t think it’s a fresh water creature, so I put a little salt in the water, but I’m not sure it can survive long that way, so we probably should get it back to the ocean.
Anyway, it’s about seven or eight feet long, slick black on the topside and a mottled white underneath, and has about twenty little legs and eight longer ones. It has a mouth but no eyes and two stingers that poke out of its tail like grasshopper legs. I would like to call it an eel spider or spider eel, but Marina says its name is Saraytha.
That’s right, Marina says she can understand the dolphin-like sounds it makes, but she says she hears the words in her head. She has been known to make things up. I mean she also says Saraytha doesn’t come from the ocean, but from somewhere beside the ocean, whatever that means.
We’ve been trying to feed it, with no luck so far. Marina says we don’t have a specific word for what Saraytha calls food. Marina says it eats angry things. I thought maybe that meant spicy things, but it did not like the peppers or onions I tried to feed it.
So I thought I would bring you in on this deal because you know a lot about sea life. Even though Saraytha technically doesn’t come from the sea, you may have a better idea having lived on the beach before moving here.
I can tell you’re skeptical. I totally get it. But this is one hundred percent real. When you see her, I mean it, you will start to understand.
She’s big, isn’t she?
Yeah, she smells like perfume and burning, and when you touch her, it, you will feel and hear a buzzing, it’s totally weird.
Yeah, don’t worry, she, it, won’t bite. I was afraid it would take my arm off too at first, and it did snap at me a couple of times, but once it realized I wanted to help–
Oh, crap! I didn’t know it could move that fast, still!
I–I can’t pry her off your back! I’m so sorry, Shelly! I didn’t think! Oh, God–!
What? Are you serious, Marina?
Okay, um, I don’t know if you’re going to like this, Shelly, but Marina says Saraytha says it needs you. We were too young, but you are just the right age.
For what? Well, like I said, I don’t think you are going to like it, but–
Okay, I will tell you. Saraytha is bonding to you. It, she is becoming a part of you. Soon Marina won’t even have to translate, you will be able to hear and understand what Saraytha is saying too. She will imbue you with incredible powers like strength, speed, electrical blasts and she will transform your body into that of a great warrior, with an armored end-or-skeleton and harpoons that grow right out of your arms!
Why? Well, according to my crazy sister Marina, there is a terrible alien force that is coming from Beyond the Moon. There will be valiant warriors here on earth, but Saraytha and her kind have been watching from their oceanside and want to help.
Marina, I seriously doubt Shelly wants to know the transformation is irresponsible, I mean, irreversible, and likely won’t survive the first assault wave. That’s just not cool.
Sorry, Shelly. Let me get you some of mom’s Acetaminophen. Saraytha says the next 48 hours are going to be excruciating.