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John Besaw John Besaw
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Eldritch Island : Chapter 01

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She had a friend.

Horror, Lovecraft, Cthulhu, Newfoundland

Being a culture that is bound and close to ocean, the Island of Newfoundland projects many of its myths and fears onto the ocean. It sits on the edge of the western world, dangling itself outside the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean. The unassuming Island, where it’s people are known for their charm and hospitality, is unaware of the danger that lurks not far from its shores. If its people knew the truth they would flee the island, like refugees escaping an escalating war.

What danger do I speak of you ask? What horrors could bestow this quaint little place? Many would assume not many, aside from the occasional harsh winter or storm on the water. But it was here that I came to know what fear really is. Fear that brought me to the brink, and made me believe there was no returning to the sanity I once knew. To those who may read my tale, I write this as a warning.

I was 23, born and raised in Newfoundland, however I began to find it somewhat ordinary and boring. I would often dream of leaving this place, where unemployment and a dwindling fishery brought many communities to it’s knees. The year was 1995, I had just finished a four year degree in English Literature at Memorial University and started to think that it was time to leave the place of my birth and seek greener pastures. The kind that would bring me away from the scent of the ocean and the sight of untamed wilderness and bring me to an urban setting and academic prowess I believed I was more aligned with mentally.

My father was a fisherman, like many of my peers, but he did not want the same for his son. He pushed me to expand my education and often told me there was nothing for me out on the water. Still I would often help him on the sea, pulling in lobster traps. It had only been 3 years since “The Collapse” and moratorium on the cod fishery and its effects were being felt all over the province.

Small communities were abandoned, others relocated. Many once thriving communities withered and died. Other towns maintained small populations of people who rarely ever left due to the towns remoteness or were elderly and unable to leave.

I myself believed what others believed; that over fishing and advancements in trawler technology were to blame. However, it was on the docks of my home in the summer before my departure for the mainland, as I was unloading my father's catch, that I heard a most disturbing tale. It was being told by a man named Elfonse, often regarded as the saltiest of fisherman. He was at least 80 years old and had long put the hard work of a fisherman behind him after arthritis took the use of his hands.

He clammered to my father's first mate, a large man by the name of Ricky, who merely laughed at his story. I however, listened intently.

“They says the cod was fished out, I knows better me son.” he claimed.

Ricky, humoring the old sod, egged him on. “What else do you think it was you old coot?”

“There are things in those waters, creatures here long before Cabot landed here. I seen em, 10 years ago when I was out fishin’ dem cod on the Grand Banks.”

“Sea Monsters now eh Skipper? You gotta lay off dat moonshine me’son” Ricky replied in a mocking tone.

“I tinks dey were mermaids, or something like that. The cod were so thick in those days we could fill our boats in a single day. But dere was a spot on the edge of the banks the cod were not so thick and dat’s where me and da by’s saw em. They swam like dolphins but had human like shapes. We only saw them at dusk, splashing and making a clicking sound like frogs.”

Rickey rolled his eyes but I saw the look on the old Skipper's face as he told the story. There was some genuine fear in his voice and his eyes welled up, as if he was reliving the experience.

“You laughs but I’m tellin ya, we knows dere real. Sure we overfished, but that just made dem move to udder areas. We watched how they tore up the schools of em, leaving half eaten pieces of fish floating in the water. They ate what we could fill in a boat in hours. Dey warn't no sharks and dey warn't no seals. Dey were something else. And now dat da cods all gone, I wonders how long till they come on land looking for a lunch.”

His story brought a chill up my spine as I looked out from the dock to the open ocean. I recalled a biology class where the professor told us that we know more about our solar system than we do about the ocean. I shuddered to think the old man’s story might have some truth to it.

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