Well, here it goes:
A Rambling Cephalopod Narrative
The rain drizzled down the back of his neck as he hauled the small boat down the beach’s shingle, scraping the keel here and there on the odd bit of rough stone and shell...not that it mattered, his boat had seen better days, as had he.
He reached the waters edge and stopped to catch his breath. The sea was peacefully calm, despite the touch of rain. There was a smell of salt that filtered through his senses as the sun began to peak out over the distant horizon. Dawn was approaching fast and the feeling of urgency and anticipation came over him as he shoved the creaky old boat into the water and fumbled aboard.
He looked back; he could see someone running towards him. He was dreading that this would happen. The person was his apprentice, Eric, which was not exactly what you would call bright. Just as the as Eric was about to get say hi, he fell face first in to a mud puddle, when he got up, his face was so caked in mud that he could barely speak.
The excursion wasn't starting that well. The previous night someone had stolen the zodiac. He'd bought this old wooden dinghy to get back to his boat, moored offshore, for a mere pack of smokes and bottle of rum. The two of them slipped offshore, the dinghy laden to the gunnels with provisions, and, most important of all - a new fine-meshed beam trawl. Ten minutes later they'd reached the (modified) small modified gunboat - his pride and joy.
Fifty meters she was...from stem to stern...and he knew every inch of her, the ding marks from net hauls on the winches, the scrapes made by shark's teeth on the transom..(That had been a big haul...almost had sunk the damn boat). His boat. His pride...in which all of his money was tied up into also...Daniel glanced back at his apprentice boy, still with a bloody nose, and wondered if he would be able to pay him for this week's salary. Not the way it had been going...such a shortage of fish had scarce been seen on this coast...the talk in town was of doom and gloom, of people leaving in the night, as they could ill afford to make their payments upon the houses they had rented for the summer.
Ah well. The lady stood before him...swaying a bit in the mild sea, making her own noises like his wife did, snoring gently.
It was at that moment, thinking fondly about his wife of these many years, that the dread struck him like a giant wave. He heard the voice again. The voice from the deep.
The voice was like a winter's chilling breeze, although he can't hear clearly what it was saying, but when he heard it, it chilled him to his bones. Eric, the apprentice who just finished wiping blood and mud off his face looked up to see him, seeing his mentor's pale white face stricken with fear was not the first time. The first time was when they were diving in the brackish cold waters of Hong Kong, when they discovered the remains of a dead police. The second time was when they came staring down at a giant Humbolt squid, in the Atlantic. This was the third time. Eric loaded his belongings to the dinghy and waited for his mentor...
"ERIC" Larten's sharp voice cut through his daydreaming, "Tie the boat off to a cleat and get a move on!"
Larten scrambled aboard the ship, which listed a bit to the port even with his insubstantial weight added...she was a finicky vessel, the Albatross, finicky indeed.
Eric moved towards the stern, after throwing the gear on deck, new nets and all wrapped up into several bundles, tied up with rough jute.
Down in the hold he turned on the generators, and an unsteady light flickered into being, along with the cough of an air filter that would have to be changed soon. Eric still wondered at the change in pallor that came over Larten's face as they neared the ship, as if he heard a horrible noise somewhere...and the way his hands were still shaking as they came aboard.
Some of the townspeople said the ship was cursed, but Larten never paid attention to gossip from the land folk...the sea had its own curses, and they were far more powerful than those of the earth. For the captain, this ship had always been lucky, taking in more catch than any of the other fishermen last year, and the year before, too.
With the (modified) gunboat tied up to the port side, the Albatross began to motor out past the docks, chugging softly in the mist. Eric shivered.
It was not because of the cold nor because his mentor was acting strangely today, it was because the ship had this special aura that makes you kinda funny, Eric wasn't exactly bright, but he know that something was wrong, especially the red splash of "paint" on the floor and the blood red color on the gaff hooks, snares and other fishing equipments that looked more suited to a torture chamber in Iraq. It wasn't only Eric, his mentor was also thinking about this the same way...
The (modified) gunboat slowly chugged out of the harbor and into the open sea.
Eric was looking at some dull gray shadows a few yards from the dinghy, suddenly, the gray figures suddenly surfaced, Eric gave a frightened yelp but quickly shut up when he saw that they were (modified) only dolphins.
A few hours later, they were there, the Pacific Reef Trench (aka (modified) Devil’s Trench or Kraken Trench.) This trench was the only place where ships avoided, not only the small fishing vessels, even the US Aircraft Carrier Battle Group avoided this place as over 1000 vessels have disappeared in these waters. The most famous was the 7/12 incident where Japan's largest battlecrusier, Yamato and the USS Vanguard disappeared in the area.
So, Eric's mentor, Larten and the cook, Alberto slowly loaded their gears and prepared to lower Eric and his mentor under the water...
As the water enclosed around them Eric couldn't help feeling a sense of aw and wonder at the life he saw under the blue waves... or it could have been the fact that their one man sub was holding two people. Maybe he was claustrophobic... or maybe it was the bean burrito he had eaten for lunch. He couldn't tell.
But what he did know is that it was beans for dinner, but not for him ... at least he hoped not. They were about to undertake a long, deep dive, and beans weren't recommended. The meal was for someone else....
The food of champions: beans, eggs, sausages, and an unhealthy dollop of sour cream. Ahhhhhh - that was Greg's favorite. Alberto had done well.
Just why had they chosen this spot to dive? Tears ran down his cheek; Eric also in a rather somber mood, and it wasn’t because of his throbbing proboscis.
A year earlier Greg, their cobber, vanished at this very same site whilst trialing his new sub, an SQ2132XP AQuaPro Deluxe - the sub they dreamed would capture the squid live, on film. Although the Deluxe was equipped with enough provisions to last 1 year, desalination plants, waste disposal facilities, and an O2 generating (modified) layer of limestone that provides Oxygen from the surrounding water, it was for one year only, and it had been one year and one day since he was lost. Damn that swine who stole the Zodiac - they'd have been here yesterday had it not been for that mishap!!!!
For all they knew Greg could still be alive, starving, out of food, low on O2, unshaven, unwashed, smelling something terrible, and passing his time away whittling away on a piece of wood, making little ships. All he knew was that Greg would be hanging out for a feed of beans, sausages and eggs.
A tear fell on the meal’s plastic wrapper.... they commenced their descent. It would be six hours before they reached the bottom. Six long hours. And the waters were dangerous ... riddled with (to be modified) taniwha, giant squid, and the colossal two-jawed fangiwhale.
During the decent, Eric looked out the sub and found himself staring at a few hundred jellyfish that were the size of watermelons, it looked very pretty, so Eric decided to snap a few photos of them, he even manage to catch one in one of the tanks. As the sea surrounding them grew deeper, he turned on the lights. For a moment, he thought he saw a giant tentacle going past, but when he looked again, it was gone.
Eric's mentor was staring down the bottom portal and thought he saw a giant eye, but he thought he must have imagined it since he was obsessed with (modified) giant squids.
Cold water dripped sporadically from the windows and ports of the mini-sub from condensation, creating an odd rhythm with the cracking and groaning as the outside pressure built up around the frame...whirring motors powered the sub farther and farther down into the rocky depth of the trench, and only the cables to the surface reminded them of which direction was actually "up"...down here, the night ruled permanently...broken only occasionally by the brief sparking of a jewel clad viperfish pursuing smaller fish, and now the bright light of the mini-sub's halogen lights.
Other eyes noticed the unusual brightness also.
There was movement just outside of Larten and Eric's vision, startling enough to take their mind off the awful smell (at least that was what Dan thought) of the hideous meal they had eaten in remembrance of their friend...who knows if he had managed to live down here this long without going crazy? With no company other than the fish and invertebrates that occupied the Devil's Trench?