Murky Waters [cont’d]
The being behind the empty eyes offers no answer, no indication that it has received what the eel has sent.
‘If you believe you are hidden from me, brother,’ the eel sends with determination, ‘you are sorely mistaken. Your eyes glow like the full moon in a cloudless night sky and the vibrations from your stomach rumbles my own. I ask again, you come here to devour my very body and soul, do you not?’
The being behind the eyes only continues to watch. The luminous hollows do not drift, do not rise, do not sink; this evil onlooking thing merely floats there stagnantly, like a dead bird on the surface on an inert turtle pond.
‘Do you not receive these thoughts I send, brother?’ the eel sends furiously, the blood in his veins boiling. If the tables were turned and ‘twas the eel haunting a skewered shiner, he would at least have the decency to claim his ownership over such savage convictions. Especially if the baitfish called him out. ‘Receive this, then, and be damned to wash up on sandy shores – my name is Arguinos, and I was stolen from my home by a massive hand with skin rougher than a crawdad’s shell. I was carried many miles in a waterholding prison with walls I could not see. At first I believed I was abducted by the ones who swim in the starpool, but I see now I was gravely mistaken. I was stolen from my home to be used as bait, as a sacrifice so another may eat well, may eat far better than I ever have. My death was planned so another may live; damn you! You’ve won nothing, fiend! Damn you straight to land!’
The being behind the dead, hollow eyes floats forward slightly, one sluggish finstroke at a time, revealing to the eel a mouth hanging open, the bottom jaw weighed down by smooth conical teeth, teeth as spaced out as the look on the demonic thing’s face.
‘But do not for one moment believe that other is you, walleye; if you wish to bring an end to my life then move forever forward, but know this – as my life ends, so too will that of he who shall bring an end to it. Do you see the flashyshiny protruding from my back?’
The walleye’s dull, anemic eyes drift slightly upward, then immediately dart back down to meet those of the eel. Its jaw hangs low and its gills flap in a slow rhythm, the leisurely heartbeat of a denizen untethered to the will of those who walk the land.
‘I’ll take it you do, and I know now you receive these thoughts I send. You might consume me, walleye, digest my scaled flesh, crunch my bones and relish in the surely uncommon sensation of a stomach filled in this lake so devoid of life, but know this: what reaches skyward from my dorsal side will stay reaching skyward, but from your mouth. Aye, the line shall swim in the gaps between your vicious fangs.’
The walleye, now halfway revealed by the feeble cone of light, floats motionlessly and continues to watch, his gills still flapping, his jaw still a’dangle, his eyes as empty as a cloudless blue sky.
‘And do not fool yourself, not even for a second, into believing I lie to you out of spite, out of jealousy that your life may continue when my life shall surely end,’ sends Arguinos the snakefish, the first and only eel to swim in the Monksville Reservoir. ‘Do not trick yourself, walleye, into thinking it’s possible for you to make a meal out of me without being taken by that which took me; the line is attached to me by a piece thicker than it, aye, a piece bent and ending in a barb tipped with a razor and butted dull as a stone smoothed by the flow of a river. When you take me, as you surely mean to, that bent piece will pierce your frozen cheek and you will be taken as I was taken, as so many have been taken before, I must assume: by the hand of a giant. Do you receive what I send you, walleye? Do you see the direness of my present situation? Do you understand that I have nothing left to lose?’
The walleye’s full body enters the cone of light. On its top and bottom are dorsal fins laced with spines sharp enough to pierce the fins of any lakebreather who dares test the walleye’s guile. Arguinos, slick as a snake in the burrow of a ‘munkie, swims away to the far edge of the shinebeam and coils into a tight spiral, ready for the final battle he shall ever fight. The walleye stares blankly at this strange snakefish with a certain look in his eyes, a look mistaken by the eel for an insatiable kind of hunger, a hunger that cannot be satisfied by mere food.
The look in the walleye’s eyes is a look of fear, a look of lost hope to rival that of the dead shiner as it took in the last glimpse of the great shine before the giant’s twitch’ed hand severed the defenseless thing’s frail spine, a look of witnessed apocalypse buoyant with the knowledge that there is no longer any stopping what is surely on its way.
The snakefish sends more verbose taunts through the channel, but the walleye, its mouth dangling open like the channel, silences him with a whisper:
‘My name is Senvir, you foolish thoughtful brat, and you would do well to quell your rampant sending. There is a reason no lakebreather dares to open the channel, let alone use it to exchange our highest of thoughts.’
Yes, there is indeed a reason, a most terrible reason, a monstrous, beastly reason, a reason not of this lake but a reason which swims here regardless. A reason strapped with an everstarving maw, a reason torn internally as it struggles between dueling streams of command, a reason which appeared one dark, fateful night when the brilliant yellow-green glow of The Gleam unleashed a wretched false god to wreak its calamitous havoc upon the mighty Monksville Reservoir. A reason called The Beast.
This has been the end of the twelfth subchapter of the third chapter of the book The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
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