Combed the site again this morning. This weird ocean with it’s completely irregular tides deposits new stuff on the shore all the time. Yesterday we collected large sheets of what may have been festive clothes at one time, although they were not likely made for any humans of the shape and size of today’s humanity. And they were too smooth to be made from any of the known ants or animals on the high planes or fish from the ocean. Also the colors were too vibrant to come from any pigment sources we knew. And that after having been immersed in this water for who knows how many centuries. We don’t know much of the denizens of the lower plains that were swallowed by this ocean sometime between three or four thousand years before humans arrived on these shores. We don’t know much about the landscape below the waves, either, as our best divers can only go down a few dozen meters and not stay down long enough at a time to make more an the most superficial observations.
The ground seems to fall away fairly rapidly as you go out from the shore, and we haven’t had much luck finding structures or artifacts near what must have been a ridge marking the edge between the high and the low plains back in the times before the flood. Some people believe that we are actually descendants of the Low Ones, and that our ancestors fled to high ground when the flood came, but I think that is superstition. I have seen the sacred records or our people, and they do not mention anything like that. Good thing they are secret, though, as they do mention a lot of things that I’ve never even heard rumors about. And the learned elders never mention them, either.
But I digress. All we know about the mysterious Low Ones is what we can deduce from the finds the ocean washes up on our shores. A few decades ago there were expeditions of boats with winches and long ropes and hooks trying to pull up random pieces from the ocean’s floor, but the three lone survivors of all the expeditions never disclosed whether they actually succeeded in finding anything. And, of course, even if they had, who would believe them? They went straight to the loony bin and haven’t seen a day without medication since they came back,
There are of course those malcontents who sway the expedition actually came in contact with an intact civilization living in the depths of the ocean and these three so-called survivors were members of the expeditions sent back as envois and that the powers that be have incarcerated them in the loony bin to prevent the truth from, as it were, surfacing.
What a heap of crap. The stuff people come up with if they have too much time on their hands. Really. A civilization under water. What would they be? Fish? Squid? Giant kraken? Ridiculous. And the sacred records make it very clear that the expeditions’ boats all sunk and those three crazies are the lone survivors. End of story.
Story. Yes, right, I’m digressing again. As I said, this morning after the last freak high tide of the night had receded, I combed the site again, and I found a structure half buried in the sand. How it can have gotten there, I have no clue. It was a huge latticework of metal girders, the fragment I came upon maybe twenty-five meters long and about a meter of it sticking out of the sand. I’d swear it hadn’t been there before, but I have absolutely no way to explain how the night’s floods may have been able to bring it there and sink it into the sand like that.
Needless to say I was torn in my excitement between going back to camp to get the others and excavating it on my own, right there and then. Enthusiasm got the better of my loyalty towards the others, and I went to work immediately. Luckily I had my tools with me that morning. After all, you never know what you might come across on these shores in the morning after a night of especially wild tides. So I ran to the end of the structure closest to me and started digging. I got to about one meter in depth when I thought I caught a movement at the water’s edge out of the corner of my eye. But when I looked over to find out what it was, it had stopped. The waves were too subdued to have been able to cause a light reflex from the low sun, so it must have been something else. But no matter how hard or long I stared, I couldn’t see anything. And I wasnt going to risk mydig caving in by abandoning it right now.
So I shook off the impression and returned my attention to the structure I was examining. The metal girders were rusty and it seemed like some of the fabric we had found yesterday had been caught in the cross-sections. I tried to carefully remove the pieces of fabric from the metal, but they must have been caught there for a long time already as they seemed to be fused together. Leaving this mystery for later, I turned my mind back to uncovering the expansion of the structure. A first simple echo-examination (hitting the structure with a hammer and listening for the vibrations and echoes) suggested it to be almost as tall as it looked to be wide, with only the tiniest bit visible above the sand.
Incredible that this should have been deposited here by a night of floods, no matter how wild or freakish they may have been. But it sure as hell hadn’t been there yesterday, so what else could it be? Some jokesters coming here, sneaking past our camp and burying this monster in our dig site without us noticing and without the tides getting the,? Not impossible, but unlikely. Especially since the materials this structure was made of didn’t belong to any of the cultures on the plains but seemed perfectly consistent with what we knew about the Low Ones. It’s mysteries like that that made me choose my profession. And I’ll get to the bottom of this, one way or another. Pun intended.
After excavating about three meters length to about a meter and a half deep, I caught another glimpse of movement at the water’s edge. And this time it didn’t disappear before I had a chance to look for it. From a few meters into the water the strangest-looking creature I had ever seen looked me straight in the eye. Staring at me with just as much surprise as I must have displayed staring at it, it didn’t move anymore than I did. I was mostly buried in my excavation pit, only my had sticking out, and it seemed to be mostly submerged in water, with not more than what must have been it’s head sticking out.
Actually, now that I think back on it, the head seemed to be almost all eye. A huge gleaming eye pointed in my direction. It was so big I could almost see my own reflection in it. Or so I think I remember imagining at the time. It didn’t last long. The tableau broke when I scrambled out of my pit and at the same time the weird creature submerged as if it was swallowed by the ocean itself. And when I got to the water’s edge, maybe a couple of heartbeats later, there was no trace of it left.
Needless to say I was rattled too much to concentrate much on my digging after that. I stayed in the pit and did some token work all the while keeping a close eye on the waters until the others came out to begin the normal morning shift, but whatever it was that had poked it’s head out of the water didn’t show itself again. Not even tiniest hint that what I had seen had been real and not just a figment of my overactive imagination. I tried to explain my experience to the others but they were too excited about the structure I had discovered to pay more then the most cursory attention to my report. And those that did listen for more than a few moments got that certain gleam in their eyes that seemed to say, “Big feller, we appreciate your contribution finding this thing here and starting to dig it out, but enough is enough. If you insist on your sea monster or ghost story, or whatever it is you are trying to sell here, we’ll just as soon fit you with one of those jackets whose sleeves are tied together on the back and that are the latest fashion to wear in those all-white padded cells with no furniture and no door handle on the inside. Catch our drift?”
Now, I wasn’t born yesterday, and so I desisted, and I almost convinced myself that what I had seen had been a hallucination or an especially vivid daydream. But some nights I still dream of them. And in my dreams it doesn’t stop with the big eye looking at me. Nor does it stop with me running to the water’s edge. I wake up screaming when the dream comes to it’s conclusion and they take me with them to the depths of the ocean. But I have never ever told anyone about the dreams. Or about the fact that when I wake up my bunk is damp. And I swear it’s not because I lost control of my body’s water. The faint smell of that weird freaky ocean is unmistakable.