How I Lost My Cellphone -- A Tale of Lovecraftian Horror (Original Short Fiction)
This story has a bit of a story behind it. Several years back, my brother stumbled across some clickbait blog that was holding a contest. Readers were invited to share a story about how they lost their cellphone, and the three people with the craziest story would win a new one. Or something like that. I don't remember the details. My brother wrote a wild sci-fi story and posted it just for kicks, then spammed upvotes on his own comment to get it to the top of the chain. Liking the absurdity of that whole situation, I decided to follow suit, choosing instead to model my story on the writing of Lovecraft. Our comments were the two top comments when the contest ended, but, unsurprisingly, the editors passed them over in favor of one about someone dropping their phone in the toilet or something.
Anyway, the point is that this story is very clearly fictional, but also that I wrote it some years back now (and just as a gag at that), so it's not exactly what I would consider my best work. Still, I've been a little lackadaisical with my writing lately, so I thought it might be worth sharing. Hopefully it will serve as a nice distraction.
The story I have to tell may sound too fantastic to be true. I have been told it is merely a fabrication -- some twisted construct of a delusional mind -- but I swear to its authenticity. No man alive could imagine my nightmares, and I will never forget the day in question as long as I live.
This story took place about two years ago. I used to run a charter fishing boat out of the Florida Keys. It was decent work; I have always had an affinity for sailing, and my good crew ran a tight ship. Besides me, there was Dan, a deep-sea angler and a bit of a celebrity in the area for landing a nearly one-ton marlin, and Hugo, a Cuban immigrant who had proved his mettle on more than one occasion. Dan was a bit of a machismo and couldn't help regaling each new charter -- especially the women -- with his tale of victory over the "leviathan", as he called it. Hugo was what you would call the strong, silent type -- though he spoke perfect English, he rarely said a word, unless it was to take a jab at Dan during the more outlandish parts of his stories. The three of us worked like a well-oiled machine; I could not have asked for a better set of hands to have on deck.
Our day began like any other. After some light chat and a quick run-through of the safety features and emergency response protocol -- where the life-jackets were, how to operate the radio -- we set sail with our charter for the day: a family of three on vacation from New England. I had expected the same level of ignorance and general incompetence that I got from most Yanks vacationing or retiring from up north, but it seemed that both the father and son were well-seasoned anglers who were itching to try their hand at the tropical mid-Atlantic waters. The mother, it seems, was there merely through happenstance, her plans having fallen through for the day.
The surface of the ocean was like glass that morning -- I remember it distinctly. Our ship sliced through it cleanly as we covered the some ten or fifteen miles out into one of our premium deep-sea fishing spots. When we came to a stop, the silence was almost deafening -- not a single slosh of waves could be heard splashing against the hull, and the only discernable movement of the boat was caused by us. Dan, Hugo and I were a bit put off by this; I remember the father and son mumbling something about it as well. The mother, oblivious, remarked on what a beautiful day it was. Not that she was wrong -- the skies were fair and the air was a comfortable 78 degrees. Still, we were all a bit on edge.
The fishing all morning was dreadful. We had specifically chosen that spot as one we reserved for only seasoned anglers, as the fish there practically fought for the lines on any other day, yet there was not a single one to be seen. Even our depth gauge showed no fish beneath the boat. After a few hours we discussed moving to a new spot. That's when things took a turn.
Without warning, the sky began to blacken as heavy clouds rolled in from the south. The weather was supposed to be clear that entire day, so we were understandably taken aback. I remember the speed with which they overtook us -- within minutes it was as if night had fallen. Soon the rain started, like a sheet, so dense and loud as it ricocheted off the boat that I felt robbed of my senses. Dan and Hugo scrambled to get the boat moving to bring us into clearer waters while I helped secure our passengers.
The rain stopped suddenly and turned to hail. That was when the waves started. I screamed to Dan and Hugo to get us moving as our boat was tossed on the roiling sea. The engine had stalled, they said -- it would be a few minutes before they could start it again. We held on for our lives as the boat rocked and wave after wave crashed over the side.
The waves slackened a bit and the hail slowed. Taking advantage of the break in the weather, I told Dan to try the radio, but it seemed all electrical systems on the boat had shorted out. I had just retrieved my emergency cell phone from a water-tight container in the cabin when I was shaken by a groan so loud my body trembled and my ears bled. My eyes fell on the water on our starboard side -- what I thought to be the direction of the terrible sound. About 100 meters out and moving towards us with alarming speed was a discolored blotch of sea roughly the length of a football field. At first I was too stunned to think what it might be -- then I saw the tail, like a serpent's, rising out of the water. I would say it was enormous, but "enormous" is not a big enough word. It was the kind of tail that could rend a battleship asunder with a single stroke. As it sank back into the sea, a wave swelled up not a stone's throw from our side. Out of this crashing bank of water erupted the beast's hideous face, close enough to touch, moving in a perfect arc over our boat. It was like something from a legend; it had a gigantic mouth, curled in a perpetual snarl, filled with row after row of spikes bigger than myself; whiskers not unlike a catfish's jutted from its face, each longer than our very boat; its eyes, the size of boulders, gave me a piercing look as it passed over us. I felt my body shake again as the beast gave another cry, but my ruptured ear drums left me with nothing but silence. As it crashed back down into the sea, I let loose a scream so fierce I must have ruptured my vocal chords. The turbulence created by the creature jolted the boat sideways, sending me hurtling into the water, the phone flying from my hand. I was sure that I was dead; but I quickly resurfaced and gasped as I saw that monolith of a tail fly over me. I floated in the water for a moment, too shaken to move. When I had enough grip on myself to climb back onto the boat, I ventured a look off the port side. I could still see the beast crashing through the water, nearly a mile away already. I looked at the sky and saw those terrible black clouds rolling in behind it. Within minutes the sky was clear again and the creature was out of sight. We got the boat started and quickly made our way back to port.
We were lucky not to have suffered any casualties that day. It seems that all we lost in our run-in with the true Leviathan -- besides, perhaps, some of our sanity -- was my emergency phone. Maybe it's still among the waves; maybe it's in the belly of that eldritch beast. I will never know -- I keep my feet on dry land these days.