22 Dec I Belong to the Sea – CreepyPasta
I live by the sea, but please, don’t get excited by that. People always gush about how lucky I am, and how I must spend every spare moment on the shore as though collecting salt in my hair and kicking pebbles were somehow more diverting than Netflix. I don’t get it. I never have to be honest. This town, this coast, is not the crystal turquoise ocean of vacationer’s dreams. It’s cold, and ruined, and forgotten. The sea is always broiling in this putrid grey-green colour, topped with foam and sputum. The waves roar and beat the shingle mercilessly, constantly, and worst of all, it reeks of death. I hate it.
That’s why I need you to understand, I didn’t come across this by choice.
My flat is fine. It is what it is. I live a shitty life in a shitty town that is slowly rusting to death. But my flat is a little sanctuary of sorts, and I have made the best of what I can afford. Decent kettle, comfy sofa, a couple of unkillable succulents for company. Any other Sunday I would be crashing out, talking to my plants, and maybe watching a random b-movie to waste time while I doomscrolled, but today some idiot neighbour set off the fire alarm. Not a big deal really, just a minor annoyance, and I figured it would go off in a few minutes, but ten went by… then twenty… then forty… after two hours I was about ready to lose my mind, so I bundled into my coat and headed out.
I don’t know how many of you live in quiet places, but here nothing much opens on a Sunday, the town sort of goes to sleep. Which is nice I guess, when you’re not trying to escape, so I didn’t have much choice when it came to passing the time. I walked aimlessly to begin with, inspecting the salt-bleached shopfronts and hanging signs. There was one for a boarded-up restaurant that was so faded it was reduced to a pair of startled cartoon eyes and text that read ‘FISH HIPS’ which made me chuckle. I didn’t even realise I was headed to the beach until my boots hit the pebbles.
We don’t have sand here, at least not unless you wait for the lowest of low tides, and fancy calling the wormy mud sand. Mostly it’s calico rocks, about the size of salad potatoes all over. It took me a couple of steps to get into a rhythm and find my balance as I headed down to the waves. I honestly don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was some residual madness from the ringing in my ears, but whatever it was, the momentum carried me as close as I could get with dry feet.
I suppose I had never really looked at the sea before. The rotten seaweed tang stung my throat and I wouldn’t linger long. Just enough to confirm my suspicions that it was ugly and unwelcoming, and move on. Today was different, there was something else in the air, a taste maybe, or a sound. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I stared out at the swell while I searched for the answer.
Then I saw her.
I didn’t focus at first, I was watching the rolling breaks, trying to see the white horses I had heard people describe them as. Then I saw a tangle of kelp, swaying inside the murk, almost dancing. That’s what I mistook her for at first, detritus in the seaweed, until her hand broke through the black ribbons as if she was reaching for me.
I didn’t know what to do, and I’m ashamed to admit I hesitated longer than I should have, pacing back and forward, willing myself to run away, or dive in, and caught between the two impulses.
After a moment that seemed like a lifetime, I threw off my coat and waded into the surf. It. Was. Freezing. I honestly don’t have the words for how cold it was. I felt like a rhino had just kicked me in the lungs and my limbs became sluggish and seized once I was in up to my sternum. Still, I fought through it and carried on. I didn’t really have to swim, just do this ungainly hop and clawing motion to get to her. The waves were crashing over my head now if I missed the jump, and salt had begun to sting my eyes, blurring my vision. I got close and almost had a panic attack when a leathery strap of seaweed wrapped around my neck like a snap bracelet. I clawed it off and reached out again, trying to find the outline of her arm, trying to save her. The water was in my nose, running down my face, I couldn’t really see anything other than the dark pulsing of the kelp and the hollow green water, but I kept reaching, until I felt something solid.
I only made it to her fingertips, but I tried as hard as I could to interlace them with mine and pull her toward me. I was sputtering, gobbing mouthfuls of freezing water mixed with snot out from the force. Her fingers were cold, but then so were mine, so a tiny hope still lingered that she could be alive. I reached her palm and began to feel some relief, I had her, I could help her, I-
This is hard to describe, it all happened so quickly, but so slowly all at once. I had managed to interlock my thumb with hers and reach the back of her hand, just as a surprise wave beat me back. I tightened my grip, determined not to let go, as the water thundered over my head. I redoubled my efforts, pushing back against the force of the ocean until, to my surprise, her grip tightened too.
Panicked I kicked up toward the surface, but she held me fast. I remember hearing you should not try to save someone from drowning unless you’re trained, because they will push you down to keep themselves afloat, but that wasn’t what this was. She was holding me there, suspended and still, just like her.
As I scrambled and my cheeks involuntarily puffed with wasted air, I somehow managed to open my eyes. I wish now more than anything I hadn’t, and I understand if you put what I am about to tell you down to some kind of stress hallucination or oxygen deprived trick of the brain, but I know what I saw.
She was woman shaped at first glance, in that I was right, but as she held me there I saw little details I had missed at a distance, little wrong things. Her mousy hair wasn’t made up of strands like mine, but seemed to be some kind of membrane, extending from her, its, scalp. There was no nose, no ears, the lines I had taken for lips were nothing more than dark, scaled and pocked markings, from the corners of which a line like a Chelsea smile spread into a seam extending back along its jaw. Round, flat eyes stared at me, and for a split second I was lost in the metallic, unblinking gaze. That’s when the seam across its face split into a pulsing grin revealing a thousand pin-narrow transparent teeth.
Fear kicked me back into the present and I twisted and thrashed trying to get away, all the while this thing never lost its grip, only holding me tighter. My lungs were burning and I was vomiting bubbles from the exertion, I knew I had to get away, knew that there was not much time left, despair and panic and rage flooded me, and I lashed out with the only weapon I had. Sacrificing the last precious gulp of air, I pulled my face down to the blue-skinned vice that held me, and with all my might tore into it with my teeth. I did not think, it was all animal instinct and fury. I tore and ground my jaws again and again, until at last I felt release, and my body scrambled to the surface as if possessed.
I have never been a very strong swimmer, but I moved with speed then, desperate to put distance between me and whatever that was. I heaved my aching carcass onto the beach, abandoning my coat and not slowing until I reached the road. I turned back, heart pounding in my throat, but nothing followed. I could have convinced myself I imagined it, if I hadn’t started heaving then, and spat out a mouthful of seawater and blood.
I stared at the pinkish stain on the pavement and ran my fingers across my lips to check for injuries. Nothing. So I tried again, this time feeling along my gums for a loosened tooth or cut. I knew there were none to find, though I prayed I would find evidence of a concussion, or some other rational explanation. Still, I knew I wouldn’t. I knew, despite desperate hope, because I could still feel fibres of its flesh between my teeth.
I was suddenly very cold, or rather, suddenly aware of how cold I was. Nothing could compel me to set foot on that beach again, so the coat was a lost cause. Instead I did my best to stagger home. I had completely forgotten about the fire alarm; and didn’t even notice the engineer that held the front door open with a look of concerned bemusement until I had stumbled through.
I pulled the keys from my pocket and willed my chilled joints to work faster, avoiding looking at the deepening bruises on my wrist, and pulling off sopping wet layers as soon as the door was closed behind me, abandoning them to the floor. I got into the shower, as hot as I could bear, sat down then, and cried.
It’s been six hours since I got home, and four since I got out of the shower. My hair is dry now, and I am sitting on the floor by my sofa, swaddled in my dressing gown. I don’t even know why I’m telling you this, it’s just… I have to tell someone. I have to do it now, before I forget anything. Before I convince myself I have completely lost my mind, or-
I don’t know.
I got home six hours ago, full of adrenaline and exhausted, but aware. Everything in my flat was as I left it; I think. I’m sure. And I got out of the shower four hours ago, give or take. It took a long time to warm my bones, and brush my teeth, and process what I saw, and what I thought. I walked into the living room while I was still rubbing my head with a towel, so I didn’t notice until I kicked it and heard the ‘clink’ as it toppled and rolled. Instinctively I stopped it with my foot and bent down to pick it up. A little bottle, about three inches of scuffed green glass, wax dripping down one side from the seal.
The dread quickly sat heavy in the pit of my stomach. This was not here when I got home. I walked across this floor, it was clear, there was nothing. I looked at the bottle in horror and confusion. There was something inside.
I picked at the wax until it gave way and shook the bottle violently. If it had taken much longer I would have smashed it on the floor despite my bare feet, but the shaking worked, and a tube of brittle paper poked out past the lip.
This is when I sat down. Back against the sofa. I grabbed my phone from the arm and began typing. Every few seconds picking up the roll and putting it down. I have been staring at it for twenty minutes solid now. I thought I should write this as I read it, I hope it will be like having someone here with me.
I feel sick.
It only has two sentences on it; a few cryptic scratched out words in biro caps, almost like a handwritten cookie fortune. That would be funny if I wasn’t so afraid. I know I should tell you what it says, but it’s hard to type out, I just keep rubbing my eyes and thinking I’ll wake up from this godawful dream, this nightmare, this…
It says: YOU ARE HERS NOW. YOU BELONG TO THE SEA.