Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Ocean of Stories

It’s hard to believe that we’re already half-way through August…  I didn’t even notice summer had arrived and now it’s almost gone.

As I type this, I’m neck-deep in motorcycle stories—but what I am really thinking of tonight is the Ocean (in my world it is always Ocean with a capital O).  I haven’t seen the water in a very long time, but it always seems to be with me. More and more I find it creeping into my dreams.

A couple of years ago (Has it really been that long?) we published Ocean Stories, an anthology of fantastical tales exploring the mysteries and magic of the deep. Here is a little snippet of one of those stories, Gregory L. Norris’s dark little homage, The Old Man and the Sea Monster:

The heat that had rained down from the sky cooled, and the old man felt a chill in his bones, mostly due to the weather. The rest owed to a sense of foreboding that couldn’t be identified until the dark shapes appeared ahead of them, phantoms that rose jagged and black against the gray mists.

At first sight, the old man saw them as jagged black fangs that had chewed their way up from the bottom of the sea. Fangs, eager to catch and rend apart anything unlucky enough to be caught between their salivating jaws. Then he realized the teeth were atolls, newly-formed by the turbulent upheaval that had sent the towering wall of water racing toward their island home. A chain of muck-covered lesser islands, thrust up from the ocean floor. A foul odor of swamps and upturned graves, only worse, infused the mist.

The boy’s hand clutched the old man’s wrist, hard enough to be painful. “Where are we?”

The old man had no quick answer. He sensed, and rightly so, that they had entered a mysterious no-man’s land where the usual laws of their former life no longer applied.

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