In the Water. Flash Fiction.

Sally sat on the beach, enjoying the heat of the sun on her skin and the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore. She looked out over the ocean, at the ships sailing by on the horizon. In the next few days the beach would get busier, but for now she had it almost to herself, in the distance she could see a couple walking at the edge of the water and to her left it looked as though someone was swimming laps out in the water. Sally squinted at the water, the person swimming had stopped, but they seemed to be splashing, she stood, trying to get a better view. After a few seconds hesitation she started moving towards the water at a half jog. She didn’t think the swimmer was drowning, but something wasn’t right, they were waving their arms and it almost looked like they were slapping at the water. Sally stopped at the edge of the water, the man had stopped splashing and now he was just treading water, he had his back turned to her, he was looking out at the water. She was about to call out then stopped herself, the man was probably just having a bit of fun and she didn’t want to interrupt. A small wave came in, covering her feet in cold water, Sally let out a gasp of surprise and jumped backwards, the water was far colder than she had expected it to be. The man dove beneath the water, Sally turned and started to walk along the edge of the water, she glanced back once or twice to make sure the man was ok, he seemed to be diving now, though what for she couldn’t imagine. The water shouldn’t have been that deep where he was but he seemed to go under for surprisingly long periods of time.

Sally stopped walking and looked at the water, she had heard a strange sound, like a gurgling, and it appeared as though something was in the water. As she watched a head emerged from the water, it was that of a young woman, but Sally hadn’t seen anyone else swimming in the water, where had she come from? Sally was about to raise her arm to wave but she stopped as the head moved further out of the water, beneath it was an impossibly long neck, when the thing stopped the head was at the end of a neck that was at least seven feet long. The thing swivelled its head around in a strange, mesmerising pattern. Sally couldn’t look away, another head appeared beside it, this one male, like the first it stretched out of the water on a long, slender neck. As she watched another rose from the water and another, until there were eight, all bobbing and weaving around one another. The thing was moving in the water, though it wasn’t doing so quickly. The heads all froze in place, then the creature picked up speed, moving back down the beach, Sally turned and spotted the swimmer in the distance. She started to shout and wave her arms. The swimmer stopped and  started looking around, as he turned he saw the creature coming towards him. He didn’t shout or scream, he didn’t even try to swim away. As Sally watched the creature slammed into him and disappeared beneath the waves, dragging the man with it.

Sally stood on the sand, hoping that there would be some sign of the swimmer, anything at all, but she could see nothing but the ocean. She looked around the beach,  but she was alone. Who was she supposed to call? And what was she supposed to tell them? That an eight headed monster dragged a swimmer to his watery grave? No one would ever believe her, they’d think she was crazy and lock her up, but she couldn’t stay silent. She turned from the water and started running up the beach, she needed to get to a phone, she needed to call the coast guard, she’d tell them that she saw him be swept out, it wouldn’t be entirely untrue and they’d start looking for the man, though she suspected that nothing would ever come of their search. At the top of the sand dunes she looked back at the ocean and saw it, the creature, its heads above the water, it was staring directly at her, its heads weaving and bobbing as before, only this time there were nine.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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