Monolith in the Sea
feat. Kyle Harrison
Chapter One: USS CURWEN Captain’s Log
7,121.3 meters from the surface
I don’t think I would have believed it had I not seen the thing with my own eyes.
The sea has been my home for longer than I can even recall. Until this morning I would have been keen to tell you that there wasn’t a scratch of the ocean I had not seen.
Of course, that would have been an exaggeration. The darkness of the waters is vast and perhaps more obscure than the stars in the sky. I was a fool to believe it was ever capable of being fully understood.
I think this might be clearer though if I start at the beginning.
My crew and I are part of a reconnaissance team partnered with the HMS Johansen near the Bermuda Trenches. Our mission, from what I understood; was to inspect and recover artifacts relating to a recently discovered sunken WWI German submersible.
Ordinarily such things would be handled by NATO operatives, but given the recent tropical storms, Commander Greenfield contacted me about four days ago to oversee the operation.
To be honest, I had been itching for this sort of thing for quite a while. Patrols and routine drills had made me almost stir crazy in the confines of the base.
Something about the vastness of the Atlantic’s infinity felt like freedom to me.
The crew of the Johansen was able to begin approx a day ahead of us to survey the trench where the sub had been discovered, sending out a few drones to take pictures of the discovery.
It was actually just nineteen hours into their expedition that the Captain of the small crew of thirteen men radioed me for assistance.
“What’s the problem, Dyer?” I asked him. My crew had every intention of joining him the following morning to prepare the gear for recovery of the sub, so his unexpected request for our arrival made me feel like something was off.
I soon found out that I wasn’t wrong about that gut feeling, but not in the way I expected in the slightest.
“There’s something down here, Mason,” he told me.
I laughed at the abrupt message. “Well I damn well hope so, or we would be wasting our time,” I said.
“Not the submarine. Something else,” he answered cryptically.
“Another wreck?” I guessed.
“I can’t… I can’t describe it. We found it just about an hour ago and Obed… god damn that Arab he went to go investigate it without my orders,” Dyer said.
I sat up, trying to grasp what he was telling me.
“Is it dangerous down there? Dyer what is going on?” I asked.
“Obed hasn’t come back. He… I think it took him…” he sounded scared.
I’ve known Dyer for a good six years. He is a fine outstanding Naval engineer. And a better Captain than I could ever be. He has the knowledge and fortitude to handle situations that I have often felt I was lacking in.
The way he talked to me that morning made me realize that this was not something to make jokes about. The man had dread in his voice.
After that short conversation we lost radio contact. I actually thought that the Brits had been attacked so I was a little relieved yesterday on our trip toward the trench when I found out that their sub still registered on the radar.
“They’re just sitting there sir… looks like the engines are still running on idle,” my Second Officer, Tobias; said.
I stared at the blip on the screen, trying to understand why Dyer would have just cut off communication and made a few split second decisions.
“We need to move up along side their sub. Ryan, Malcolm, Tony; you three get your gear on and swim across. Search for the access port near the south engine compartment. Should be a way to get inside and see what’s going on,” I said.
“You think something has happened to them sir?” Tobias asked.
“They haven’t moved in almost thirty three hours. I would like to know why, wouldn’t you?” I countered.
The rest of the evening played out almost perfectly. My three officers got their gear on and we slid as close as possible to the Johansen before they moved to our emergency access port and used our drone to move across the deep dark ocean to the other sub.
Thirteen minutes later, they made radio contact after attaching. It was worse than I expected.
“Sir. This is Second Lieutenant Tony West speaking on behalf of the team. Confirming that there is no one aboard the Johansen Sir,” The Officer said.
“What? Where did they go?” I asked.
“I’m afraid I couldn’t tell you that sir. It looks like the last record on the Captain’s manifest shows that the team was set to excavate something approximately 409 kilometers southwest of here,” Tony answered.
I ordered Tobias to give me a visual. Our subs are not exactly state of the art, so all he could tell me for certain was that there were definitely some rock formations and hydrothermal vents in the area in question. But nothing else concrete.
“I guess we know where we’re going,” Tobias said softly.
I instructed the others to stay behind on the Johansen as we moved toward the deeper segment of the trench.
“Activate the sensory lights,” I told Tobias as we kept a good visual on the murky depths. As we got closer to the dark valley I saw the shimmer of something large there amid the formations.
“Sir,” a voice cracked across the radio.
“This is the Curwen,” I responded.
“Sir there’s something we found you need to see…”
I halted our progress in the trench and moved back toward the Brits before waiting for my crew to explain what they found.
“It’s an encrypted video file sir, from Captain Dyer. It looks like it appears to be his last will and testament,” Malcolm explained.
“Good find. What does it say happened?” I asked.
“That’s what we wanted you to take a listen to sir, see if it made sense to you,” Ryan added.
The feed filled static as I heard screams across the radio waves. Then Dyer spoke.
“Mason. If you are hearing this than you need to turn around now. Do not disturb this… this thing. It is a force beyond our understanding. Beyond any humans grasp of reality. It’s going to kill us. All of us. I’ve seen it play out…” it broke off again and again as the Captain struggled to talk.
“Monolith… filled with a thousand different prisms… light… I saw it before it happened. And it will happen before you see it…. stop now… one out of many…”
Then the feed died completely.
I squinted my eyes and thought back to the strange object I had seen there in the valley. “What do you make of it?” Tobias whispered.
“We station ourselves here. Send drones in to get good visual of the valley. Find out what we are dealing with,” I replied.
I listened to the recording again and again, trying to figure out what Dyer meant when he was rambling.
It sounded like the man had simply lost touch with all sanity.
I didn’t want to believe that something as bizarre as what he described could be down here in these depths.
A few hours ago though when the first drone returned I was proven wrong.
Tobias showed me the grainy image of a large white stone sitting there in the valley. It had to be nearly the height of the Empire State Building. Perfect, porcelain white stone shaped like Dyer had described, a holy monolith.
“What the hell is that?” my Second Officer asked.
Even in the pictures that we received I wasn’t sure I could explain it. The stone had been clearly carved from ages ago. But how it got here was beyond me.
We waited a few more hours to get further visuals. Then as the next drone returned Lieutenant Malcolm radioed me again.
“Sir…I- i know that this isn’t going to sound possible. But one of the Johansen crew… they are back. Just showed up out of the blue,” Malcolm said worriedly.
“He was wandering the sub, rambling and talking gibberish. Completely drenched like he had been swimming in the ocean,” Malcolm added.
“What? Let me talk to them!” I demanded as I scanned the photos.
“Captain Mason? What day is it? Where am I?” He asked quickly. I told him and as soon as I did shared even more confusion. He was barely able to breath.
“November? No no no… we’ve been here for almost a year. This isn’t right. It’s July. July 2019,” he muttered.
I was staring at the photos that came in, trying to grasp all of this. Now instead of one monolith, there were two down in the trench below that were visible.
“Captain,” the crew member said as he felt his voice grow shaky.
“I know what will happen if you stay here… a few days from now… all of you will die.”
Chapter Two: USS CURWEN Captain’s Log
8476.7 meters under the surface
I instructed my men to bring the survivor from the Johansen over to our sub immediately.
By 0240 that that morning, the trembling and frightened British man was standing in my rec room explaining a story far too stupendous to sound believable.
Thankfully Tobias was keen enough to record every detail, and has included a transcript of the conversation we had with him. Given what has happened since, I cannot help to be baffled at all that this man was able to accurately predict.
TRANSCRIPT 0330 hours
“Captain Mason, we need to turn around now sir. Get reinforcements from the Dominicans or Panama. We are not equipped for… for what is out there.”
“Tell me, leave out no detail.”
“I couldn’t if I tried sir. As I said before, Captain Dyer found the monolith on the morning of November 15th. It didn’t show up on any of our sonar or equipment before then. It just… showed up. Of course we went to investigate. Spent almost a week taking measurements of the damn thing. Nearly 259 meters tall. 79 wide! A skyscraper, here in the depths of the sea! We immediately radioed for your aide… but then you never came.”
“We tried to leave, to regroup near the last relay point. But that thing… none of our gear worked sir. We were swimming in circles. Kept putting itself in front us. We were trapped.. like rats in an endless maze…”
“Six days later, we found your ship. This very damn ship that I’m standing on. Ripped into shreds. Your corpses dangling in the dark waters. All of you dead sir!!”
“How is that possible?”
“I…. I don’t know. I saw it. A creature. It was… it was monstrous. Without form. It’s eyes. My god it’s eyes!!”
“We have to leave this place!! That thing… whatever it is, only beckons destruction.”
“We won’t be leaving just yet I’m afraid. Not until we figure out exactly what is going on”
END OF TRANSCRIPT
It was here that Tobias shut off the recording and recommended we consult privately before making a final decision. I told the British naval officer to wait there in the Rec room while we stepped outside.
“Sir, permission to speak freely?” My Second Officer inquired.
“With all due respect. This is madness. Talk of sea creatures and time travel. It makes no sense. We need to ask Tess to perform a psych evaluation on the poor man,” he responded.
I couldn’t argue with his assessment and thankfully the officer was happy to comply. “Just so long as we keep our distance from the monolith,” he urged me.
I returned to the command center a short time later where Ryan was cooking an omelette.
“I thought I told you no food on the bridge,” I told him.
“Sorry Captain. It’s my nerves. Those stones out there have me spooked.”
Malcolm was standing near the observation deck, staring out toward the valley.
I made my way up to peer toward the monoliths as well. “Never seen anything like them before,” My chief engineer admitted.
“I think that goes for all of us,” I said dryly. All the scans from the drones weren’t telling us enough of what was going on.
It was as though despite all the evidence to the contrary, the massive stones were not there. Invisible to any attempt to understand them.
“What did Paul say they were?” Malcolm whispered. I made a mental note of the Brit’s name.
“He didn’t… then again I’m not sure we can…” I didn’t ever finish my concerns over the officer’s sanity.
Instead my eyes drifted toward the northern edge of the trench.
“Where is the Johansen?” I asked.
It seemed to take a moment for my crew to register what I had suddenly realized.
The other submarine was no longer there.
“I… I uh…” Ryan said as he fumbled with the equipment.
“It’s not showing up on the scans sir,” he said.
“How the hell does a 48000 ton submarine just vanish??” I shouted to all of them.
“It’s still there,” a voice said from below. I saw Paul and Tess our ship’s physician entering the bridge from the east.
“I’m sorry sir I tried to stop him cause we were in the middle of our eval, but he said it was urgent,” Tess told me.
“It’s all right. Paul… what do you know about this?” I asked the man.
“November 16… this was the day we lost all communication with anyone outside of this damn trench. It’s happening Captain. We’re trapped here, whether you realize it or not,” he responded.
“You think I am crazy. I can see you question my every action. But I have seen things. Things no man can ever unsee,” Paul rambled as he wandered about the bridge. Everyone there felt on edge as the man talked.
“You would be better off killing yourself now,” he muttered.
Silence fell over the command center. Then Ryan laughed nervously.
“You… you’re a funny dude,” he said as Paul approached him. There was rage in the man’s eyes.
“You think this is a fucking joke??” He screamed. The Brit grabbed him by the curtails of his uniform and slammed him against a nearby computer.
“Unhand him!!” I ordered.
Then Paul reached and grabbed Ryan’s service weapon, pointing it toward me.
“I am not reliving this nightmare again. Not again do you hear me??” He screamed.
I knew that his deranged state meant one of two outcomes with that weapon. In such an enclosed space the bullets would ricochet. Or worse. He would turn the gun on himself.
“Don’t do this… if what you are saying is true. Then we need your help. To stop it from hurting any of us,” I urged him.
“Can’t stop it. Can’t stop it. It’s too damn late to stop it!!”
I looked past the rambling man to where Tony was standing trying to prepare to tackle him. I didn’t want to see my own crew member get hurt but I realized we didn’t have much choice.
In less than two minutes Tony and Ryan seized the British man and knocked the gun from his hand. The struggle nearly caused our submarine to lose control of its heading for a moment. But altogether their diligent efforts kept us from falling into further chaos.
Paul was laughing as the two men escorted him to the bridge.
I decided to take his sense of madness as incentive to press forward and determine what other secrets the monoliths held.
“Full speed ahead,” I told Malcolm.
————— 1400 hours
Tess came to see me and give me the results from Paul’s second psych evaluation. I expected to see something off the charts to explain his bizarre personality shifts.
Instead everything read as normal.
“Are you saying this man is not delusional?” I asked her.
“I’m not sure what to make of it, sir. But whatever it is that happened to him, his mind is 100% convinced it is the reality,” she answered.
That led me to go down to the brig to talk to him again. This time alone. Tobias was running point scanning the monoliths as Paul and I had another heart to heart.
“You’ve taken us closer,” he said. It wasn’t a question. Somehow he simply knew.
“Tell me more about what you found out… during your stay here,” I responded.
He laughed again.
“Now you believe me do you? Or are you just desperate for something to latch on to? Something that still makes sense? I remember being just like that. It won’t be long now though that it won’t matter what I do. The distortions will grow stronger. The hallucinations will set in.”
“What are you talking about?” I whispered in frustration.
“You’ll see… those things… they are more than just stones. It’s like a doorway… and it’s already pried itself open. None of you will be safe.”
I got a call over the intercom to return to the command center immediately.
“There’s been another change sir. We’re close enough now to confirm that with a certainty there were two monoliths here in the valley approximately twenty minutes ago,” Tobias explained.
I saw now in the dark depths that three white pillars were standing in the long stretch of the ocean depths.
“How the hell…” Malcolm said, his voice faltering.
“Tony is out on the recovery drone. Trying to determine if they are all the same size,” Ryan added.
I rushed to the comm system to talk to my officer.
“Tony. Go ahead and turn around. We can finish the sweep tomorrow.”
“Tony. That’s an order!!”
A crackle of static.
“Captain… you have to see this for yourself. It’s fucking beautiful. Like looking at heaven,” Tony said.
His voice sounded unnatural.
“I see him on radar sir, he’s near the second monolith,” Tobias said.
“Tony thank goodness. It’s not safe out there. Turn around,” I ordered.
“I just… I wish I could reach out and touch it. I think… I think it would be like touching the eye of God…” Tony muttered.
“Tony, god damn it we can talk about this later!!” Malcolm screamed over the comm.
“Solace… solace and sacrifice. Six aligned. Into the night we prosper. Led astray now together. Together. Together.”
“What the fuck??” Ryan muttered.
Then we all watched as Tony drove the small drone straight into the monolith. I expected a burst of fire or a scream of agony from the radio.
Instead only silence and emptiness answered us back.
I’ve instructed Tess to provide the crew with access to this database to record their own logs as we progress. I feel it will be essential for all of us to get a sense of our own well being and be aware of each other’s thoughts in the days to come.
I can only hope by working together we can determine what is truly the meaning behind these mysterious stagnant skyscrapers.
Chapter Three: USS Curwen Second Officer’s Log
November 18, 0100 hours
My wife Alex tells me that I’m not a dreamer. I think given what I have experienced during these waking hours aboard this ship she is more a fool than I was when we first got married.
That isn’t to say I don’t love her. I love her more than life itself. But I am not a decent man. I am not even a kind spirit.
At best I think the proper term for the respect to be given to me is that of a coward. A smart one perhaps, but a coward nonetheless.
I think down here in these waters for these past few nights has brought this to my attention more than all else.
The Captain said that we should use the archives to log our personal thoughts and feelings about this voyage.
About the discoveries we have made.
But I don’t think I can rightly do that. Not really in my current state of mind. The loss of Tony as our science officer has left me to fill his post as we prepared for the twilight hours monitoring the three monoliths across the bottom of the Atlantic.
I can’t help but to feel inadequate and unprepared for the task.
The statues, whatever they may be; have brought this fear to the forefront in my heart.
Somehow or another, it’s made my nightmares manifest in the darkness of the ocean.
It started a few hours after Captain Mason ordered all of us to submit to routine psychological exams. We lost a good man because of madness and now the Captain seems convinced it will take hold of all of us? I wonder then who will watch him as he keeps a close eye on us?
Nevertheless I did as instructed. I told Doctor Sanders everything. Everything except for the dreams that is. I can’t see much reason in that. Fire spreading across the ocean floor? Our men scrambling to the surface only to be lost in darkness again?
A monster of unseen proportions tearing apart our vessel as though it were paper.
These are not dreams I would consider proper to explain to her. But they are always the same.
I suppose the most significant factor relating to the dreams is that they occurred before we found our way into this abyss.
I’m sure that a man like Paul would assume such things to be visions. I am not the superstitious type.
I feel more grounded in accepting that these strange images are just my own nerves battling with the calm spirit I tend to show to the crew. But if anything is a facade here, it’s me.
Still the loss of sleep over the past few days has been to my detriment. I’ve wandered the confines of our ship trying to keep my mind occupied only to find myself greeted with further nightmares.
Not but an hour ago I chose to go for a jog around the main engine. It’s quite warm down there and not very many of our crew ever bother to go due to the unsavory conditions. For someone seeking refuge from the noise it’s a good place to hide.
When I set foot in the engine compartment though I was aware that I was not alone. The air was not filled with heat but rather a chill like one might experience on a frosty December morning.
I found myself feeling my skin get clammy as I looked about the chamber and then stared toward a long sliding pool of ice that was forming on the engines.
Amid the frost I saw what appeared to be three bodies protruding. Corpses frozen to the ruins of this impossible vision.
I stumbled backward in the compartment trying to determine whether to call for help. I heard those corpses singing to me. As though calling out to me for aide as I stumbled back up the ladder.
Ice. Children of Ice. Unseen and forgotten. Awakened. Beyond. Darkness falls after the horizon. On and on it goes. And only death is what it will achieve.
These words echoed in my head as I ran toward my room. I managed to calm my nerves and write down my thoughts, hoping to make sense of the ramblings my scattered brain had come up with.
It reminded me of the bizarre message that Tony left us when he passed on as well. A cryptic message that sounded almost like poetry.
I hate to do so, but the stress of this mission will led me insane if I do not calm my nerves so I am taking a few pills. It’s for the benefit of everyone aboard that I remain in top condition to aide my Captain.
I returned to the compartment with Malcolm to examine the frozen corpses. Only to find much to my surprise nothing of the sort.
“It’s not possible… I know they were there,” I stammered as we searched the engine room.
“Tobias… I believe you, I do. Cause I had some screwy dreams last night too,” Malcolm explained.
We agreed to discuss it over breakfast. Captain Mason and Ryan woke up early to serve us omelettes as we discussed the day’s activities ahead.
For the first time since we have arrived Mason is talking sense and saying we need to make contact with headquarters.
Paul, naysayer that he is has reminded us all our attempts to leave will be impossible.
“It won’t be done with you until it wants to be,” he warned us.
I have told the captain that I believe his plans for leaving are sound and that the British officer should remain in confinement until we depart.
Malcolm stopped by my room to discuss his dreams with me. I don’t know why but it feels comforting to know that I may not be alone in my sense of dread.
“I saw… my sister. Just like I am seeing you now. She was wandering the halls of the Johansen. She was… Tobias she was singing,” Malcolm told me.
We sat there in my quarters and he described the horrible lesions that covered his older sisters face in the vision. Barnacles and shredded skin had made his beloved sister look like a ghoul or so he claimed.
I could tell from the way he was looking toward my liquor cabinet that his words were not false. But still I wanted to believe these matters were simply tricks of our weary minds.
To allay his fears I opened the cabinet and took out one of my finer wines, a Sorcier from 1913 and offered him a drink.
“How long has it been since you lost her?” I asked as we sat there and drank up the whole bottle.
“At least six months. It still feels like yesterday….. the wound… it’s still fresh,” he answered me as he stared out into the blanket of the abyss.
“When are we supposed to be leaving?” Malcolm asked. I looked toward the valley, the looming monoliths still clearly in sight.
“What the fuck,” I growled and slammed my glass down.
We returned to the bridge together to determine the problem.
Captain Mason was standing there looking toward the stones as I remarked, “Sir is there a problem?”
“Tobias there you are. Ryan ran a sweep of the valley. It appears that we may have found the World War I sub that we came all this way for after all,” he explained.
“Sir with all due respect didn’t you say earlier that we needed to report back to HQ before we traveled any further?” I asked.
“Tobias… I think I would recall making an order like that. Tony, move us closer to the stones,” he said.
I froze where I stood and turned toward the navigational controls.
I was staring at a dead man. I stumbled backward and hit the Captain, his confusion abundant as I stammered.
“What… what is happening?” I asked. Malcolm also looked equally concerned.
“What are you two blabbering about? I’ve moved everything into position to allow for us to get a better survey of the stones. Tony will be heading out to check the perimeters shortly,” Captain Mason explained.
“Sir. Lieutenant Anthony Francis died last night… this thing… what ever this is, it isn’t him,” I insisted.
The dead man was staring at me. He looked just as befuddled as the Captain.
“Is this some sort of prank?” Captain Mason asked.
Malcolm suddenly screamed before I had a chance to speak another word.
I looked toward the front of the sub and saw a dark shape shimmer across the water. It was enormous. Three times the size of our hull.
Mason called for evasive maneuvers. I pushed myself toward my post as I tried to make sense of what was happening. The submarine rocked and shook as the creature attacked us.
The Captain and the others seemed dazed and frozen in place as we were being assaulted. I shouted orders but they all stood like statues.
Malcolm touched my arm. “We need to leave, we need to leave now!!” He said.
We ran from the bridge. I heard water pressing hard against our vessel as we tried to find a way to reach the emergency rescue drone.
Mason was there waiting for us when we arrived.
“Where are you two going?” He asked.
“Sir. With all due respect, we have to leave this place,” I pleaded with him.
“Of course we do. That’s why I issued the order six hours ago,” he argued.
Malcolm and I exchanged worried looks. The strange scene that had played out on the bridge, neither of us could explain. But we owed it to the Captain to try.
Mason allowed all of us still alive to listen to the bizarre vision that Malcom and I had experienced. It was unnerving just to recount it.
Paul, as usual; had a theory to share.
“Monsters of the id,” he whispered.
“I’m sorry?” Ryan muttered.
“Creatures, fears born of the very psyche of the subconscious. What these two men saw, it happened that I am certain of. I saw it play out hundreds of times locked here,” Paul said.
None of us had the strength to argue with his assessment. And less than an hour later we found it to be the most accurate.
Captain Mason asked us to take shifts at the controls to leave the trench. It was my shift when I noticed the change in the sonar.
One moment we were at the western edge of the cavern, and then a second later it was as though all the equipment went haywire and it showed us on the eastern confines of the area.
I confirmed this approximately twenty minutes later when I saw the monoliths in plain view of everything.
Worse still, now there were four. Their powers were easily keeping us there and growing by the second.
“This… this isn’t possible,” Mason stammered. He had still not accepted the fate we seemed locked in.
As though again to show witness to its power Ryan called out a moment later that he was detecting heat signatures from one of the nearby vents.
There in the darkness of the trench I saw several shadowy figures drifting from somewhere above.
I didn’t have to get anyone to tell me what they were. My gut already knew.
They were frozen bodies, lingering in the abyss. Survivors of some other tragedy that had found their way to this hell.
I also knew they had to be the same ones I had seen in the blank hours of the night. It was not merely a fever dream I had seen. But prophecy unfolding. The words the strange voices had chanted were ringing in my head.
Ice. Children of Ice. Unseen and forgotten. Awakened. Beyond. Darkness falls after the horizon. On and on it goes. And only death is what it will achieve.
Chapter Four: USS CURWEN Chief Medical Officer’s Log
November 18 1130 hours
The last of our crew has finished the routine screenings that our Captain has ordered.
Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Ward recounted to me his experience with seeing his deceased sister as best as he could in the transcript below.
AUDIO TRANSCRIPT 1140
“I knew it was her because I recognized her eyes. It was the only part of her still alive. The rest was a combination of ash and flesh. But… I swear to you that it felt real. Her shredded body was calling to me. It was so… soothing. It felt like I was drifting into a lullaby.”
“What did she say to you?”
“Something about beyond my sight a world was awakening. Once six were aligned, a path would open. Tess… it scared the shit out of me. But at the same time… I was.. I was filled with happiness…”
“How long do you believe this dream lasted?”
“Thirteen minutes… maybe nineteen… I don’t know… it felt like it could go on forever..”
END OF TRANSCRIPT
————— 1640 hours
INTERNAL NOTATIONS by Doctor Tessa Sanders
All of our crew, myself included have had difficulty maintaining a set schedule since we arrived at the trench. Our equipment including our chronometers is not working properly.
While most of us have kept a record of the day’s passing with a simple calendar and the need to rest, I feel compelled to reason that time itself may be acting differently here.
Royal Naval Officer Paul Arlen is evidence of this given his descriptive accounts of what took place on the HMS Johansen and though seemingly unbelievable at first, events since finding him have alerted me to proof of forces existing here beyond our understanding.
First and foremost are the testimonies that Lieutenant Commander Ward and Second Officer Redmond provided to the Captain concerning a mutual vision that the two seemed to share.
It is my current hypothesis, however strange it may sound that these events which they are experiencing seem to be glimmers of alternate realities that are intersecting with our own. Paul, recounted how that one of the Johansen men had similar feelings before exploring the monolith during their fifth month here.
END OF INTERNAL NOTATIONS
———- 1900 hours
Several more incidents have occurred surrounding the three monoliths within the trench that further confirm my running hypothesis. First is the fact that again the massive structures have managed to somehow reproduce amid the dark waters. Three have become four. And with the inclusion of another monolith we have encountered a new phenomenon, six frozen bodies drifting amid the deep waves.
Ryan reported that they still sent off heat patterns and Captain Mason immediately asked for Tobias and Malcolm to use the drone to recover the men.
During the mission, Paul offered his services to me to prepare the infirmary for their arrival.
“I was the doctor aboard after ours..: died. Three months I learned to stitch us up. Before… well… I guess it’s pointless to talk about anyway…”
“If you’re worried that I won’t believe you anymore, think again. I think we are well past that now. Tell me what killed your crew…” I offered to him.
“Dyer called it madness. Obed said it was fate. Maybe they were both right? But after the Arab died it didn’t take long for the monolith to push the limits of reality further on us. In fact, these same frozen officers that we are rescuing now, nearly ended us near the end of April’,” Paul told me.
“What do you mean?”
“Doctor Latell said that their bodies were infected. He didn’t know exactly what the organism was but that it was causing… mutations in the body. Spreading and overtaking vital organs and then, replicating them with some sort of dark slimy substance as the cohesive agent,” he explained.
It wasn’t long after we spoke that I saw this organism with my own eyes. Of the six bodies two seemed to be covered under the ice with a thick membrane that shimmered like a gelatinous mass might when exposed to the light.
It was unsettling to imagine what this alien substance might have done to these men when they were alive.
The others however showed signs of life despite the location they were found in so Paul and I spent the next several hours reviving them.
—— 2300 hours
The first of the survivors has made it through the process to be coherent again. He is an American male roughly forty five years of age. He is wearing gear that resembles that of arctic explorer and has a symbol on it that Malcolm claims he is familiar with.
“My sister… she worked there too for a while. It’s a University.”
The man at last identified himself as Henry Farris and immediately asked us how we came across him.
His account, and the details he shared with me in private, are being logged into the main archive as we speak but suffice it to say that this has confirmed my fears.
I will be presenting these findings to the Captain in the morning.
Nov 19 0400 hours
The inability to sleep led me to consult with Mason early. He was also awake, chatting with Tobias concerning his cartographic survey of the entire underwater trench.
“Hot cocoa, Tess? You look like you’ve had a rough night,” Second Officer Redmond commented.
“We all have. And I’m afraid that it will likely not get any better.”
“Chin up girlie, Captain has been running some numbers, it seems like the size and shape of the valley have been changing with each new monolith. Might be our ticket out of here,” Tobias told me.
I looked toward the different sketches that Mason had been pouring over.
“It’s still a work in progress. The images from the drones are all that we can use at this time, but each time a new monolith has appeared it seems that our visibility and navigational array has become more and more limited. In short, the valley is shrinking. That means we can get from point A to point B quicker. And as I was telling Tobias, it could be that if we push our engines to their limit and run the gauntlet we can press out of here faster than the monolith can compensate for,” Mason explained.
I didn’t want to discourage his plan. But I needed him to be aware of the full facts.
“Captain, I must speak freely given the arrival of the four survivors we just picked up,” I said.
He nodded for me to continue and I drew a heavy breath.
“Officer Arlen’s initial assessment of our prospects might be more on the nose than we have given him credit for. All of us are losing touch with our own sense of sanity and reality, yourself included sir. There can’t be any way we can deny the supernatural and cosmic forces that these objects are exuding upon us sir,” I told him.
Mason bit his lip and frowned.
“I’m willing to accept that this thing is not natural. That somehow it can reproduce itself like an amoeba, but that doesn’t mean that we will die down here. You’ve performed the necessary health screenings yourself. You know that none of us are showing signs of sickness, physically or mentally,” he argued.
“Neither did Sir Francis before he died. To the delusional any such incidents will appear normal sir. We are being toyed with and we don’t even realize it. Tony was the first… Malcolm and Second Officer Redmond might be the next batch from their shared dream, apologies sir,” I stammered as I hurried to continue, “I have my own theory though, sir… if you would like to hear it?”
He gave me a subtle nod and I explained, “Each additional monolith has caused an additional time period to interact with our current one. For example when we arrived and discovered the first monolith we also found the Johansen. The second monolith arrived whenever it disappeared, indicating that our time had shifted from the one that the British submersible was in. The third arrived when these frozen corpses appeared and if I’m not mistaken, a fourth change in time occurred that we have not yet been made aware of. The survivor from the ice has already confirmed some of this theory sir.”
“I have an audio recording of his testimony. It would be better if you heard it yourself.”
AUDIO TRANSCRIPT OF PATIENT
“My name is Henry Farris, I am an active archaeological teacher from the Rossetti University. I, along with my team of ten individuals left for the Arctic Circle on March 5 1991 to investigate the disappearance of a previous research team near to a private military bunker known as Dreamland.”
“Upon our arrival at the site we were quick to discover that the majority of the team had been massacred in what we originally assumed was some case of mass suicide.”
“Further investigation led into the arctic tundra to find what we perceived to be a massive stone structure approximately 45 miles high and 36 miles wide. One of my colleagues, Edward Bishop; called it a monolith.”
“We spent the next few days trying to study the monolith with the equipment we had available but nothing could allow us to penetrate the strange structure. During this time, I cannot even begin to describe the horrors that it wrought upon our minds and bodies. It was on the morning of March 30 that Professor Paytrol assigned six of us to make an attempt to pierce the monolith by any means necessary.”
“The last thing I recall was the sharp resonating sounds of ice collapsing upon us as we all fell into the waves, crushed by the explosion as the monolith sunk below the icy waters.”
END OF AUDIO TRANSCRIPT
Tobias and Mason stared for a long time through the porthole into the murky depths.
“This man believes that it is still 1991.”
“For him; that is the last thing that occurred. It is my theory that when that explosion hit the monolith, it transported them from the past to here,” I told the Captain.
“But they did survive… maybe we should do something similar? Blast it to hell and get out of here?” Tobias suggested. He had a glint in his eyes when he made the proposal.
Captain Mason was considering it.
“Doctor Sanders, you mentioned the fact that with each new monolith that you believe another time period has come into play, am I correct?”
“Yes Captain, by my count so far we have our own present, the Johansen which has shifted into the future, these survivors from 1991 and another time frame that we have not familiarized ourselves with.”
“Before his death… Lieutenant Commander Francis spoke of six. Do you believe that six might be the total number of monoliths?” he inquired.
“I wish I could tell you that sir,” I admitted.
“Tobias, I want to run another sweep. This time of the valleys borders top and bottom. Search for exit points where the sub might fit such as the vents…” Mason paused and looked toward me before adding, “Also search for any evidence to support Doctor Sanders’ claims.”
“Sir, it is my professional opinion that we should also make use of the depth charges we have. Blow these damn things to Kingdom Come. Whatever scientific discovery to be found here can be damned,” Redmond said.
Mason told him not to make such a split second decision, but I feel certain the the Second Officer won’t listen.
I returned to the sickbay to find that Paul was attempting to coerce a second survivor to remain calm.
“You tell me that but I have no idea where I fucking am? That it’s been twenty-seven years since I last breathed? How the fuck am I supposed to remain calm??” The man screamed.
“Arlen! Why did you tell him?” I asked.
“To test and see if he was still Human. The ones that were overtaken before on my ship showed no response when we made these sort of inquiries. It serves to reason that these would have similar responses,” he argued.
The patient was backed into a corner, staring at us both wide eyed.
“Not Human? What the fuck are you talking about? Who are you people? Fuck are you with that fucking cult?? Get the fuck away from me!!” The man said as he grabbed a few medical supplies from my cart and wielded them like weapons.
“All of this is difficult enough for them to take in! We don’t need this right now,” I sighed as I tried to prepare a sedative.
The survivor reacted, he plunged toward me and scraped the scalpel against my skin as we grappled to the floor.
Paul watched in stunned silence as we tussled and I yelled, “Don’t just stand there!! Help me!!”
Finally the Brit came to and kicked at the survivor, prying him loose. I administered the sedative but for some reason it didn’t seem to take affect. The man’s disposition was turning into something like a feral animal.
The survivor gnashed at us and used his bare fingernails to try and scratch at my arms and face as I backed away, feeling as though now I was the one backed into a corner.
Then in another split second, his head was ripped open by a bullet ripping through his skull and hitting the metal beside my own side.
A cascade of blood covered the room as the survivor fell to the floor and I looked up to see Second Officer Redmond standing there, a wild look in his eye.
“We had the situation under control,” I told him.
“Sure looks like it,” he retorted.
He slid the weapon back toward his belt loop and muttered, “You can thank me later. Now help me load up the survey drone.”
I stood up and gestured for Paul to help as well, gathering the equipment that Tobias had brought with him.
It wasn’t until we were halfway to the pressurized chamber that I saw the loads of C4 in the crate.
“Tobias… you heard the Captain… we can’t afford to harm the stones right now… not until we learn more…” I said.
Paul’s eyes widened when he saw the explosions as well.
“You can’t be seriously thinking of hitting those things… you do that and you will kill us all,” he argued.
Tobias clenched his fists as he opened up the chamber to the drones hangar.
“Damn it Tess… I was hoping you wouldn’t see that…”
He immediately took out the gun again and gestured for us to stand near the west wall.
“Get over there. Don’t make any sudden movements.”
“Tobias… don’t do this… listen…”
“No you listen for once. The Captain ain’t thinking straight and from where I’m standing neither are you! These stones have controlled our every move since we been down here. Well not anymore!! You saw how it’s turned us against one another already! Well I’m going to stop that,” he argued.
I was about to make another argument but Arlen held me back. He motioned that it would be impossible to argue given Redmond’s current state of mind.
Once Tobias loaded up the drone and sealed the chamber, Paul finally spoke freely.
“He does that and we’ll all die a few days early,” he quipped.
“We need to stop him,” I remarked as I moved across the hangar toward the other drone.
“Correction, I need to stop him,” Paul said pushing himself in front of me.
“What? You can’t. What are you thinking?” I muttered.
“My fate is already sealed, Tess. Months from now, I never told you… but I stopped believing in salvation when I killed the Doctor…”
“You… killed him?” I asked.
“I didn’t think I had a choice… hadn’t a reason to keep going. No rescue in sight…” Paul muttered.
“I killed him and I abandoned the Johansen. I swam out in a pressurized suit. I wanted the ocean to crush me. To drown before my own selfish guilt killed me. Instead I wound up right back on that damn sub.”
He laughed as he climbed into the drone and added, “I think I may have been wrong about everything though. About this place and about the fate that your crew will be facing. Your hyperbole and theories have showed me there may be another way.”
“I’m not sure… I quite understand,” I admitted.
“The visions, the alternate realities that seem to be merging with us, parallel futures that could play out. This tells me that our paths may not be so set in stone as I once thought. Maybe there is a way to change the future.”
“That doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice yourself,” I argued.
“Your crew needs you, Tess. More so now than ever. Their sanity hangs by a thread. Help them. Let me do this,” he told me.
I could see his eyes were filled with sorrow and misery. The effects of his long solace here.
He was ready to make a sacrifice. I couldn’t argue with his zeal.
So I reached into my pocket and passed him my audio recorder.
“Take this,” I told him.
He did so wordlessly, confused by the gesture.
“If you don’t survive… leave a record that can’t be erased.”
Chapter Five: Captain’s Log of the HMS Johansen
I, Paul Arlen, Naval Lieutenant Commander of Her Majesty’s Service; being of sound mind and body, leave the attached record in the care of Captain Mason Bailey of the USS CURWEN.
A note and foreword to anyone unfortunate enough to recover this message: do not approach the monolith. I repeat. DO NOT APPROACH THE MONOLITH.
These logs will likely serve as my last will and testament. That’s fine. I have accepted death and greeted him as a friend. The reaper himself has visited the halls of my lonely submarine. I have seen his twisted axe swing down on my comrades, night after night. And yet there is still some hope. Impossibly. I still have hope to see land again.
My petty officer once asserted that drowning is a pleasant way to go.
I plan on proving him right.
Farewell and good fortune,
Captain William Hemsworth Dyer
Captain’s Log of the HMS Johansen.
7,121.3 meters from the surface.
The ocean has a unique way of keeping its secrets.
I have always understood the ocean. Perhaps that is not right the word. I have always understood that there are things about the Ocean that I would never quite understand. And this is most certainly one of them.
Our mission was simple. At least, it sounded that way upon receiving. Satellite imagery located a drowned World War I submarine in the Bermuda Trenches. The Crown selected myself and seven other men to examine it aboard the sleek new Johansen. I was thankful for the selection. Work had trickled to a halt in recent months. A vacation to the Caribbean sounded ideal.
We arrived in the Trenches at exactly 0100 on November the 15th. The weather above sea level was reported to be atrocious. We had planned to rendezvous with the Americans that day, but the storms delayed their onboarding. And so I stalled the ship in a nearby trench and awaited further updates.
They never came.
The ship began to malfunction almost immediately. Our Navigational System began misbehaving at 0130. We immediately turned to sonar. Our instruments recorded a few last coordinates. But Sonar failed at 0200.
Thank God the lights stayed on.
Our options became limited. Fear started to grip the cabin. It is a terrifying proposition to be stuck in a box seven thousand feet under sea level. It is even worse without instruments.
We were sitting ducks.
I ordered our navigator, Obed, to perform a sweep of the area in our only single-seated drone. The ship’s basic sonar detected one structure several hundred meters away. Assuming it to be the submarine, I ordered the ship full speed ahead.
Instead, we have found… something else. I don’t know whether to call it humanity’s greatest unknown achievement, or proof of a force beyond our reckoning.
Sitting on the ocean floor, just outside our bay window, is a stone structure hundreds of feet tall. It extends beyond our line of sight. Perhaps past the surface.
The base is covered in some sort of writing. I have ordered Obed to inspect it for any information. We will remain in this position until the Americans arrive. Perhaps we can unravel this mystery together.
Our hopes to meet up with the Americans in this dark abyss may have been rent asunder by dreams alone. I have dreamed about them myself. Drifting among the waves like inflatable toys. They must be dead by now. All of them. We will leave this morning.
We have tried to leave this place for ten days.
I have ordered the ship to proceed West. Or East. Or South, or North, or any fucking direction away from here. The progress looks believable. The crew starts to buy in sometimes. I do too. Sometimes, I think we’re going to make it, and I swear… I can smell my mother’s home cooking from across the sea. We pass the same rock structure every evening. I wish it to be the last time. But every morning we arrive back in the exact same spot:
Disabled in a ditch 7,000 meters from the surface. Like we never left.
We stare at the monolith a lot. In the mornings, when defeat is still stained into the once raucous demeanors of my crew, we discuss what this mysterious structure might be. The structure is almost certainly composed of rock. We have no idea how it was transferred to this spot. We have no idea how it keeps us here.
The outside of the monolith is, in fact, covered in writing.
We discovered that much this morning. The words appear to be an ancient form of Cuneiform, by my best guess; there are symbols carved deep into the stone.
Obed disagrees. His face turned white as a sheet as soon as we received clearer images from the drone. He identified the letters as ‘Ulgathic.’ I have no idea what that means.
I have pressured the navigator for more information. But he refuses to supply it. In fact, I have grown worried about him. At night, sometimes… I hear him singing. Doctor Latell and several other crew members have reported the same. The doc recommends sedation. I hope it will not come to that.
In the meantime, we have locked the man in his cabin. I still hear him singing.
We have not run out of oxygen. Not yet. Truthfully, I do not know why. This ship is built to accommodate some extreme circumstances. But the laws of physicals cannot be ignored, can they? And yet, here we sit, all indicators showing a full supply. The same as the day we arrived.
Time has a weird way of working itself in this cavern. We have identified objects in the ocean to identify our positioning. Like Boy Scouts trying to find their way through the woods. But each morning, after another failed journey, we find our markers have disappeared. Entire stone formations and pockets of coral. Just vanished. Without a trace.
The only thing that stays consistent is the monolith.
January 15, 2019
Happy New Year.
We have remained on board the HMS Johansen for sixty days. Reggie, our science officer, keeps track of the days in an old leather bound notebook, as per my instruction.
Sanity is a fleeting thing on board the Johansen. It comes in moments of rationality followed by hours of hopeless despair and hysteria. Originally, I mistook last night’s events for such a lapse. Perhaps it still could be. Perhaps we are suffering from a joint hysteria. Surely there is such a thing?
We had just finished our sixtieth revolution around MonoTrench. That’s what we have decided to call it. Funny how a small group of eight men can band together over stupid jokes. We had nicknames and characters created for every band of fucking fish we saw, let alone our stationary hellhole. First Officer Landry broke the sorrow of the evening with an unusual announcement. The time was 1700.
“Gentleman, I am seeing human remains on the starboard side of the ship.”
Six of us darted to the windows like a group of tourists. The questions flew in like reporters besieging a Hollywood celebrity. The excitement was palpable.
“Jesus, there’s not even any bloat.”
“They couldn’t be alive, could they?”
“We’re 7,000 fucking meters under the water, how the fuck could they be alive?”
“Piss of. Why aren’t they bloating, then?”
I tried to break the din by offering a reasonable solution.
“Dennis, take the drone, bring the bodies inside.”
My second officer on board had always been the most loyal disciple. He took the order in stride and immediately began to gear up for the mission. Approximately thirty minutes later, he was out the door and into the deep, behind the wheel of our aptly named HMS Dingy.
A robotic arm attached to Dingy made recovery of the bodies quite simple. Dennis reached out with the ship’s controls and snatched them up like toys at a circus. After completion, he returned back to load his cargo into the pressure locked bay. All appeared to be going according to play. Right before a ripple in the water sent us all on edge.
When a large creature approaches, the ocean has a way of reacting.
Like massive footsteps in the forest. Or a howl on the prairie. All the little fish scatter and run away when the big one comes through.
“Sir….” Dennis began. “There is a shark twenty meters to my right.”
Truthfully, I was surprised at my colleague’s apprehension. We had seen hundreds of sharks in our sixty day stranding. Not one of them had ever caused us any problems. The beasts are usually not interested in a tin can.
“**Buck up, boy. Stay still and he’ll leave you be.*”
“I’ve never seen one this big, Sir.”
The next part in our protocol involved Dennis disembarking himself to come inside the hull. I shouted for him to hurry the fuck up. But he never had the chance.
I did not need the red alarm blaring over my head to tell me that we had an emergency. I did not need the computer to tell me the drone’s cabin sustained a puncture. The audible crunch of teeth against metal sent waves of energy in our direction. I knew the moment it happened.
Soon after the fish floated in front of us. It held the drone in its mouth lazily. Like a chew toy.
Teeth the size of people popped holes into Dingy’s casing. Fins bigger than buildings blocked created shadows over our ship. But the crew saw enough. That shark had to be about ten times larger than any whale.
Dennis died on January the 15th, 2019. And he took our best shot at survival with him. We have no other means now except the sub itself. I expect this message to be my last. There is a final note I must mention before signing off.
The bodies aren’t in the cargo hold anymore. My crew doesn’t know where they are.
I know we have often joked regarding the likelihood of my death. It feels cliche to promise it in one entry, only to stand in front of you, still stone faced and sorrowful; only a month later.
There are times when I expected to die. When the shadows pass by our small submarine I often wonder whether one of them will come and swallow us whole.
One morning, we lost the will to try and escape. A quieter crew member, Paul, had taken to trying to overthrow my orders. They were useless, he claimed. Our health may be fine, but after ninety days without sunlight, we have surely lost our minds.
Reggie disavowed this mutiny. As did one or two others. But the rest of the crew took it to heart. They followed Paul like idiotic cultists.
And so we sit. Without motivation or planning. We sit.
The Megalodon swim in lazy formation between our position and the Monolith. Michael, a junior science officer, seems confident in his identification. A species extinct some two millennia ago… sitting just outside our window.
The beasts have not attacked Johansen. Not since Dennis. I can’t help but feel they must be lost too. At times I have seen them fight one another. As though the creatures themselves have been driven mad by time.
Are we all doomed to rot down here?
Log of Lieutenant Commander Paul Arlen
Captain Dyer is indisposed.
I find it necessary to report an enormous pressure wave slammed into our ship at approximately 0900 this morning.
The light in the trench seemed to brighten after impact. Our vision of the surroundings became clearer. I personally studied the depths for the presence of Megalodon. But they had all disappeared. In place of the massive beasts sat the Monolith, massive and imposing as ever, and a small submarine sitting at its base.
I could not believe my eyes.
Doctor Latell was the first to identify foreign writing on the hull. He knew it had to be German. Excitement overwhelmed us. I assumed this to be the moment of our escape.The crew suddenly appeared on deck in various stages of mental health. Some of them clapped when Dyer turned the ship’s engine over for the first time in days. Obed was let out of his cabin and we all split the lost bottle of Brandy.
And then the second wave hit.
The impact was enough to push the nose of our sub nearly into the ground floor. Reggie quickly righted the ship and again tried to maneuver out of the trench. Obed’s shockless voice was almost drowned out by the hum of the moment.
“Shut the fuck up, Obed. We’re getting out of here,” I told him.
But true to his word, a massive airliner appeared in our line of sight, and drifted gracefully to the ocean’s floor.
Chapter Six: Captain’s Log of the HMS Johansen
8476.7 meters from the surface.
Obed is dead.
Captain Dyer is now locked up and I am doing my best to keep my friends from turning on each other. Reggie and the two men that went to examine the plane were the first to succumb to the madness a few weeks ago.
I shall try my best to recall the events that led up to their deaths.
Considering everything that has happened so far, you would think a break in the norm would be welcomed. Such was the plane crash. But the debris drifting down onto the sea floor was the beginning of the end. Obed offered to helm the expedition to explore the wreckage in our only remaining remote drone, and like school children we heeded the opportunity be free from our prison. I wish we waited.
The optics on the drone were limited. But the camera was enough to pick up a few stray observations. Only the tail portion of the aircraft could be found within the valley. The torn metal and twisted scrap made us speculate that something rather large had ripped it apart from the inside out. It was impossible to say where the rest of the plane went. I ordered Obed to inspect it further. He followed my orders via the remote control.
What we did find was perhaps more unnerving than any other discovery so far.
It was an organism of some kind, dark and foaming, growing against the metallic hull of the wreckage. As our drone got closer to the craft, Reggie confirmed that the material was biological in nature, almost like a new type of coral.
And so I made the fatal decision that we should bring some aboard the Johansen. Obed obeyed dutifully. But as soon as the drone approached the plane on screen, he started to sing.
His haunting tone made us all stop everything. It was such an absurd thing… to sing, at a time like this.
In the dire hour, the calling shall arIVE. And so we shall DIE. I hope WE ALL DIE! Waiting for the final dIVE. Dun Dun dunna… Dun Dun dunna… dun dun dunna…
He kept chanting that same sickly song over and over again. Doctor Latell was on deck and quickly became concerned.
Then Obed began to drive the drone erratically.
He swerved it towards Johansen so suddenly that I was certain that he intended to ram the smaller machine against our hull and drown us all. And, for a split second, I welcomed the idea. Maybe it would be better that way.
But Reggie and the others on-board quickly pulled manual control of the drone. After successfully pulling some of the black slime off the plane for examination, they were able to bring it home safely. And once disaster had been successfully averted, they set their frustrations on the Mad Arab.
I didn’t even try to stop them.
They cornered him in the bay of our mess hall. A few grabbed metal spoons, and knives, and the other limited tools we had aboard. Some bludgeoned him. Some stabbed him. And do you know the sickest part of it all? Obed sang through the whole thing.
In the dire hour, the calling shall arIVE. And so we shall DIE. I hope WE ALL DIE! Waiting for the final dIVE. Dun Dun dunna… Dun Dun dunna… dun dun dunna…
I have never witnessed mania reach such a level before Obed. I have never seen revenge pay such a high price. I can’t help but to wonder if the monolith is to blame for all of this.
The doctor felt certain that it was in fact a new life form we found stuck to the plane. He suggested we take samples so our mission down here in the deep wouldn’t be in vain. I like that idea. And so I sanctioned it. I am the acting Captain, after all.
As though we have any hope of ever making it back alive.
I consented foolishly to the tests as I gathered the Arab’s things from his room. Among them, I found a journal, where he had scribbled endless poems of madness for the past four months. It was like peering into a broken man’s psyche. Most of it made no sense.
Run into the fire. Hasten to our demise. Awakened and unstoppable. Aevkthyl. Aevkthyl. Dead shall rise and kill the living. The living shall become the dead. The cycle is endless. The six show the way. And death will give sight to the blind
There was more. Talk of the Americans and how we were destined to return to where we started. Dreams of the sea crushing us all. I tossed the books in a fire after writing down those few words, too afraid to read further.
I thought staying in this abyss would be safe. I locked away Dyer because of it. And yet, less than twenty four hours after I saw those words in his journal, Obed’s prophecy came true.
Reggie and two other men came into contact with the organism in the examination room. Soon after, they came into Latell’s office speaking of headaches worse than usual. He ordered a full body exam and found bizarre rashes in their shoulders and chests. It spread rapidly over the next few hours until it formed a honeycomb pattern of dark slime that paralyzed the three men.
At 1800 hours Doctor Latell pronounced all three men dead and sealed them in the lower engine compartment.
Obed spoke of the dead being reanimated. He ranted about it for days. So much so that some of us expected his words to come true. Less than an hour later, I heard scratching from that same room.
I haven’t felt much need to continue these logs. Captain Dyer is the one who even suggested we continue to keep a record. There are only a few of us left now. There isn’t much of a point. But here it is.
I have taken up the post of Chief medical officer.
Doctor Latell died about six days ago. He is still here, though. They are all still here. The undead roam the halls of Johansen like spirits. That is the easiest way to describe it. One moment, they are in your bedroom, waiting to tear the skin from your bones. The next… they are gone.
Like the flick of a light.
Latell was attempting to make contact with one of these ghosts the night he died. I tried to steer him away from the plan. But he claimed to have seen Obed among the spirits and suggested we could inquire more about the stones. That thought sounded reasonably to a few insanity laced seamen. So we let him do it.
And he died. Horribly.
I can remember watching on what limited security feed that we had left as the spirit of Obed ripped him apart. From head to torso, black slime spilled out of its mouth and abdomen as it seemed to absorb the poor man’s corpse.
Then in another instant, both were gone.
It won’t be long before I see Doctor Latrell among the spirits.
There are only three of us left.
Three men doomed to die.
The Doctor is alive again.
He has no recollection of the events that preceded his death. His memory of the date is early December. To be honest, I considered my own insanity to be the cause. But I checked the journals that Dyer and I have kept to record our time here. That cannot be accurate.
And yet this apparition of the doctor is not like the others. Even the frozen corpses we encountered again have not acted this way. They are mindless creatures. Full of violence and vitriol. Did I fail to mention that surreal detail? It seems in the confines of this underwater prison the delusions are stronger than I have ever anticipated. I honestly cannot remember what was real and what actually took place.
And so I killed him. I killed him again and when he moved a little bit to the right, I took a steak knife and slide it through his eye. Jimmy said we should kill all of them, just to be sure, and so we did. I slaughtered them in the rooms they slept. I slaughtered them in the halls they ate. I slaughtered them in the control rooms where they lied to me over and over again and I slaughtered them without mercy.
Jimmy spoke to me with a nervous voice once it was all said and done.
“Don’t you see what the monolith is doing? It’s like a radio transponder, broadcasting a signal out to any life form nearby; altering our physical and mental state. You’ve become nothing more than its pawns!” He shouted desperately.
His words became hard to hear. I drowned them out and focused on the sweat building on his brown. On the way he hunched his back. I knew he had to be lying to me.
And so I killed him too.
The corpses vanished only about thirty minutes later. So did the plane wreckage. And like the flick of a light, I found myself in a room with Dyer and the doctor. They were alive.
The Doctor postulated we were stuck in a loop of sorts.
“Time isn’t marching forward at all. These records you’ve kept for months, they are meaningless! We’re likely stuck on the very day we arrived here. And I will prove it!!” the doctor proclaimed.
He stormed to the bridge and found the charts that Dyer had made, detailing each portion of the trench we had come in contact with.
He showed me where the remains of the German U-Boat were located and said, “According to your logs the sub appears right before the plane. If we are to follow that line of reasoning we should anchor ourselves there and wait. The U-Boat will return and it will prove my theory,” Latell argued.
Dyer didn’t seem convinced.
“He could be just like the others, a mutated puppet for that thing,” the Captain warned me with a grin.
There are three of us still here. The doctor, Dyer, and myself. I have been stuck in this timeline quite a while. I don’t know why.
We were attacked today. I can not describe with good detail what it might have been. It was covered in eyes. Perhaps larger than all thirty Megalodon combined. A behemoth of the ocean.
I remember it’s screams. It was twisting itself against the ship, destroying every vital piece. I know that this was more than a mere dream for I felt its malevolent claws pierce my leg. I saw its ghastly form and it’s gaping endless mouth.
In those eyes I saw the deceased crew that had brought us here and I saw the glimmer of something beyond even this reality, a dark cauldron of tendrils and chaos seething toward the surface.
The monster left us as quickly as it came. Dyer and I worked hard to patch up the ship. We did it in silence, neither perhaps willing to admit what the other had seen.
This will be my final log aboard the HMS Johansen. We have tried everything. I have seen timelines where I killed them all. I have seen timelines where they kill me. I have seen timelines of torture and evil beyond explanation. But I have never seen one where we escape escape. The ship is not permitted to leave this place.
Captain Dyer has decided to remain on board. A good Captain always goes down with the ship. I respect that. But I… I can not live like this any longer. To be trapped here for a potential eternity is too much a burden. There is a pressurized suit still onboard. I know that if I leave the Johansen it will provide me with a few short moments outside.
I have taken the records of this ship with me. Should anyone find my body, they will find them attached to my back.
I submit my soul to the relentless waves.
It is strange, looking back on these accounts; the way the mind played tricks on me. I was so ready to die. Perhaps I still am. Perhaps that is why I have taken to this craft to pursue a man as stubborn and unhinged as I was? I know that I saw these men of the *Curwen die as often as I saw my own crew do so. And yet… yet I still hope.*
Hope that this sacrifice is the right one, to stop the cycle that is repeating here in this circle of hell. Hope that the record I am sending now to you, Tess, will guide you home.
i can see Tobias’ ship in the grim waters ahead. He is nearly 49 meters away from the massive four stones. I know what I must do to stop him.
I will be signing off now, asking not for forgiveness or understanding. But simply that as Tess originally asked, our records endure. That one day, this truth can be revealed.