|The Beast Roils|
They huddled together on the far side of the spit, whitecaps spraying surf over the jetties in the last of the afternoon light. What remained of the village watched from the mainland, their torches low in the persistent drizzle. Mostly, there were only women and children left.
A pile of corpses, what Briggs prayed was the last of the leviathan’s brood, blazed at the far end of the spit. Gobbets of fat sizzled in the inferno; it generated a sooty cloud that stung the eye and fouled the air.
“And their mother?” Stern asked. He had yet to bury his sons, and the shock of what had happened in the harbor was etched on his features. “What is to be done of her blasted corpse?”
“It’ll burn, John,” Briggs replied. “It’ll burn like her cursed spawn. We’ll haul whatever’s left out to sea, and sink it so deep it'll never see the sun again.”
Night fell as they shuffled into their skiffs, pulling hard for shore. The fire glowed in the distance, growing dimmer as they approached the harbor. They were almost to the edge of the ruined waterfront when a cry—a piercing note of rage and utter sadness—drowned the howls of the western wind.
Briggs thrust his lantern into the darkness, keenly aware that the very night itself was changing.
“Lo!” he shouted as the first appendage whipped out of the sky. It fell heavy on a skiff, splintering wood and bone in one easy motion. “The beast is risen! 'Tis Father, returned to claim his kin!”
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